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Arrow Feathering and Pointing
By Walter Hough
From: Arrows and Arrow-Makers, The American Anthropologist, Vol. IV., No.1, pp. 60-63. Washington D.C., January, 1891.
Part 1 of 3

The attachment of points and feathering to modern arrows casts light upon ancient methods of arrow pointing and is more or less valuable ethnographically.

Materials.—Sinew is the most important material in the kit of the arrowsmith, being pliable when damp, splitting into even threads, becoming horn-like on drying, and binding parts strongly together on shrinking.

American Indian arrows, with very few exceptions, are lashed with sinew. In other parts of the world, however, sinew is not so generally employed. A glance over the collection of 2,500 arrows in the United States National Museum reveals the fact that African arrow-heads and feathering are fastened on with grass, palm-leaf strips, and other vegetable fibres, while sinew is comparatively rare Many African arrow-heads are socketed or tanged, and therefore not lashed at all. Polynesian and New Guinea arrows are also served with vegetable fibre, the Ainos use bark, and in South America many tribes lash with natural fibres.

Glue or other cement is used by most tribes. In Angola caoutchouc is employed. In the southwest part of the United States mesquite gum, perhaps mixed with other ingredients, pine resin, etc., form readily available materials.