Language: Old Javanese
Source: Period account


Gendewa, also spelled gendeva is an old Javanese word for "bow".

These are the bow and arrow (gendewa / pana) which are seldom used in modern times except on state occasions.

The arrows termed chákra, paspáti, trisúla, waráyang, diwál, róda dedáli, and others of a similar form, as well as the clubs called indán, gáda, and dénda, are represented as the weapons used by the gods, demigods, and heroes of antiquity, and are constantly referred to in the mythological and historical romances of the Javans, and exhibited in their scenic and dramatic entertainments.1

-Thomas Stanford Raffles, 1871


Illustration, archery, Raffles

Illustration of Indonesian archery equipment.
Raffles, 1817.


There are several types of Javanese bows, including one with limbs made entirely of horn, a takedown type with bamboo or rattan limbs, and one made of a single piece of rattan or bamboo.2

Mostly used for archery competitions, they were shot sitting cross legged, facing the target, while the bow was held horizontal.3

A thorough article about the bows and blowguns used throughout the archipelago, with fine illustrations, is by Pleype, written in 1891. Link in footnote! 4


1. Thomas Stanford Raffles; The history of Java. Vol 1. Page 295.
2. Doug Elmy; Javan Archery. Journal of the Society of Archer-Antiquaries 14, 1971.Pages 27-28.
3. Wolfgang Barti; A Javanese bow and arrows. Journal of the Society of Archer-Antiquaries 1998. Pages 57-58.
4. C.M. Pleyte; Sumpitan and bow in Indonesia. Internationales Archiv für Ethnographie. Band IV, Heft VI. Leiden. 1891. Pages 265-281.

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