10 - RIFLES
Nowadays, the Ferlin weapons collection is exhibited in the former captain's apartment. In addition to the bombers and wall guns that we saw on the ground floor and first floor of the palace, the collection also includes an abundance of smaller firearms for civilian and military use.
Almost all the weapons on display here were found in Istria, and they were brought to Istria by the army, the immigrant population and as a souvenir from different parts of the world.
Most of the military rifles are of Austrian origin. During the Austrian rule on the Istrian peninsula, the law on the possession of firearms was strictly enforced. That is how the weapons lists and title deeds from that time were preserved. There are far fewer preserved Venetian rifles because many have been lost or turned into hunting rifles over the centuries. In addition to Austro-Hungarian and Venetian rifles, the collection includes specimens from the southern Balkans and the Far East.
As hunting weapons were also used for poaching, they used to be hidden in various inadequate conditions. The barrels of hunting rifles were often old, dating from the 16th or 17th century, and they had been used until the mid-20th century. Istrian hunting rifles were often a combination of the new and old elements: flintlock barrels, primer firing mechanisms and gunstocks often made by the local carpenters. To determine the dating of such rifles many things need to be considered separately and as a whole.
As far as the pistols go, there are the less civilian ones, the self-defense pistols, and military pistols, in this case heavy cavalry ones. The decorated specimens came from the Balkans with the yataghans during the Ottoman immigration, and later as part of the folk costume. After World War II, the jewelry stores were full of such weapons.
Powder flasks were an indispensable part of the equipment of every gunpowder and lead ball loading rifle and pistol. Powder flasks were containers made of horn in which gunpowder for loading the firearms was kept. The simpler specimens contained only a cleaned-out horn, while the more complex ones were completely processed – the horn was boiled, flattened, carved and finally a dispenser was added to it. Powder flasks of this type had been used since the invention of firearms until the invention of the bullet.
In addition to firearms, cold weapons are also part of the collection. After the Austrian conquest of Bosnia, all firearms were banned, except for knives. Combat and work knives, along with the knives representing a status symbol were developed. The two of such knives on display here are the so-called Kordun knives (it is assumed that the workshop was located somewhere in the Croatian region called Kordun) with curved handles like those of a gunpowder holster. That way, it was difficult to tell whether a person was carrying a knife or an illegal gun.
The mortars are similar to cannon barrels in their appearance, but do not fire cannonballs. Gunpowder that explodes inside the barrel only produces a sound effect. They were used instead of church bells during Lent, for signaling and warning, and smaller specimens were used at festivities.
The pieces of armor exhibited here are not from a full set nor are they all from the same period. These are originals from the 17th and 18th centuries made in the Central European smithies.
The last exhibit in the captain's apartment is a crane that had military purposes. It was used to lift and rotate cannon barrels during aiming.
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