Place of Origin: Rajasthan, India
Date: 18th Century
This large Indian matchlock ‘toradar’ or ‘bandook’ has a tapering, two-stage sighted steel barrel. Steel side-plates buttressing the breech section are finished by a pair of peacocks shown beneath a floral device—a design frequently found on Rajput muskets. The original pan cover, pricker and steel ramrod are still present, however, later bindings have been added to better reinforce the long barrel. The slightly curved wooden stock is of unusual form, and carved with geometric linear designs. A large panel of carved scales can be seen before the stock terminates in a bone butt-piece.
The right-hand side-plate is marked with a number and “H.H.BND”, which is likely an abbreviation for His Highness Bandanwara or Bundi (see Item 21 for a similar marking) and, although the quality of this musket would not suggest it was made for royalty, it still shows elegant embellishments and high standards of manufacture—unusual considering its length, as most similar ‘fortress guns’ were of very simple form in comparison.
To fire the gun the barrel was first loaded with gunpowder and a lead ball was rammed tightly on top using a ramrod. The pan was then primed with gunpowder. Next, a match (a thin rope previously soaked with saltpetre, then dried) was placed in the match holder. The end of this match was lit, which then smouldered until it was lowered into the pan by squeezing the trigger. The match then lit the priming charge, which in turn ignited the main charge situated in the breech via the touch-hole. As the gunpowder burned instantly (exploded) a huge volume of gas was produced which fired the lead ball from the barrel.