More than a Game / A RARE PARCEL-GILT MUSKET GUN-BARREL Jiajing (3)
HK$300,000 - HK$500,000
A RARE PARCEL-GILT MUSKET GUN-BARREL
Cast and drilled from solid steel, the barrel of hexagonal form, the lobed and slightly flaring muzzle inlaid with a bronze front sight on the top, the long barrel cast with three raised spines between two sections of plantain leaves and lingzhi fungus cast in high-relief at two ends, the section close to the hammer cast with foliage and plantain leaves in high-relief, the motifs and muzzle in gold damascene, stands. 76cm (30in) long. (3).
The matchlock arquebus was introduced to China through Portuguese visitors during the Jiajing period, and known as 'bird gun' (niao chong 鳥銃) or 'beak gun' (niao zui chong 鳥咀銃). The present lot is unusual, however, in being relatively shorter (76cm long) than typical 'bird guns' mentioned in records. The latter were typically five or six chi long (one chi, equal to approximately 32cm). The unusual length combined with the gilt decoration indicate that the present lot was a special commission.
A barrel of similar length can be compared with a 'bird gun' in the Tower of London, circa 1600, illustrated by G.Rimer, Wheellock Firearms of the Royal Armouries, Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds, 2001, p.26.
The plantain-leaf patterns on the body are also typical of the Jiajing period. Compare also the ruyi-scroll pattern, with a similar example on a multi-coloured circular lacquer box with 'dragon and phoenix' design, Jiajing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Lacquer Wares of the Yuan and Ming Dynasties, Hong Kong, 2006, p.177, no.135.
類似長度之銃管，可比較英國倫敦塔藏一件1600年左右之鳥銃，其銃管長度與本件相同，著錄於Graeme Rimer，《Wheellock Firearms of the Royal Armouries, Royal Armouries Museum》，利茲， 2001年，頁26。