Object Title

Wheellock musket

Wheellock musket



Object Number



Purchased 1 April 1990.

Physical Description

The lock has a plain flat plate on the outside of which runs a plain wheel. The dog is rather in the Italian style with a long moulded neck and shaped jaws. The stock, of fiddle grained wood, has a flaring butt and expands under the lock to accomodate the lock in the French manner. It is full to the muzzle. There are no ram -rod pipes, the fore-end being expanded just behind the muzzle to fullfill that function. At the butt is an iron band, decorated with a diaper in silver overlay and inlays of mother of pearl plaques in the shape of arabesques surmounted by crescents. Opposite the lock is a circular medallion in mother of pearl and an iron washer, richly carved and gilded that carries a ring. On either side of the fore-end are four rectangular cartouches inscribed with Koranic inscriptions. There are two silver barrel bands, at the breech and muzzle, with incised decoration. The trigger guard is long, with a cusp and finial at the rear, and the trigger is astraight pin with mouldings. The barrel is smoothbore, octagonal, with a flaring muzzle, fitted with a small pellet-like foresight and a a two leaf folding backsight. The breech and muzzle are covered in silver, with traces of gilding, and chiselled with bands of stylised foliage and arabesques


Dimensions: The length of the barrel is 1335 mm, the bore is 16mm and the overall length of the gun is 1381 mm Weight: The weight of the gun is 4.75 kg


16 mm

Inscriptions and Marks

Stamped on the barrel 'Aml Rajab


Bibliographic References

Paris, Gallerie ART, Splendeur des armes orientales, Paris, 1988, no. 26 p. 159.


Two other Ottoman wheellock guns are known. One was taken from the Turks by Admiral Adler during the Turco-Venetian War (1645-69), and recorded by 1674 in Copenhagen (Copenhagen, Nationalmeseet, 'Ethnographic objects in the Royal Danish Kunstkammer 1650-1800', Copenhagen, 1980, no. EMb8, p. 69. The other was sold Sotheby's 6 October 2010 lot 262 (£43,250). The only other known Rajab is a swordsmith of Isfahan (L.A. Mayer, 'Islamic armourers,' Geneva, 1962, pp. 69-70.

Blair, surprisingly, suggested that 'the Turks did not introduce the wheel-lock into their firearms, nor was it used anywhere else in the east' (C. Blair, 'Pollard's history of firearms', London, 1983, p. 430).