17th century Chinese bronze naval cannon, £165,000 at Dore & Rees.

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Acquired by a West Country military family in the early 20th century, it came by descent to Dore & Rees (25% buyer’s premium) in Frome on November 6.

The barrel bore an inscription translating as the third month of Qianlong 54th year, In the year of 1789. Fu Jian Navy commander ordered the counting of the weapon from ‘Zuo Ying’.

It was further inscribed with the mark for Guo Xing Fu, which refers to ‘Zheng Cheng Gong’ who was a southern Ming general who resisted the Qing conquest of China in the 17th century and fought them on China’s south-eastern coast.

Dore & Rees says this cannon was probably used by the navy of Zheng to fight the Qing navy during the time. In 1661 Zheng Chenggong defeated a Dutch outpost in Taiwan and established a dynasty, the house of ‘Guo Xing ye’.


Details of markings to the Chinese bronze naval cannon sold at Dore & Rees.

The approximately (1.66m) long cannon, model no 20, is supported on a wooden carriage and weighs 430kg. There is a similar example in a Provincial Museum in Xiamen Place, China.