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Old 17th December 2017, 11:22 PM   #1
kahnjar1
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Default Powder Flasks of Morocco

I find it rather interesting that Morocco of all countries seems to have the biggest range of powder flask shapes. I have no doubt that some of these have been produced in the 20th century, maybe for the tourist market, but any I have seen or own are certainly usable as working flasks. They all have spouts which feed into the hollow main flask body, unlike some modern made replica flasks which have a false spout and a solid body.
Here is a pic of those currently in my collection.......lets see what Moroccan flasks others have in their collections.
Stu
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Old 18th December 2017, 01:01 AM   #2
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Yes what a crazy range!
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Old 18th December 2017, 05:19 AM   #3
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very nice collection!
One is Algerian, at least...
3 or 4 are 20th c. tourist productions, but as i can see of good quality.
Diversity is not suprprising when you look at all the different Moroccan long guns.
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Old 18th December 2017, 05:27 AM   #4
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Not mine, but look at this Moroccan powder horn and the little primer flask.
These primer flasks are always considered as Afghan but i dont think they are in fact...
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Old 18th December 2017, 06:46 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
very nice collection!
One is Algerian, at least...
3 or 4 are 20th c. tourist productions, but as i can see of good quality.
Diversity is not suprprising when you look at all the different Moroccan long guns.

Which do you say is Algerian?
Stu
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Old 18th December 2017, 11:18 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kahnjar1
Which do you say is Algerian?
Stu


The big one in the middle, a pure beauty!
You can see a lot of Ottoman influences, they didn't have the Ottomans in Morocco...
This is really a very cool stuff.
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Old 18th December 2017, 04:35 PM   #7
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Hi Stu.

Nice collection !! Yes, the variety is amazing. I think my favorite is the one in the top left corner.
Here are the only three "Moroccan" I have:

The one on the left is a great example of a tourist type flask. The hole in the spout does not go through the body of the fask. The front and back plates are only soldered in spots, versus the entire circumference. The carrying strap, while colorful, is thin cotton.

The horn is in very good, original shape. I added the carrying strap. It's tightly woven wool in an Ottoman pattern I ordered from Turkey.
The brass priming flask is old, with it's original strap, and still in usable condition.

I use both the horn and the primer to load the Moroccan musket. Adds to the fun. LOL

Rick
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Old 18th December 2017, 05:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
The big one in the middle, a pure beauty!
You can see a lot of Ottoman influences, they didn't have the Ottomans in Morocco...
This is really a very cool stuff.

This flask was discussed here>http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=23189
Stu
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Old 18th December 2017, 05:16 PM   #9
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Very nice "horn" flasks Kubur and Rick. Thanks for showing. I owned one of these several years ago but stupidly sold it. Have my eyes on another one but don't think the owner will part with it, but we shall see.............
Stu
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Old 18th December 2017, 10:07 PM   #10
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My two Moroccan babies
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Old 19th December 2017, 04:20 PM   #11
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Stu,
That is a very impressive collection of Maghrebi powder flasks you have amassed, showcasing the extreme variety of shapes. My guess on why there are so many diverse forms in that area and Morocco in particular is that it is a result of the history of the region and the various outside influences in the design of firearms and accessories. Proximity to the Ottoman Empire introduced Middle Eastern forms, while the conflicts with Spain and Portugal, along with the Spanish mercenaries who defeated the Songhai Empire must have certainly introduced some Southern European forms. Then there are of course unique local berber designs, and there is clear adoption of Northern European powder flasks which probably came with the arms supplied by English and Dutch merchants in an effort to help an anti-Habsburg ally. Finally, when the French took over the Maghreb in the 19th century, it appears French forms were added to the variety, like a pear shaped brass flask I have - there is a similar one in Buttin for reference. I also suspect that in the second half of the 20th century there was some creativity in coming up with forms which may not be necessarily traditional, but which look interesting and were intended entirely for the souvenir trade.

Regards,
Teodor
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Old 19th December 2017, 04:22 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
These primer flasks are always considered as Afghan but i dont think they are in fact...


There is a primer flask in Buttin's plates that looks like this, so I think you are correct and these may be misidentified as Afghan. The problem is that the image is so tiny that it is very hard to make out any of the finer details apart from the general shape.

Teodor
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Old 22nd December 2017, 04:08 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
My two Moroccan babies

Hi Kubar

Very nice examples of the Beehive and Bottle style flasks. Curious most of these Moroccan style horns/flasks tend to be larger than their European counterparts.

Rick
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Old 22nd December 2017, 04:18 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TVV
There is a primer flask in Buttin's plates that looks like this, so I think you are correct and these may be misidentified as Afghan. The problem is that the image is so tiny that it is very hard to make out any of the finer details apart from the general shape.

Teodor

Hi Teodor.

Much agree with you and Kubur. While widely associated with Afghan use (you see them on original Afghan ammunition belts), I think the original styling of those tiny flasks are Persian - in larger size.

That's a great looking bottle style flask. I really like the purple colored binding.

And thanks for adding some history of the Region. It adds clarity for the reasons for the many designs of the flasks. Interesting. Thanks.

Rick
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Old 24th December 2017, 08:44 PM   #15
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Hi Stu, I think this may be Moroccan as well Steve
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Old 24th December 2017, 09:14 PM   #16
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It's Omani
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Old 26th December 2017, 05:58 AM   #17
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Mmmm i think it's Yemeni,
but let's say South Arabian peninsula and everyone will be happy!
Happy new year to all
Kubur
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Old 26th December 2017, 04:13 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
Mmmm i think it's Yemeni,
but let's say South Arabian peninsula and everyone will be happy!
Happy new year to all
Kubur

I would have just said Arabian. LOL But yes, Omani/Arab I'm sure is correct.
This must have been a popular flask style on the Peninsula as you see many, old specimens available today. All built the same way. I don't have this style in my collection, but I have my eye one one.

Rick
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Old 29th December 2017, 06:59 PM   #19
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I have always thought of this style as "Arabian". As Rick says they come up quite often and the style is always similar but with different surface decoration. The powder cutoff varies also.
Here are 3 of mine.
Stu
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Old 29th December 2017, 07:25 PM   #20
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Hi Stu.

That looks like a nice silver mounted one on the right.
By coincidence, the one I had my eye on, I just purchased today. Should arrive in less than two weeks. Now I have one in my collection.

Rick
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Old 31st December 2017, 06:42 PM   #21
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Woops !! I found two more that I didn't remember I had. Although the one with the bullet pouches might be Algerian (?).

I'm going to have to go through my collection and see what I have. LOL !!!
Either too much stuff, or just getting old and forgetting. Probably both.

Rick
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Old 1st January 2018, 06:16 AM   #22
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Default relative size of Moroccan flasks

Quote:
Originally Posted by rickystl
Hi Kubar

Very nice examples of the Beehive and Bottle style flasks. Curious most of these Moroccan style horns/flasks tend to be larger than their European counterparts.

Rick

The size differential could be due to the necessity of using more powder in a load when the powder was weak. There exists a 1916 report by a French intelligence officer identified as Capt. Delhomme, entitled "Les armes dans le Sous Occidental" which describes the armament used by tribal peoples in Morocco, and his comments on gunpowder are interesting. Dehomme noted that powder was manufactured at various locales and that its quality was not consistent. The quality varied considerably from here to there. The overall market seemed to be rife with shoddy product made from inferior or adulterated materials, such as unrefined sulfur or sugar carbon (instead of proper charcoal). Powder made from the latter was weak and unstable, losing whatever potency it had after a couple months.

The report, in English summary, can be read in S. James Gooding's article "The Snaphance Muskets of al-Maghreb al-Aqsa" in the journal Arms Collecting, Vol 34, No. 3, pp 87-93.

The vagaries of unreliable supplies of good powder may also explain the preference for very long barrels, since the poor stuff was likely to be much slower-burning and thus it would be advantageous for the bullet to remain confined a bit longer to allow sufficient combustion pressure to build before it left the muzzle. Likewise the tendency of native firearms in some tropical areas to have excessively long barrels (by Western standards) due to the moisture-absorbing nature of the charcoal in gunpowder, affecting its performance in humid climates. But this is perhaps best saved for another thread since this topic started out with flasks and should probably stay there

Last edited by Philip : 1st January 2018 at 06:17 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 1st January 2018, 03:34 PM   #23
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Default Unreliable gunpowder and variation in powder flask sizes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip
The size differential [between European and Moroccan flasks] could be due to the necessity of [the latter] using more powder in a load when the powder was weak. There exists a 1916 report by a French intelligence officer identified as Capt. Delhomme, entitled "Les armes dans le Sous Occidental" which describes the armament used by tribal peoples in Morocco, and his comments on gunpowder are interesting. Dehomme noted that powder was manufactured at various locales and that its quality was not consistent. The quality varied considerably from here to there. The overall market seemed to be rife with shoddy product made from inferior or adulterated materials, such as unrefined sulfur or sugar carbon (instead of proper charcoal). Powder made from the latter was weak and unstable, losing whatever potency it had after a couple months.

The report, in English summary, can be read in S. James Gooding's article "The Snaphance Muskets of al-Maghreb al-Aqsa" in the journal Arms Collecting, Vol 34, No. 3, pp 87-93.

The vagaries of unreliable supplies of good powder may also explain the preference for very long barrels, since the poor stuff was likely to be much slower-burning and thus it would be advantageous for the bullet to remain confined a bit longer to allow sufficient combustion pressure to build before it left the muzzle. Likewise the tendency of native firearms in some tropical areas to have excessively long barrels (by Western standards) due to the moisture-absorbing nature of the charcoal in gunpowder, affecting its performance in humid climates.
As noted, this is indeed worthy of a new thread.

Ian.
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Old 12th January 2018, 09:10 PM   #24
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....and another for the library......
Stu
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