Antique Manchu composite bow | Mandarin Mansion

Antique Manchu composite bow

Length: 179 cm / 70.5 inch (measured tip to tip over the belly)
Ear length: 30 cm and 27.5 cm (measured tip to knee)
Effective ear length: 21 cm / 8.25 inch (nock to middle of string bridge)
Mid-limb thicknesses and width: 18 x 34 mm and 17 x 33 mm.
Weight in hand: 739 grams

A late Qing composite bow, of the Manchu style with horn bellies and birch bark covered backs. The most striking feature of the bow is that the abstract "tiger stripe" inspired pattern is in red and black, whereas usually it is red or black combined with the natural color of the birch bark. It is of rather good quality, with ears that are covered in polished ray-skin, also lacquered red. The bow is in good shape, save for a small area of lifting sinew on one of the limbs; probably working life damage that took the bow out of active service. One of the wooden string bridges seems to have been re-attached later. This is quite common, often these bows have even lost one or two bridges entirely.

Two Manchu archers photographed by John Thomson in Beijing in 1872. Note how they seem to be using very similar bows, down to the pattern on the birch bark.

The workmanship is nice throughout. The ray-skin is very precisely joined. Both nocks have buffalo horn inserts. The horn bellies are polished to a silky gloss. The horn exhibits some interesting activity, see photographs. The handle is covered with leather, with green treated leather on either side. The ridged sections are pronounced and the ears are slender: This is a well-made bow.

Overall a nice quality Manchu style bow of the late Qing dynasty.

Price € 650,-

Interested? Questions?