Sunday, June 28, 2015

Powder Flask ca. 1620

  • Place of origon: Germany (made)
  • Date: ca. 1620
  • Artist/Maker: Unknown
  • Materials and Techniques: Walnut inlaid with enraved staghorn and engraved and copper mounts

This powder flask was used to carry gunpowder. A measured quantity of powder was drawn off by using the spring-loaded pivoting cap on the nozzle.
Firearms became more and more sophisticated during the 16th-century but still required a number of accessories to load and operate them. The main charge, placed in the barrel with the shot, was carried in the powder flask. Smaller priming flasks contained fine-grain powder for priming the pans of wheel-lock firearms. Flasks were attached to a bandolier, a type of sling worn over the shoulder or around the waist, from which hung the various accessories required for a weapon including spanners for the mechanism, measured charges, powder flasks and priming flasks.
Arms and armour are rarely associated with art. However, they were influenced by the same design sources as other art forms including architecture, sculpture, goldsmiths' work, stained glass and ceramics. These sources had to be adapted to awkwardly shaped devices required to perform complicated technical functions. Armour and weapons were collected as works of art as much as military tools.
Copy and photos from the Victoria and Albert Museum.

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