The use of matchlock guns required barood-dans or gunpowder flasks. They were made in a variety of materials and innovative shapes as can be seen here.
Instead of an ordinary container for carrying 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 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.
Using ivory barood-dans carved in some animal or composite form must have been a popular practice 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