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Old 18th March 2012, 03:10 PM   #1
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Location: Bavaria, Germany - the center of 15th and 16th century gunmaking
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Default A Unique Combined Patron and Powder Flask, Bavaria, ca. 1550

The measurements: height 18.2 cm, width 9 cm.

This unparalleled combination accouterment can be dated to ca. 1550, and was most probably made in a workshop in one of the most important Bavarian centers, Nuremberg or Augsburg.
It is preserved in the Museo Nazionale, Palazzo del Bargello, Firenze, Italy, and apart from this photo dating back to the 1960's, no images have come to my knowledge. So if anybody lives near Firenze, or is planing to go there, please take as many close-ups as possible!

I would be most grateful for any inputs concerning this item, as it seems to combine so many different functions that I am not sure whether I can identify all of them. So all ye brilliant minds here, please comment!

Basically it is a combination consisting of a powder flask and a patron for paper cartridges, the latter having been stored horizontally in one of the lower compartments, either to open by a knob-like or a serpent-shaped device (both of which are present). As various further knobs, screws and hinges denote there must however be other compartments as well, possibly for spare pyrites, balls, or cleaning tools (scourers)?

Almost the only function common to other flasks is the top mount comprising the powder nozzle with its spring-loaded lid, and the horizontally acting serpent-shaped cut-off.

This item basically consists of wrought iron, profusely etched in the South German Early Renaissance taste with figures, birds, pomegranates, trophies and scrollwork but I am certain that there are various wooden compartments inside, similar to the wooden core of a usual 16th century patron. Moreover, they are probably padded and lined with textiles in order to prevent the contents from rattling.

Both technically and stylistically, the top mount closely corresponds to that of an average staghorn powder flask of the 1550's-70's. A very small number of such staghorn flasks were combined with ball reservoirs as well. Also the delicate serpent-like shape of both the top cut-off and another lever at the right bottom side correspond to both pan-cover handles on period matchlock arquebuses and safety catches on wheellock mechanisms - see attachments of related items in my collection:

- a fine arquebusier's staghorn flask dated 1565, with serpent-shaped cut-offs on both the top mount and the lower ball compartment

- a very early arquebusier's trapezoid flask with leather pouch and serpent-shaped cut-off, ca. 1540, from a small number preserved in the Munich arsenal

- a Landsknecht matchlock arquebus, ca. 1540, with serpent-shaped pan-cover handle

- another, dated 1539, with similar serpent pan-cover handle

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Last edited by Matchlock : 18th March 2012 at 04:33 PM.
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Old 19th March 2014, 12:03 PM   #2
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Location: Bavaria, Germany - the center of 15th and 16th century gunmaking
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This the shape of a typical High Gothic quiver for quarrels/crossbow bolts; its basic form with the straight sides strongly influenced the earliest trapezoid powder flasks and, for the complete short span of time of their production, which was only from ca. 1550-1590, the rare patrons for paper cartridges.

First quiver in the Bavarian Army Museum Ingolstadt, the second, with the concavely curved sides, in a private collection.
Author's photoographs.

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