Language: Mandarin Chinese
Source: Period dictionary

Description

Huà huà pí (畫樺皮) literally means "painted birch bark". It covered the backside of the working limbs of composite bows.

Birch bark is a natural membrane that helps protect and regulate the moist content of the sinew backed limbs of a composite bow. It was usually decorated by painting it, often in addition to patchwork done with painted birch bark, paper or cherry bark.

During the Qing dynasty, bow limbs often showed patterns of stylized tiger stripes.

 

Painted bark on bow

The painted birch bark covering of the back of the limbs on a Qing dynasty bow.
They are an abstract rendition of tiger stripes.
Sold by Mandarin Mansion in 2018.

 

Hua pi

A repetitive stylized tiger stripe pattern. This style was typical on bows of the middle decades of the 19th century.
Private collection.

 

Late 19th bark

Painted birch bark decoration on a folding bow of the late 19th century.
Sold by Mandarin Mansion in 2020.

Other terms

 

Qing bow glossary

#
 

English
 

Chinese
 

Pinyin transliteration
 

  Bow Gōng
1. Bow grip 弓弝 Gōngbà
2. Sides of bow grip 弓弝膀子 Gōng bà bǎngzi
3. Arrow slipping spot 箭溜子 Jiàn liūzi
4. Bow ear 弓弰 Gōng shāo
5. Tip 弰頭 Shāo tóu
6. String notch 扣子 Kòuzi
7. String bridge 弓墊子 Gōng diànzi
8. Bow knee (lit. "brain") 弓腦 Gōng nǎo
9. Painted birch bark 畫樺皮 Huà huà pí
10. Bow face 弓面 Gōng miàn
11. Bowstring 弓弦 Gōng xián
12. Bowstring knot 弦挌搭 Xián gé dā

 

 

Notes
All terms are from the Wuti Qingwen Jian (五體清文鑑)or "Five Languages Mirror", a Qing imperial dictionary in Manchu, Mongolian, Uighur, Tibetan and Chinese of circa 1790. Commissioned by and published under the Qianlong emperor.

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