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Title Balkan cartridge box (Palaska), Ottoman era
Nationality Bosnian
Period c 1830

This is a classic Balkan cartridge box of the early 19th century, probably made in Bosnia Herzegovina, carried not only by Muslims, but also by Greek Christians in their war of independence against the Ottoman Empire. The motifs on this particular example would suggest Muslim ownership, with the waxing crescent present throughout the design.

It measures: 10.5 cm at highest point x just under 11.5 cm wide x just under 4.5 cm deep. The metal would appear to be low grade silver, possibly 60% or so as opposed to the standard .925 expected in England or .800 normally found in continental Europe. The lower grade of silver is necessary for the strength of the box as it would contain a relatively heavy substance, namely some 15-20 paper cartridges filled with gunpowder and lead ball.

It opens by depressing the centre of the main facing plate, just under the lid. It would appear to be hand worked throughout by embossing, with the exception of the facing plate, which would originally have been cast and then finished by hand.

There are age and wear marks throughout and a little distortion to the way the lid fits, but essentially this very attractive piece is in excellent shape for its age with no real dings or dents.

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

[Firearms : Accessories : Bosnian : 19th Century]


Very pleased with it [the bayonet].

R P, UK, 31.08.2017

Excellent information, Chris, you've been making a big effort! I will spell it out more closely (I'm a historian!) and don't think Bezdek can add much more.

A C, Belgium, 26.06.2005