Austria, 19th century
Material: Horn and chiseled metal
Size: 18 cm high
REVIEW BY GHERARDO TURCHI
Ancient gunpowder flask produced in one of those workshops of master gunsmiths active in France during the Nineteenth century.
The central body is made of flattened horn with boiling method, a technique commonly used for the realisation of such weapon accessory.
The central body is embellished with a decoration made of gilded bronze depicting coat of arms trophies framed by oak fronds, symbolically associated with the Victory.
In the center, stands the number 8; numbers were often used in order to distinguish the various regiments to which the owner was assigned.
The two ends are also embellished with gilded bronze details, finely chiselled with foliage motifs; the engraving on the bronze finishing at the bottom of the specimen is of particular importance, because says “Zu Ehren S.K.K. Majestat des Kaisers Ferdinand I”, which means “To his Majesty The Keizer Ferdinand I” while on the edge of the plate there is an inscription which says “Unlj Sebastian Hemlinger Ehrenpulverhorn n. 4”.
Ferdinand I of Habsburg-Lorraine was the Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary from 2 March 1835 to 2 December 1848. It is therefore assumed that this specimen was made as a gift to the Emperor by a superior officer named Hemlinger, who, taking into consideration the n. 4, allegedly donated to the Emperor Ferdinand I a series of gunpowder flasks of similar and valuable workmanship.
The specimen is in a good state of preservation, is intact in all its parts.