Object Title

Matchlock musket (meda)

Matchlock musket (meda)



Object Number



Purchased at auction Christie's King Street, London 13 October 1998 lot 162

Physical Description

The barrel is of spiral wound welded iron, of round section tapering from the rather swollen breech area to the slightly belled muzzle. At the breech is a standing flange pierced for a rear sight. There is no foresight. The barrel is fastened into the full-stock by three wrappings of iron wire.
The stock is of a dark coarse grained wood similar to oak. The butt is almost straight with a flat base and sides, the upper edge ridged down the centre line. At the butt is a protective plate of leather and bone and an elaborately embossed mount of silver decorated with scrolling tendrils. The whole right face of the butt is covered with a panel of fabric faced with red woollen cloth, bound around the edge with leather and with multicoloured herring-bone pipings. At the front the fabric is doubled back and hasd an iron ring sewn on. The fabric is fastened to the stock by a series of embossed silver rondels with a spiral design and a beaded rim. On both sides of the stock in the region of the breech is an iron plate engraved with a line border that extends up the forend. On the top and bottom are elaborate embossed silver panels. The serpentine is of iron, slightly filed and split to hold the match. The pan cover comprises an oval of fabric, edged and decorated like that on the stock, sewn to a leather strap attached to a ring on the right side of the stock. Fastened to the strap are two silver medallions flanking a larger gilded one having a large turquoise cabouchon stone set in it.
Towards the muzzle the stock has a rectagular lump on its underside to which is hinged a bipod rest made from round wooden rods that terminate in curved black 'horns'. The stand can be folded backwards or forwards. There are silver and gilded mounts decorated like the remainder of the gun. There is a modern iron ramrod with a flared brass end.


Dimensions: Overall musket length (stand folded back): 1665mm; barrel length: 1110 mm; overall length, stand folded forwards: 1731mm; overall length, stand folded forwards with horns attached: 2140mm; wooden prongs attached approx 330mm from the muzzle. Length of prongs: 805mm. Weight: 4150 g


17 mm

Inscriptions and Marks


Bibliographic References

D La Rocca, Warriors of the Himalayas, rediscovering the arms and armour of Tibet, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2006: 201, no. 99