Powder flasks of 17th – 18th centuries
The art of bone and horn carving was a widely spread kind of national craft around the territory of Ukraine. One can find the proof in the archeological findings dated back to 11th – 13th centuries and ancient manuscripts. In 17th – 18th centuries the Cossack’s powder flasks were very popular. The horn of deer, elk or wild goat – saiga – was the best material suitable for the purpose. The trunk of horn with two side branches was selected for the powder flask. The butt end was covered with bone or wooden plugs. A small tube for filling the powder into the gun was put into one end.
The engraving technique was widely used for decoration of the Cossack’s powder flasks. The soot was rubbed into the drawing and the décor became clearer on the light background of bone, herewith the artist reached better artistic distinctiveness.
The oldest type of ornament, the so called “Vichkovy” (peephole) one can find on one of the powder flasks. It is made of small concentrated circles with a dot inside. The ornament elements were made with a special tool – metal two-pronged cutter.
One can frequently find the contour images of plant motifs: trees growing from vases, flowers, vine. Rich ornament complements the face surface of the items. Next to the plant ornament one can find image of churches, horse-riders (Ukrainian Cossack or Turk). You can see the influence of baroque style in the ornamental finishing of the powder flasks. It was treated in a peculiar local style. The displays show the powder flasks made of wood. One of them is carved and another is in the shape of horn covered with the skin of skate.
Two unique wooden-made Cossack’s smoking pipes dated back to the 18th century that have a significant historical value are on display too.