ARCHERSHIP, from past to present, what history tells
In barely all continents admirable petroglyphs, many arrowheads made from chert, obsidian, bones,
bronze and iron – besides rare and important ancient bows - constellate over 10,000 years of history and
indicate how widespread the practice of archership was.
Over the last millennia, archery inspired refined and complex artworks, such as bas-reliefs, paintings,
sculptures and literary works. It often characterised important cultures and sometimes had
divinatory and philosophical significance.
Still today, many different ethnic groups use this ancient knowledge, crafting bows and arrows
for hunting, defence and sports, in accordance with the respective traditions.
This is a precious cultural legacy for those who can still understand its value, though living in our
delirious and “advanced” societies; today various researchers and craftsmen are able to recreate, using
natural materials, exquisite implements that are so efficient they can compete with our modern bows made of
It's essential to select the right kind of wood and most suitable shaft – already figuring out the shape of the bow just by scrutinizing the wood – and then to cut and age it; it's also important to properly carve the stave by following the natural veining and finally, with dexterity, balance and complete the tool.
This bow, in all its varieties, is called selfbow, which means that it was
made out of a single wooden board or two joined at the center. In some cultures it was customary
to strengthen the back of the bow by applying sinews. Other fascinating ancient types of bows are the composite ones, from Asia. These are small to middle-sized implements, made out of various materials,
such as sinews, wood and horn; fastened tightly together, they made powerful, efficient weapons,
quite suitable for horseback archery. Depending on the skills of each craftsman, all these types of bows
represent a blending of charm, strength and functionality.
Manufacturing a complete archery gear, using traditional methods and materials, can give great
satisfaction; shooting arrows into a target, 5 or 150 meters away, safely and silently, out in the open and in
the wind, may awaken in us some deep emotions from times past.