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On the Structure and Affinities of the Composite Bow
Part 10 of 17

A transverse section (Fig. 14) through one of the "ears" shows the hardwood base split up into four pieces, a, a, a, a. The two smaller pieces commence at the point where the horn ends, and take its place. A new element appears in a flat piece of horn m, running down the centre, at right angles to the faces of the bow. This is a thin horn wedge, thickest at the extremity beyond the nock, to which it gives support. It resembles the similar piece in a Chinese bow in its use, but differs in its traversing the whole length of the "ear," and in never entirely forming the extreme tip beyond the nock. The longitudinal sinews, c, c, surrounding the "ear" are in continuation of the longitudinal backing sinews, which are here brought round in two bands, completely encasing the wood, being only separated from each other by the edges of the thin horn wedge, which are seen externally. Below the nock is a band of transverse sinews, binding together the elements composing the "ear." There is no layer of bark over the "ears," the lacquer and gilt being applied directly to the sinew.

Fig. 15 is taken from a transverse section through the centre of the handle or grip, corresponding to Fig. 7: a1 and a2 are two pieces of hardwood forming the base, the smaller piece being inserted to pad out the grip and to give it a rounded form; the two are glued together. The number of horn strips which reach this point is reduced to four, as this portion is narrowed considerably. This section does not cut through the point of junction of the two sets of horn strips, for, as will be seen from Fig. 16, the meeting point is not exactly at the centre in this specimen. The sinew backing extends nearly round the grip, omitting only the portion where he the horn strips, overlying which is a thin layer of tranverse sinews, as elsewhere. The shape is partly moulded from the sinew mass, as it is in the ridges (Fig. 13). The bark covering entirely surrounds this part, as the side strips of horn do not extend along the grip.

In the longitudinal section through the grip (Fig. 16), is seen the extent of the small pad of hardwood, a2, and the meeting point of the two sets of horn strips, between the ends of which is inserted a thin strip of wood. The principal piece of wood in the grip, a1, continues in either direction a short distance along the arms in the form of a wedge, pushing its way between the pieces which form the centre of the arms, which are represented in Fig. 10, a, a.

In the figure of the perfect Persian bow the points at which the transverse sections have been cut are indicated with dotted lines.

Hansard in his "Book of Archery" quoting Thevenot, says, "Oriental bowyers use a peculiar kind of glue, made from a root called in Turkey 'Sherischoan,' which they grind like corn between two stones, until it resembles sawdust." It is certainly a most effective kind of glue, as it does not appear to crack with use, though it sets very firmly; it is also very pellucid.

Murdoch Smith [19] says of these bows that, after leaving the maker's hands, in order to be strung for use, they had first to be softened in a bath, and then gradually opened by cords attached to pegs in the ground.

Although the finer Indian bows are of a high type, they hardly attain to the level of the typical Persian bow, and many of them shew signs of a slight degeneration from a higher type. They are closely related to the Persian and Turkish types.