Original French Early 19th Century Bronze Mortar with Gargoyle Touch Hole and Serpent Arch

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This is a special piece that originated from our purchase of a cache of antique arms and ordnance from Kathmandu, Nepal.

Presumably this bronze mortar was given to the Kingdom of Nepal by the British who had taken it from the French possibly at the Battle of the Heights of Abraham at Quebec (1759) or possibly from one of the famous Battles the British fought the French in India like the Battle of Plassey (1757) or at the Battle of Pondicherry (1759). It also conceivable that it may even date back to the Duke of Marlborough's Wars of the Spanish Succession such as Blenheim (1704) or Ramillies (1706) all noted English successes.

This incredible bronze mortar measures 24 inches in overall length. At the widest point it is 16" wide. The bore measures 6.5 inches. It is massively heavy, it may seem small if you note the dimensions but it takes four men to move it safely.

The "arch", on the upper side of the tube to assist with hoisting, is in the form of two entwined Sea Serpents. The touch hole is surrounded by a cup showing a Gargoyle's face. The body of the mortar is bulbous at the rear and the barrel has several turnings terminating in a cannon style which slightly flares at the muzzle. Inside one can clearly see the "powder compartment" in the bottom of the bore which leads into the Mortar ball compartment directly in front. Interestingly, an approximate 6 1/2" bore translates to 34 pounder caliber.

In the Royal Collection known as the Tower Armories that is now located in Leeds, England there are two very similar examples dated 1683 that are recorded as being captured from the French Port of Cherbourg in 1758. One of these appears in "THE ARMORIES OF THE TOWER OF LONDON, THE ORDNANCE" a British Government hardcover book first published in 1976, see page 128, item number 161.

It appears this French Mortar has had various markings and dates removed which was common practice when captured weapons were shipped to Nepal by International arms dealers in order to disguise a weapon's origin in the hope of repeat orders going back to the initial supplier.

There are red paint markings which are current Nepalese Army's marks concerning estimated weights in an attempt to assist us at the time of purchase in 2003 for transportation purposes.

One of the most stunning Bronze Mortars received in the "Nepalese Cache" purchase. Mounted on a rudimentary antique looking wood mount which was recently constructed. A fine and rare mortar with wonderful classic French details dating from some point in the 18th century.
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