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Home > Books > A Study of Bows and Arrows > Polynesian Bow
Bows

Polynesian Bow

A Polynesian bow, made of some heavy black wood, was given me by Mr. John Wightman, a South Sea Island merchant. Length, 6 feet 7 inches. Its general shape is flat on the back and convex on the belly, wide in the cen­ter, with tapering ends. There are conical nocks with carving on the outer limbs just below them. Center, 1¾ by⅝ inches, circumference, 4⅛ inches; mid-limb, 1¼ by⅝, circumference, 3⅛ inches; at the nocks, ½ by ½, cir­cumference, 2 inches. No string was attached, and a linen one was supplied. When drawn 28 inches it weighs 48 pounds and casts 163 yards. Its cast is sluggish and heavy and it jars in the hand badly. It is not a good bow from an archer's standpoint. With a longer flight arrow, and drawing it over 34 inches, this bow shot 187 yards.

The arrows that came with the bow, two in number, were of bamboo, 5 feet long, with a heavy black wood for a foreshaft and no feathers. They were apparently in­tended for shooting fish. When shot over the target course they flew most erratically and their extreme range was 136 yards. These arrows were beautifully decorated with engraved formal designs, bound at the nocks and joint with foreshaft, with a dark fiber-like rattan.

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