Item ref: 2462
Armoury of the Electors of Saxony, Dresden
By the closing decade of the 16th century the advantage to a body of troops being able to quickly reload their muskets had been recognised by their military commanders. To this end, small quantities of pre-prepared paper-wrapped cartridges were carried by musketeers in the field, contained in weather- and crush-proof wooden holders. To judge from the relatively small number of these holders which have survived, it seems probable that they were reserved for elite, smaller, bodies of troops rather. The more costly decorated cartridge-holders, such as the present example, reflect this likelihood also. Its body is stained in imitation of exotic ebony and enriched with inlaid white staghorn; this matches the stocks of the wheel-lock muskets carried by the musketeers of the guard of the Electors of Saxony within this period.
A very closely comparable example, almost certainly from the same workshop, is preserved in the renowned von Kienbusch collection, in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.