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Home > Articles > Transactions and Proceedings of the Japan Society > The Japanese Yano Ne > Part 2
The Japanese Yano Ne
Part 2 of 10

As the yano ne, or arrow-head, proved to be as baffling and elusive as ever when I arrived in Japan last summer, I was forced to write to the Hon. Secretaries of the Japan Society, that the paper which I had promised them would have to be delayed for another year. My letter crossed a letter enclosing the printed programme of the year, in which I was announced to speak about sword-blades as well as arrow-heads. I can say quite frankly that I know little about sword-blades, save what I learned from Mr. Gilbertson's paper of a few seasons since, and my present contribution is only a pendant to the instructive article on Japanese archery which Mr. Gilbertson presented to the Society six years ago. The book of arrowhead designs, and the drawings of seventy-eight arrow-heads which I send with this paper, will, I trust, stimulate a discussion that will add something to the little that seems to be really known about these ornamental yano ne.

There are prehistoric arrow-heads of flint and stone that have been uncovered by archaeologists in Japan, and the dolmens and caves have yielded bullet-shaped or chisel-pointed bronze arrow-heads. Older, or at least more definitely dated, is that most unique arrow-head of Asia found in the tomb of Gautama Buddha. When the Piprahwah mound on the frontiers of Nepal was excavated, and the square stone coffer laid bare, a treasure of relics was acquired which the members of the Sakya clan had buried with the fragments of the body of their kinsman, Gautama Buddha, Sakya Muni, after his cremation. This bronze arrow-head, an inch and a half in length, is of the common lance or halbert shape of the Samurai's war-arrow, a solid point, not different in size and outline from No. 16 of the sketches; it is preserved with the coffer and a portion of the relics at the Indian Museum in Calcutta. Whether it is a Scythian or Mongol arrow is not determined—whether the Sakyas were Jakas or Scythians, or descendants of more Eastern tribes, as the oft-described yellow colour of Sakya-Muni and the plainly Mongol type he presents in the earliest images and bas-relief has suggested, is equally unsettled.

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