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Wheellock Rifle

A work made of steel, staghorn, cherry wood, beech wood, gilt brass, copper, and enamel.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of steel, staghorn, cherry wood, beech wood, gilt brass, copper, and enamel.


c. 1670


Elias Becker (German, Augsburg active 1633-1673)
Augsburg, Germany

About this artwork

This rifle’s eccentric design conveys a certain tension between rough and refined, natural and artificial, and—metaphorically—hunter versus hunted. Its antler-like stock is veneered with plaques of natural staghorn, sawn, cut, and shaped to the contours of a traditional German rifle. In extreme contrast, the stock’s cheek rest is mounted with a painted enamel depicting the Roman goddess of the hunt, Diana. Five similar rifles were produced for several dukes of Saxony and the king of Denmark, but this is the only one signed by the creative stock maker, Elias Becker, best known for his highly ornamental work; this austere yet inventive design is a surprising part of his oeuvre.


On View, Gallery 239


Applied Arts of Europe


Wheellock Rifle


Augsburg (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

c. 1665–1675


Steel, staghorn, cherry wood, beech wood, gilt brass, copper, and enamel


Marked: EB (on stock)


W.: 105.5 cm (41 9/16 in.)

Credit Line

Through prior acquisition of the George F. Harding Collection

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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