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Powder horn

Powder horn

  • Place of origin:

    Germany (highly likely, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1700 - ca. 1730 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Horn engraved

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dr. W. L. Hildburgh, F. S. A., 1956

  • Museum number:

    A.130-1956

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This is a powder horn, highly likely made in Germany in about 1700-1730.
Powder flasks or horns are portable containers of wood, horn, metal, leather or ceramic used to hold the priming powder or gunpowder for firearms. They normally terminated in a metal nozzle which also served as a powder measure, closed by a plug or spring cap, and are often highly decorated.
Gunpowder began to be transported in pouches or more rigid containers at about the same date as the introduction of hand-held firearms in the fifteenth century. Such flask might have a military purpose, or be used for hunting. The very decorative pieces were above all a singn of rank, and at the same time aesthetic objects in their own right, and probably never actually functioned as containers for gunpowder.

Physical description

A powder horn, slightly twisted, is decorated with incised and inked decoration of a warrior in classical dress, perhaps Mars, Mercury, Venus on a shell, and a seated female figure holding a crescent moon, perhaps Diana, angels with a baby boy holding a large ring, a tree encircled by a chain, clusters of grapes and decorative foliate designs. The imagery and iconography are unclear, and the incised decoration is weak in design.

Place of Origin

Germany (highly likely, made)

Date

ca. 1700 - ca. 1730 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Horn engraved

Dimensions

Length: 46 cm whole, Diameter: 9.5 cm at large, Height: 43.7 cm horn alone

Object history note

From the Hildburgh bequest in 1956.

Descriptive line

Powder horn, cow horn, with engraved mythological figures, probably German, ca. 1700-1730

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

p. 396
Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013
Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013, p. 396, cat. no. 392

Materials

Horn

Techniques

Engraving (incising); Inked

Subjects depicted

Angels; Grapes; Tree; Baby; Shell; Chain; Warrior; Female figure; Ring; Moon

Categories

Sculpture; Sport

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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