By: RaY KinZoKu

[Recommend this Fotopage] | [Share this Fotopage]
View complete fotopage

Thursday, 27-Mar-2008 17:43 Email | Share | Bookmark
FILLER ENTRY : A History Found In Kelantan ..... Made In China !

Two other, related cannons at Taman Indera Petra
One, covered in two places with inscriptions
I can see " Fujian ( Hokkien ) " and perhaps " Zhejiang " too
The upper part is too degraded by rust & hard to read
Another one, with only a single inscription close to the muzzle
The date is clearly seen " DaoGuang 22nd year - Winter Month "

A History
Found In Kelantan ...... Made In China !

* An addition to the previous filler entry, " The Cannons of Istana Balai Besar ".

A rusty old cannon,
made a part of a temporary landscape art at a local Craft Expo in Kota Bharu, Kelantan.

( moved to this spot from the entrance of MPKBBRI Landscape Dept at Panji )

Unlike most old cannons found throughout Kelantan, this one bears an interesting inscription in Chinese, found close to the muzzle, as shown in the above photos.

The writings, degraded over time, are quite a challenge to read.
But a careful inspection on each character, paired with my know-how in Japanese Kanji ( which is technically Chinese ! ), revealed some of them as :

which somehow translates into :

" Cast Iron Gun weighing 300 jīn, 21st year of Daoguang "

From the Gunsmith's description we know that the cannon was made by having molten iron poured into a mold i.e. the casting method and the weight is stated to be, 300 jīn, or 300 Chinese catty ( kati ).

The jīn is a traditional Chinese measurement of weight and was widely used throughout East and Southeast Asia. The English word for it is " catty " or " kati ", originated from the Malay word, " kati " ! For the note, the word " jīn " is Mandarin Chinese and it is known as " kan " in Cantonese.

A Kati is not definitive and each region differs slightly in terms of exact measurement.
A Chinese kati equals to 500 grams while a Malay kati is equivalent to 604.79 grams. There are even Thai kati, Taiwanese kati and Japanese kati. In modern day Malaysia, the usage had finally died out, replaced by the S.I unit of grams and kilograms.

Back to the subject's weight, a simple calculation ( note that this is a Chinese kati ! ) would reveal that the solid iron gun actually weighs an approximately 150 kilograms !

( Hard to calculate ? Try this : Online Weight Conversion )

And now, the interesting part.

Through further research, I found out that " Daoguang " actually refers to the reign of Emperor Daoguang, a Chinese Emperor from the Manchu Qing Dynasty who ruled China between 1820 ~ 1850, and the " 21st year " refers to his year on the throne since his installment in 1820. Again, through simple calculation, we know that the cannon was manufactured somewhere in 1841 !

That makes the cannon a confirmed 167 years old !


The Daoguang Emperor (September 16, 1782 – February 25, 1850) was the seventh emperor of the Manchu Qing dynasty and the sixth Qing emperor to rule over China, from 1820 to 1850.


In September 1820, the age of 38, Mianning inherited the throne after his father the Jiaqing Emperor suddenly died of unknown causes. Now known as the Daoguang Emperor, he inherited a declining empire with Western imperialism encroaching upon the doorsteps of China.

Source :

But to me,
the most interesting part lies not in its old age but in its year of manufacture.

Between 1839 ~ 1842, the Qing Government of China, under Daoguang Emperor, found itself involved in a grave conflict with the British over Opium trade. The Qing wanted it to stop, while the British, interested in nothing other than profit making, wished for the trade to stay. The conflict escalated into series of bloody battles, with guns and cannons pointed at each side in an encounter that Qing China eventually lost.

This important point in Chinese history is known as The First Opium War.


The First Opium War or the First Anglo-Chinese War was fought between the British East India Company and the Qing Dynasty in China from 1839 to 1842 with the aim of forcing China to import British opium.


Alarmed by the reverse in silver flow and the epidemic of addiction (an estimated 2 million Chinese were habitual users ), the Qing government attempted to end the opium trade however its efforts were complicated by corrupt local officials (including the Viceroy of Canton).


The Qing government proved incapable of dealing with Western Powers on an equal basis, either politically or militarily. The war finally ended in August 1842, with the signing of China's first Unequal Treaty, the Treaty of Nanjing


The Treaty of Nanjing committed the Qing government to fixed tariffs on British goods, Hong Kong Island was ceded to Queen Victoria, and the ports of Guangzhou, Xiamen, Fuzhou, Shanghai, and Ningbo were opened to British merchants, who were allowed to trade with any Chinese merchant they wished. The Qing government was also forced to pay reparations for the British opium and war costs.

Source :

The Chinese lost the war with humiliating defeat and what occurred next, eventually sparked another series of battles ( 1856 ~ 1860 ) with the British. The French joined almost immediately, siding with the British against the Qing Army, forcing the local political entity to accept their terms through savagery and violence. Towns and palaces were deliberately looted and burned down as a lesson to the Qing, in a historical tragedy still seen by most Chinese as the saddest episode in their country's modern history, in regards to Western Imperialism. This second part of the war went down in history and became known as The Second Opium War.

Now, the mystery part.

Could this be the cannon ( and the other similar two at Taman Indera Petra ) brought by the returning British troops to the Malay Peninsula ( then, British Malaya ) as a spoil of war, or was it only a part of many other regular merchandise, that journeyed down the historical trading route between Mainland China and Southeast Asia ?

there is very little or no evidence at the moment, that seem to support both claims though the latter sounds much more convincing. Still, there's also high probability that the first claim could be true. Note that they are already proven to be the products of Opium Wars era.

But, if the first case is found to be true,
then we are currently looking at a piece of World History, lying right here in Kota Bharu !

I wonder how many people out there really know about this .....

More on Daoguang Era Cannon :

* The cannon ( left hand side ), at its original location at MPKBBRI Landscape Dept., Panji.

View complete fotopage

© Pidgin Technologies Ltd. 2016