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Old 30th November 2017, 03:14 PM   #1
colin henshaw
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Default Tribal India ?

This small group of weapons came together recently, and are a bit of a puzzle.
Based on the small/miniature axe, I am thinking from Tribal India somewhere ? (Khond ?).

The little axe is 60cm in length and very light, it would be of no use as a weapon. Could it be made for a child or for ceremonial use ? The bow and arrows do not really look African to me, as African bows do not normally have that type of split bamboo bowstring.

Anyway, can anyone help out with identification and any relevant information ?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 2nd December 2017, 12:01 AM   #2
Timo Nieminen
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The arrowheads look very African to me.

Strings like this are/were used in the Congo Basin (and West Africa too, I have read, but the examples I've seen have been Congo). Two examples of such strings in Traditional Archery from Six Continents (139 and 140), though the nocks are different (only one tip of the bows are shown, not the whole bows). Size is also common enough for Congo bows.

The arrows might not belong to the bow (and might not be from the same continent). The bowstring is flat, and the arrows have nocks.
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Old 2nd December 2017, 03:18 PM   #3
colin henshaw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timo Nieminen
The arrowheads look very African to me.

Strings like this are/were used in the Congo Basin (and West Africa too, I have read, but the examples I've seen have been Congo). Two examples of such strings in Traditional Archery from Six Continents (139 and 140), though the nocks are different (only one tip of the bows are shown, not the whole bows). Size is also common enough for Congo bows.

The arrows might not belong to the bow (and might not be from the same continent). The bowstring is flat, and the arrows have nocks.


Good point about the nocks and the bowstring. I have looked through the book on African archery equipment "Ata Epe" but cannot see a bow stave with those distinctive carved tips. There are some arrows illustrated with fletching a bit similar to these, however.

Any thoughts on the diminutive axe ? I should mention that the axe shaft and arrow shafts appear to be made of the same type and width of bamboo...
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Old 2nd December 2017, 11:07 PM   #4
Timo Nieminen
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I haven't seen an Afican bow with nocks/tips like that.

The axe looks Indian. Khond? So, the obvious next step is to look at Khond bows. Here is one in the British Museum: http://www.britishmuseum.org/resear...571416&partId=1 (photo attached) with a rattan string very similar to yours. The nocks/tip aren't a closer match than the African bows, though. (The African bows in Six Continents might have rattan strings too, rather than bamboo (the text says bamboo).)

The African thing about the arrows is the heads: Z-cross section blades, a mix of double and single barbs, and a needle point. (Is the needle point iron or something else? African needle point heads are often hardwood and grooved (for poison).) I don't know enough about tribal Indian archery to say whether or not they're plausibly Indian or not.
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Old 3rd December 2017, 09:23 AM   #5
colin henshaw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timo Nieminen
I haven't seen an Afican bow with nocks/tips like that.

The axe looks Indian. Khond? So, the obvious next step is to look at Khond bows. Here is one in the British Museum: http://www.britishmuseum.org/resear...571416&partId=1 (photo attached) with a rattan string very similar to yours. The nocks/tip aren't a closer match than the African bows, though. (The African bows in Six Continents might have rattan strings too, rather than bamboo (the text says bamboo).)

The African thing about the arrows is the heads: Z-cross section blades, a mix of double and single barbs, and a needle point. (Is the needle point iron or something else? African needle point heads are often hardwood and grooved (for poison).) I don't know enough about tribal Indian archery to say whether or not they're plausibly Indian or not.


Thanks for your post. The arrowheads are all of iron.

I did some internet searching and found these images of Khond archery. It seems all my items could be Khond ? Wonder what the hole in the axehead is for ... the attachment of adornments or just for fixing to a wall ?
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Old 3rd December 2017, 03:17 PM   #6
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Colin I think you are right about somewhere on the Indian subcontinent. There are or were many forrest peoples in both Ceylon and in India besides those known as the Kond. The axe is Kondish, when I get my PC to recognise my scanner I have a picture of Indian forest people called "Kols" to post. It is not terribly detailed but you can see the flat bows, something not African in general.
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Old 3rd December 2017, 04:45 PM   #7
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Interesting image here (from the internet) of the Santhal Rebellion, 1855. Note the arrows.
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Old 3rd December 2017, 05:00 PM   #8
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That fellow with the bow is pretty much spot on. I do think you can see binding on the flat bow. All very cool.
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Old 4th December 2017, 05:20 PM   #9
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Trying to think what the small axe could be for ... one possibility :-

The axe or "parashu" was an attribute for some Hindu deities, so could my example have been part or a large, probably wooden figure of a deity ? This could explain the hole in the blade, ie. for fixing the axe to the wood.

Just an idea.
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Last edited by colin henshaw : 4th December 2017 at 06:04 PM.
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