View full screen - View 1 of Lot 286. A rare six-barrelled silver damascened matchlock revolving gun, Early Qing dynasty | 清初 穿花龍紋六管轉輪火繩槍.
286

A rare six-barrelled silver damascened matchlock revolving gun, Early Qing dynasty | 清初 穿花龍紋六管轉輪火繩槍

A rare six-barrelled silver damascened matchlock revolving gun, Early Qing dynasty | 清初 穿花龍紋六管轉輪火繩槍

A rare six-barrelled silver damascened matchlock revolving gun, Early Qing dynasty | 清初 穿花龍紋六管轉輪火繩槍

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A rare six-barrelled silver damascened matchlock revolving gun

Early Qing dynasty

清初 穿花龍紋六管轉輪火繩槍


Length 61⅜ in., 155.8 cm

In overall good condition. Some wear and scratches. Some screws and hinges might have been replaced later. Some rust seen in crevices.

整體品相良好。表面有些許使用痕跡及刮痕。螺絲及合頁經換。接合處可見鐵銹。


Please note that this lot will require a CITES permit for export outside of the United States.

敬請注意,本拍品如出口至美國境外需申請相關CITES許可證。


For more information on and additional videos for this lot, please contact asiaweek@sothebys.com.


In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.


我們很高興為您提供上述拍品狀況報告。由於敝公司非專業修復人員,在此敦促您徵詢其他專業修復人員,以獲得更詳盡、專業之報告。



準買家應該檢查每件拍品以確認其狀況,蘇富比所作的任何陳述均為主觀看法而非事實陳述。雖然本狀況報告或有針對某拍品之討論,但所有拍賣品均根據印於圖錄內之業務規則以拍賣時狀況出售。

French Diplomatic Collection, acquired in Asia in the early 20th century. 

Acquired in France, 2015.



法國外交官收藏,二十世紀初得於亞洲

購於法國,2015年

This impressive gun is exceptional for its lavish silver decoration of undulating dragons among billowing clouds interspersed with crossed vajras, running the length of its long barrel. Matchlocks, such as the present piece, were introduced into China around the early 16th century through sea and overland routes by the Europeans and Turks. With a deep interest in Western technology, the Qing emperors Kangxi (r. 1662-1722) and Qianlong (r. 1736-95) keenly encouraged the use of guns and officially adopted these weapons as regulation military equipment. Determined to keep in touch with a Manchu lifestyle, the emperors organized large-scale training hunts and prided themselves on their own shooting and riding skills.


The term 'matchlock' in firearms refers to a mechanism that allows the gunpowder to be ignited by a match cord, usually made of a slow burning rope. A matchlock gun is designed with a curved lever called 'serpentine' and a protruding flash pan connecting to the barrel to hold priming powder. Upon pulling the trigger, the serpentine clamping the lighted match cord will lower into the flash pan, igniting the priming powder causing an explosion inside the barrel to push the bullet into projectile. Before the invention of this mechanism, the operator of the firearm or an assistant had to apply the match directly to the gunpowder by hand. The matchlock mechanism was a step forward in freeing the hand of the user, which could be a substantial advantage in battle.


Revolving matchlock guns are no stranger to the Chinese tradition. Weapons of this design are known at least by the Wanli period (1573-1620). According the Shenqipu (Catalogue of weapons) written by Zhao Shizhen (1553-1611) in 1598, a special type of gun named Xuanji yihu (Revolving winged tiger) is designed with a triple-barrel that rotates after each shot triggered by the matchlock mechanism (see vol. 2, p. 29 for illustration). Another revolving gun called Wulei shenji (The weapon of five thunders) is reputedly to have been invented by the famous late Ming general Qi Jiguang (1528-1588), who was mostly known for his glorious defeats of the wokou, the Japanese pirates threatening the southern border of the Ming empire in the 16th century. The weapon is designed with five revolving barrels that can be fired consecutively using a matchlock mechanism.


Although different in form and size, there are two guns with decorations related to the present piece, both from the Qing Court Collection and still preserved in the Palace Museum, Beijing. Damascened in gold with dragons and cloud motifs, these imperial weapons are illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Armaments and Military Provisions, Hong Kong, 2008, pls 232 (a flintlock) and 233 (a matchlock).

Very few early matchlock firearms from China have appeared in the recent market. A highly important Qianlong mark and period matchlock musket with a single barrel decorated with gold, silver and copper inlay was sold in our London rooms, 9th November 2016, lot 100; and another with a carved lacquer stock, attributed to the Qianlong or Jiaqing period, was sold at Christie’s New York, 23rd March 2011, lot 1447.