While most matchlocks are very plain, this classic Japanese "tanegashima" has a lot of interesting design elements throughout. The smoothbore barrel has a flared section at the muzzle with silver ribs and a small blade front sight, raised ribs along the edges of the barrel flats, a grooved block rear sight, and a series of brass, silver, and copper inlays in the breech section in the shape of two fish (koi), trees, and water. The breech plates form a nice design with a samurai's mask and helmet (mempo/kabuto). The stock has floral bloom pin escutcheons along the forend, coordinating blooms on the rear section, a rabbit and smoke design on the plate on the heel/comb, bamboo on the bottom of the midsection, additional floral patterns, and a mon on the toe flat. It has previously been identified as signed "Sesshu ju Tsutaya Kihachiro saku (made by Tsutaya Kihachiro, Sesshu area)." The serpentine has been fitted with a steel striker possibly for use with pill primers. Ramrod absent.
Very good with period applied blue visible along the lightly pitted barrel, aged patina on the inlays and brass components, and relatively minor overall wear. The stock has an old coat of textured lacquer over most of its surfaces and is also very good and shows fairly minor wear mainly on the edges of the forend. Mechanically fine. Overall, a very attractive Japanese matchlock.
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