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Notes for n the Structure and Affinities of the Composite Bow, By Henry Balfour
1. Mr. J. Murdoch has written a very complete account of the sinew backing of Esquimaux bows ("Annual Report of Smithsonian Institute," 1884, Pt. II, p. 307). Ascham's "Toxophilus, Hansard's "Book of Archery," and W. Moseley's " Essay on Archery " (1792), give general accounts of bows, but their descriptions are many of them very unreliable and incomplete. The most recent general paper on the subject is D. N. Anuchin's " Bows and Arrows," in the "Transactions of the Tiflis Archaeological Congress." Moscow, 1887. 4to. This contains a very interesting general account, illustrated. I am much indebted to my friend Mr. W. L. Morfill, for very kindly translating that portion which bears specially upon the subject of my paper. I have added notes from this paper in footnotes, as I was unfortunate in not obtaining a copy till my own paper was completed.
2. Anuchin mentions the following materials as added to the wood some-times:-Whalebone, stag (? cariboo) horn, musk ox horn, or walrus tooth.
3. Op.cit.
4. "Narrative of a Voyage to the Pacific and Behring's Straits," 1831, p. 243.
5. "Trans. Ethnol. Soc," Vol. i, 1861, p. 129.
6. " Journ. Ethnol. Soc." Vol. i, p. 293
7. Burton mentions bows of the Sioux and Yutas with a backing of raw hide. la it possibly this solid mass of sinews that he has described under this term ?
8. "North American Indians," fifth edition, 1845, p. 32.
9. "Catalogue of the Anthropological Collection," 1877, p. 51.
10. "Iliad," Book iv, 105.
11. "Odyssey," Book xxi.
12. Greek textOdyssey, xxi, 53.
13. Dictionary of "Roman and Greek Antiquities."
14. For convenience, I may here explain the terminology used:-
        Back = The side which in most of these bows is concave when unstrung, becoming convex when strung.
        Belly = The side opposite to the back, which is nearest to the archer when shooting.
        Arms = The flexible portions lying between the central "grip" and the rigid extremities.
        Shoulders = The points where the bow suddenly narrows laterally to form the terminal "ears."
        Ears = The inflexible extremities beyond the arms, at the end of which are the nocks. They are usually termed the "horns," but in dealing, with the anatomy of the composite bow an obvious confusion is avoided by substituting this word.
15. Anuchin (op. cit.) describes the Tungus bow, from a specimen in the Moscow Museum, as made of two kinds of wood, fastened tightly with yellow (? inner) birch bark; on the back (i.e., "belly ") are fastened horn strips, except in the middle, where the bow is held for bending, and at the ends pieces of bone are attached, in which notches are made for the cord ends.
16. Quoted from Richardson's "Polar Regions," p. 308.
17. These two rivers flow into the Yenesei in about latitude 60° N.
18. "Kung," kung in Chinese, means any kind of bow, so that it cannot be used as an adjective to describe this particular form of bow. The word Nu, a cross-bow, becomes when written Nu which is a combination of a phonetic character sounded Nu, and the radical Kung, which has been added in order to express the thing visibly, as meaning a bow of some sort.
I am indebted to Mr. F. H. Balfour for the above note.
19. "Persian Arts." South Kensington Museum Handbook.
20. "The composite bow was held in great esteem with the Arabs and Turks, in whose language are many words for different bows, the parts of thorn, and the discharging of them." Anuchin, op. cit,
21. "Histoire de la Laponie," traduite du Latin de Jean Scheffer. 1678.
22. Anuchin mentions both fish glue and stag's (reindeer) glue as used in making these bows, which are sometimes as much as six feet long. He also says that they are commonly still met with amongst the Voguls. Later he says, "The Finn bows in all probability were composite, as now amongst the Voguls and Ostiaks."
23. "Cook's Voyage, 1772-75," Vol. i, p. 221, and plate.
24. The custom of holding arrows in the bow hand when shooting, is common to several races, e.g., South America, Ancient Mexico, amongst the Negritos. This is also seen in representations of archers on ancient Greek and Etruscan vases, as also of Norman archers on the Bayeux tapestry. Vide Anuchin, op. cit.
25. Anuchin (op. cit.) says, "Taking into consideration the wide spread of the composite bow in North and Central Asia, and in Eastern Europe, we are led to think that it was invented somewhere within the limits of that region, and spread itself thence from a single centre over the East into North America, and over the West.