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Old 26th March 2013, 06:23 PM   #31
fearn
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This is one case where calling them "tiv loop daggers" as opposed to "manga" (their Bassa name, at least), makes them much more searchable. Thanks.

Still trying to figure out how they were used to draw the bow. I think the loop goes around the knuckles, not the palm, but I could be wrong. The real issue is how to avoid cutting the string or yourself when holding a dagger point down in the drawing hand.

F
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Old 26th March 2013, 08:04 PM   #32
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Yes as far as I know it is not held past the knuckles.

I found the attached image on an older thread in the forum, which illustrates how it was held.
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Old 27th March 2013, 10:54 AM   #33
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Default 3 bows and some arrows

Here are some bows and some arrows from my 'heap' . Dont know their geographical origin but would welcome comments .

BOW 1 shaped hardwood stave length 160 cm , max width 5 cm , bamboo 'string'.
BOW 2 shaped hardwood stave length 190 cm , max width 4 cm , bamboo 'string' incised decoration at one end.
BOW 3 'natural' branch hardwood stave with only minimal working , 145 cm long, 3cm wide max, plaited leather 'string' , grip covered with leopard skin.

The 5 arrows all have bamboo shafts and vary between 105 - 170 cm in length ... all have separately fashioned 'heads' apparently of hardwood.
The arrows are not necessarily associated with the bows . The bows appear to be quite old whereas the arrows to my untrained eye look much more recent . I have owned all of them for over 20 years and they came from a house clearance in a North Wales village.
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Old 27th March 2013, 10:58 AM   #34
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Default the 3rd BOW

This is the 3rd bow .. the one with the leopard skin grip.
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Old 27th March 2013, 11:01 AM   #35
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Default the arrows

Here are the five arrows mentioned in my first post
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Old 27th March 2013, 12:55 PM   #36
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Default and more arrow pics

more views of the same 5 arrows
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Old 28th March 2013, 06:55 PM   #37
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African bows tend to have a low draw weight and for hunting tend to be short....this allows stalking and firing from concealed positions. Larger bows would get tangled with vegetation.The low draw weight is compensated by getting close to the intended prey and by the use of poisoned tipped arrows. This usually have a small barbed arrow head bound to a foreshaft which is then fixed to the main shaft. This arrangement prevents the animal rubbing against objects to remove the entire arrow . The barbed head remains in place as the thinner, weaker foreshaft breaks, leaving the main shaft behind. The poison is not fast acting and requires the hunters to stalk the injured animal for many hours.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ight=arrow+head

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ght=african+bow

David

Last edited by katana : 28th March 2013 at 07:07 PM.
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Old 28th March 2013, 09:22 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thinreadline
Here are some bows and some arrows from my 'heap' . Dont know their geographical origin but would welcome comments .

BOW 1 shaped hardwood stave length 160 cm , max width 5 cm , bamboo 'string'.
BOW 2 shaped hardwood stave length 190 cm , max width 4 cm , bamboo 'string' incised decoration at one end.
BOW 3 'natural' branch hardwood stave with only minimal working , 145 cm long, 3cm wide max, plaited leather 'string' , grip covered with leopard skin.

The 5 arrows all have bamboo shafts and vary between 105 - 170 cm in length ... all have separately fashioned 'heads' apparently of hardwood.
The arrows are not necessarily associated with the bows . The bows appear to be quite old whereas the arrows to my untrained eye look much more recent . I have owned all of them for over 20 years and they came from a house clearance in a North Wales village.


I'm guessing here, but the first two bows look like they are from Papua New Guinea, while the third bow is more likely from Africa. If the strings on the first two bows are flat, rather than round, that increases the chance, while the leather string on the third one tends to signal Africa to me.

As for the arrows, I'm leaning towards Papuan for those as well, particularly due to the lack of flights and the apparent lack of an arrow nock at the butt. These go with the flat strings.

Best,

F
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Old 28th March 2013, 11:16 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fearn
I'm guessing here, but the first two bows look like they are from Papua New Guinea, while the third bow is more likely from Africa. If the strings on the first two bows are flat, rather than round, that increases the chance, while the leather string on the third one tends to signal Africa to me.

As for the arrows, I'm leaning towards Papuan for those as well, particularly due to the lack of flights and the apparent lack of an arrow nock at the butt. These go with the flat strings.

Best,

F


Thanks , yes that makes sense to me too .
Cheers
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Old 29th March 2013, 04:33 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katana
African bows tend to have a low draw weight and for hunting tend to be short....this allows stalking and firing from concealed positions. Larger bows would get tangled with vegetation.The low draw weight is compensated by getting close to the intended prey and by the use of poisoned tipped arrows. This usually have a small barbed arrow head bound to a foreshaft which is then fixed to the main shaft. This arrangement prevents the animal rubbing against objects to remove the entire arrow . The barbed head remains in place as the thinner, weaker foreshaft breaks, leaving the main shaft behind. The poison is not fast acting and requires the hunters to stalk the injured animal for many hours.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ight=arrow+head

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ght=african+bow

David


Hi David,

I suspect you're overgeneralizing a bit. Certainly, !Kung and Pygmy bows are weak. However, there are reports of Liangulu "Elephant bows" that pulled over 100 lbs. Saxton Pope, a prominent English Archer, visited Kenya in 1925. He challenged a Wakoma archer to a friendly distance contest. Pope at first used a yew longbow and a (light) flight arrow. The Wakoma outshot him, using his hunting bow and a heavy hunting arrow. Pope then switched to the heaviest bow he owned, and managed to outshoot the Wakoma (still using his hunting rig) by ten paces, at which point he called a halt to the contest. (Traditional Bowyer's Bible, vol. 3, which is most of what I know about African bows).

I'd say that, before WW2, there was as much diversity in African bows as there is in North American bows. There were big bows around. We're just lacking samples for this website. So far.

Best,

F
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Old 29th March 2013, 05:47 AM   #41
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I DON'T HAVE MUCH ON AFRICAN BOWS AND ARROWS IN MY FILES BUT WILL SEE IF I CAN TAKE A FEW PICTURES OF ITEMS IN MY COLLECTON SOON. HERE IS A PICTURE OF 4 CONGO ARROWS.
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Old 29th March 2013, 09:30 AM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fearn
Hi David,

I suspect you're overgeneralizing a bit. Certainly, !Kung and Pygmy bows are weak. However, there are reports of Liangulu "Elephant bows" that pulled over 100 lbs. Saxton Pope, a prominent English Archer, visited Kenya in 1925. He challenged a Wakoma archer to a friendly distance contest. Pope at first used a yew longbow and a (light) flight arrow. The Wakoma outshot him, using his hunting bow and a heavy hunting arrow. Pope then switched to the heaviest bow he owned, and managed to outshoot the Wakoma (still using his hunting rig) by ten paces, at which point he called a halt to the contest. (Traditional Bowyer's Bible, vol. 3, which is most of what I know about African bows).

I'd say that, before WW2, there was as much diversity in African bows as there is in North American bows. There were big bows around. We're just lacking samples for this website. So far.

Best,

F


Precisely so , whilst the argument for smaller weaker bows in a forests is sound , the evolution of longer more powerful bows for game hunting in grassland savannah was essential in an environment where cover is scarce and a greater killing range was needed . This is seen the world over , except perhaps in nomadic horsemen who with the advantage of speed could get so much closer to game without the same need for stealth ... the smaller bow being more convenient when on horseback.
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Old 29th March 2013, 02:06 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thinreadline
Precisely so , whilst the argument for smaller weaker bows in a forests is sound , the evolution of longer more powerful bows for game hunting in grassland savannah was essential in an environment where cover is scarce and a greater killing range was needed . This is seen the world over , except perhaps in nomadic horsemen who with the advantage of speed could get so much closer to game without the same need for stealth ... the smaller bow being more convenient when on horseback.


Again, not quite. All things considered a bigger bow is desirable, because they tend to be more accurate and to throw bigger arrows. The English longbow and the older woodbows exemplified by the Eastern North American Indian bows are all examples of this, as are some African bows. If you live in the eastern US, which has a plethora of good bow wood (oak, hickory, ash, etc.), this is a really good solution.

There are two other big factors: weather and the availability of poisons. In a rain forest (or on the water) bows tend to either rot or warp (think about wet wood), so in such an environment, you're stuck with some version of a big wood bow, ideally with no knots. Those palm-wood Papuan bows are a good example. In somewhat drier environments, you can start adding backings (sinew, horn, bamboo, etc) to improve the spring, creating many variations on the compound bow. This was done all over the northern hemisphere, from the Arctic (cable backed bows) to Turkey, Korea, China, California, etc. This is an ideal solution if you're living in an area where good bow-woods are scarce but there are big ungulates to provide the other material. It's also not a bad solution if you want to beef up a big wood bow. Backings tend to be glued on, and glues can go bad in wet weather, so there's a trade-off between power and versatility/durability.

Small compound bows are useful for horseback, and are the classic solution adopted by the steppes nomads, all the cultures they contacted, and the Plains Indians. Small and powerful, they are also fussy, need a fair amount of care, and can be inaccurate (due to the small arm length).

As for poisons, they seem to be used where available. For example, some northern California tribes used small sinew-backed bows capable of taking a deer on power alone. They also poisoned their tips with rattlesnake venom. The ancient Greeks reputedly poisoned their arrows, as did the Ainu when they were hunting bears with them. The Kalahari bushmen have a crappy environment for bow woods and few tools to work them, but they have some excellent toxins, so they use light bows with tiny needle-like poisoned arrows, and kill with those. The west African tribes such as the Tiv reportedly use a mix of Calabar bean and whatever snake venom they can get their hands on, and build normal wood bows but use prickly arrowheads to get the poison in. And so forth.

Thing is, bows and arrows aren't simple. Their design takes into account the local environment, materials available, and intended use, and a lot of clever bowyers have independently come up with similar solutions for thousands of years.

Best,

F
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Old 29th March 2013, 05:16 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fearn
Hi David,

I suspect you're overgeneralizing a bit. Certainly, !Kung and Pygmy bows are weak. However, there are reports of Liangulu "Elephant bows" that pulled over 100 lbs. Saxton Pope, a prominent English Archer, visited Kenya in 1925. He challenged a Wakoma archer to a friendly distance contest. Pope at first used a yew longbow and a (light) flight arrow. The Wakoma outshot him, using his hunting bow and a heavy hunting arrow. Pope then switched to the heaviest bow he owned, and managed to outshoot the Wakoma (still using his hunting rig) by ten paces, at which point he called a halt to the contest. (Traditional Bowyer's Bible, vol. 3, which is most of what I know about African bows).

I'd say that, before WW2, there was as much diversity in African bows as there is in North American bows. There were big bows around. We're just lacking samples for this website. So far.

Best,

F



Hi Fearn,
yes generalising.... for more recent times. A number of tribes still to this day hunt with 'smaller' bows ......the rest tend to use AK45's. I agree that up the middle of the 20th century, larger bows with greater draw poundage were much more evident. Perhaps WW2 in Africa allowed greater and easier access to firearms....negating the use of the high draw weight, long bow ??
There does not seem to be many references as to the wood species used in African bowery. It seems that,in some areas, the wood may not be totally suitable and leather is used to re-inforce the bow.

All the best
David
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Old 29th March 2013, 10:38 PM   #45
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1 Lake Tumba men-1900.
2 Marungu - Tanganika.
3 Pygmée
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Old 30th March 2013, 01:32 AM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fearn
Again, not quite. All things considered a bigger bow is desirable, because they tend to be more accurate and to throw bigger arrows. The English longbow and the older woodbows exemplified by the Eastern North American Indian bows are all examples of this, as are some African bows.
[...]
Thing is, bows and arrows aren't simple. Their design takes into account the local environment, materials available, and intended use, and a lot of clever bowyers have independently come up with similar solutions for thousands of years.


For some things, bigger bows are better. Sometimes bigger arrows are better. Not always! Consider Arab/Turkish sub-drawlength arrows used with arrow-guides, or the more extremely short Korean version, where the arrows were about 1/2 the draw length.

The English longbow is one of the bows optimised for maximum energy, which is very important for armour penetration. Most game animals don't wear armour, so not such a big deal for hunting bows.

Some of the stone/iron age European bows are large, probably moderate draw weight (i.e., pretty high draw weight for us moderns), and inefficient. Inefficient is a Bad Thing in modern archery, since it robs you of speed, and thus of flat trajectory. But if you're a hunter who has to make his own arrows, low velocity is not always a bad thing - it's easier to find you arrows when you miss.

For a self bow, starting from scratch, I find it's easier to make the bow than the arrows. Losing/breaking arrows is a largely ignored disadvantage of powerful and efficient bows.

As you say, it isn't simple. The optimisations for warfare, hunting, and sporting archery are all different. That's not even looking at the different types of warfare, hunting, and sport! We can add ritual archery to the list, too.
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Old 3rd April 2013, 04:58 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thinreadline
Thanks , yes that makes sense to me too .
Cheers

The third bow looks very much like the Cameroon bow I posted at the beginning of this thread and is of a similar size.

I want to thank everyone posting, the discussion is very interesting and its great to get a better understanding behind the regional evolution of different bow types. The fact that backed bows wouldn't hold up well in many African regions isn't something I had ever realized. It's interesting how different development paths can still come up with very effective local solutions.

Great stuff and I look forward to learning more.
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Old 4th April 2013, 10:05 AM   #48
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HADZABE TRIBE: THE LAST ARCHERS OF AFRICA

Intresting blog.
http://kwekudee-tripdownmemorylane....-of-africa.html
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Old 4th April 2013, 01:10 PM   #49
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Old 18th April 2013, 06:20 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fearn
... Thanks for the reminder: I'd forgotten about the crossbows. There's a nicely mounted one in the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Reportedly it's based on old Portuguese models of centuries ago, but made out of indigenous materials, of course....

This is an appealing issue for me. I am trying to spot some info about this topic, but it reveals hard to happen.
But at searching the theme i have read a lecture from qualified sources that bows and crossbows were used by both sides in the take over of Lisbon, Silves and Santarem from the Moors, in the XII century... Moors having invaded the peninsula in the VII century, coming from North Africa.
The lecturer inferred that there is not much material written on this theme in the period, due an ideologic despise against weapons that killed at distance, in favour of swords and lances, used in singular combat; hence the bow being called the forgotten weapon of the Reconquest.
It is also known that crossbows and bows were the vital weapon in battles fought by Portuguese low nobility, supported by populars, against Spaniards top royalty in the XIV century, to reassure Portugal independence; having the Portuguese been helped by allied British archers with their long bows. We may conclude that Portuguese bows were shorter, but i could find no evidence in my (rather simple) search.
Drawings of Portuguese archers or crossbow men are rare; and even the ones that show up are symbolic or alegoric.
On the other hand we can read chronicles of the discoveries period (XV-XVI century), where the crossbow is often mentioned. Perhaps at this stage the bow was abandoned.
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