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This flintlock is an absolutely breathtaking reproduction of a gilded Japanese flintlock pistol from the 18th century. Itís about as a unique a flintlock as youíll find, and one of the most beautiful flintlock reproductions that weíve seen.
The gun is representative of the ornately decorated firearms common to Japan in the 18th and 19th centuries. The dragon, a symbol of strength and fortune, has always been an important part of Japanese culture. It is said that many of Japanís emperors were descendants of dragons who mated with humans. Even Emperor Hirohito claimed that he had dragon ancestry in his past.
That said, the brass dragon is obviously the central focus of this flintlock. It stretches across the barrel of the gun, mouth open at the business end, as if preparing to belch forth a blast of flame Ė which, perhaps it is. The scowling dragon mouth is reminiscent of the fierce shark mouths painted on the cowlings of fighter planes during World War II.
The locks and trigger are made from blackened and polished metal, gilded, embossed and curved beautifully. A short wood stock provides enough room to hold, but is slim enough to make the flintlock light and easily concealable. The gilded cock (tee hee) holds a padded chip of flint in a vice, poised above the polished striker plate.
The gun may well have been modeled after a reproduction of a reproduction: The plate that holds the locks bears a crown and a BP logo on it, indicating that the original gun may have been made in Birmingham, England. The original gun this was modeled after could well have been a reproduction of a Japanese firearm brought to England by Royal Seaman, or perhaps a pirate.