Original French Louis XIV Carved Ivory Gunpowder Flask - 17th Century

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. As seen on History Channel's Pawn Stars, this is an extraordinary piece dating from the reign of Louis XIV (5 September 1638 – 1 September 1715), known as Louis the Great (Louis le Grand). Known as the Sun King (le Roi Soleil), Louis was a monarch of the House of Bourbon who reigned as King of France from 1643 until his death in 1715.

This incredible flask measures approximately 4” x 7.5” and is intricately carved from a mix of ivory and bone. Center of front side has the likeness of King Henry II fully carved in relief and on the other side the Arms of France. The flask features a large circular band around the outside carved with more than 20 wild animals and monsters that attack each other. Flask is mounted with heavily blued steel with gold highlights with two hanging rigs to the sides for the addition of a shoulder strap or lanyard. Finely blues steel spout for discharging the powder that features an extremely well designed spring loaded hinged cover in the shape of a hunting dog standing on a sea monster.
Even though he lived more than a century earlier, Henry II's memory was revered in the court of Louis XIV. Henry II was an avid hunter and outdoors-man who participated in jousts, so a flask bearing his image would have been immensely popular.
Henry II (French: Henri II; 31 March 1519 – 10 July 1559) was a monarch of the House of Valois who ruled as King of France from 31 March 1547 until his death in 1559. The second son of Francis I, he became Dauphin of France upon the death of his elder brother Francis III, Duke of Brittany, in 1536.
Henry II was an avid hunter and a participant in jousts and tournaments. On 30 June 1559, at the Place des Vosges at the Hôtel des Tournelles, during a match to celebrate the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis with his longtime enemies, the Habsburgs of Austria, and to celebrate the marriage of his daughter Elisabeth of Valois to King Philip II of Spain, King Henry was wounded in the eye by a fragment of the splintered lance of Gabriel Montgomery, captain of the King's Scottish Guard. Despite the efforts of royal surgeon Ambroise Paré, the king died of septicemia on 10 July 1559. He was buried in a cadaver tomb in Saint Denis Basilica.
The quality of workmanship, materials used, and the the tribute to a former king of France make it clear that this flask belonged to someone of very great importance, very likely a member of the Louis XIV’s court. This incredible piece will be prized piece in any collection.
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