Kangxi creates a nature reserve for the exclusive use of imperial hunting in the vast territory of Rehe. As anything from Kangxi, this choice is wise. Rehe is located between Manchuria from where the Qing were coming and Mongolia whose alliance was politically valuable for the consolidation of the new dynasty.
Qianlong is like his grandfather an avid hunter who often stays in Rehe where he welcomes foreign diplomats in his yurt in a less formal surrounding than in Beijing. His Mongol friends are using arrow and spear. The emperor knows easily to display his own superiority as the bullet from his musket reaches more distant animals. Qianlong is a skilled shooter.
On November 9 in London, Sotheby's sells a rare matchlock musket with the imperial mark of Qianlong, lot 100 estimated £ 1M, which is probably the only example in private hands.
This deluxe firearm was manufactured by the imperial workshops. An undeciphered inscription may be the name of the gunsmith. This piece was identified in period as the best in its class by a control mark certifying it as Supreme Grade Number 1.
It is not dated but could have been made in the last years of the reign. Same as for clocks, the imperial craftsmen were reproducing the European techniques. The Chinese musket has similarities with a British firearm presented in Rehe by Lord Macaulay to Qianlong for celebrating his 80th anniversary in 1793 of our calendar.
Please watch the video shared by Sotheby's.
SOLD for £ 2M including premium