Language: Mandarin Chinese
Source: Period dictionary


Xián gé dā (弦挌搭) literally means "bowstring knot".

It is the name of the know made at the start of the loop on either side of the bowstring.

During the Qing dynasty (1644-1912) there were two basic styles of bowstrings. One type is made of a single string that formed a loop on either end with a knot. The other type has separate loops, tied to a centerpiece.


Bowstring knots
Bowstring knots.
Top: On an antique strung bow
Middle: Antique ramie string, one piece
Bottom: Antique silk string with separate loops

Bowstring loops and knots

Knots in two Qing bowstrings.
Left: Knots on a silk string made with separate loops.
Right: Antique ramie string made of a single, long piece.


Other terms

Qing bow glossary




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



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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A rather well-made example of its type.


A bronze processional piece with reign marks attributing it to the year 1864.


Such rings were worn by Qing dynasty "bannermen" as a sign of their status as a conquest elite.


A Chinese sword guard from the 18th century with a Buddhist mantra in lantsa script.


A very rare Chinese saber guard dating from the height of the Qing dynasty.


The wide blade with clipped tip mounted on a riveted wooden grip.