Object Title

Composite bow

Composite bow



Object Number



Collected or made by the bowyer to Mary Rose, 1980-2000. No records of acquisition survive, when purchase was made in 2010 the then owner had no knowledge of earlier provenance; auction catalogues have been checked for the period. Purchased on 5th july 2010.

Physical Description

The bow is composite, the belly formed of single slats of black horn, the core of wood and the back of sinew covered with what appears to be lacquered and painted birch bark. It has long ears, and the string ridges appear to be fashioned from bone (there is a possibility that it may be antler). The grip is of oval section and is bound with cork with panels of ray skin at either side for the arrows. The belly of the bow is lacquered in yellow ochre, probably originally of more gold in appearance, with bold brush strokes creating designs of black leaves (?) or perhaps a simulation of birch trunks (?) along the length. A section of rattan binding has been added at the base of one of the string bridges where the bow has split in its working life. The string bridges may be associated/contemporary but are attached by modern wood screws. There is a small scalloped section of lacquer decoration covering the horn at either end of the bow.



OverallLength1110 mm
OverallWeight0.621 kg

Inscriptions and Marks

None found


Places China/Asia


Typical of the main group of Manchu military bows.