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Hand cannon from the Chinese Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368)

Huochong (simplified Chinese: 火铳; traditional Chinese: 火銃) was the Chinese name for hand cannons.[1] The oldest confirmed metal huochong, also the first cannon, is a bronze hand cannon bearing an inscription dating it to 1298 (see Xanadu gun).[2]

By the time of the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) two types of huochong were in use. One was a hand held version with a wooden shaft known as a shouchong (手銃) whilst the larger Wankouchong (碗口銃 — bowl-mouthed cannon) or Zhankouchong (盏口銃 — cup-mouthed cannon)[3] rested on a supporting wooden frame.[4] It was invented presumably as an advance in warfare, a new way to fight.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Chinese Military Technology and Dai Viet: c. 1390-1497" (PDF). September 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 20, 2010. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
  2. ^ "The World's Earliest Cannon (世界上最早的火炮)" (in Chinese). Archived from the original on July 23, 2011. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
  3. ^ Aung-Thwin, Michael Arthur (2011). New Perspectives on the History and Historiography of Southeast Asia: Continuing Explorations. Routledge. p. 83. ISBN 9781136819643.
  4. ^ History of Ming Army Records Chapter Four