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Publisher: Sarawak (Malaysia) or Brunei
Title: BRASS LANTAKA SWIVEL MARINE CANNON
Published in: ca.1750 - 1800
   
Size: 4.9 x 43.7 inches.
12.5 x 111.0 cm.
Coloring:

Fine patina
Condition: 18th-19th century Indonesian cast, 111cm from muzzle to rear, traditional Lantaka fashion cannon, with well-chased dolphin lifting handles and dragon muzzle, post and notch sights with attached swivel device.
The barrel is decorated with stylised crocodile, lotus and bamboo shoot motifs, geometric and fantastical designs and the end of the barrel is extremely flared.
This portable antique heavy cast cannon is in overall very good condition showing a beautiful deeply aged patina to the surfaces of this item.

Condition Rating

Many of these beautiful guns were mounted on swivels and were known as swivel guns. The smaller ones could be mounted almost anywhere including in the rigging of sailing vessels and used by both local natives and also pirates.

The lantaka was encountered by Magellan in India in 1521. The Dutch and the Portuguese encountered them in the hands of Malayans. They were made by foundries in the Dutch East Indies and most particularly on Borneo in what is now the Malaysian state of Sarawak and the sultanate of Brunei.
Its greatest use was in precolonial South East Asia especially in Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia where they were used to defend against pirates.
Cast of brass or bronze, seldom of iron, they were very durable if not overloaded. Calibers were never too large, some almost pistol size. Usually they were elaborately decorated.
Islamic Lantaka's do not display animal figures (such as crocodile, serpent, frog, tortoise etc) on their cannons. The button was extended and hollow.

Possession of such canons also became a store and show of wealth. They were used to decorate boats to demonstrate the importance of the boat owner. They were given positions of prominent in long houses, again as a display of importance and wealth. They were used also as a form of currency with the exchange of cannons being used to settle debts.
Lantaka cannons were also used to transmit messages: they were fired to mark births and weddings, to warn villages of impending attack or to mark the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

Many of the finest cannon were given out by the Sultans of Brunei as part of ceremonies (such as birthdays or weddings) of the many princes and princesses of the extended Royal family. Cannons were frequently presented to guests along with awards and titles, and were meant to guarantee the recipients allegiance to the Sultan.

Lantaka cannons are now sought after in Southeast Asia.
Similar cannons are illustrated in Chin (1980, p. 43) and Zandvliet (2002, p. 339).
Chin, L., Cultural Heritage of Sarawak, Sarawak Museum, 1980.
Singh, B., Malay Brassware, National Museum of Singapore, 1985.
Zandvliet, K. et al, The Dutch Encounter with Asia 1600-1950, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, 2002.
Illustrated and Descriptive Catalogue of Military Goods, by Francis Bannerman & Sons.




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Sarawak (Malaysia) or Brunei - BRASS LANTAKA SWIVEL MARINE CANNON
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