If This Karamojo Antique Could Tell Its Tale

Accidental Villain

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In 1968 my late father with a couple of adventurous friends packed their two Land Rover pickups heading from Kampala to Karamojo. One of the many Karamojo antiques my father managed to acquire is this snuff box. Examining it the brass part is without a doubt a spent cartridge case. Measurements is consistent with 275 Rigby..now, of course there is no way to prove anything. Its all up to the imagination.. Karamojo Bell left a good deal of them up there did`nt he(y)..

IMG_1277.jpeg
 
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Red Leg

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View attachment 357362

In 1968 my late father with a couple of adventurous friends packed their two Land Rover pickups heading from Kampala to Karamojo. One of the many Karamojo antiques my father managed to acquire is this snuff box. Examining it the brass part is without a doubt a spent cartridge case. Measurements is consistent with 275 Rigby..now, of course there is no way to prove anything. Its all up to the imagination.. Karamojo Bell left a good deal of them up there did`nt he(y)..
Very cool. Are you sure it was a snuff box? If so, it obviously replicates a priming horn pretty exactly (used for priming the lock of a flintlock style rifle). Karamojo borders the area where an Arab Jezail could have been acquired or certainly used by Arabs. A spent cartridge would have been useless to an early 20th century owner, but could have been repurposed for a priming horn spout. The brass would have been ideal because it allows the small amounts of powder used in the pan, to meter in smoothly with no chance of a spark. Also, the arabs typically used chains to hold a priming horn rather than a leather strap. Yep, I’ll wager you diner in Salzburg it is priming horn. ;) And why not made from one of Bell's discarded empties? What a wonderful thing to have.
 
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Accidental Villain

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Very cool. Are you sure it was a snuff box? If so, it obviously replicates a priming horn pretty exactly (used for priming the lock of a flintlock style rifle). Karamojo borders the area where an Arab Jezail could have been acquired or certainly used by Arabs. A spent cartridge would have been useless to an early 20th century owner, but could have been repurposed for a priming horn spout. The brass would have been ideal because it allows the small amounts of powder used in the pan, to meter in smoothly with no chance of a spark. Also, the arabs typically used chains to hold a priming horn rather than a leather strap. Yep, I’ll wager you diner in Salzburg it is priming horn. ;) And why not made from one of Bell's discarded empties? What a wonderful thing to have.

I`m absolutely 100% sure its a snuffbox. Picture of the Karamojan warrior that carried it enclosed.
Those guys ate arabs for breakfast.
IMG_1279.jpeg
 

Red Leg

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I`m absolutely 100% sure its a snuffbox. Picture of the Karamojan warrior that carried it enclosed.
Those guys ate arabs for breakfast.
View attachment 357421
Looks like I may owe you dinner!

Interesting, I have never seen that form in African snuff boxes. Did your father keep a journal of the trip?
 

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Looks like I may owe you dinner!

Interesting, I have never seen that form in African snuff boxes. Did your father keep a journal of the trip?

My father did make several journals also on this trip that was quite eventful. He was quite meticulous that way. Taking pictures, documenting.
Dinner offer noted. Thanks(y)
For all I know that snuffbox could very well be a repurposed priming horn.
 

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I’ll dig through my stuff. I somewhere have a Moroccan or Ottoman priming horn that is of identical shape. It is a bit more decorative, but it is horn and mounted on a chain. Many Arab and Turkish ones were all copper, but the horn ones follow the Western design. Using the cartridge for a spout was very clever - part of the reason priming flask seems more logical original intent. Anyway, very cool thing to have, and particularly with such a personal provenance. I have no question how he saw it being used when acquired by your father. Though I suspect there may be the bones of some turn of the century Arab slaver moldering somewhere in the dust of Northern Uganda or Southern Sudan.

full


This a North African Jezail in my collection with a couple of Arab blades. The top one is from the North Arabian Peninsula and the lower one from Zanzibar. Like most regionally produced Jezails, this one uses a North African version of a snaphaunce lock. If I can find the priming horn, I need to hang it with it. (y) In the mid-eighties I picked up the top blade in Riyadh's old souk and the Jezail (though almost certainly North African) came from Sanaa's souk in Yemen during the same period.
 

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Found this one on the web. Similar shaped snuffhorn with chain.
Also saw one on Pinterest with the same shape.
I can still vaguely smell it so its definitely snuff.
If I knew my father correctly I`m sure he tried some exchanging jokes and had a good laugh;).
African-Snuff-Snuff-Horn.jpg
 

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@Red Leg even if you are wrong you clearly have knowledge on a whole heap of stuff.
And if it was something owned, made or carried by Karamojo Bell then it has some Appeal to many hunters. Even if it was just his spent casing, I would be happy to have one of his spent casings. It wouldn’t mean much to most but it would be a part of history.
 

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@Red Leg even if you are wrong you clearly have knowledge on a whole heap of stuff.
And if it was something owned, made or carried by Karamojo Bell then it has some Appeal to many hunters. Even if it was just his spent casing, I would be happy to have one of his spent casings. It wouldn’t mean much to most but it would be a part of history.

My father collected a lot of items on this trip. Some very nice spears, bows&arrows, shields, headrests, tepeth, wrist, finger, ancle knifes etc and even a virgin skirt...don`t ask how he managed to acquire that one...I would`nt know:A Outta: But, I think that snuffhorn stands out. Its clearly very old and have been nicely repaired somewhere down the line. Very few white people had ever been in Karamoja back in the day. Bell was one of them. The Karamojong was a much feared savage tribe. Bell carried hes Mauser Broomhandle not without a good reason. Anyways, Bell obviously left a trail of spent 275 Rigby cases after him....so, who knows, could very well be..at least I like to think so.
 

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Very cool item. I’m glad you have it to treasure!
 
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@Red Leg even if you are wrong you clearly have knowledge on a whole heap of stuff.
And if it was something owned, made or carried by Karamojo Bell then it has some Appeal to many hunters. Even if it was just his spent casing, I would be happy to have one of his spent casings. It wouldn’t mean much to most but it would be a part of history.
@CBH
Chris it's a 7mm case not a 243 but glad you are interested in other calibers,ha ha.
Yes definitely a great part of history. It matters not if it's a snuff horn or a repurposed powder horn it's a great conversation piece that you should be happy to have.
Great for a campfire discussions
Bob
 

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@CBH
Chris it's a 7mm case not a 243 but glad you are interested in other calibers,ha ha.
Yes definitely a great part of history. It matters not if it's a snuff horn or a repurposed powder horn it's a great conversation piece that you should be happy to have.
Great for a campfire discussions
Bob
Thanks! Yes, its definitely a nice conversation piece (among all the other stuff he managed to acquire).
The item is most definitely a snuff horn. As well as my late fathers word for it I`ve found several examples of similarly shaped Karomojong snuff horns.
 

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