Object Title

Crossbow (thami)

Crossbow (thami)



Object Number



Purchased by private treaty through Sotheby's, August 1986, with a set of bolts XXVIB.50.

Physical Description

The cross bow has a wooden tiller of thin rectangular section expanding downwards towards the fore end to accommodate the bow. Set into the top of the tiller slightly behind its mid-point is a bone plate, grooved laterally to accept the spanned string. The centtre of this groove is pierced, and the plate notched at the front and rear for a pivoting bone trigger. When the triger is in the forward position its diagonally-cut top aligns with the bottom of the groove, but when pulled back, the rear of the top rises up as it pivots forwards, pushing the string from the groove. From some 10 cm forward of the lock the top of the tiller is grooved to the fore end as a bolt guide. The bow is plain, of wood, of rectangular section, the back and belly slightly rounded. It is grooved with nocks at either end and set through the tiller, apparently secured with epoxy resin glue. The string is tied round the bow and tiller.


Dimensions: length 94.6 cm (37.3 in), width 73.6 cm (29 in) Weight: 0.80 kg (12 oz)

Inscriptions and Marks



Places Thailand


Spanned by hand and foot, such crossbows were common in the hill states of northern Thailand. They had a range of about 50 paces and with poison-tipped arrows could quickly bring down the largest game, including elephants. See G. C. Stone, 'A glossary of the construction, decoration and use of arms and armour', Portland, 1934, pp. 612-3. See also XXVIB.20.