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Home > Books > Arab Archery > Appendix 12. Lengths of Arrows
12. Lengths of Arrows

The following measurements are taken from a man of average height—about sixty-nine inches:

Table 3

Indefinite as are these crude measurements, they still teach u that the Oriental arrows which were shot in the normal or original manner, that is, without a guide that would permit a short arrow to be drawn beyond the bow, were fully as long as those which were used in medieval England or are still used in China and Japan. The English standard war arrow, or "livery arrow," was probably; about 30 inches in length, with variations up to the 37 inches of the cloth-yard shaft. There may also have been a reduction of one or two inches for short archers, although the ancient practice o drawing to the ear permitted control of a greater length than doe the modern draw to, or under, the chin. Both the Chinese and Japanese sometimes use very short arrows for special purposes, but their usual arrows that we have seen vary from about 35 to 37 inches We have seen many very diminutive Japanese archers draw thes long shafts full to the arrowhead, which they do by bringing the right hand well back of the ear. Arrows of a five foot length or more are used in South America and Polynesia but they are never drawn for more than a convenient portion of the shaft, a custom which was apparently never followed by the Arabs.

Drawing with the thumb gives a two or three inch advantage over drawing with the finger tips; so that the American who can handle a 28 inch arrow could use one of 30 or 31 inches if he drew with that kind of hold, and he could add considerably more if he drew to his ear. So far as length of shaft is concerned, the Asiatic had, and still have, a double advantage over us.

It is reasonable to surmise that the average Oriental arrow or the unabbreviated type measured from about 29 to 34 inches an that longer and shorter ones were also known and used.

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