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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.[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 (手铳) whilst the larger Wankouchong (碗口铳) or Zhankouchong (盏口铳) rested on a supporting wooden frame.[3]It was invented presumably as an advance in warfare, a new way to fight.


  1. "Chinese Military Technology and Dai Viet: c. 1390-1497". September 2003. Archived from the original on September 20, 2010. Retrieved November 18, 2010. 
  2. "The World's Earliest Cannon (世界上最早的火炮)" (in Chinese). Retrieved November 18, 2010. 
  3. History of Ming Army Records Chapter Four

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