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Home > Books > Additional Notes on Arrow Release > Part 15
Additional Notes on Arrow Release
Part 15 of 21

MR. VERNER, at the St. Louis Fair had charge of a number of pygmies from the Philippines. A number of the tribe known as Chiri shot for me using the Mediterranean release. (Fig. 26. See frontispiece.) The best shots among them used the tertiary release.

In the Ethnological Museum at Dresden I copied from a photograph an Aeta (Negrito) from Cagayan, Northern Luzon, in the act of shooting and he used a typical Mediterranean release. (Fig 27).

In the Smithsonian Annual Report for 1899 (p. 540) is a picture of a Negrito from the Province of Maravale, Luzon. The release shown is Mediterranean.

In Collier's Weekly, for May 13, 1899 is a picture of a Tinguian bowman of the Philippine Islands. The release shown is distinctly Mediterranean, two fingered.

In photographs of the marvellous ruins at Angkor, Cambogia, I found the figure of an archer drawing the bow and the release is plainly Mediterranean. These ruins date back to the ninth century. One might have looked for a Mongolian release. When I first defined the Mongolian release I supposed it was strictly limited to Asiatic nations. DR. FELIX VON LUSCHAN, Director of the Ethnological Museum of Berlin, in a letter to me dated July 16, 1891 announced the discovery of the Mongolian release in Africa. The following is an extract from his letter, "I am sending you a paper model of a quite new form of arrow release. It came to the Museum some days ago. I will have it photographed and published in the Transactions of our Anthropological Society, but it will be several months before it comes out, and I want you to know it as soon as possible. Our specimens came from the Wootah people (interior of Kameroun, West Africa) and were brought here by LIEUT. MORGEN. You might best call them rings for the metacarpus although they are not round. They consist of a small thin board of hard wood from four to five millimeters in thickness. This board is bent near its middle so as to form a yoke; both sides remaining quite parallel and being held together by a thin leather string, which may be tightened or loosened according to the size of the hand which is to enter. The hand enters with all four fingers, the forefinger on the side of the round angle, the little finger on the open side, naturally the broad end which is generally ornamented and comes on the dorsum manus. I hope the description is plain enough so that you may understand this marvellous kind of release. It is by far the most powerful I ever heard of, because you engage the whole hand and not only one or two fingers, and still the instant of loosing the arrow is exceedingly delicate and smooth. I think that when one has once seen this release one will find it preferable to all others, according to the form of their bows and the immense force they can employ. The Wootah have also quite enormous leather bracelets for the protection of the bow hand. A section of such a bracelet would have the form you see here (Fig. 28) only the small ovoid part forms the real bracelet, the rest is a hollow cone of thick black leather which is also ornamented with much care and taste." The Transactions of the Berlin Society of Anthropology published his paper on the "Bending of the Bow," a free translation of a portion of which is given in the end of this paper in an appendix.

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