East Asia, China, ca. 17th century CE. A fine cast-iron hand cannon of a twin-barreled form mounted atop a slender wooden pole with a narrow socketing shaft. The cannon is composed of two parallel barrels held in place by four wrapped ovoid rings. A small tab-shaped sight near the end of one barrel has a small perforation underneath for igniting the compacted gunpowder held inside, though it also serves as an impromptu flash pan if the barrels are turned sideways. Chinese hand cannons - also known as a "handgonne" - were a shoulder-mounted weapon that was held by one soldier and fired by a second. These weapons were capable of firing .50 to .70 caliber projectiles, and paved the way for the development of modern-day firearms. Size: 65.125" L x 3.25" W (165.4 cm x 8.3 cm).
Provenance: private Los Angeles County, California, USA collection
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