Tiger's tail patterned Mongolian composite bow | Mandarin Mansion

Tiger's tail patterned Mongolian 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 large composite bow made in Northern China or Mongolia, probably dating from the 19th century, possibly earlier. It features a flatter profile as compared to Manchu style bows, and a lower amount of bend in the knees commonly seen in Mongolian bows of this period.

It has substantial wooden ears with no reinforcement. The sinew is left without the usual birch bark covering but is exposed throughout, only covered with a thin layer of what could be lacquer or shellac to protect it from the elements. Slight wear from the string at the nocks and some more where the arrow passes the handle indicated that this was its finished condition in which it was used. Don't let the simplicity of the bow fool you, all parts are of good quality. It has ingot shaped deer antler string bridges on the dense ears of cognac colored wood. On either side of the handle is a small piece of ray-skin to protect it from the wear of the arrow. Strips of rattan seal the sides of the horn where it is glued on the core.

A photograph of a Mongolian archer shooting a very similar bow. Unknown Russian photographer.

The most striking feature of the bow are the top quality horn bellies. Horn with special effects was highly prized. Among the rarest types of horn was the so called "tiger's tail" patterned horn. The large horn slabs on this bow exhibit the most extreme and obvious tiger's tail pattern I have ever seen. The perfect white chevron patterns are brought out with a polish with a high gloss. The bow lets the natural material speak for themselves, instead of relying on decorative motifs, something normally associated with rather early bows.

The bow is substantial in size and probably had the respectable draw weight of about 70 - 80 pounds.

A stunning, large and heavy bow with very rare horn.


Interested? Questions?
Contact peter@mandarinmansion.com