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Two Cannons, One Letter (and Yoda) Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

30 August 2022

There are two 18th century Spanish cannons gracing the Lombard Gate of the Presidio in San Francisco not far from the Letterman Digital Arts Center where another bronze dedicated to Yoda holds court.

Agraciado. Graceful, it sits on the south side of the gate .

These two cannons, though, have stood as decorations since 1900 after Admiral George Dewey claimed them as a war prize at Manilla in the Spanish and American War.

"Agraciado" (graceful) is engraved on the chase with the monogram of King Carlos III of Spain on the reinforce. "No 1254 SEGUILLA. Octobre de 1783" is engraved on the breech ring.

Agrabiado. Offended, the sun glints off its engravings.

The companion cannon is named "Agrabiado" (offended). Just one letter ("b" for "c") makes such a difference. The reinforce features the name of King Carlos again. "No 1974 Sevilla 3 de diciembre de 1783" is located on the breech ring.

That's a rather impression run of serial numbers from 1254 in October to 1974 in December. Did the Spanish really cast 720 cannons in just over two months of 1783? Or were they from different foundries?

The engraving was special, reserved for the largest guns, and described in detail by the Gibraltar Ministry for Heritage:

The central motif is occupied by the abbreviation of King Carlos III's initials, represented by intertwined R. and C., framed by an oval decorated with stylized acanthus and divided diametrically by two circular decorative motifs in the shape of a rosette, with helical gallons, all of this resting on a floral motif that serves as a base.

The tips or starts of the letters are decorated with fleshy and moving acanthus leaves, reminiscent of the rockery, still in force at this time.

The same decoration as the oval is presented by the lines of the R. joining at its high point through several lobed acanthus leaves with the beginning of the C. in quite simple ways, reinforcing the dynamism with this union.

Outside the oval, the ordinal of the monarch, of great simplicity and in Roman characters.

Underneath and as a pedestal, there are palm branches and laurel, the latter quite stylized, a symbol of victory and immortality, their stems intertwined by means of an open band or ribbon, which already announces Neoclassicism.

The motif is topped by the crown of the kings of Spain, formed by a circle in which pearls and precious stones alternate, topped off by highly mobile raised celery leaves. Four headbands decorated with pearls start from this circle, joining at the top under a globe or world ball, which, in turn, is topped by a Greek cross enhanced with floral arms, symbol of the Catholic king.

The Presidio has a number of historic cannons. Pershing Square, Fort Point, the Officers' Club, Sitwell Hall. And they all have a story.

And, if you follow that link, you'll find Yoda, too. He had a thought that might be bronzed, too. "Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering," he said.

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