Antique Japanese ozutsu tanegashima matchlock rifle with intricate silver and gold inlay of a dragon in swirling clouds. This wide cast iron barrel is further decorated with a three character mark and the crest of the Tokugawa shogunate. The black lacquered wooden handle has brass fittings and several gold lacquer Tokugawa mon. This type of ozutsu (hand canon) was used on ships for protection against pirates, on horseback, and as assault weapons to blast through doors. Often bales of rice had to be used to support the gunner’s back from the extreme recoil.
The silver three character mark on the barrel reads: 遠江守
Guns were first introduced to Japan during the Sengoku era through the Portuguese in 1543. From just a couple samples, Japanese metal smiths were able to copy and expand upon the matchlock rifle, changing warfare in Japan forever. Used primarily by the samurai class and their ashigaru (foot soldiers), Japanese guns had a wide range of sizes and uses. During the Edo Period, the rise of the Tokugawa shogunate and the closing off of Japan to outside influences (other than limited Dutch trade) led to relative large scale peace and prosperity. This did not dissuade the production of firearms and matchlock guns and rifles continued to be produced and collected especially by the ruling class.
Age: Edo Period (1603-1868)
Dimensions: 35″ long