Synopses & Reviews
The first surviving reference to the use of gunpowder appears in a Chinese manuscript dating from 1044 AD. The formula for gunpowder was passed to the Arabs via India and Persia and its first use in firearms in Europe is reported at the Arab siege of Spain in 1324. While much has been written about the history of firearms in Europe and North America, their development in the Islamic world and their subsequent history there has been almost totally neglected.
Elgood, uses the collection of firearms from the Tareq Rajab Museum in Kuwait to explore the subject. The collection ranges from Morocco to India, China and Central Asia, taking in almost every country in between. Elgood describes the artistry and beauty of antique firearms, focusing on the use of decoration and great craftsmanship as well as the technological innovations that were developed, and looking at the different cultures of the Islamic world.
An illustrated volume giving an account of firearms of the Near and Middle East. The book should be of interest to collectors of firearms as well as those with a more general interest in military history and weaponry.
The earliest surviving document referring to the use of gunpowder is Chinese and dates from AD 1044. The formula for gunpowder was passed through India and Persia to the Arabs and its first use in firearms in Europe is reported at an Arab siege in Spain in 1324. The history of firearms in Europe and North America is well documented, but their development in the Islamic world has been neglected. This is the first comprehensive study of a complex subject, written by one of the world's leading authorities. Robert Elgood uses the superb collection of firearms in the Tareq Rajab Museum in Kuwait - the most important collection of its kind in the Arab world - to explore the subject. The collection ranges from Morocco to India, from Spain to Central Asia, taking in almost every country in between. The book traces the diffusion of locally-made firearms across the Near and Middle East from the fourteenth century until the late nineteenth century when traditional craftsmanship largely ceased in the face of Western mass-production. Drawing on detailed scholarly research, and the entertaining accounts of contemporary travellers, the author examines surviving weapons, their place of manufacture and mode of decoration, and sets them in their historical and social context.
Table of Contents
Naft and Moorish Spain; the Mamluks and their successors in Egypt; the Ottomans - Ottoman control and diffusion of firearms, the Ottoman adoption of pistols, the evolution of Ottoman firearms in the 17th and 18th centuries, the European arms trade with the Ottomans; the Maghrib - Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia; the Sudan; Arabia; the Balkans in the 18th and 19th centuries; the Caucasus and Daghestan - north-west Caucasus, Daghestan; Northern Syria and Iraq; Iran, Afghanistan and the Khanates; the Indian sub-continent - pre-Mughal India, the Portuguese in India, Mughal India, India in the 17th century, the British; India in the 18th and 19th centuries - Bengal, Pondicherry, Lucknow, Agra, Hansi and Jhujjur, Mysore, Rajasthan, Sind, Punjab, Kashmir and Kashgar, Bhutan and Tibet, the Arabs in Southern India; Ceylon and South-East Asia - catalogue of the guns and pistols in the Tareq Rajab Museum.