Ancient Near Eastern (and Egyptian) Angular Bows - links and pictures

Found the following information while experimenting with wood only angular self bows : 

(from Mc Leod's "Composite bows from the tomb of", see below)
  • links to photographs, with some details, 
  • links (and a few comments) to some papers of interest.

Links to photographs of Assyrian reliefs from the
British Museum 

Click on the B.M. numbers to get to the B.M. web site and to the original photographs. The pictures shown here are only small details of the originals. Once on the B.M. site, browse the page to see the more pictures offered for the same relief.

~860 BC, Ashurnasirpal II, Nimrud, North West Palace : 

 B.M. N° 124566
B.M. N° 124567

B.M. N° 124569

B.M. N° 124534

B.M. N° 124536

B.M. N° 124544

B.M. N° 124579

~730 BC, Tiglath-Pileser III, Nimrud, Central Palace : 

B.M. N° 118899   
... focus on the bow tip :

B.M. N° 118903

~700 BC, Sennacherib, Nineveh, South West Palace :

B.M. N° 124951
proportions of the bow (length, band)
vs. proportions of the archer's body

~640 BC, Ashurbanipal, Nineveh, North Palace : 

B.M. N° 124852

B.M. N° 124884
...  bow tips ... 

... angular ...

B.M. N° 124884  (another picture)

... setting the string on one ear ...

B.M. N° 124876

draw hand

bow hand

bow ear

B.M. N° 124872

bow tips



Interesting Papers 

The representation of the bow in the art of Egypt and ancient Near East, R.H.Wilkinson, 1991
Interesting remark about the "heroic overdraw" that would be mere propaganda about king's strength. Seems doubtful to me... as we can see, every kind of archers (not only kings) and even  enemies, are depicted using this stance. [ see for instance relief n° 124536 (B.M. number) ]. Also, other works on angular composite bows found in Egypt (see below : Balfour's paper) let think that the Assyrian angular bow was a composite bow. We know that this kind of bow can be made short (ex. the traditional Korean bow used nowadays), efficient and designed to be drawn past the ear, at least by people whose arms are not too long [ see traditional Korean, Chinese, Mongolian bows and techniques ; Turkish composite traditional bow is used with a shorter draw ].

Experimental Approaches to Ancient Near Eastern archery, R.Miller, R.McEwen, C.Bergman, 1985 ?

On drawing the bow, Shelly Waschmann, 2009

On a remarkable ancient bow and arrows believed to be of Assyrian origin, H. Balfour, 1897

Composite bows from the tomb of Tutankhamum [], Wallace McLeod, 1970 [ book removed :  copyright... ] [less easy to read, low quality images]
We see that the composite angular bow length is here generally around 1m20, but N° 2 and n°4 are above 1m32.

The Bow in the Ancient Near East, a reevalutation of archery from the late 2nd millenium to the end of the achaemnid empire, C. Zutterman, 2003
Found no free version online. Can be bought for €14,00 EUR from Peeters Publishers' web site.
Contains no photos of original artifacts, but (at the end) a few simplified drawings taken from various publications. More interesting : several synthetic tables. Examples... 

from observation in museums (B.M. & Louvre)
 and from pictures found in a number of publications

Can we really say anything clear about
the Assyrian release from the depictions on the reliefs ?

Observations about NW-Iran
are based on a mere dozen illustrations...

Fig. 8 : first part

The representation of foreign soldiers and their employements in the assyrian army, Davide Natali, 2005

"Arab Archery" : An Arabic manuscript of about A.D. 1500 
"Book on the Excellence of the Bow and Arrow" and the Description thereof.
Translated by N.A. Faris and R.P. Elmer, 1945.
Chapter XV : On the different draws and the manner of locking the thumb and the index finger on the string, and on the rules of arranging the index finger upon the thumb
(found nothing that resembles the draw-hand position in the Assyrian reliefs) 

No comments:

Post a Comment