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Thread: Info on papua new guinea bow and arrows

  1. #1

    Info on papua new guinea bow and arrows

    Hey all.

    Recently added a bamboo bow and a few arrows from Papua New Guinea. I've always wanted some of the arrows they are very interesting to say the least. And I could not beat the price with a baseball bat and ski mask. It always amazes me how fragile the human body is when, our bodies can take so much abuse and are so resilient but weapons made of things as simple as sharpened wood and bamboo can end it all. Anyway I've been searching the internet and the forums and cant seem to find to much information on bows and arrows from PNG. Just wondering if anyone has anything they would like to share, about mine or about PNG bow and arrows and or PNG tribal warfare. Thanks everyone in advance.

    newly made 56 1/2 inch 45# hickory longbow for scale against the 57 Inch bamboo bow, the arrows measure between 38 and 63 inches.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    623
    Looks like a recent bow. Are you planning to shoot it?

    Spare arrows are held in the bow hand. Usually used for short range shooting. Maximum range is about 100m or a bit less for typical bows and arrows, but shooting in hunting is at much shorter ranges. Bows will be shot at maximum range in warfare (and would rarely hit). Used to be the main weapon in warfare.

    There's a good description of bows and their use in the New Guinea Highlands in http://books.google.com.au/books?id=...OSFwC&pg=PA281

    Some other stuff:
    http://www.alaskabowhunting.com/PR/A...and_Arrows.pdf
    "In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.

  3. #3
    Thanks Timo!

    The bow is is very good condition. Im sure it must be somewhat newer, In my reasearch I havnt come across one similar, I dont see any indications that would stop me from trying to shooting it. I am a little unsure about what was used traditionaly as string on the bows. I know they used some sort of reed or bamboo to string the bows? I could just rig it with a flemish twist string, Ive done that with two vietnam crossbows I have. I dont think I will be shooting the arrows as I wouldnt want to risk damage but Ive got plenty of wood target arrows that would work great with it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    623
    I haven't seen a bamboo one like up-close, but I've seen photos of them. All recent (maybe 1970s at the earliest, or maybe even more recent). I've seen poor photos of much earlier bamboo bows, but they look different.

    I've seen two different kinds of strings close-up. Some kind of twisted plant fibre - I don't know what. The example at hand looks like twisted bark fibre; it also has very thin rattan or similar wrapped around it (not completely - it's a barberpole effect). This is on a bow I was going to have some students measure the force-draw curve for, but the string snapped when testing before it even got to that stage. The other type is a flat bamboo or rattan strip.

    Arrows can apparently vary from about 30g to 200g (450gr to 3000gr).
    "In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.

  5. #5
    Just a quick update. I was able to rig it with a flemish twist for a few pulls. I didnt get a chance to measure the draw weight. Just from pulling it back a few times Id say its at 40 lbs + at about 28 inches.

  6. #6
    Also forgot my little project. Couldnt figure out how to display them. Found an old spoon rack at goodwill for 2.00 the other day. Took the dremel, sandpaper, spray paint and some rubber weather stripping and ta-da instant display rack for arrows and bow.
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