The Jija Chongtong Gun is proof that the Joseon Dynasty’s heavy weapon manufacturing was far advanced than that of Japan before the Japanese Invasion of Korea in 1592. Chongtong guns have been manufactured as early as King Taejong’s reign at the dawn of the Joseon Dynasty. Names differed according to the gun’s size; they were referred to as Cheonja, Jija, Hyeonja, or Hwangja, from large to small. This gun, one of two types that remains to this day, is a large portable gun only second to the Cheonja Chongtong Gun in size.
This bronze gun was manufactured in April 1557 (the 12th year of King Myeongjong’s reign), made one month after the Jija Chongtong Gun that is held at the Korea Army Museum (Treasure No. 861). The circumference of the muzzle, the body, and the breech are the same with decorative bamboo nodes on its surface. There are five nodes on the barrel of the gun, two where the powder chamber begins, and two on the powder chamber. All nodes are identical in design unlike Treasure no. 861, another gun from a similar era.
Two well-preserved geogeum ‘grips’ remain to this day. There are two touch holes behind the powder chamber for wicks. The following phrase is engraved on the gun. “嘉靖三十六年 四月 日 金海都會 鑄成地字 重壹白肆拾肆斤□兩 監造前棚管 李大胤 匠人 金連” The gun can shoot large arrows or bullets. According to Hwaposik eonhae (Manual on Artillery in Korean), a medium wick, 750 grams of gun powder, and about 7 centimeters of dirt can blast 200 Joranhwan (small metal bullets). It also states that a 17.7 kilogram Janggunjeon (arrow) with a wooden platform of about 14 centimeters can shoot as far as 1.5 kilometers away.
The gun was found by Kim Yul-gyu on October 9, 1969 in the mountain of Sinseong Village, Geumseong-ri, Naeseo-myeon, Changwon-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do while he was at work in a quarry. Being one of the oldest cannons remaining to this day and the most intact, it is also the only cannon to feature engraved letters.
- Designated Number : Treasure No. 863
- Designated Date : March 10, 1986
- Category : Weapon, gun
- Material, Size : Bronze, 89.0 ㎝ x 17.2 ㎝
- Period and Maker : The 12th year of King Myeongjong’s reign of Joseon (1557)