This superb Japanese Tanegashima matchlock arquebus dates ca.1780-1820, and is either a Sakai [Saku], or else a Kunitomo. The quality of decorative work is outstanding, indicating that it belonged to a wealthy samurai or was a present from his suzerain.
I did not remove the barrel, which is most probably signed by the maker, as is the inside of the stock.
Total length is 133 cm, with a 102 cm-long octagon barrel in .69 caliber.
This lovely gun has inlaid brass on the rear portion of the barrel depicting a cloud dragon in flight over a series of rolling hills. The iron retains most of its original russeted patina with some light pitting present along the edges. The breech of the barrel terminates in a wide brass band with large engraved kabuto with menpo on the top of the wrist. Sheet brass scroll work on the cheek of the stock features a circle of rice mallets motif around the pass-through for the match on both sides. Additionally, a pair of small silver rosettes flank the stock on both sides above the trigger, a small silver rabbit or hare is inlaid opposite the lock, and two small silver birds in flight were mounted to the bottom of the fore-end (the rear bird inlay is missing). All of the brass work shows a pale yellow ochre patina and silver has acquired a pleasant dark hue. The stock shows an original oil finish with small scattered handling marks and blemishes and some smoothed-over minor chips along the sides of the barrel channel. There is no ramrod present. Bottom of the stock has a long split, as do many of the Tanegashimas of that age. The mechanism functions flawlessly. This is a superb, all-original, museum-quality Tanegashima for an advanced collector of Samurai weaponry.