Wei Yuan Pao (威遠砲)

Chinese Wei Yuan Pao
Two Wei Yuan Pao, from 'Wu Bei Zhi (《武備志》)'
Although locally deveopled Chinese cannons were largely being supplanted by the more advanced European design by sixteenth century, the Chinese did not stop improving their own cannons just yet. The Wei Yuan Pao (威遠砲, lit. "Awe-inspiring long range cannon") is a mid to late Ming Dynasty design that aims to lighten the bulky Da Jiang Jun Pao (大將軍砲) while retaining much of its firepower. It also incorporates an iron sight similar to that of a matchlock gun to improve accuracy.

A Wei Yuan Pao (leftmost) alongside three Mie Lu Pao (滅虜砲), Great Wall Museum, Badaling, China.

Korean Wei Yuan Pao
A Korean copy of Wei Yuan Pao known as Wiwonpo (위원포).
Wei Yuan Pao is welded from multiple strips of iron bend into cylindrical shape, similar to how a musket barrel is forged (although later models appear to have transitioned to cast iron instead). A typical Wei Yuan Pao only weighs about one hundred and twenty to forty catties, while the heaviest variant weighs only two hundred catties, lighter than the smallest variant of Da Jiang Jun Pao. It is typically loaded with a three catties and six taels lead ball together with one hundred smaller three or four mace lead balls.


  1. Hi. I need some information on Ming Cannons. What would you say is the typical / most common variety of Light, Medium, and Heavy cannons?

  2. Around the Imjin War period? Generally speaking that would be:

    Light - Hu Dun Pao (虎蹲炮) and smaller Fo Lang Ji (佛朗机),
    Medium: Great General Cannon (大将军炮),
    Heavy: Wu Di Da Jiang Jun (无敌大将军), Heaviest variant of the Great General Cannon.

    Plus a lot of rockets...

  3. Thanks for the info. I'm actually working on a wargame focused on Sengoku Jidai and Imjin War period.

  4. The 9/27/1592 Lunar entry of 經略復國要編 mentions 小信炮 and 小砲.

    Are these iron hooped cannons?

  5. @Jayson Ng
    I know from your Google+ =D. I've never played Pike and Shot before, might give it a try though.

    小信砲 seems to be signal cannon.
    小砲 can means any type smallish cannon, I can only say it 'could' be iron hooped cannon.