East Asia, China, Late Ming to early Qing Dynasty, ca. 17th century CE. A sizable cast-iron hand cannon with a lengthy wooden pole secured with a small pin on the socketing shaft. The iron cannon has a trio of narrow barrels with slightly-flared muzzles and a single ringed astragal around the midsection. Small perforated openings situated at the base of each barrel enable the insertion of a lit fuse to ignite the compacted gunpowder held within. The Chinese hand cannon - or "handgonne" - was a shoulder-mounted weapon that was both cumbersome and difficult to aim. However, if the fired projectile did hit its intended target, the inflicted damage would be immense. Typical hand cannons like this example were capable of firing .50 to .70 caliber projectiles and paved the way for modern-day firearms. Size: 54" L x 2.9" W (137.2 cm x 7.4 cm).
Provenance: ex-private Los Angeles County, California, USA collection
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Minor nicks and abrasions to wooden pole and iron cannon end, with light encrustations within some recessed areas, otherwise intact and very good. Light earthen deposits and great patina throughout. Cannon has not been tested for functionality.