Damascene shotgun by Eusebio Zuloaga (1864)

Piece of the month
We welcome this month of May with one of the Museum’s most elegant pieces. The damascene shotgun made by Eusebio Zuloaga (1808-1898), one of the most elaborate and noteworthy pieces in our arms collection.
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This is a shotgun using the Lefaucheux system with various damascene details in gold and silver. The top of the barrel bears a gold inscription indicating the date of manufacture and its author “Eusebio Zuloaga Arcab. De S.M. Año 1864 en Eibar”. The damascene decoration covers the whole piece, starting from the aforementioned barrel and continuing along the receiver to the trigger guard. The lock, with a pinfire striking system, has French flintlocks also finished in gold and silver damascene work. The piece has a case and several accessories to keep the gun in good working order and maintenance.

Eusebio Zuloaga was one of the greatest advocates of the modern decorative damascene technique, thanks to preparation of the surface for inlay by means of fine undercut hammering. He achieved international fame. He learned the arms trade in the family, first of all with his uncle Ramón in Placencia de las Armas, and later with his father, in Madrid. He did time as an apprentice at the workshop of Jean Lepage in Paris and again in Saint-Étienne (1830-32).

In 1834 he is named Major Lieutenant Armourer by the Royal Armoury, and in 1844, Royal Arquebusier, by Queen Isabel II. Having opened his workshop in Madrid in 1842, in 1848 he opened another in Eibar, where the shotgun on display was made in 1864, as can be seen from its inscription.