Date: 17th to 18th Century
This large Indonesian ‘lantaka’ swivel cannon is made from bonze and would have been used to protect a high status vessel. Cast and chased in low relief, its design is of higher artistic virtue than many lantaka which are often more simply decorated with geometric chevron designs. Here, large and naturalistic foliage can be seen throughout, twin sea serpents lend their forms to provide lifting handles and a fore-sight made of a seahorse rests atop the flared, crenellated muzzle—all further indications, perhaps, that the original owner was a patron of the arts.
Lantaka were intended for use on merchant vessels travelling the waterways of the Malay Archipelago and this example must have helped to defend a large ship of high position. The sangka (swivel) and corresponding trunnions (projecting lugs on the lower sides of the barrel) enabled the cannon to be located securely into a base or carriage and still be maneuvered laterally as well as longitudinally. A long, pot-shaped cascabel sits at the end.
Provenance: London Art Market