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Home > Books > Mason > North American Bows, Arrows and Quivers > Plate LV
Plate LV
Western Eskimo Barbed Arrows

FIG. 1. THE SHAFT tapers both ways from the middle and is flattened at the nock. Feathers, two, laid on spirally and seized at the end with sinew. Nock, flat; notch, U-shaped. The blade of the head is sagittate, and there are two barbs on each side of the tang, which is inserted in the end of the shaft and seized with sinew. Length, 29 inches.

Cat. No. 72765, U. S. N. M.; also 72759. Ooglaamie Eskimo, Point Barrow. Col lected by Capt. P. H. Ray, U. S. Army.

There is a great variety of form in this class of arrows, the design being always the same. In one specimen the tang is cylindrical and a series of barbs is filed on the edges of the blade. In another the tang is made of walrus ivory, and the iron blade inserted into the end of this tang has barbs on the lower edges of the blade. In another specimen one-half of a pair of scissors is used as a head. The part in front of the hinge, filed with two edges, forms the blade, and the part behind the hinge is filed and straightened out so as to form the tang and a very efficient barb. This is a remarkable specimen of the adaptive genius of this people. In the shaping and filing of this scissors blade all of the characteristics and marks of the barbed arrow with a stone head are preserved, except that the metal is substituted for the bone and stone.

FIG. 2. SHAFT, of spruce wood, cylindrical. Shaftment, gradually flattened toward the nock. Feathers, two, extending off from the shaft, and seized with sinew-twisted thread. The nock is flattened; notch, parallel-sided. The barb, a piece of antler, sharpened at one end, inserted into the end of the shaft, and seized with fine sinew thread. The four barbs are on one side of the barb piece, and they project from the shaft, as in a feather, and this effect is emphasized by a little furrow just where the barbs proceed from the shaft. The point, a formidable blade of iron, with jagged barbs at the lower extremities, inserted into a "saw cut" on the end of the barb piece and fastened with a copper rivet.

Cat. No. A and B. 43352, U. S. N. M. Eskimo, Upper Yukon. Collected by E. W. Nelson.

FIG. 3. SHAFT, of spruce, cylindrical, flattened towards the end. Feathers, two, seized with sinew twine. Nock, flat; notch, U-shaped. The head is in two parts. The shank is barbed on one side, inserted into the end of the shaft, and seized with twisted sinew. The head is sagittate; the tang inserted into a cut in the end of the shank and seized with sinew. Total length of shaft, 29 1/2 inches.

FIG. 4. Similar to fig. 3, excepting that the head is all of iron. The long shank is serrated on the edges and the leaf-shaped blade has also barbs near the base. Length, 25 3/4 inches.

Cat. No. 875, U. S.N.M. Mackenzie River. Collected by R. W. MacFarlane.

FIG. 5. SHAFT, of spruce, cylindrical. Shaftment, flat. Feathers, two, seized at the end with twisted sinew, standing off from the shaftment. The nock is flat and seized with twisted sinew; notch, U-shaped. The head is a piece of sheet iron inserted into a cut in the end of the shaft and seized with twisted sinew. Three abnormally large barbs on each side of the head. Length, 30 inches.

Cat. No. 1966, U. S. N. M. Mackenzie River. Collected by R. W. MacFarlane.

FIG. 6. SHAFT of spruce. The head is of steel or iron. On each side of the head are six sharp barbs put in with a file, and a portion of the long tang protruding from the shaft is also serrated. The head is split, the tang driven in and held in place by a lashing of sinew twine. Feathers, two, seized at the end by narrow bands of sinew cord and standing off from the shaft. This type of arrow is evidently the direct descendant of the aboriginal form, in which the head consists of a barbed piece and the blade. These murderous heads of iron exist in great variety over the Mackenzie region and have evidently been procured by the Eskimo from the Hudson Bay Company. A collection of them is a very interesting study in the variation of the arrowhead. Length of shaft, 2 feet; fore-shaft, 5 inches.

Cat. No. 875, U. S. N. M. Mackenzie River Eskimo. Collected by R. Kebnicott.

NOTE.-Specimens exist in the National Museum in which the iron blade is attached to the bone barbed piece thus, and also specimens in which the blade is of bone. Thus connection between the three types is established.

Plate LV
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