Indian Matchlock Pistol
Place of Origin: Rajasthan, India
Date: 17th to 18th Century
This finely decorated piece is also a robust one: the hardwood stock, which has developed beautiful, almost translucent red and brown colours, is reinforced by plates of wootz steel, each having ornamented borders with pierced designs. These plates extend on both sides—all the way from the muzzle to pommel, where a dedicated steel cap provides reinforcement should the pistol need to be reversed for use as a club.
The breech section is octagonal in form, becoming cylindrical halfway to the muzzle. Beneath this, a ramrod slides into a long, hidden recess while graceful floral designs, rendered in openwork against a silver ground, embellish the trigger plate.
Near the open pan is a hollow metal cone for holding a match or perhaps for snuffing one out. In the same spot a series of silver chains resides, holding captive various implements necessary for the pistol’s operation: a pricker, a pan cover and its retainer.
A sequence of dots have been punched into the steel above the trigger. This seems to read “IBI H.H.BND”—could this possibly be a reference to His Highness Bandanwara or Bundi? See item 22 for a musket with a similar inscription.
This stunning pistol was originally in the collection of Richard Wagner, and published in the 2014 book, Arms of the Paladins: The Richard R. Wagner Jr. Collection of Fine Eastern Weapons by Oliver Pinchot, p.86, fig.5-2.