JAPANESE MATCHLOCK “Tanegashima” MUSKET
Fascinating Ancient Weaponry with Beautiful Inlay
Here we present a Japanese Tanegashima Matchlock Musket. This was a more refined matchlock musket that utilized a lock and trigger mechanism instead of the more primitive hand-held match. Use of this type of firearm in Japan dates to the mid-16th Century, when the Portuguese brought this 15th Century European concept to the shores of the Japanese Island of Tanegashima, for which the musket is named. With just a few examples Japanese swordsmiths were able to duplicate and produce their own on a large scale, forever changing how wars would be fought in Japan by the end of the 16th Century. They proved decisive in settling the internal wars, so that Japan lived in relative peace and isolation for the next 250 years. The Tanegashima continued to be produced and used until about the end of the Edo Period, when Commodore Perry established contact in the mid-19th Century. Conflict again rose to the surface but was decided by modern weapons of the period.
This is a very interesting weapon when comparing to those most of us are familiar with today. These were not shoulder-fired weapons, so they do not have a provision to brace the stock against one’s body. A braided cord, known as the “slow match”, would have a burning ember at the end. The slow match is held by the spring-loaded arm known as the “serpentine”. The serpentine is put into the cocked position when ready to fire, and the hinged cover moved from over the flash pan. A simple pull of the trigger plunged the serpentine and the slow match into the flash pan, detonating the charge within the gun. The top of the barrel bears beautiful floral décor with a butterfly above the two barrel bands, all inlaid with silver.
The overall condition is very good. The iron surfaces are dark with age. The silver is 95% complete. The stock is in good shape with a little slivering ahead of the lock. The bore is smooth, dark and dusty. The action is strong. Here is an uncommon opportunity to own a very beautiful and unique Japanese Tanegashima!
Own the original! This is a legitimate antique and not a reproduction.
The overall condition is very good.
Barrel is 40-3/4 inches.
Overall condition as seen in photos.
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