The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Pistol
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Turkey
  • 1st half of 19th century
  • Walnut, silver, steel, black enamel and gold, engraved and inlaid
  • Length: 51 cm
    Weight: 1.5 kg
  • Inscription: Hamdan Ibrahim
  • OA1509.1
  • Oriental Armoury
Further Reading
  • Pistols made in the style of somewhat earlier western European examples (late-seventeenth and early-eighteenth century, for instance) were extremely popular throughout the Ottoman Empire during the nineteenth century. The workmanship of this example is extremely high; the stock is profusely inlaid with scrolling silver wire and the mounts are decorated in both gold and silver. This pistol shows strong French influence in its form and decoration and indeed was thought at one time to have perhaps been made in Marseilles for export to Eastern Europe. At this time there was a flourishing export market in such luxury manufactured goods, for a specifically Eastern clientele, but this pistol would seem to be an example of the best-quality native Turkish work. The name on the wrist-escutcheon (Hamdân Ibrâhîm) is probably that of the pistol’s former owner.