• The Hunt Powder Flask

    The Hunt Powder Flask

    Powder Flask

Powder flasks were an essential accessory to firearms until the 19th century, when pre-packed bullets became common. Such flasks were used to hold gunpowder and to pour the powder into the gun. As such, bone and ivory were favoured, as they, unlike metal, would not create sparks if banged or rubbed. Although some powder horns (especially in the West) were made specifically for military use, many of the most elaborate examples appear to have been used for hunting and other forms of shooting for pleasure.

This richly carved flask, in the form of a gracefully curving gazelle, merges the object of the hunt with the tools used to track and take it. The horns of the gazelle have been ingeniously incorporated into the body of the functional object, serving as a post on which loops have been placed to suspend the horn from a strap or belt.

Mughal, India
18th century
Ivory, steel, silver
IV.69.2007