Document Type : research articles


1 Faculty of Arts, Ain Shams University, Egypt

2 Faculty of Archaeology, Cairo University, Egypt


Muslims had some contributions in using black powder in projectiles and firearms, as the pressure of military need has helped them develop all weapons which can catapult balls of fire. As a result of that, they make flasks to carry gunpowder. Nowadays, a lot of these powder flasks could be traced in museums and private collection all over the world. Gayer-Anderson Museum in Cairo has an important collection of Islamic powder flasks attributed to different regions made of different materials such as metal, wood, ivory, leather, etc. There are twelve of these powder flasks belonging to Iran as a type or place of manufacturing. These Persian powder flasks are distinguished by the variety of their shapes which could be divided into 4 main types. On the other hand, they reflect multiple methods in ornamenting this kind of object according to the type of the raw material it is made of. Despite the importance of this collection, there isn`t an individual study to explore them and reveal the different aspects which effect on such objects, so this research interests in studying this Persian collection of powder flasks descriptively and analytically. 


Main Subjects

  1. Ahmed (Ahmed Abd-al-Razik), Al-Hadārah al-Islamiyh fī al-’Isūr al-Wustá (Islamic civilization in the Middle Ages), Dar al-Fikr al-‘Arabi, Cairo, (2004).
  2. Ahmed (Ahmed Abd-al-Razik), Al-Ranūk al-Islamiya (Islamic blazons), Faculty of Arts, Ain Shams University, Egypt, (2001).
  3. Aḥmed (Mamdūḥ Ramadān Maḥmūd), ʾAʿmal al-ʿāj wa-al-ʿẓm fī Miṣr mondh al-ʿṣr al-Islāmi al-Mubakkir wa-ḥttá Nihayat al-ʿṣr al-Mamlūki,(Ivory and bone works in Egypt from the early Islamic era until the end of the Mamluk era), M.Sc, Faculty of Archaeology, Cairo University, Egypt,( 2000).
  4.  Ágoston (Gábor), Guns for the Sultan: Military Power and the Weapons Industry in the Ottoman Empire, Cambridge University Press, New York, (2005).
  5. Al-Bahnasi (Ṣalaḥ Aḥmad), Fann al-Taṣwīr fī al-ʿAṣr al-Islami, al-Taṣwīr al-Ṣafawi fī Irān wa-al-ʿOthmani fī Torkiya wa-al-Maghulī fī al-Hind, Dar al-Wafāʾ li-Donya al-Ṭibaʿah wa-al-Nashr, Al-Iskandariyah, (2016),
  6. Al-Bahnasy (Salah Ahmad), Al-Matahif ’Ilm wa-Fann, Cairo, (2010).
  7. Allan (James) and Gilmour (Brian), Persian Steel: The Tanavoli Collection, Oxford Studies in Islamic Art, (New York, (2000).
  8. Al-Kharrāt (Al-Mustafa Muhammad Ahmad), Taṭawwur al-Asliḥah al-Nariyah “al-Madāfi‘ wa-al-Banādiq” wa-Athariha‘alá al-‘Amā’ir al-Ḥarbiyah bi-Miṣr fī al-ʿAṣr al-ʿOthmāni wa-ḥattá Nihayat Ḥokm Muhammad ʿAli (1517-1848 AD/ 923-1265 AH): Dirāsah Āthariyah Fanniayh Miʿmariyah(The development of firearms "cannons and muskets" and their effect on the military architecture in Egypt in the Ottoman age until the end of of Muhammad Ali period (923-1265 AH/ 1517-1848 AD), Ph.D, University of Sohag, Egypt, (2011).
  9. Al-Nahar (‘Ammār Mūhammad), “Al-Barūd al-Mutafajjir wa-al-Asliḥah al-Nāriyah wa-al-Madfā’aiyah fī ‘Aṣr al-Mamālīk(AD 1517-1250/ AH 648-923)”, Majāllat al-Baḥithūn al-‘Ilmiyah, Vol. 70, (2013), Available  online at: (accessed on 18 July 2016).
  10. Al-Shakīl (‘Ali Jam‘an), Al-Kimiya’ fī al-Ḥaḍārah al-Islamiyah, Dar al-Shurūq, Cairo (1989).
  11. Al-Shakīl (‘Ali Jam‘an), “Al-Qadhā’if wa-al-Asliḥah al-Nariyah fī al-Ḥaḍārah al-Islāmiyah”, Majāllat al-Thaqafah wa-al-Tūrāth, Markaz Jum’ah al-Majid lil-thaqafah wa-al-Tūrāth, Vol. 42, Dubai, (2003).
  12. Altungi (Muhammad), Mu‘jam al-Mu‘rrabāt al-Farisiyah mondh Bawakīr al-‘Aṣr al-Jahili ḥatta al-‘Aṣr al-Ḥadir, Al-Siba‘i, Al-Siba‘i Muhammad (Ed.), 2st ed., Libraire du Libnan Publishers, Beirut, (1998).
  13. Ayalon (David), Gunpowder and Firearms in the Mamluk Kingdom: A Challenge to Medieval Society, Frank Cass, London& New York, (1956).
  14. Brunner-Traut (Emma), Egyptian artists' sketches: figured ostraka from the Gayer-Anderson Collection in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, Janine Burriau (Tans.), Nederlands Historisch-Archaeologisch Instituutte Istanbul, Leiden, (1979).
  15. Born (Wolfgang), “Ivory Powder Flasks from the Mughal Period”, Ars Islamica, University of Michigan, Vol (9), (1942).
  16. Cronin (Stephanie),Building a New Army: Military Reform in Qajar Iran”, in Farmanfarmaian, Roxane (Ed.), War and Peace in Qajar Persia, Implications Past and Present, Routledge, London & New York, (2008).
  17. Daneshvari (Abbas), of Serpents and Dragons in Islamic Art: An Aconographical Study, Bibliotheca Iranica: Islamic Art and Architecture Series, No. (13), Mazda Publishers, (2011).
  18. Elgood (Robert), Firearms of the Islamic World: in the Tared Rajab Museum, Kuwait, I. B. Tauris, London and New York, (1995).
  19. Farrokh (Kaveh), Iran at War: 1500-1988, Osprey Publishing, Oxford, (2011).
  20. Foxcroft (Louise), Gayer-Anderson The Life and Afterlife of the Irish Pasha, The American University in Cairo Press, Cairo, (2016).
  21. Floor (Willem), “The Woodworking Craft and its Products in Iran”, Muqarnas, Vol. (23), (2006).
  22. Group of scientists and researchers, Al-Mawsū‘ah al-‘Arabiyh al-‘Alamiyah, Mu’asast A‘amal al-Mawusū’ah lil-Nashr wa-al-Tawdhī’a, Vols (4, 5, 18, 23), AlRiyadh,(1999).
  23. Harper (Prudence Oliver), The Royal Hunter Art of the Sasanian Empire, Asia House, New York city, Dallas Museum of fine arts, The Cleveland Museum of Art, The Asian Society, Inc.(1978).
  24. Huṣāf (Ismaʿīl Muhammed), Kordistān wa-al-Masʾalah al-Kordiyah(=Kurdistan and the Kurdish case), Muʾassasat Mukriyani lil-Bihouth, Arbil, (2009).
  25. Hindī (Ihsān), Al-‘Arab wa Ikhtra‘a al-Barūd, Al-Tūrāth Al-‘Arabi, Vol. (65), Damascus, (1996).
  26. Ibeachu (P.C.), Abu (E.C.), Didia (B.C.), Anthropometric Sexual Dimorphism of Hand Length, Breadth and Hand Indices of University of Port Harcourt Students”, Asian Journal of Medical Sciences, Vol. (8), (2011).
  27. Kelényi (Béla) and Szántó (Iván), Artisans at the Crossroads: Persian Arts of the Qajar Period (1796-1925), Ferenc Hopp Museum of Eastern Asiatic Arts, Budapest, (2010). 
  28. Khorasani (Manouchehr Moshtagh), Lexicon of Arms and Armor from Iran: A Study of Symbols and Terminology, Legat Verlag, Tübingen, (2010).
  29. Kibovskii (Aleksandr) and Yegorov (Vadim), The Persian Regular Army of the First Half of the Nineteenth Century, Mark Conrad (Trans.), (1998), Available online at: (accessed 1 Aug. 2016).
  30. Konak (Ruhi), Hụ̈nernâme II, Cilt Minyatụ̈rlerinde Kompozisyon Dụ̈zeni, Ankara ụ̈niversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Dergisi, (2014).
  31. Luft (Paul), The Qajar Rock Reliefs”, Iranian studies, Vol. (34), (2001).
  32. Martin (Vanessa), The Qajar Pact: Bargaining, Protest and the State in Nineteenth-Century Persia, I.B.Tauris, London, (2005).
  33. Matthee (Rudi), “Firearms in Persia”,in Encyclopedia Iranica, vol. (IX), Bibliotheca Persica Press,New York, (1999).
  34. Muhammad (Samar Faḍlá abd-al-Hamīd), Akrād al-Irāq taẖt H̱okm abd-al-Karīm Qasim, M.Sc, Zagazig University, Egypt, (2010).
  35. Mujamm‘ al-Lughatu al-‘Arabiyah, al-Mu‘jam al-Wajīz, Ministry of Education, Special Edition, Cairo, (1999).
  36. Scarce (Jennifer M), Ancestral Themes in the Art of Qajar Iran 1785-1925”, in Behrens-Abouseif, Doris and Stephen Vernoit (eds.), Islamic art in the 19th century: tradition, innovation, and eclecticism, Leiden, Boston, Brill, (2006).
  37. Sarmadi (Abbas), An Encyclopedia of the Artists in Iran and the Islamic world from Mani (3rd cent. AD) to Kamalulmulk (20th cent. AD), Hirmand publisher, Tehran, (2001).
  38. Sazonova (Natalia), Iranian Lacquer Work in the State Museum of Oriental Art: Catalogue of the Collection, Reading, Rustam Shukurov. (Trans), Moscow, MMXV, (2015).
  39. Shitá (Ibrahīm Al-Disūki), Al-Mu‘jam Al-Farsi al-Kabīr: Farsi-‘Arabi, Vol. (1), Madbouli Bookstore, Cairo, (1992).
  40. Shojanoori (Nikoo), A Background of Khatam Art, European Online Journal of Natural and Social Sciences, Vol. (3), No. (4), Special Issue on Architecture, Urbanism, and Civil Engineering, (2014).
  41. Simpson (Marianna Shreve), Persian Poetry, Painting and Patronage: Illustrations in a Sixteenth-Century Masterpiece, University Press, Yale, (1998).
  42. Stone (George Cameron), A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration and Use of Arms and Armor in All Countries and in All Times, Dover Publications, New York, (1999).
  43. Swietochowski (Marie I.), “Habib Allah”, in Persian Painting from the Mongols to the Qajars: Studies in Honour of Basil W. Robinson, Hillenbrand, Robert (Ed.), Pembroke Persian papers, Vol. (3). I.B. Tauris, London and New York, (2000).
  44. Taj (Ahmad), Al-Akrād Tarīkh Shaʿb wa-Qaḍiyat Waṭan, al-Dar al-Thaqafiyah lil-Nashr, Cairo, (2001).
  45. (accessed 30 July 2016).
  46. (accessed 4 Aug. 2016).
  47. (accessed 5 Aug. 2016).
  48. (accessed 21 July 2016).
  49. (accessed 21 July 2016).
  50. (accessed 6 Aug. 2016).
  51. (accessed 24 Sep. 2016).
  52. (accessed 5 Aug. 2016).
  53. (accessed 30 July 2016).
  54. (accessed 30 July 2016).
  55. (accessed 19 Sep. 2016).
  56. (accessed 24 July 2016).
  57. (accessed 5 Aug. 2016).
  58. (accessed 24 July 2016).
  59. (accessed 1 Aug. 2016).
  60. (accessed 24 Sep. 2016).
  61. (accessed 22 Sep. 2016).
  62.!/search?q=powder%20flask&page=1 (accessed 4 Aug. 2016).
  63. (accessed 3 Aug. 2016).
  64. (accessed 3 Aug. 2016).
  65. (accessed 5 Aug. 2016).
  66. (accessed 1 Aug. 2016).
  67. (accessed 21 July 2016).
  68. (accessed 5 Aug. 2016).
  69. (accessed 4 Aug. 2016).
  70. (accessed 21 Sep. 2016).
  71. (accessed 5 Aug. 2016).
  72. (accessed 5 Aug. 2016).
  73. (accessed 24 Aug. 2016).
  74.!product/prd1/1991993765/18th-c.-persian-safavid-flask  (accessed 30 July 2016).