The use of matchlocks required barutdan or gunpowder flasks. They were made in a variety of materials and in innovative shapes as can be seen here. Instead of an ordinary container for carrying the gunpowder at the time of the hunt, the craftsman has used a naturally hollow elephant tusk. The curve of the tusk is imaginatively employed to give it the form of a leaping antelope. Devoid of any unnecessary decoration, the antelope is depicted as if leaping, lips slightly parted, and eyes wide open with anxiety.
There are some traces of paint in the ears, lips, and eyes. The stopper, made of iron, is designed to match the rhythm of the piece. The fashion of using ivory barutdan carved in some animal or composite form must have been popular, as is evident from the availability of other similar pieces, some of which are highly decorative.
Sir Ratan Tata Art Collection.
Arms and Armour
17th century CE
Length 22.5 cm