This fine powder flask, carved in high and low relief with animals and hunting motifs, bears witness to the sophistication of the artistic patronage of the Mughal dynasty (1526–1858). In spite of its delicacy and fragile medium, this flask was, in fact, used as a container for gunpowder and was meant to be used during hunting, a favorite pastime of Mughal rulers. The priming powder was released through the mouth of the antelope at one of the flask's ends when the brass spanner was pressed. A loop attached to the spanner enabled the hunter to fasten the flask to his belt.

Cataloguing data may change with further research.

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Indian (Mughal)
Powder Flask
17th century
Ivory, brass, and amber
3 3/8 × 9 5/16 × 1 1/4 in. (8.6 × 23.7 × 3.2 cm)
Credit Line

Museum purchase funded by the Friends of Art of the Islamic Worlds

Current Location
Not on view
Accession Number
Weapons & Armaments

Private collection, Europe; [Simon Ray Limited, London, 2009]; purchased by MFAH, 2009.