AUD $340.00

Islamic, Early Terra Cotta Grenade

A dark terracotta hand grenade (named after the “pomegranate” full of seeds, also as are “garnets” by the way!) beautifully designed for use and handling, but obviously not exploded.
These are relatively rare as not that many survive their use, this one either failed to go off or got mislaid. (buried by a collapsing wall?)

In a way this piece is “nicer” then a weapon that has killed, and offers a fascinating glimpse of the history of warfare and its collecting possibilities.(incidently we used to make these in sundried clay, thrown with a lit cracker inside, when we were twelve year olds playing war!)

It’s almost quaint that it’s decorated, but I assume it offers more grip and possibly is Talismanic (protective) inciting more power/destruction (?)
In shape it resembles an antique turned wooden “spinning top” with three incised spiral bands of filled with dotted lines like cross hatching. As the green clay surface was burnished smooth, these offer a good grip, foreseeing the time when in the heat of battle your hands have become slippery.

Two very old, sizeable chips have come off the lip but are close together, so are not visible from the front!"

I suppose it was packed with gun powder and shot, plugged with a wick, lit and thrown. As it is so perfect for the hand I think that rules out catapulting, as its normal use.

We sourced these examples through contacts in Afghanistan, before that it gets a bit vague.
But they can’t predate gunpowder, I assume, so they’re no older than about the 13th century.
(probably like so much from overthere they were made as defence against the 1220 AD onslaught of Genghis Khan, but there were many other battles over the centuries.)
But no, it’s said that gunpowder reached Islam from China, betweeen 1240 AD and no later than 1280 AD, as at this time Chinese restrictions on its use and availability were abandoned with their conquest by the Mongols. After that its use in battle spread quickly.

We may still have a few similar pieces, to see them try searching for "grenade" on this site.

Age: Circa 14 th Century AD

Size: H 105 mm x Diam 90 mm (that’s H 4.3 ins x Diam 3.4 ins.)

Weight: 534 grams.