According to the History of Civilization in Central Asia, the fire lance was a gunpowder weapon from the 10th century that China used to surprise and shock at the beginning of a battle.
The fire lance, which was basically a long spear-like weapon with a pyrotechnic device attached to the end of it, was modified many times over the following centuries. It morphed into a cannon, and is considered the ancestor of all firearms.
A fire lance
It made way for the cannon
“The fire lance is the ancestor of modern firearms.”