French Bugbear Coconut Flask

  • This rare coconut shell "bugbear" gunpowder flask bears Napoléonic imagery
  • Soldiers and sailors carved flasks like this one while traveling through the Indies
  • The flask is made of carved green coconut with pewter mounts
  • Imagery of a "bugbear," a boogyman-like mythical beast, also appears on the flask
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 31-0995

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Richly hand-carved on one side with a portrait of Napoléon framed by flags and cannons and an image of a soldier feeding his dog on the other, this coconut shell "bugbear" flask would have been used by a French soldier to carry gunpowder. The "bugbear," a mythical boogyman-like figure, appears on the top of the flask, complete with red glass eyes, and its pewter mouth serves as the flask's opening.

These flasks are believed to have been carved by soldiers or sailors who had traveled through the East or West Indies where green, carvable coconut shells were plentiful. French prisoners of war would also carve these shells with images of Napoléon and fond depictions of life back home.

French, early 19th century

4" diameter x 7" high
French Bugbear Coconut Flask
Period: 19th Century
Origin: France
Type: Arms and Armor
Depth: 4.0 Inches
Width: 4.0 Inches
Height: 7.0 Inches

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