Many of the highest developments and refinements in traditional archery come from this continent’s rich treasury of knowledge and wisdom. The offerings below include samples spanning the vast space from the edge of Eastern Europe to Japan. Some of the offerings are imports and some are made in the U.S. and Canada.
Any of the Asian-type bows may be shot with the three-finger release or a thumb ring or thumb leather. All bows are equally appropriate for left or right handed persons.
Bows by Saluki Bow Company, Lukas Novotny, bowyer
(Saluki is the name of a fleet hunting dog in Northern Africa and is still in existence.)
The 52 inch Damascus (wood and fiberglass materials)
The Damascus is extremely popular with practicing mounted archers and the hunter as well. In the hunting version it is called the Ibex which has a fully developed pistol grip and shelf and is in great demand. The Damascus version can be used for hunting as well because none of the very early hunting bows had shelves. The Damascus/Ibex is inspired by Persian designs. The cast of these bows is superior because of the wide limb designs, the particular technology of the limb laminations, and the efficient leverage of the siyahs. The siyahs are highly refined and therefore have little drag compared to some Asian designs which have very heavy and long siyahs. (Siyahs are the levers on the ends of the limbs of most Asian bows and vary in length from about four to ten inches.) The bow case and quiver are made either here in the United States or in Poland and are patterned after various steppe specimens.
Saluki has a number of types of Asian inspired wood and fiberglass bows. For example, I have shot one called the Crim-Tatar for six years and love it. It differs from the Damascus slightly in the limb confirmation and is about four inches longer; pictured on home page in collage.
Saluki horn bows
Lukas Novotny is a longstanding and prolific maker of genuine horn bows. These bows replicate the ancient horn bows faithfully because they follow a careful study of intact artifacts, broken bows, actual cross-sections, and of course published and rare documents.
Asian horn bows are build around a wood core which is composed of anywhere from five to nine pieces of special woods glued together. Water buffalo horn is glued on the belly, and several layers of sinew are applied to the back with long drying periods between each layer. The construction requires a high level of skill, patience, and over a year of time. The Persians, Assyrians, Chinese, and others often decorated these masterpieces in exquisite paints and gold leaf. These royal bows draw smoothly and cast exceedingly well.
Two examples of these beautiful bows are presented.
The Crimean-Tatar (55 inches long)
Turco-Persian (52 inches long)
Bows by Jaap Koopedrayer of Yumi Archery
Jaap is a veteran master bowyer of over thirty years. Bamboo plays the key role in all his bows. He is now situated in southern Georgia with excellent bamboo groves at his disposal. Jaap has studied Kyudo in Japan and travels and studies the Asian traditions first hand, expertly and jointly with his internationally astute wife Kay. Two of his outstanding all-bamboo bows are offered.
The Yumi (the Japanese multicurved seven foot plus long bow)
The South Indian
Beloved bow of the gods of India in classic double recurve design. At 70" long, the bow is made with bamboo facings over an inner core of multiple square bamboo laminations and hardwood on the edges. Rounded at the riser to about 1" in diameter, wrapped in sting-ray skin or leather. Unique flared limb tips and hand-rubber finish. These bows can be made for a draw up to 35". Shot directly off either the right or left hand, these bows are smooth as silk. Rare smoked and naturally figured bamboos also available in the limbs and well as Japanese urushi finishes.
Asian inspired Horn Bow
Another smooth and beautiful piece with the added feature of horn on the belly and optional sinew in the back. A narrow bow of double-curved slightly asymmetrical design made with water buffalo horn belly over a core structured the same way as the Japanese Yumi. 55" to 60" long. Uncannily fast and smooth, the bow also appreciates an archer knowledgeable in the use of a thumb ring, but not necessary. Partially sharkskin covered. Draw length of bamboo-backed bow is up to 30", and for sinew backed to 35".
Turkish influenced horn bow
A truly composite reproduction using traditional materials and technology (sinew, wood, horn, and hide glues). When unstrung, some composite styles radically reflex backwards to the point of forming a "C" shape. Short, they nonetheless accommodate a fairly long draw and develop a powerful cast. Originally shot with a thumb ring. A half dozen or so are started each year. Three years to finish. The bows demand specific training to string and use. Many of Jaap’s horn bows are now finished with a dozen or so layers of Japanese urushi with an iridescent quality. This labor-intensive finish is most durable and distinct.
Horsebow by Yumi
A 51 inch wood and fiberglass with very special cord and urushi covered tips and handle. Actual grip is of leather with rattan striker plate. All-purpose bow but made especially for Krackow with the horseback archer in mind.
Koreans are well known for keeping their ancient archery tradition alive attested to by their success in Olympic competitions. They also contribute handsomely to the mounted archery world with a leading annual international competition. The modern traditional Korean bow looks very much like their older sophisticated horn bow. It is a small 47 inch piece with a very similar configuration to the Persian bow even though separated by many thousand miles. Their bow is used to shoot their 153 meter course.
Traditional Korean bow
Looks and performs almost exactly like a genuine composite horn bow. Polished black synthetic polymer belly on a laminated bamboo core and back covered with traditional birch bark. Four-inch mulberry siyahs and composition string bridge. Amazing cast. Can accommodate over-extended Korean-style draw. Suitable for many purposes.
gia tous anthropous pou by Yiorgos Mangas
vai, ce rau ma sint acuma by Gabi Lunca & Ensemble Ion Onoriu
Kay’s Thumbring Book
This is a must for anybody wanting to understand and use the thumbring. First two-thirds of the books describes its history in eight different regions of the world, and the last part describes how to use it. Spiral-bound, 82 pages, $12.50.
Archery Traditions of Asia by Stephen Selby. 2003.
Hong Kong: Hong Kong Museum of Defence. A rich sampling of bows, arrows and points from all of Asia illustrated with full color photography. $29.95.
Kyudo: The Essence and Practice of Japanese Archery by H. Onuma and Dan and Jackie DePospero. 1993.
Japan: Kodansha Publishing. The definitive work on Kyudo—all about the structure of the long Japanese bow, the Yumi, the related implements, and great detail about the philosophy and practice of shooting. $35.00
Chinese Archery by Stephen Selby. Originally 2000.
Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. 418 pages of readable but scholarly work on the great but nealy lost Chinese archery tradition. $29.95.
Krackow Company LLC, New Wilmington, Pennsylvania David and Phyllis Gray, owners 724-946-8332 firstname.lastname@example.org