Ju Yuan Hao target arrow
Length

Overall 86.5 cm

Effective length 82 cm

(Inside nock to base head)

 

Shaft thickness

9-11 mm

Head size

39 by 7 mm

Weight

64.3 grams

Point of balance

44 cm from nock

Materials

Abelia biflora Turcz. wood, feathers, snake skin, sinew, paper, pigments.

Origin

Beijing, China.

Dating

1950s

Provenance

From a German collector.
Probably made by Jù Yuán Hào (聚元號).

Price €150, -

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Description

A Chinese target arrow of the early Communist Era. The shaft is made of heavy liùdàomù (六道木), scientific name: Abelia biflora Turcz. It's a shrub that grows in northeast China that creates a very dense wood.

The arrowhead is a long and slender four-sided tanged bodkin. It is secured to the shaft with sinew wrapping, covered with a spiral wrap of black and yellow painted paper. The nock is wrapped with green snake skin. It is fletched with brown feathers.

 

Attribution

One clue to its production is the use of liùdàomù (六道木) that is primarily associated with the work of Jù Yuán Hào (聚元號) of Beijing.

Another clue is the black and yellow spiral wrapping of the foreshaft. Such spiral wraps first appear on Republican Period photographs. German photographer Hedda Morisson documented some bowyers at work in Beijing's bow maker's quarters in 1935 which show arrows just like that.

 

Hedda Morisson

Photo in the bow making quarters in Dongsi district, Beijing.
From an ablum of photographs by Hedda Morisson.
Harvard-Yenching Library collection.

 

Another clue as to who manufactured them, and when, is in the use of snake skin for the nock wrapping. The use of this material is not traditional, and only first seen on Chinese bows of Jù Yuán Hào (聚元號) in Beijing, made under its 9th generation bowyer, Yáng Wéntōng (杨文通) in the 1950s.

 

Yang Ruiling and Yang Wentong in the shop

The shop in the 1950s.
Left Yáng Wéntōng, right his father Yáng Ruìlín.

 

Notice how in the above photos, the nocks are not spiral wrapped anymore like in Hedda's photo of 1935. Also, on the bows on the far right you can now see snake skin is used.

Snake skin

The nock of this arrow compared to a bow made by Yáng Wéntōng behind it.
The bow is listed here on this website.

 

Conclusion

A heavy Chinese target arrow from the early Communist Era. The use of materials incidates that it was most likely made by Jù Yuán Hào (聚元號) under bow maker Yáng Wéntōng in the 1950s. 

Ju Yuan Hao target arrow

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