Object Title

Percussion pistol

Percussion pistol



Object Number



Purchased 28 January 1985. From the collection of Major Noel Corry.

Physical Description

The bottom and sides of the rectangular boxlock action are cast in one with the barrel. The latter is octagonal in section, necking down and then swelling to a circular muzzle moulding. Carved on the upper surface and sides is a dragon amid clouds clutching a sacred jewel. The top of the action is covered by a separate plate, extended to form the breech strap, through which the European-style iron hammer passes. The slot for the hammer is bordered by curved lines and random dots representing clouds. The right side of the action, from which the cheese-head of the hammer pivot pin passes, is decorated with punched dots, hatching, and three dragon's claws. The underside of the action is fitted with a crude brass trigger guard, secured by a screw at the rear and fitting over a lug at the front which probably formed a stop for the missing ramrod. The iron trigger is of European form. At the left of the action is fastened a tachi style menuki of three conjoined Tokugawa aoi mon, in shakudo with traces of gilding.This has been rather crudely fasten in place with soft solder which has run onto the edges. Ahead of the flat of the action is a raised, saddle-like area forming a seat for the damaged nipple.

The wooden butt is of European form, but with something of a hump behind the breech tang. It is decorated in gold lacquer with foliate karakusa scrolls, and behind the breech tang with a large Tokugawa mon with the viens picked out in lighter coloured lacquer. The wood appears to be a form of rose-wood.

The mainspring is broken, and partly repaired with two strips of steel wired to the stump of the original.


OverallLength218 mm
BarrelLength58 mm


10 mm, equiv to a two momme bore.

Inscriptions and Marks

Inscribed under the barrel 'Meiji nijusan nen ichi san nana go Gumma ken'.(1890, 137th Admin division of Kotsuke)


Places Japan

Bibliographic References

Arms and Armour Society, The art of the armourer, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1963, no. 356.


An almost identical pistol, lacking only the gold lacquer decoration on the stock and the mon on the left side of the action, is in the Victoria and Albert Museum, (no. M1106.1927, Royal Armouries AL105). In the edition of the Kiku magazine for 15th May 1973 p 7 there is illustrated an identical pistol fitted with a belt hook. The menuki soldered to this example may well be to cover the attachment point for a similar hook. The presence of the Tokugawa mon and the fact that the gun is percussion is incongruous with the date stamped under the barrel. The fact that the inscription is stamped suggests that the gun is older and has been issued for use by an arsenal.