Thursday, February 12, 2015

Unusual Artifacts: The Nautilus Powder Flask, 19th C.

Nautilus Powder Flask
Pakistan, Nineteenth Century
The Victoria & Albert Museum

The elegant but impractical black powder firearms of the Nineteenth Century required the constant reapplication of powder to make them shoot.  So, powder flasks were an important part of their operation.  Powder flasks usually came in two sizes.  The largest size was used to hold coarse grain powder which was employed for the main charge in the barrel.

Here’s an example of the type of powder flask which was used for coarse powder. This flask was almost certainly used with a hunting or sporting weapon.  In those cases, more so than in war, these accessories were more decorated and made of higher quality materials to reflect the status of the owner.  In this case, the powder flask is made from the shell of the pearly nautilus with carved mother-of-earl panels applied with metal pins and a turned finial to which red silk cord attachments are fixed.

It was made in Lahore, Pakistan during the first half of the Nineteenth Century.

No comments: