Originally Posted by Iain
Fascinating to read the discussion as it progresses guys.
My understanding of the West African crossbows was also that they were based on designs encountered form the Portuguese.
This is an interesting link to a photo story of the Fulani protecting their herds in the modern day. It shows many interesting photos with bows.
Great story. I was rereading the story about African bows in the Traditional Bowyer's Bible, Vol. 3
. About a century ago, the Fulani were the raiders, and the Bassa (who still love their bows and poisoned arrows) were the defenders. I wonder if the reporter got the tribe identified right? The Fulani were not previously known as good archers, and "your back is as stiff a a Fulani's bow" was reportedly used as an insult.
In any case, the Bassa used an all-metal knife (!) called the manga that is used to draw the bow. The metal handle is placed just below the nock of the arrow to draw the bow, so as not to hurt the fingers (and to have a knife in hand while you shoot). Anyone seen a knife like this?