A Chinese signal gun made in the 18th century. The bronze weapon has a pair of lugs to fix it to the wooden stock in which it was originally held. Bronze was favoured for gun barrels at this date as methods of casting iron were prone to create tiny flaws that might cause the barrel to burst when fired. The dragon writhing along the barrel has four claws on each foot, marking this as part of the arsenal of a nobleman. Imperial forces would have been decorated with the five toed dragon of the Emperor.
from "Rifles" by Rupert Matthews
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