Vintage Korean horn bow
Overall length

124 cm
(tip-tip over belly)

Limb thickness

Mid-limb 30.5 x 11mm

Physical weight

321 grams

Estimated draw weight

50-60 pounds

Origin

Korea

Materials

Bow: Wood, bamboo, sinew, horn, leather, cherry bark, cotton
Arrows: Bamboo, iron, feathers, sinew
String: Sinew and plant fiber

Dating

Before 1964
Probably 1950's to early 1960's

Price €1000, -

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Introduction

Korea is the only country in the world that managed to maintain a continuous tradition of making and shooting traditional horn-sinew composite bows. They call these bows gak-gung (각궁), literally "horn bow". The Korean bow is a very specialized design with narrow limbs and a very deep reflexed state. It is designed to shoot a long but relatively light arrow very fast and far, with a flat trajectory. This is still apparent in today's Korean traditional archery, where the typical target range is 145 meters.

 

A vintage Korean horn bow set

Presented here is a vintage Korean traditional bow set. The bow, arrows, string, and bow-bag all came from the same lot and were sent to the U.S.A. from Korea on 20 August 1964 by a soldier named Jack L. Morrone. It seems that the soldier may have picked up Korean archery in Korea, and continued to practice at home.

This set included two bows, one made for a left-handed shooter and one for a right-handed shooter. The left-handed bow we already sold, this is the right handed one.

Label on box with Korean archery equipmentLabel on the box with which the pieces came to the United States in 1964.

 

The bow

It has a fabric-covered grip with cherry bark covering the limbs just above and below. The working limbs are covered with thin beige leather, the extremities are covered with white leather. This two-color leather covering is a rarer feature but is seen sometimes in old photos. The acacia wooden ears have leather string patched and reinforcements at the tips.

 

Old Korean archer

Old photo of a Korean archer with a simlar, two-tone bow.
Unknown photographer and period.

 

The set comes complete with three arrows, its original string and bow bag it came with.

The bow seems in good enough shape to use, but Korean bows are some of the most difficult bows to string, use, and maintain in good order so do not attempt this unless you are an expert hornbow user that is familiar with these bows.

Vintage Korean horn bow set
Vintage Korean horn bow set
Vintage Korean horn bow set
Vintage Korean horn bow set
Vintage Korean horn bow set
Vintage Korean horn bow set
Vintage Korean horn bow set
Vintage Korean horn bow set
Vintage Korean horn bow set
 Vintage Korean horn bow set
Vintage Korean horn bow set
Vintage Korean horn bow set
Vintage Korean horn bow set
Vintage Korean horn bow set
Vintage Korean horn bow set
Vintage Korean horn bow set

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