The san yan chong (simplified Chinese :三眼铳; traditional Chinese :三眼銃; lit. 'three-eyes gun') was a three barrel hand cannon used in the Ming dynasty. 
The distinctive San Yan Chong 三眼銃, or three eyed gun was one of the most common Ming hand cannons. Three eyed guns were usually made from cast iron or crude steel, each of the three eyed gun's metal tubes would have a small hole that allows the user to pour in gunpowder. Functionally they were no different from many contemporary European hand cannons- a solid metallic head with an aperture behind it for different tail fittings to be attached~ ranging from the butt of a staff, a spearhead, to a specialized short curved stock with a raised sight that enabled the gunner to fire it while kneeling- these would be called "Divine Machines."
Historians have attributed their design to be refined from primitive fire lances- which consisted of bundles of single joint of bamboos tied around a spear. As time progressed though, metal barrels appeared during the 12th century, and could not only shoot out spouts of flames like a small flame thrower but they could also fire porcelain shards or metal scraps as shrapnel. The three headed gun would standardize the rounds and became the next evolution of the fire lance- on top of standardizing the rounds, which ranged from rounds of steel balls to shrapnel, to rough iron sand.
Though they the three eyed guns and all of its variants were developed roughly in tandem with contemporary European hand guns, even after superior European guns were introduced to China via Portuguese merchants in the 16th century the Ming still fielded them in the tens of thousands to work in conjunction with whole new divisions fully equipped with western muskets.
As the Ming dynasty neared its collapse, the production and deployment of these multi-barreled guns actually rose drastically against the rising Manchu threat.
The hand cannon, also known as the gonne or handgonne, is the first true firearm and the successor of the fire lance. It is the oldest type of small arms as well as the most mechanically simple form of metal barrel firearms. Unlike matchlock firearms it requires direct manual external ignition through a touch hole without any form of firing mechanism. It may also be considered a forerunner of the handgun. The hand cannon was widely used in China from the 13th century onward and later throughout Eurasia in the 14th century. In 15th century Europe, the hand cannon evolved to become the matchlock arquebus, which became the first firearm to have a trigger.
Huochong was the Chinese name for hand cannons. The oldest confirmed metal huochong, also the first cannon, is a bronze hand cannon bearing an inscription dating it to 1298.
The fire lance was a gunpowder weapon and the ancestor of modern firearms. It first appeared in 10-12th century China and was used to great effect during the Jin-Song Wars. It began as a small pyrotechnic device attached to a polearm weapon, used to gain a shock advantage at the start of a melee. As gunpowder improved, the explosive discharge was increased, and debris or pellets added, giving it some of the effects of a combination modern flamethrower and shotgun, but with a very short range, and only one shot. By the late 13th century, fire lance barrels had transitioned to metal material to better withstand the explosive blast, and the lance-point was discarded in favor of relying solely on the gunpowder blast. These became the first hand cannons.
Cannon appeared in Korea by the mid 14th century during the Goryeo dynasty and quickly proliferated as naval and fortress-defense weapons. Major developments occurred throughout the 15th century, including the introduction of large siege mortars as well as major improvements that drastically increased range, power, and accuracy.
Black powder was invented by China during the 9th century; these inventions were later transmitted to the Middle East and Europe. The direct ancestor of the firearm is the fire lance. The prototype of the fire lance was invented in China during the 10th century and is the predecessor of all firearms.
The history of cannon spans several hundred years from the 12th century to modern times. The cannon first appeared in China sometime during the 12th and 13th centuries. It was most likely developed in parallel or as an evolution of an earlier gunpowder weapon called the fire lance. The result was a projectile weapon in the shape of a cylinder that fired projectiles using the explosive pressure of gunpowder. Cannon were used for warfare by the late 13th century in the Yuan dynasty and spread throughout Eurasia in the 14th century. During the Middle Ages, large and small cannon were developed for siege and field battles. The cannon replaced prior siege weapons such as the trebuchet. After the Middle Ages, most large cannon were abandoned in favor of greater numbers of lighter, more maneuverable field artillery. New defensive fortifications such as bastions and star forts were designed specifically to better withstand artillery sieges. Cannon transformed naval warfare with its deadly firepower, allowing vessels to destroy each other from long range. As rifling became more commonplace, the accuracy of cannon was significantly improved, and they became deadlier than ever, especially to infantry. In World War I, a considerable majority of all deaths were caused by cannon; they were also used widely in World War II. Most modern cannon are similar to those used in the Second World War, including autocannon—with the exception of naval guns, which are now significantly smaller in caliber.
The Huolongjing, also known as Huoqitu, is a Chinese military treatise compiled and edited by Jiao Yu and Liu Bowen of the early Ming dynasty (1368–1683) during the 14th-century. The Huolongjing is primarily based on the text known as Huolong Shenqi Tufa, which no longer exists.
Gunpowder is the first explosive to have been developed. Popularly listed as one of the "Four Great Inventions" of China, it was invented during the late Tang dynasty while the earliest recorded chemical formula for gunpowder dates to the Song dynasty. Knowledge of gunpowder spread rapidly throughout Asia, the Middle East and Europe, possibly as a result of the Mongol conquests during the 13th century, with written formulas for it appearing in the Middle East between 1240 and 1280 in a treatise by Hasan al-Rammah, and in Europe by 1267 in the Opus Majus by Roger Bacon. It was employed in warfare to some effect from at least the 10th century in weapons such as fire arrows, bombs, and the fire lance before the appearance of the gun in the 13th century. While the fire lance was eventually supplanted by the gun, other gunpowder weapons such as rockets and fire arrows continued to see use in China, Korea, India, and eventually Europe. Bombs too never ceased to develop and continued to progress into the modern day as grenades, mines, and other explosive implements. Gunpowder has also been used for non-military purposes such as fireworks for entertainment, or in explosives for mining and tunneling.
A gun is a ranged weapon designed to use a shooting tube to launch typically solid projectiles, but can also project pressurized liquid, gas or even charged particles. Solid projectiles may be free-flying or tethered. A large-caliber gun is also referred to as a cannon.
A breech-loading swivel gun was a particular type of swivel gun and a small breech-loading cannon invented in the 14th century. It was equipped with a swivel for easy rotation and was loaded by inserting a mug-shaped device called a chamber or breech block, filled with gunpowder and projectiles. It had a high rate of fire, as several chambers could be prepared in advance and quickly fired in succession and was especially effective in anti-personnel roles. It was used for centuries by many countries of Europe, Asia and Africa.
Hongyipao was the Chinese name for European-style muzzle-loading culverins introduced to China and Korea from the Portuguese colony of Macau and by the Hendrick Hamel expedition to Joseon in the early 17th century.
The Chongtong was the term for Joseon-era gunnery. There were many different types, various improvements over the years, often including renaming. The well-known "Cheonja", "Jija", "Hyeonja", and "Hwangja" were named after the first four characters of the Thousand Character Classic in decreasing size, thus making them equivalent to Cannons A, B, C, and D.
Gunpowder weapons in the Song dynasty included fire arrows, gunpowder lit flamethrowers, soft shell bombs, hard shell iron bombs, fire lances, and possibly early cannons known as "eruptors". The eruptors, such as the "multiple bullets magazine eruptors", consisting of a tube of bronze or cast iron that was filled with about 100 lead balls, and the "flying-cloud thunderclap eruptor", were early cast-iron proto-cannons that did not include single shots that occluded the barrel. The use of proto-cannon, and other gunpowder weapons, enabled the Song dynasty to ward off its generally militarily superior enemies—the Khitan led Liao, Tangut led Western Xia, and Jurchen led Jin—until its final collapse under the onslaught of the Mongol forces of Kublai Khan and his Yuan dynasty in the late 13th century.
The xun lei chong is a revolving-barrel, spear-combined musket invented by Zhao Shi-zhen (趙士禎) during the Ming dynasty.
The Heilongjiang hand cannon or hand-gun is a bronze hand cannon manufactured no later than 1288 and is the world's oldest confirmed surviving firearm. It weighs 3.55 kg and is 34 centimeters long. The Heilongjiang hand cannon was excavated during the 1970s in Banlachengzi, a village in Acheng District, Heilongjiang province, China. It was found alongside other bronze artifacts made in the style of the Jurchen Jin Dynasty. The hand cannon was probably used in battles fought nearby Banlachengzi in 1287 and 1288. The History of Yuan states that a Jurchen commander by the name of Li Ting led a group of soldiers equipped with hand cannons into a military camp in 1288, as part of an anti-rebellion campaign for the Yuan dynasty. The cannon currently resides at the Heilongjiang Provincial Museum in Harbin, China.
Hu dun pao (虎蹲砲) is the name of two different missile weapons in Chinese history. In the Song dynasty (960–1279), it was a trebuchet and its name is translated into English as Crouching Tiger Trebuchet; in the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), the name was given to a type of bombard and it is known in English as Crouching Tiger Cannon.
This is a timeline of the history of gunpowder and related topics such as weapons, warfare, and industrial applications. The timeline covers the history of gunpowder from the first hints of its origin as a Taoist alchemical product in China until its replacement by smokeless powder in the late 19th century.
The Ming dynasty continued to improve on gunpowder weapons from the Yuan and Song dynasties. During the early Ming period larger and more cannons were used in warfare. In the early 16th century Turkish and Portuguese breech-loading swivel guns and matchlock firearms were incorporated into the Ming arsenal. In the 17th century Dutch culverin were incorporated as well and became known as hongyipao. At the very end of the Ming dynasty, around 1642, Chinese combined European cannon designs with indigenous casting methods to create composite metal cannons that exemplified the best attributes of both iron and bronze cannons. While firearms never completely displaced the bow and arrow, by the end of the 16th century more firearms than bows were being ordered for production by the government, and no crossbows were mentioned at all.
Java arquebus refer to long primitive firearm from Indonesian archipelago, dating back to the last quarter of 15th century. The weapon was used by local armies, albeit in low number compared to total fighting men, before the arrival of Iberian explorers in the 16th century. In historical records the weapon may be classified as arquebus or musket.
Jiaozhi arquebus refer to several type of gunpowder firearms produced historically in Vietnam. This page also include Vietnamese muskets – since the early definition of musket is "heavy arquebus". The term Jiaozhi arquebus comes from Chinese word Jiao Chong, a generalization of firearms originating from Dai Viet.