Kashmir bow
Overall length

147 cm

Mid-limb

Width 24 mm

Thickness 15 mm

Physical weight

403 grams

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Introduction

In old collections there are two bows that reportedly came from Kashmir. It seems that I have now found a third.

One was in the George Cameron Stone collection, who purchased it from W.O. Oldman. It is now in the Metropolitan Museum in New York, accession number 36.25.2515a–h.It is described as from Kahsmir.

Another was in the Charles E. Grayson collection, number 1994-0831. It is now in the collection of the University of Missouri and can be accessed under the same reference number in their database.It is describes as probably from Kashmir.

The bows all have a fairly strong D-shaped cross-section, with the rounded part on the outside. This is the opposite of the classic English longbow. Grayson's example is sinew-backed, which explains the cross-section. My bow is completely covered with lacquer, but I expect it is sinew backed as well.

The lacquerwork on mine indeed resembles work done in Kashmir.

 

Notes to introduction
1. This bow was published in: Stone, George C.; A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration and Use of Arms and Armor: in All Countries and in All Times. (Reprint) Jack Brussel, New York, 1961.
2. This bow was published in: Charles Grayson, Mary French, and Michael J. O'Brien; Traditional Archery from Six Continents: The Charles E. Grayson Collection. University of Missouri, 2007. Page 77.

 

Description

A very rare type of bow, probably from north India or Kashmir. The grip section has a wooden buildup that is seen on the Stone bow. It is wrapped with indigo dyed cotton, now partly faded and turned greenish, over red cotton. There are plant fibers woven into the indigo dyed cord, creating a pattern of lozenges.

Both limbs are of a strong D-shaped cross-section, with a mild concavity on the flat. The bow is covered entirely in lacquer, with various mostly geometric designs in black, dark green, yellow and red. I can attempt to describe the decorative motifs but they are best enjoyed from the photos.

The nocks are simple self-nocks, cut from the bow stave.

 

Conclusion

A very rare type of bow that is probably from Kashmir. I could find only two other examples, both in rather notable collections. This bow appears to represent the best quality, and best condition of the three.

 

Sinew backed bow from Kashmir
Sinew backed bow from Kashmir
Sinew backed bow from Kashmir
Sinew backed bow from Kashmir
Sinew backed bow from Kashmir
Sinew backed bow from Kashmir
Sinew backed bow from Kashmir
Sinew backed bow from Kashmir
Sinew backed bow from Kashmir
Sinew backed bow from Kashmir
Sinew backed bow from Kashmir
Sinew backed bow from Kashmir
Sinew backed bow from Kashmir
Sinew backed bow from Kashmir
Sinew backed bow from Kashmir
Sinew backed bow from Kashmir
Sinew backed bow from Kashmir
Sinew backed bow from Kashmir
Sinew backed bow from Kashmir
Sinew backed bow from Kashmir

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