Firearms of the Islamic World: In the Tareq Rajab Museum, Kuwait
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.
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