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Leather bottle

PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2011 6:06 pm
by Cathal
Guys,
I wonder if anyone has further informations on the huge leather bottle, displayed in the NMI. We think about rebuilding it - but the question is, what's below the leather? Maybe there's a complete wooden inlay? Or just a wooden ring arround the flat side? What do you think?

Here are two pics:

Image

Image

Re: Leather bottle

PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2011 9:01 pm
by oleg
Hi Stefan,

There were some discussions about this bottle in Russian-speaking segment.
I haven't seen any publications regarding the $subj, so these talks were a kind of speculations about the design:
1) There is a character "Þorgeir flöskubak" from Icelandic saga "Grettis saga Ásmundarsonar". A guy was wearing a flask/leather bottle on the back.
2) There was an idea about bone part in the neck. I can not second it - it looked like a plan leather.
3) Dating speculations. Raised impressions are very ornate and look similar to with Dublin sheaths from 12th+ century.

I would say that there is no wood in it - just leather.

More photos - http://photo.qip.ru/users/vlasta/2133981/

Re: Leather bottle

PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 2:30 pm
by Billy
I'd tend to agree. What makes you think it has any internal structure besides leather? It looks pretty stout. Thick leather will hold its shape. The dome was probably formed over some wooden pattern, which was probably needed as a backing when tooling it anyway, but I'd say it's all leather, unless there's good reason not to.

Re: Leather bottle

PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 5:29 pm
by finnobreanan
Wow! I don't remember seeing this bottle on display, but that was 6 years ago.

What is the story on this leather bottle: approximate date of manufacture; location; provenance? This is very cool! :!:

Re: Leather bottle

PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 7:39 pm
by oleg
It's on display in Wetlands Archaeology, upstairs. Together with other finds, found without datable contexts on bogs. Dating is "early medieval", if I remember it right. The most impressive things about the bottle are size (40-60sm - my estimate) and decoration.

Re: Leather bottle

PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 7:36 am
by Cathal
Hi all,

thanks for the quick replies. I'm thinking of a kind of "skeleton" to get the bottle more sturdy. When we talk about an diameter of app. 40 cm, this bottle would contain about 16 litres. That's 16 kilo of wight. So I wouldn't trust plain leather - but I've no experience in oversized leather bottles... :?
According to Oleg's words I'd date the patterns morely to 12th+ century.
On display it's described as "Decorated leather bottle, found 3 feet deep in bog, Cloonclose, Co. Leitrim, Early Medieval, Item No. 1928:12"

Re: Leather bottle

PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 9:25 am
by oleg
There is a passage about this and a different bottle from Ulster. Another decorated leather bottle - sounds very optimistic.
Check "A crannog of the first millennium, AD: excavations by Jack Scott at Loch Glashan, Argyll, 1960" at google books, page 86.

As for the 12th century - this was just an idea. One of the guys claims that he saw there raised patterns.
I haven't seen them, for me the decoration is a kind of tooling.

It would be good to get more authoritative opinion from professionals.

Re: Leather bottle

PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 12:25 pm
by brendan
I have looked at this a couple of times and did consider making it once...
As has been said above there is no useful information on construction with the display, but I have in the past made a costrel which takes about 1.5 litres. That has remained solid despite been less than well treated. One of the hardest parts will be waterproofing - I found out the hard way the risk of pouring over hot wax into a leather bottle and I would recommend limiting the size to what you can fit in an oven.
I based the one I made on http://haandkraft.blogspot.com/2009/02/leather-costrel.html. In terms of shapeing it is not necessary to use a former (though probably easier). I made the shape and then soaked the leather, packed it with dry fine sand which drew out the water and forced the shape and then put it in an oven at 50 degrees centigrade - this is below the level at which the leather gets damaged. I think tooling could be done with the san still inside...I didnt leave the sand in and wasnt happy with the outcome.
I do recommond making a small one first though

Re: Leather bottle

PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 8:35 pm
by Seathrun
I agree with Brendon on construction. Thats how I make mine. One waxed with beeswax it is really stiff and sturdy. I use a double boiler to heat and melt the bees wax and pour it in and out several times to coat the inside and then wax the out side. They hold up well as long as you dont leave them in a hot car. Also it adds a honey flavour to the water.