A Rare Islamic Incendiary Grenade

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Lot 9
A Rare Islamic Incendiary Grenade
Medieval, Probably 13th-15th Century

£ 200 - 300
US$ 250 - 370
A Rare Islamic Incendiary Grenade
Medieval, Probably 13th-15th Century
Of grey unglazed earthenware, with globular body drawn-out to a point at the base and decorated overall with raised ovals against a ground of pressed concentric ovals, and with moulded top pierced with a hole
15.5 cm. high

Footnotes

  • Large numbers of similar vessels, both complete and fragmentary, have been found all over Central Asia, including parts of Russia. There was at one time considerable controversy over whether they were containers for mercury or holy water, lamps, or grenades designed to be charged with incendiary material, probably a mixture containing naphtha, the basis of the legendary Greek Fire of the Byzantines. An article published by W. Arendt in 1931 established beyond doubt that they were grenades

    See W. Arendt, 'Irdene Granaten des 13.-14, Janrhunderts, die an der Wolga gefunden sind', Zeitschrift für Historiche Waffen- und Kostümkunde, 11 (1926-8), pp. 264-5; P. Post 'Handbrandgeschoß oder Öllampe?', ibid, 12 (1929-31), p. 42; W. Arendt, 'Die Sphärisch-Konischen Gefasse aus Gebranntem Ton', ibid, pp. 206-10; D. Ayalon, Gunpowder and Firearms in the Mamluk Kingdom, London 1956, p. 16

    For three other examples formerly in the Howard L. Blackmore Collection see Christie's London, Antique Arms and Armour, 12 July 2000, lot 331
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