Powder horn

Powder horn


Jadeite, iron inlaid with brass

Overall: 12 cm (4 3/4 in.)

Bequest of Mrs. Severance A. Millikin 1989.351



Like the firearms themselves, powder horns were made as courtly accessories to be worn as objects of beauty. Most Mughal nobles also served as military commanders, and accouterments of war would be worn as part of their formal attire. For this reason, artisans used precious materials such as white jade, which in this example has been carved with leaf and petal patterns, its natural black inclusions treated as ornament. Pressing down on the simple mechanism opens the hollow inner chamber from which small amounts of gunpowder were administered into the pan of a matchlock musket.

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