This would cover the top part of the gorytos down to the suspension point. It is clearly shown on the persepolis shakespeare reliefs and in many Greek vase depictions. The leather tab on the bow case part of the Urumqi museum gorytos may represent another way the gorytos could be worn. If a strap ran from the upper edge suspension point of the gorytos to the hole in the tab, the strap could be slung over the left shoulder. This should make the gorytos hang diagonally across the back and position the openings of both bow case and quiver next to the right shoulder. This is pure speculation. T he Origin of the Scythians. Warlike horse nomads are first mentioned in the west in Assyrian documents in the eighth century bce.
This piece of equipment was common from Scythia and Greece in the reviews west to siberia in the east. Although there were obvious variations between the eastern and Western version of this equipment, they shared a number of key features. The quiver was attached to the outside face of the bow case when the bow was pointing backwards. About two-thirds of the bow was inside the case. The arrows are usually slightly shorter than the case, although the quiver portion of the gorytos can be shorter than the whole. The main decoration of the gorytos is on its outside face, the side to which the quiver is attached. The bowstring was uppermost when the bow was in the case unlike later bow cases for the strung bow. Figure 8 Drawing of a gorytos of the eastern type. It is worth mentioning too that there are many indications that a soft leather or cloth cover could be slipped over the upper end of the bow to protect it from the weather.
The sketch of the drawn bow is tentative and almost certainly incorrect in detail. The bow would have had a greater bend closer to the handle than I have drawn. However, the degree of this will need to be determined by experiment. Scythian artwork often shows the parts of the limbs I have crosshatched horizontally bent almost parallel to the arrow, as in a korean bow. . Stephens measurements of the bow indicate the stiffness of the bow was varied by reducing the width rather than by changing the shape of cross-section. Judging by the sections at the recurves, they may have been flexible enough to straighten out partly at full draw. However, in art, the representations usually show a prominent recurve at the tips when the bows are fully drawn. Figure 7 a western Scythian style bow reconstruction by david Betteridge. At least one of these bows was buried in a combined bow case and quiver that the Greeks called a gorytos (γωρυτός written gorytus in Latin).
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However, Stephen advised me that the thread could not be identified under the layer of lacquer and the nature of the lacquer itself has not been determined yet. The bow is dated approximately 600 bce, but may be later. The Scythians were prominent in the west between 750 bce and 300 bce. After that time they went into decline though enclaves survived into the current era in the Crimean peninsula. Figure 5 a scythian style bow from Subeshi in Shanshan county, xinjiang. There is some distortion in these bows student caused by their 2,500-2600 year burial.
In both pictures that I saw the lower limb is twisted near the tip vii. Stephen tells me that the tips appeared identical. The limbs themselves are of different lengths when measured from the central dip of the handle. However, this central set back is probably not where the bow was held. Both Greek and Scythian works of art often show the bow gripped below this point. There are even some Chinese bas-reliefs showing a similar bow gripped above the set-back resume viii. Figure 6 A sketch of how a bow may have appeared strung and drawn.
Both were displayed with bowstrings and arrows of about the right length iii, though they may not have originally associated with these particular bows. Figure 4 Simplified drawing of bow tip from belly side showing string groove. Stephen measured one bow and found that it measured about 130 cm around the curves and 119 cm in a straight line from one end to the other. The centre of the set back grips is 53 cm from on end and 66 cm from the other. This is a straight-line measurement.
The centre of the bow was 4 cm wide and tapered.5 cm at the mid-limb. The limbs were bound with thread iv below a layer of lacquer. If the materials are really silk and Chinese lacquer, then the use of these materials clearly suggests Chinese craftsmanship. Silk wrapped and lacquered bows have been excavated in Warring States and Han tombs. . However, the bow was found in a cemetery primarily containing people of European features. Whether the bow was finished or recovered by a chinese artisan or complete constructed by one is hard to say at the moment.
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This is not an accident. Despite being found in the modern confines of China, this bow represents a survival of the ancient Scythian dubai bow, which was used from Italy in the west to hazlitt the north of China in the east. Roman armies might have carried them even further west. Remains of later Roman archery equipment have been found in Britain, both grip scales and laths for the ears. However, the Scythian bow would leave no telltale laths in the archaeological records. Even in the heartland of the Scythians, modern Russia and the ukraine, very few identifiable remains of bows remain. Figure 3 Subeshi bow and Sections (Not to scale). Stephen viewed several bows in the museum in Urumqi. Two in particular recall Scythian bows of the west.
Another feature that was person rare in more recent traditional composite bows was that the tips were smoothly recurved. The recurves had string grooves on their belly sides like modern target recurve bows. The cross-section of the recurve was more like a slightly flattened oval. For part of this there is a groove on one side as just mentioned. This feature is totally unlike the bow tips on later composite bows. The term we use for bow tips, siyah, is not really appropriate. Figure 2 Cross-section of recurve. In outline, the bow looks like the Classical Cupids bow of Greek and Roman art.
and Scythian i art. I will discuss why this is not so surprising below, but firstly i will describe one of the bows. The bow in question possessed a feature that is no longer common in modern composite bows. It was thick and narrow in the cross-section of that part of the limb where it bends. Unlike later bows, with their broad lenticular or rectangular bending sections, this bow had a triangular section with the apex on the belly side of the limb. The back of the bow was slightly convex and formed the base of the triangle. At the centre of the bow, the limbs are 4 cm wide. For a greater part of the limb it had this unusual shape. Figure 1 Cross-section of centre area of bow.
Since early exploitation by foreign archaeologists in the good nineteenth and early twentieth century, the area has continued to reveal amazing relicts of the past. Modern Chinese archaeologists have revealed more details of the ancient inhabitants and their ways of life. The unique dry conditions have preserved usually perishable artifacts and even the bodies of some of the people buried there. What have surprised many in the west were the european features of some of the bodies. However, ancient Chinese historians had recorded the variety of races on their northwestern border as far back as the han Dynasty. This area was both a trade route and the point of contact many people from different environments and cultures. People farmed and traded in the oases and nomads visited both for trade and warfare.
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By bede Dwyer, introduction. This is written to give a historical context to the information that Stephen Selby brought back from the museum in Urumqi on some ancient bows. They have not been widely published in Chinese or English, but they are very significant for the study of archery history. . Stephen supplied me with the descriptions, but my imagination supplied the reconstructions. I also redrew his sketches so any errors are mine. The location, shanshan county, to the east evernote of Urumqi, is on the northern route of the silk road, which splits in two to pass the extremely arid takla makan Desert. To the east is the gobi desert; to the west is the tarim Basin, which drains the mountains to the north. Its watercourses eventually evaporate in the takla makan. Subeshi (Subeixi) is situated to the east of the famous Silk road town of Turpan (Turfan).