Miloserdov D.

Abstract:

Two different types of bows from the collection of the State Darwin Museum are described in the article. The first one is the voghul bow or the “northern bow” as the author calls it.

The “voghul” is a legacy name of the Mansi, a low-numbered indigenous community of the Khanty-Mansi autonomous District in Russia. The bow belongs to the composite type. Its long arms (totally 185 cm long) consists of the back and the inner plate glued together and fixed additionally with tendinous fiber wrapped in six points. The wood is of different species. The technology of string manufacturing permits to attribute the bow to the Mansi. The preserved arrows (91 and 93 cm long) were provided with three-side fin and special heads to hunt fur-bearing animals.

The second bow or in accordance with the author’s terminology the “southern bow” is simple. It was used by the indigenous population of New Guinea and common among the so called “primitive” peoples and tribes of Africa, Sothern America and Melanesia. The bow from the collection of the State Darwin Museum was made of sago palm which dark wood is very tough and save of checking. The bow is 163 cm long. Its string made of bamboo strip was fixed with knots. Two preserved arrows (111 and 113 cm long) were made of reed and provided with bone heads.

The author also describes the technology of both types bows, strings and arrows making while the acquired information permits him to compare the “northern” and “southern” traditions of the manufacture. The features of the Mansi composite bow in comparison with such type bows used by the nomads to the south  are specified  as well as the way and particularities of hunting. Both bows were used for hunting and to the author’s mind represent two tendencies of the weapon changing:  in the North it is a development (the transit from simple type to composite bow and later the firearms) and in the South it is stagnation (the preservation of simple bow).

Keywords: composite bow, simple bow, the State Darwin Museum, the Mansi, New Guinea, arrows, strip.