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American powder horn with scrimshawed design

Date: 1876
Dimensions:
Overall: 290 x 75 x 165 mm, 0.2 kg
Medium: Horn, wood, metal
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Scrimshaw powder horn
Object No: 00030471
Place Manufactured:United States

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    Description
    Powder horns were used to carry gun powder for charging muzzle-loading firearms such as flintlock or percussion cap pistols and rifles. This cow horn is decorated in scrimshaw-like fashion with a mix of nautical and non-nautical engravings.
    SignificanceThis dated powder horn is decorated with engravings which would link it to a maritime association.
    HistoryPowder horns were used to carry gun powder for charging muzzle-loading firearms such as flintlock and percussion cap pistols and rifles. Carved powder horns, particularly those of the American Revolutionary War period often carried nationalistic or militaristic engravings. Horns decorated in this manner with only incidental nautical carvings should not be concidered scrimshaw but rather folk art, which is allied to, but different to scrimshaw. That said in common usage the term scrimshaw is loosely applied today.

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