Dr. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani and Bede Dwyer
Abstract: The present article provides a translated and annotated text of a Persian archery manuscript. This untitled manuscript on archery is kept in the Majlis Library (Library of Iranian Parliament; Ketābkhāne-ye Majles Irān) with the inventory number 149. It consists of 43 pages. The author of the archery manuscript signs his name at the end of the text as al-Abdolrāji Abu Torāb al-Musavi al-Qad Makāhi and dates it to Jumada al-Thani, the year 1114, which is November 1702 in Gregorian calendar. There is no further information about the author of the archery manuscript. The manuscript consists of twelve chapters and a conclusion. In the first chapter, the author gives background information on the bow and arrows and stresses its superiority compared to other weapons. The second chapter is about the archers and bow owners, namely people who used the bows to shoot. The third chapter provides essential information on the terminology of the bow. The fourth chapter is equally important as it deals with having the right bow and equipment and shooting at the practice target. This chapter also explains how to make the practice target and how to shoot at it. The fifth chapter describes different types of weapons and compares the bow to them. The sixth chapter describes in detail different standing methods in Persian archery. The seventh chapter is also important as it describes different methods of «grasping the bow grip». This is one of the most detailed descriptions found in any Persian archery manuscript encountered by the authors of the article. The eight chapter is about nocking the arrow. The ninth chapter deals with the technique of the «thumb draw» and provides essential information on this technique. Equally important is the tenth chapter which deals with drawing techniques. The eleventh chapter provides important information about different styles of aiming. The twelfth chapter is about drawing and releasing. Finally the manuscript closes with a conclusion describing the flight archery and knowing the distance to the target. The authors of the present article have translated and annotated a number of Persian archery manuscriptss, which had been unknown before, and presented them to the scientific community. These include: a) A Persian Archery Manual by Mohammad Zamān (see Moshtagh Khorasani and Dwyer, 2016, pp. 45-65), b) Resāle-ye Qosnāmeh (see Dwyer and Moshtagh Khorasani, 2015, pp. 93-116), c) An Analysis of a Persian Archery Manuscript by Kapur Čand (Dwyer and Moshtagh Khorasani, 2013, pp. 1-12), d) A Persian Manuscript on Archery, Spear Fighting, Sword Tempering and Lance Fighting and Horsemanship by Šarif Mohammad the Son of Ahmad Mehdi (see Moshtagh Khorasani and Dwyer, 2012, pp. 1-17) and e) Jāme al-Hadāyat Fi Elm al-Romāyat [Complete Guide Concerning the Science of Archery] (Dwyer and Moshtagh Khorasani, 2012, pp. 45-60). Compared to all the manuscripts mentioned before the Persian archery manuscript written by al-Abdolrāji Abu Torāb al-Musavi al-Qad Makāhi provides the most practical advice on archery techniques which has been presented in any analyzed Persian archery manuscript.
Keywords: Archery, Persian archery, different parts of the bow, archery techniques, composite bow