Zebregs&Röell Fine Art and Antiques

A rare pair of inscribed royal Indian camel guns or zamburak



- Roy Kaushik, ‘Military Synthesis in South Asia: Armies, Warfare and Indian Society, c. 1740-1849’, in: The Journal of Military History, Volume 69, no. 3, 2005, p. 662
- Robert Elgood. Firearms of the Islamic World in the Tareq Rajab Museum, Kuwait, I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd, 1995, p. 137-139

Detail Description

A rare pair of inscribed royal Indian camel guns or zamburak

Rajasthan, 19th century

L. 116 cm 

zanburak, pronounced zamburak, is known in Arabic, Persian and Turkish as wasp, bee or hornet. ‘Zambur’ means hornet, and ‘ak’ is the diminutive - so ‘little wasp’. These swivel guns were carried by camels and were used by the Persians in the eighteenth century until their demise in 1849. In battle, the animals would be restrained on their knees and loaded as bombardiers, after which the weapons would be fired from atop their backs. Zamburaks were the Indian response to European horse artillery. However, the zamburaks were less mobile and thus less manoeuvrable than horse artillery. An Ottoman example of one of these guns mounted on a camel is illustrated by Marsigli in L'Etat militaire de l'Empire Ottoman in 1732. During the Sikh Wars (1846-1847 & 1848-1849), the speed of movement of the European horse artillery made the zamburaks useless. They were too slow, and their power was inadequate. They couldn’t catch up with the European horse artillery. That doesn’t, however, make them less impressive and frightening.


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A rare pair of inscribed royal Indian camel guns or zamburak


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