Join Date: Dec 2004
It is Chinese, but specifically the Manchu type which virtually supplanted the earlier Chinese and Mongol-styled bows (which resembled those still made in Korea) in China after the 17th cent.
The extensions at the end of the limbs are often referred to as "ears", and although they serve as attachments for the string, they do not flex. There is supposed to be a bridge at the base of each ear that the string makes contact with after the arrow is released, to maintain the alignment of the ears. The ears provide that extra leverage to propel the arrow, along the same principle as the spear-throwers developed by various cultures. They also allowed a very long draw-length. This enabled the bow to shoot large and heavy arrows that maximized projectile energy at the expense of velocity and range. The weight of the ears slowed down the movement of the flexible limbs to a certain extent, and thus Manchu bows were not suitable for propelling lightweight arrows at high velocity for very long distances as their Korean and Turkish counterparts are designed to do.
The Manchus developed a hunting culture requiring mounted shooters to take medium and large sized game (bear, elk, boar, tiger) at short to moderate distances in terrain that was forested or hilly and brush-covered. When they turned their focus to military conquest and the building of a new dynasty, this type of bow which emphasized knockdown power and aerodynamically stable arrows for accuracy at shorter ranges was found to be useful, since these weapons could easily penetrate chainmail and shoot accurately in close-quarter mounted skirmishing.