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Title Porte-feu or slow match holder, unmarked silver
Nationality Indian
Period c 1850
Price £150.00

This little device, 12cm long, would have held a lighted slow match for igniting cannon, powder charges or fireworks. The match was held in place by the silver hook on the short chain under the lid which has a model of a monkey eating a piece of fruit. Perhaps this is a souvenir from the Mutiny of 1857/8.

British grenadiers of the mid-18th century carried something similar but much simpler, in brass, on their grenade pouch belt, for lighting their bombs.

The silver is worked in typical South Asian style, ie repousee from thin silver sheet. It could just possibly be Burmese rather than Indian. There is a little silver shield midway down the tube, the style of which suggests that the piece was made with the European market in mind, ie for an officer to have his initials or crest engraved on it.

If you want to comment on this item—re quality, age, etc—please email me.

[Militaria : Equipment : Indian : 19th Century]


I received the silver Verdienstkreuz this morning. Your swiftness and dedication was very much appreciated and, though the envelope arrived with a Post Office sticker saying it had been found open or damaged, the cross was unharmed and looks beautiful. Thanks for your time.

E C, UK, 18.10.2005

I should have written sooner, but I did want to let you know that the photos arrived safely and are absolutely fabulous. I could not be happier with them.

Thanks for the excellent service and great photos. I hope we have occasion to do business together again.

J B, USA, 18.08.2005