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Old 6th June 2012, 04:54 PM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bavaria, Germany - the center of 15th and 16th century gunmaking
Posts: 4,310

Hello, Jean-Marc,

I noticed this flask about two years ago at Armes d'Antan, a French dealer's site, and date it 'ca. 1580-1600', possibly of German (Nuremberg) make.

Well done though it was not exactly cheap!

This is a specimen of a commonly known type of triangular flasks that are traditionally associated with musketeers' armament of the 1560's to the late 16th century. In contradiction to other experts' opinions, I am convinced that the production of triangular flasks largely stopped at the beginning of the 17th c. when only the bandolier continued to be in use. The largest deliveries are recorded to have taken place in 1577-8, from Nuremberg to the Graz armory. The only two known instances of period artwork depicting triangular flasks are by Stradanus, from the 1560's, top attachments, and from 1585-87, by Hendrik Goltzius (following); both artisans showed the flasks attached with the belt hook to the back of the belt of a 1570's musketeer still equipped with an early petronel type of musket (see attachments).

The body is composed of thin pinewood or beechwood boards glued together with bone glue and covered with corduan leather. Other Nuremberg flasks were covered with wool velvet. The egeds are reinforced with pieces of tinned iron put in losely and easy to detach once the top mount has been taken off. The latter, if preserved completely original, must retain its long copper-soldered nozzle with either a small detachable lid fixed to a delicate chain, or, as is the case with your flask, with a spring-loaded lid with long handle, plus a spring-loaded horziontal cut-off for portioning the amount of powder to fill to nozzle.

This is a finely preserved exmaple fitted on the reverse with an unusually long belt hook.

Originally, a cord with tassels of wood and solk were attached to the rings which are in most cases missing today. When they are retained in their full pristine colored glory, as is the case with some of my pieces, the price amounts to three or four time that of a 'plain' flask.

I attach photos of similar flasks in my collection; the first an unusually fine and large specimen, Nuremberg, ca. 1580, the body covered with blue velvet, and retaining its original colored wool and silk tassels.

For more information, please see

Attached Images
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