Matchlock musket

Matchlock musket

c. 1750

Wood, steel, brass, mother-of-pearl inlay, and leather

Overall: 103.5 cm (40 3/4 in.); Barrel: 68.3 cm (26 7/8 in.)

Gift of J. H. Wade 1916.828



Hunting was a favorite pastime of the Ottoman sultans. Mehmed IV (1642–1693) was known as “The Hunter,” and he was famous for overindulging in both his hobby and the harem to such an extent that he mismanaged the military and the bureaucracy. He was forced to abdicate as sultan and died imprisoned in an Ottoman palace. Matchlock muskets as courtly objects would have been used on the hunt. A matchlock musket was loaded from the muzzle end with a scouring stick kept in a sleeve on the underside of the barrel. The flat lid of a small pan to one side of the trigger and sight was filled with gunpowder from a small powder horn. When the trigger is pulled, the lit end of a wick drops into the pan to light the powder and discharge the ball. The small tools attached by chains were used to clean the powder pan. An original leather pad is attached to the gun’s stock, used to protect the shooter from the kick of the explosion on firing.

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