tobacco jar, shell case, Turkish

Catalogue number
  • EPH 3245
Display status
IWM North
  • whole: brass
  • whole: H: 10.5cms Dia: 12cms
Alternative names
  • full name: tobacco jar, shell case, Turkish
  • simple name: POW
souvenirs and ephemera

© IWM (EPH 3245)

Purchase & License

This First World War period shell case has been worked into an engraved tobacco jar by Turkish prisoners of war in the Middle East. The body of the jar is made from a British 13 Pounder shell case. The 13 Pounder light field gun was the standard equipment of Royal Horse Artillery. RHA Batteries took part in the campaigns in Sinai and Palestine, and also in the Mesopotamia campaign. This particular shell case serves to highlight the truly world-wide scale of the Great War as the markings on its base indicate that it was produced in Canada in July 1916. Once the shell had been fired, the spent case was evidently passed to a Turkish prisoner possessed of considerable metal-working skills. It is elaborately engraved with Islamic decorative motifs. These consist of two prominent bands encircling the case with, above, below and between them, ornate cartouches containing intricate arabesque motifs and calligraphy. Certain portions of the design are enhanced with an 'inlay' of copper and silver wire. There are some areas where this has fallen away, revealing that these soft metals were simply hammered onto small indentations punched into the brass of the shell case.

Physical description

Ornate pot made from the lower part of a German cartridge (primer removed and hole filled). The lid for the pot is made from the same, and is detachable revealing the empty and cleaned interior. Both pot and lid have inlaid onthe exterior three different coloured metals in patters which form stylised animals or birds and blocks of Arabic text. On the base of the pot are the original manufacturing marks for the armamnet factory which produced the cartrridge, "PATRONENFABRIK KARLSRUHE, OKT 1914"and an Arabic number.

History note

Tobacco Jar made from a German cartridge case and decorated by a Turkish prisoner of war.

Engraved and partially inlaid with copper and a white metal

arabesque designs and Arabic script

IWM Non Commercial Licence

The media for this item are free to reuse for non-commercial purposes under the IWM Non Commercial Licence. Video, sound and images can be embedded with the code we offer here, and images can also be downloaded.

By downloading any images or embedding any media, you agree to the terms and conditions of the IWM Non Commercial Licence, including your use of the attribution statement specified by IWM. For this item, that is: © IWM (EPH 3245)

  • Download this item
    Embed HTML
    Embed BBCode
  • Download this item
    Embed HTML
    Embed BBCode