Silver & Copper or Zinc Cooling Flask
Central India, 19th century
height: 38cm, diameter: 24.5cm
This rare and unusual cooling flask has a chased silver neck and stopper, and a large, bulbous body in copper or zinc that is fully enclosed in red cloth. The stopper fits tightly. The neck is chased with acanthus leaf-like motifs; the lid is in the shape of a Mughal-style dome.
Flasks such as this were used to cool liquids – water or perhaps wine. As Terlinden (1987:114) says of a similar-style flask ascribed to the eighteenth century, “the cloth around the body is there for a very practical reason: after the flask had been stood in a mixture of water and saltpetre to chill its contents, the cloth ensured that the cooling effect was prolonged.” Terlinden also mentions another flask “encased in red cloth” being listed in the inventory of Powys Castle, items of which were obtained in the eighteenth century from India.
An example of a cooling flask is illustrated in Terlinden, C.,
Mughal Silver Magnificence: 16th-19th Centuries
, Antalga, 1987, page 114.
Inventory no.: 496