Stone-shooting howitzer dating back to late Koryo period

Among the ancient weapons of Korea there was the Ryukhwa stone gun which was built in the closing years of Koryo Kingdom (918-1392).

This howitzer to shoot round stone by using gunpowder was an updated version of the Roedung stone gun which dates back to the early period of Koryo.

The stone-firing howitzer of Roedung, meaning lightning and thunder, used black gunpowder as an advanced form of powder stone gun invented during the Three Kingdoms.

As one of the four major weapons of Koryo, it was sited at fortresses across the country and demonstrated its power in repulsing foreign invasion.

It is known as the oldest one of the world’s historically recorded powder stone guns.

In the late Koryo era, it developed into the stone gun of Ryukhwa, meaning six-colour fireworks.

The multi-coloured light-emitting gun consisted of two parts—the mouth and the body. A stone was put in the mouth and fired by explosive power of gunpowder loaded in the chamber of the body.

This built-up gun was famous in that it could be disassembled and assembled and therefore easily carried and handled under the topographical condition of the mountainous country.

The gun was cast in copper during the Koryo period and in iron during the feudal Joson dynasty.

(Pyongyang Times - November 27, 2020)

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