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Powder flask

In early modern Europe, armour and weaponry were as much about fashion, aesthetics, social status and wealth, as violence, intimidation and self-protection. An integral part of daily life, arms crop up constantly in sumptuary laws, household inventories, courtesy books and conduct manuals, and are frequently portrayed in costume books, portraits and funerary monuments, as well as on all manner of domestic objects from pharmacy jars and tankards to cap badges and embroideries. While swords, guns and associated equipment, such as this powder flask, were deployed in military combat and in duels to restore honour, they were also used in non-martial contexts, such as sporting contests and hunting expeditions. Particularly ornate examples were carried and worn about town as fashion accessories by image conscious noblemen keen to be regarded as ‘menat-arms’ even if they had never seen active service on the battlefield. 

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