Composite bow intricately painted on both sides in gold, red, green, black and white. [SM 22/02/2007]

Place details: ASIA. Pakistan / Sindh. Local Name: Dhanu Materials: Lacquer Varnish / Pigment / Glue? / Sinew? / ?. Processes: Lacquered Varnished / Painted / Glued? / Decorated / ?. Field Collector: ?Charles James Longman When Collected: By 1907 Other Owners: Charles James Longman PRM Source: Charles James Longman Acquired: Donated January 1907

KEYWORD: Composite Bow / Hunting accessory / CLASS: Archery Weapon / Hunting / ?.

Object description: Composite bow intricately painted on both sides in gold, red, green, black and white. The grip is decorated with a geometric pattern. [SM 22/02/2007]

Research notes: The following notes are drawn from research compiled by Andy Mills as part of the DCF Cutting Edge Project in 2006-2007. This bow is likely of the Islamic tradition. It is intricately painted on both back and belly in gold, red, green, black and white. It is fine and richly decorated, although not such a functional weapon as other examples of composite bows on display.

The dhanu (composite bows) of the Indian subcontinent fall into the Turko-Persian branch of the Asiatic composites, although they are not as masterfully crafted as examples from further west. The structuring of the belly, is often comprised of a mixture of glue and sinew. Indian bows also seem to be generally smaller in cross-section and length. They also rarely incorporate the bark or lacquer outer skin of their the Sino-Tartar or Turko-Persian type – being generally sealed with some metallic foil, which is overpainted (‘On the Structure & Affinities of the Composite Bow’ H. Balfour, in The Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain & Ireland. Vol. 19. 1890 pp. 220-50). [SM 28/02/2008]