DIY Mongolian bow at home. Mongolian bow: why the Mongols had no equal in battle. photo. Ancient bow equipment

The invention of the bow, the oldest long-range throwing weapon, completely overturned previously existing ideas about hunting and war. At first glance, this is a very simple weapon in its design. But over the millennia of its history, the bow has been repeatedly improved, going from an ordinary wooden stick with a bowstring to a rather complex device made of various materials.

Emergence and development

The principle of operation of the bow is very simple. A flexible stick bent in an arc tends to straighten. If you tighten its ends with a bowstring, then when straightened, it imparts enough energy to the arrow to make it fly a distance significantly greater than the throwing range of the dart.

According to their design, bows are divided into:

  • simple, consisting of a single piece of wood;
  • reinforced, in which a solid wooden base is reinforced in certain places with overlays made of plates of wood, horn or bone;
  • complex, in which the bow shaft consists of more than one layer of material, and the wooden base is a single piece along the entire length of the bow;
  • composite, in which the bow shaft is assembled from several short parts made of various materials, each of which is characterized by special physical properties.

The technology for making reinforced and composite bows appeared in ancient times in the Middle East, where there was always an acute shortage of quality wood. The nomads from the Great Steppe, for their part, began very early to experiment with the use of various materials in the construction of the bow and achieved significant success in this search.

Image of Amazons shooting from Scythian bows

In the era of classical antiquity, the small Σ-shaped double-curved “Scythian” bow became widespread. Images of the “Scythian bow” are presented on dozens, if not hundreds of monuments of artistic art, from Southern Europe and the Middle East to Central Asia, and on all monuments it looks almost the same. Judging by these images, the length of the “Scythian” bow could range on average from 60 to 110 cm, which made it possible to effectively use it both on foot and on horseback. Small in size, the “Scythian” bow was a very powerful weapon. According to an inscription from Olbia, Anaxagoras, the son of Dimagor, shot such a bow at a distance of 521 m.

Further development of production technologies led to the appearance first of the Kushana-Sassanian bow, and then of the Hunnic type - larger and more powerful, parts of which were made from various types of wood, tendons and horn linings. By alternating rigid (horns and handle) and flexible (shoulders) parts of the bow using overlays on a wooden base, the steppe peoples achieved excellent results in archery.


The study of the remains of bows and finds in the workshops where they were made makes it possible to identify the design, material and recreate some of the preliminary operations for their manufacture.

At the first stage, the base of the bow, or kibit, was made from wood, to which the remaining parts were then attached. The wood for the base did not have to be particularly strong, since the elements made from it experienced minimal stress compared to other parts. Typically, maple and birch were used as materials. The wooden base was first soaked in cold water for about two days, then softened by steam for about two hours, given the required shape using wooden patterns, and finally dried for two weeks.

Parts of the wooden base of a compound bow

At the second stage, the ends of the bow were made. To make them as rigid as possible, they were reinforced on both sides with a pair of bone plates. Then the ends of the bow were attached to the base at an angle, the junction was wrapped with leather thread, and the entire structure was left in a warm and dry room for about a year.

At the next stage of production, parts made from horn were glued to the inside of the wooden base of the bow. When drawn, the bow is subjected to loads that differ in different parts of the bow. The outer side of the bow experienced tensile deformation, the inner side experienced compression. Compared to wood, which undergoes shape deformation at only 1 percent of compression, horn contracts 4 percent before deformation occurs. To achieve this result, a force of approximately 13 kg/mm2 should be applied. In addition, the horn quickly restores its original shape after the force acting on it is removed.

The horns of a buffalo, long-horned bull or mountain goat were best suited for making bows. During the processing process, the horn was first cut to the required length. Then, if it was bent, it was steamed and straightened, keeping it in a special wooden form. The surfaces of the contacting materials were treated with a serrated scraper, after which glue was applied to them, and the parts were firmly connected to each other. The resulting element was bent in the required direction and dried in this form for two or more months.

At the last stage of production, the onion is bent forward with its horns and dried in this form for a year

When the bow limbs were completely dry, tendons were attached to their outer side. This material is characterized by increased strength with a tensile force of about 20 kg/mm2. Bows were made using the back tendons of a cow or deer, which were dried and then kneaded.

The tendons were attached to the wooden base using glue, which was made from dried fish bladders. This glue was more moisture-resistant and elastic compared to casein glue, which was boiled from animal skins and bones. Before gluing, the ends of the bow were tied and it was pulled in the opposite direction. The adhesive composition was applied to the base as many times as possible, then the tendons were glued. All this was dried, and the bow was pulled together even more tightly, then another part of the tendon fibers was attached, and so on until the ends of the arms were connected. Ultimately, the weight of the tendons accounted for up to half of the total mass of the bow. When the process was completed, the master pulled the onion into a ring and left it to dry for another year.

Arrow quiver and saadak of a Turkish bow from the 17th–18th centuries

After the glue had completely dried, the bow was covered with strips of boiled birch bark or thin leather to protect it from moisture, and could also be varnished and painted. The entire process of making a bow took the master from one to three years, and individual parts had to be made at a certain time of the year.

The result of these laborious efforts was an unusually flexible and powerful bow. Without the bowstring, it had a reverse curvature, the tendons were very tense. Such a bow resisted tension from the very first millimeters. When the bow was fully drawn, the limbs curved outwards and acted as levers, bringing the string tension to its maximum. When tensioned, the horn worked in compression, and the tendon worked in tension. Both materials tended to return to their original state and enhanced the power of the bow and the energy imparted to the bowstring. In addition, due to its greater flexibility, the compound bow could be pulled very tightly without the risk of breaking it. This further increased the energy of the bow and the initial speed of the arrow.

Quiver with arrows and saadak made in Russia from the 17th century

When compared with a simple one, a compound bow had significantly greater strength and durability, which allowed it to serve its owner for several decades. The fact is that a simple bow is quite short-lived. In a tense state, the tree quickly lost its elasticity and became deformed, so the bowstring was pulled on the bow only immediately before the battle.

A compound bow could be kept under tension for a long time without the risk of losing its properties. On a hike, this made it possible to wear it almost constantly in combat-ready condition, although, of course, during long-term storage the string was removed from such bows. In battle, a drawn bow was usually carried in a saadak, a flat triangular case. Saadak was hung on the left on the same belt on which the quiver of arrows was worn.

A compound bow in an unstrung form, with a taut string and in the position before the shot


When the bow was pulled, the string experienced a huge tensile load, so the technology of its manufacture was as important as the technology of making the bow itself. As a rule, bow strings were made from linen, cotton or silk yarn, as well as from sheep intestines prepared in a special way. The strongest bowstrings consisted of approximately 60 twisted fibers and were up to 3 mm thick.

Archers always carried one or more items in reserve, including special types of bowstrings designed for certain weather conditions. For example, a bowstring made of horsehair was good in frosty weather, but, unlike a bowstring made of leather or tendon, it easily absorbed moisture and stretched. To attach it to a bow, the string was tied at each end with a complex knot, forming a separate loop of strong and tightly twisted tendon. This method of fastening prevented its wear. The ends of the bowstring were inserted into special notches on the bone horns of the bow.

Various techniques for tying a bowstring and how to attach it to the ends of the bow horns

To pull the string of a powerful compound bow, the archer needed to apply a force equivalent to 50–75 kg. This required great muscle strength and constant training. According to eastern treatises on archery, tension could be carried out in one of three ways. Pulling the bow with a “jerk”, the shooter raised his hands up, then lowered them down, simultaneously spreading them to the sides: pulling the bow, aiming at the target and shooting were carried out in one continuous movement. When “holding,” the bow was smoothly drawn, followed by a pause for aiming and a shot. By “cheating” the bow was pulled halfway, then a pause was made and a “jerk” shot followed.

The Mongols pulled the bowstring with their thumb. In this case, the arrow was placed to the right of the bow, which made it possible to avoid injury to the forearm due to careless or inept handling of the weapon. In addition, such a grip did not lead to overexertion of the hand, which is important when pulling a tight, complex bow. To make it easier to pull the bowstring, a bone or horn ring was put on the thumb. The bowstring was released using a small smooth protrusion, the so-called “ring lip.” As a result, the load on the hand was reduced, and the shot itself occurred smoothly and without jerking.

Different types of bowstring grip: 1 – Persian; 2 – European; 3 – Mongolian

In Western Europe and Rus', the bow string was pulled with the index and ring fingers, and the arrow was held between the index and middle fingers. The arrow was located to the left of the bow, so the left forearm was easily injured in case of careless or inept handling of the weapon.


Bow arrows could be made of reed, reed, birch, poplar, walnut, and willow. Heavy arrows were made from poplar for close combat, and light arrows were made from willow for shooting at extreme distances. Reed arrows had the longest range, but were also the most fragile and broke quickly. To straighten the wooden blank for the shaft, it was heated over a fire and leveled by hand. The length of the arrow was equal to the distance from the shoulder to the end of the middle finger, or from the armpit to the end of the middle finger, or from the elbow to the other elbow, if the fists rested against each other. The arrow had a plumage of two or four feathers, connected so that it twisted slightly in flight. Feathers from geese, swans, owls and other large birds were used for plumage. Sometimes plumage could be made from thin sheets of parchment.

Arrows and their tips of various types

Arrowheads come in different sizes and shapes. The socketed points were attached to the shaft by means of a metal sleeve, the stem points were inserted into the tip of the shaft by means of a thin spike and secured in place with glue and tendon fibers. The latter significantly prevailed over the others. The arrows were carried in a cylindrical quiver made of wood, birch bark and leather. The quiver could hold about 20 arrows. Steppe nomads, as a rule, carried arrows with the tip up, so that the archer could select the type of arrow he needed by touch. To prevent the feathers of the arrows from becoming wrinkled in the quiver, its lower part was made wider than the upper.


The compound bow was a formidable weapon, capable of striking enemies at great distances. In terms of firing range, it was one third superior to a simple bow, being capable of sending arrows to a distance of 375 meters and even further. However, the effective firing range of the composite bow was 175 meters, and the sighting range was from 50 to 75 meters. At this distance, the arrow pierced the chain mail. A well-trained archer at this distance can hit the center of a target about a meter in diameter.

Indo-Iranian archer, 17th century

At a greater distance, shooting was carried out “in areas” and for “harassing fire,” forcing the enemy to stay at a considerable distance. As the distance increased and shooting “in areas,” the effectiveness of the shelling decreased. When conducting staged experiments, an experienced archer at a distance of 90–270 meters accurately hit a target 45 meters in front and 18 meters in depth, simulating a detachment. At a distance of 300 meters and beyond, the hit percentage dropped by half.

A study of sources shows that when shooting at concentrations of enemy manpower, horse archers fired from a long distance in a volley, sending arrows with great frequency, almost without aiming. The rain of arrows falling from the sky had a strong psychological effect on the enemy and caused significant losses. By maintaining a high rate of fire for some time, they sought to force the enemy to counterattack in a position unfavorable to him, or to retreat.

Turkish archer in a 17th century miniature

The individual training of archers was very high. Professional archers knew how to shoot while sitting in the saddle, standing on their feet and squatting. They knew how to throw an arrow over the fortress wall and let it fall under raised shields. At a normal pace, the archer should have fired 12 shots per minute, and if necessary, twice as much. It was expected that a well-trained horseman, galloping, should be able to fire five arrows while reducing the distance with the enemy from 30 to 5 meters. To maintain a high rate of fire, he kept the arrows ready in his left hand.


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  • Litvinsky B. A. Temple of Oxus in Bactria (Southern Tajikistan) in 3 volumes. T. 2: Bactrian weapons in the Ancient Eastern and Greek context. M.: Eastern literature, 2001. – 528 p.
  • Medvedev A.F. Hand-held throwing weapons (bow and arrows, crossbow) VIII - XIV centuries. M.: Nauka, 1966. – 180 p.
  • Nikonorov V.P., Khudyakov Yu.S. Maodun’s whistling arrows and Attila’s “Mars Sword”: Military affairs of the Asian Xiongnu and European Huns. St. Petersburg, 2004. – 320 p.
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A recurve compound bow, which consists of several layers of wood (mainly birch) glued together using animal glue. The bow has horn pads located on the inside and glued with veins on the outside. The length of the Mongolian bow in general is 150-170 cm. The arrows for the Mongolian bow were about 90-95 cm long.

This weapon differs from other compound bows in that it has a bowstring outlet in the form of an overlay attached to the inside of the bow. The materials for its manufacture are horns, leather and wood. The guard is capable of retracting the bowstring from the shoulders of the bow, located at the base of the arches. To some extent, it is a protective element that prevents damage to the archer’s hands in the event of an accidental break of the bowstring while the bow is being pulled.

The Mongolian bow has won the title of the most effective bow in the world. Compared to the English longbow, it is not as long, but it has much more power. Its tension force can reach 80 kgf, while that of a longbow is about 35-40 kgf. This feature provides a greater aimed shooting distance for the Mongolian bow - up to 320 meters, and for a longbow - up to 228 meters. National archery competitions in Mongolia can have two types: “Khana” and “Khasaa”. First of all, the archers shoot 20 arrows at the Khan targets. The length of this target is 4 m and its height is only 48 cm. After this, the Hasaa target, consisting of 30 cylinders, is fired upon. You also need to shoot 20 arrows at it. The person whose purpose is to count the points walks near the targets and pronounces a verdict on each shot, shouting the traditional words: undershot, overshot or to the side.

The distance from the target to the archer is calculated depending on gender. For men it is 75 m, and for women it is 60 m. As mentioned above, the main feature that the Mongolian bow has is the selection of materials for its manufacture. These can be either trees or the veins and horns of animals. One of the main parts of the bow is the horn of a mountain goat. When soaked, it becomes flexible and can be attached to the frame without much difficulty. The horn represents the basis of the bow's future strength.

In modern shooting competitions, a good archer hits a tall target from 90 m. In general, aimed shooting by Mongolian archers (from compound bows, at a gallop and with a canopy) was carried out up to 200 m, by English archers (from wooden bows) at 300 m, by Turkish and Chinese (using the best bows) - up to 70 m, most often - at 40-50 m. The official chronicles of the Mongols recorded the fact that Khan Kulkan (the youngest son of Genghis Khan, died during the siege of Kolomna) caught an animal (roe deer) at a distance of about 400 m. Which characterized him as an excellent archer. The fact of catching (!) the animal is important, but not the range. It can be assumed that the range was much greater.

Archery range is often greatly exaggerated. The reliable record for the flight range of an arrow from a sports bow, confirmed by disinterested witnesses, was only about 450 m. This record was set by the secretary of the Turkish embassy in England in the middle of the 18th century. The British national record at that time was half that size.

One of the officially documented records in archery range was noted in the 3rd century BC. e. at the Games in the Pontic city of Chersonesos (Bosporan Kingdom). The Olympic archer Anaxagoras (from the city of Olbia) won in archery range, shooting an arrow in more than 3 stages (3 stages = 534 meters). The official chronicles of the Mongols record the fact that Khan Kulkan (the youngest son of Genghis Khan, died during the siege of Kolomna) killed an animal (roe deer) at a distance of about 400 m. This characterized him as an excellent archer. The fact of catching (!) the animal is important, but not the range. It can be assumed that the range was much greater.

The record Turkic compound bow threw an arrow at 250 of its own lengths. An ordinary composite bow shot at about 150 of its own lengths. Wooden - 100, composite - about 120.

The modern archery range record is about 300 m, or over 300 bow lengths.

A significant amount of historical evidence suggests that armor was saved from arrows, and knights in chain mail received only minor wounds, and armor was not pierced by arrows at all. Tests were carried out, steel plates were shot from large English bows from a distance of 10 m. Plates 1 mm thick were pierced at right angles, but 2 mm steel could not be pierced. In addition, the penetrating power of the arrow also depended on the tip used. Thus, for shooting at chain mail, tips in the form of long needles were used, and to pierce solid armor (like knightly cuirasses) in the 14th century they began to use a short faceted diamond-shaped tip. At the same time, during battles with the Mongols in the 13th century, Western warriors (crusaders, Hungarians, Czech and Polish knights) were amazed by the fact that a Mongol arrow would pierce a man-at-arms (M.I. Ignatov) if he was not covering himself shield And with the adopted battle strategy of getting closer to hand-to-hand combat, and the Mongol light cavalry did not allow this to be done, the men-at-arms had practically no chance.

Making onions is a process that requires precise adherence to technology. Only in this case can you count on a good result. With a well-made bow, you can shoot arrows precisely at the target, and it must be powerful enough to hit the game that will eventually become the hunter's prey.

First of all, those who already have experience in hunting with such weapons should undertake making it with their own hands, but with the right approach to the matter, anyone can cope with the task. Let's look at how to make a bow for hunting with your own hands, using materials and tools that are available to everyone.

Varieties of bows

The main parts of such a weapon are the arc and the bowstring. By design, bows can be divided into two main groups:

  • simple - in these models the arc is made of one material - wood or PVC;
  • compound, or composite - the arches of such bows are made of several materials.

According to the form they are distinguished:

  • classic bows - the arc of such a hunting weapon has one bend, when bent it has a D-shape;
  • recursive - their arc bends three times and has an M-shape.

Bows can also be divided into simple and collapsible. The arches of the former are made from a single piece of material, while those of the latter consist of several parts.

From natural materials for the manufacture of composite arches, wood can be used for the middle part, horn for the inner part, as well as tendons that are attached to the outer side. This three-part design provides the weapon with good elasticity, flexibility and power.

Today, in the manufacture of industrially produced collapsible bows, high-strength modern materials with optimal properties are used - fiberglass and carbon fiber, aluminum and magnesium alloys, and so on.

The design of such a weapon can be quite complex, but making it yourself at home is a task that requires some experience, as well as a lot of time and effort.

It’s better to make a simple one-piece bow with your own hands. With the right approach to business and adherence to technology, its accuracy and power will be sufficient for hunting.

About recurve traditional bows in general:

Even in ancient times, Turkish recurve bows were considered the most effective, operating, like most eastern bows (excluding long Japanese ones), on the principle of recursive straightening of the arcs when fired. In principle, recurve bows are also a classic type of bow, only a classic one for the East rather than for Europe.

“Recursive” literally translates as “having a forward bend.” The arches of such bows, even when unstretched, are already under tension; they are bent in the direction in which the shot is fired. When a recurve bow is unstrung, the ends of its limbs will bend forward. Accordingly, to give the arrow maximum energy, the shooter does not need to draw the string as far as, for example, in a straight bow. However, the bow's resistance is not much less. But due to the significant reduction in bowstring travel, the recurve bow is easier to use.

What is especially important is that it is easier to aim when shooting from such a bow. At the same time, a strong archer accustomed to a straight bow will be able to “squeeze” more power out of his recurve bow than from a Longbow (if not break). At the same time, recurve bows are slightly more compact, and shots from them are straighter and more accurate than from regular ones.

The design of a recurve bow is more complex than a straight classic bow - its central part, as a rule, has a handle, a simple sight and a shelf for an arrow. Modern recurve bows are made from aluminum and carbon fiber, as well as from various types of wood glued with epoxy resins. Some recurve bows are not made in one piece, but in prefabricated ones: the handle is separated from the arches.

As with straight bows, although they are fairly simple in design, recurve bows are quite expensive due to the amount of manual work required.

This bow model is a representative of the popular mass-produced Mongolian recurve bows.

Samick SKB-50 is a traditional Mongolian recurve bow with a modern twist. The appearance is recreated according to descriptions from the times of the Golden Horde of Khan Batu. Unlike most modern bows, it has not one, but two arc bends. The bow is complex, made of natural materials: solid walnut, birch or beech, arches are made of fiberglass and polymer. The bow string has a multi-strand Dacron type backing.

Tools and materials

To make such a bow you will need a minimum set of tools:

  • hacksaw;
  • plane;

To give the arc the desired bend, it is better to use a special slipway. You can also make it yourself from a board and several bars.

To make a simple non-separable bow with your own hands you need:

  • wood or polyvinyl chloride tube to make an arc;
  • strong rope, rawhide tape, wire, thick fishing line for making a bowstring;
  • thick rope or other suitable material for the handle.

When drawing the bow, the shoulders should bend, but the bowstring practically does not stretch.

. The arrow is sent to the target precisely due to the force of the weapon’s arc, which straightens at the moment of the shot.

How to make a bow from wood?

Let's look at how to make a hunting bow from wood. The best material for this is considered to be yew - it was from it that the best examples of such weapons were made in the Middle Ages. However, it is difficult to obtain such a tree, so other species are usually used instead. It can be:

  • hazel;
  • juniper;
  • Rowan;
  • ash;
  • larch;
  • cedar.

A good bow rod should:

  • not have cracks, it is also better to select rods without knots, but the presence of a small amount of them on the surface is not critical, the main thing is not to try to cut them out when processing the rod;
  • have a length from a meter to one and a half meters;
  • be dry;
  • be direct.

To make a bow, you can also use several thin rods of the same length, but they must be securely fastened by tightening them in several places with electrical tape or other suitable material. This option is suitable if you need to quickly make a bow on the go from what you can find on hand.

Wood harvesting

It is better to harvest wood to make a hunting bow with your own hands in winter, at a temperature of -10 degrees or slightly lower. If you look for a suitable rod in the fall, you won’t have to wander through the snowdrifts in search. It is necessary to cut it, the length of the rod should be several tens of centimeters greater than the expected length of the bow. This is necessary, since when drying, the ends of the rod may crack.

Before making a bow, the wood must be dried for a long time, on average three months is enough. A room with room temperature in which the rod needs to be hung is suitable for this.

In this case, there is no need to remove the bark, but it is better to paint or coat the ends with varnish, which will not allow moisture to evaporate, then the future arc will dry evenly along the entire length. A rod that has a slight curvature can be straightened over steam.

In camping conditions, drying can be quickly done using a fire; the main thing is to do it carefully, do not put the wood too close to the fire and not overdry it. Such onions will be more fragile and less durable than those dried at room temperature.

Making a bow from a wooden rod

When the rod is dried, it must be processed with a plane, and the shoulders should become flat, not cylindrical. The bow of a simple takedown bow is not made from a single piece of wood or PVC, but from two separate arms that are attached to the top and bottom of the handle. In this case, the handle is easiest to make from a wooden block or cylinder of suitable thickness. At the same time, in the central part they can be sharpened, making a comfortable grip under the arm.

If you plan to make a simple bow with an arc from a single piece of wood, and not with two separate arms, the rod in the middle should be left round in cross-section.

It is important that the arms have the same length, width and thickness, only in this case the force on them will be distributed evenly, and the bow will hit accurately.

Then the workpiece must be given the desired shape - in the form of a simple arc or M-shaped. To do this, the wood is heated over steam and temporarily fixed in a special slipway, which will fix the desired shape. Such a device can be made from a board by attaching several bars to it. You need to keep the onion in the slipway for about a week


When the arc is ready, you need to make notches at its end and secure the bowstring. It is also necessary to braid the handle. To obtain a reliable installation, the fixation points of the bowstring and the handle must be glued.

Making a bow from skis

Skis are a material that is excellent for making bow arches, which often does not even need to be processed. Therefore, if there is a suitable pair available that is unsuitable for use, there is no need to prepare rods or look for another material. You can use both wooden and plastic skis; the second option is preferable.

To make a bow, you need to saw off two ends of the skis of suitable length, which will be the shoulders, and attach them to the handle. The handle itself can also be made from skis by fastening scraps of the required length in several layers and processing them so that a comfortable grip is obtained. After this, you just need to attach the string, and the bow is ready for use.

The optimal length of the finished product is about 1.3 m

. If a bow made from skis exceeds the length of 1.4-1.5 m, its power will be insufficient, since such a long arc cannot impart sufficient momentum to the arrow. Also, the shoulders should be narrow - so in order to make an arch from wide skis, they must be sharpened on both edges.

Making a composite bow, each limb of which must be made not from one material, but from several different ones, is a more complex process. However, such weapons are made according to the same principles as a simple homemade bow for hunting. If you approach the matter correctly, a bow made with your own hands will hit powerfully and accurately, and it will last for quite a long time.

The nomadic empire emerged as a result of a confluence of many circumstances. However, the main one could be the invention of the bow, the effectiveness of which is comparable to firearms.

After the unification of the nomadic tribes in 1206, Temujin was proclaimed Genghis Khan. By 1215, the Mongols had conquered most of the Chinese Jin Empire. In 1221 Urgench was taken, Khorezm ceased to exist. In 1234, the rest of the Jin Empire passed into history. From 1237 to 1241, most of the Russian principalities were destroyed. In 1241, nomads invaded Eastern Europe, and in 1243 they conquered Anatolia. Baghdad fell in 1258, and the famous stronghold of the Assassins - the fortress of Alamut - was surrendered in 1256.

All Mongol commanders could not be as talented as Genghis Khan, and their armies were not the most numerous. However, the rapid expansion of the nomads' possessions did not stop for several decades after the death of Genghis Khan, regardless of who led their armies. How then did the Mongols manage to change the course of history?

How to make a collapsible bow at home

To make a good collapsible bow at home, the material must be prepared in winter, when it is 10-15 degrees below zero outside. The workpiece is processed and dried for several months. But such a labor-intensive process is not the only way to make a bow.

Collapsible models are easier to make, and they can be folded compactly for transportation.

Making a handle

If the tension force of the bow does not exceed 10 kg, you can use oak or birch for the handle, or glue several sheets of plywood (necessarily waterproof) with epoxy. When making a more powerful bow, you need to glue together several layers of different types of wood - maple, beech, etc. The dimensions of the bar should be 6x4x40 cm.

Markings must be applied to the block. A drawing will help at this stage (the grid in the figure is 1 by 1 cm).

The handle is cut using a jigsaw. A semicircular, sharp chisel will help give the shape. The workpiece needs to be sanded; the processing is carried out in three stages: coarse, fine and finally with sandpaper.

To attach the arms to it, you need to make holes for M6 bolts. Usually, a leather pad is made at the attachment point between the handle and the shoulders.

The finished handle must be coated with ship's varnish or stain.

Making shoulders: using slats

It is best to use slats from a bed or sofa to make shoulders. These elastic elements have a length from 70 to 120 cm. When choosing a length, be guided by the fact that the total length of the bow should approximately correspond to the height of the shooter.

It is convenient to select the length of the bow, guided by the span of your arms, as in this picture.

The lamellas are often 12 cm thick and are perfect for bows. If the lamellas are 8 cm thick, then it is better to glue two pieces together using epoxy or Moment glue.

To make the shoulders, the slats need to be sawn at an angle. It is important to make them symmetrical, so you need to process them by squeezing them together with clamps.

We make a shelf for the bowstring from scraps of lamella. To do this, you need to attach a strip on each side: drill holes in them and secure dowels in them with glue. Draw the contours of the shelf.

It all depends on your imagination. We cut along the contour, it is best to do this with a jigsaw. Finally, give it a smooth finish using sandpaper.

To secure the bowstring, you need to make notches 7-8 mm deep and 3 mm thick.

Like the handle, the shoulders need to be opened with stain or ship varnish. Congratulations, now you know how to make onions at home!

Using wooden or plastic skis as bow material can save a lot of time. It is also important that the shoulders are guaranteed to be symmetrical. The size of the ski bow is best made within 120-140 cm.

The handle can be made from skis, glued together in several layers, or from a block of wood, cut according to the diagram (see previous instructions).

The basic scheme for making a bow from skis looks like this.

Skis can be different, ideal if you have narrow ones at your disposal. If they are wide, you will have to process the shoulders a little - grind them down, tapering them towards the ends. The main thing is to do it symmetrically.

Armed with our instructions, anyone can become the owner of a bow. But it is important not only to know how to make a bow for children, but also not to forget that it must be handled responsibly.

Even the very idea of ​​creating a bow with your own hands brings a lot of pleasure and useful skills to a child. Determine for yourself the path you will take, because perhaps you want to engage in this sport professionally. If so, a straight or recurve bow is best for this purpose. We will be making a bow and, accordingly, a wooden one, which has a straight shape. And now, in fact, we will proceed to the actual instructions for its manufacture.

You should know that a bow is made up of two parts: the limbs and the handle. Accordingly, the shoulders are located below and above, and the handle is in the middle. If you are making a bow according to all standards and requirements, then the bow must contain a hole, like a guide for the arrow itself. An onion has an internal and external side, I think it’s not difficult to guess which is which.

If you are going to make a bow at home, then you should take into account your height, which will affect the size of the bow. Take arrows, for example, if your arms are 140 cm, then the arrows should be about 55-58 cm. The bow itself should be about 137 cm in size.

A certain table is proposed by which you can compare your data with the data of the bow you are going to make (arm span, arrow length and the length of the bow itself):

  • 137-142 55-58 137
  • 145-150 57-60 145
  • 152-157 60-64 152
  • 160-165 64-66 160
  • 167-172 66-68 167
  • 175-180 70 178

Where to start and what materials to use

So, we’ve decided on the dimensions, now we need to decide what to make the bow from and what material will be used to make the bow at home. The most popular types of wood are white acacia, ash, etc. The most important thing is that the wood was free of knots and snags, cracks and erosion. As for threads, lavsan threads are best suited. You can determine the length of the string yourself, there are no special calculations here, but it is believed that the optimal length of the string is equal to the length of the bow itself (minus 3-4 cm)

Putting on a bowstring is not an easy task and requires some effort. Having tied and secured it on the upper shoulder, you need to slowly lower it so that the length from the handle to the stretched bowstring is approximately 20 cm. You can also fix the bow on the wall so that you can easily make the calculations. The bow should be symmetrical and not bend only in the middle.

New battle tactics

Contemporaries often left memories of the great victories of the Mongol warriors. Historical sources note the unusual manner of fighting of the nomads: horsemen quickly moved across the battlefield, changing the direction of movement, often their tactic was to retreat. At the same time, the warriors, who rode perfectly on horseback, did not stop shooting at the enemy for a minute, even during the retreat. The pursuing enemy lost strength and concentration. The Mongols, seeing that the advantage was already on their side, immediately changed the direction of movement and launched a counterattack.

Other scenarios prepared by the Mongols were: splitting the enemy forces into parts and organizing an ambush. The enemy, exhausted and carried away by the pursuit of the main forces of the nomads, received a side blow from a detachment hiding in an ambush.

The fighting efficiency of the Mongol horsemen during the retreat was higher than that of most warriors of the time when they fought face to face. Chroniclers paid special attention to the ability of the Mongols to conduct archery. Cases of targeted shooting at hundreds of meters were described. Not only people, but also horses became victims of deadly arrows. The power of this type of weapon made it possible to immediately kill animals, which influenced the battle with enemy cavalry: due to its size, it was much easier to hit a horse, and once the horse was killed, the rider was also incapacitated. The Horde hundreds brilliantly used their trump cards: mobility, the ability to keep their distance and possession of small arms.

Mongolian bow and hankyu

In the East, archery was not just a skill. Since ancient times, this art has been studied from an early age by the poor and the rich (even sultans engaged in constant exhausting exercises; at competitions in Istanbul in 1798, the winner was the Turkish Sultan Selim III, who shot an arrow at 889 m), men and women, Scythians and Sarmatians, Huns and Parthians. This led to the appearance of many high-quality bows traditional for this region: Egyptian, Chinese, Korean, Indo-Persian, Hunnic, Scythian, Turkish and Assyrian triangular bow. Every Persian man was obliged to teach his son three things, thanks to which the power of the great Persia was preserved for many centuries: to ride a horse, shoot a bow and tell the truth.

In the Mongol state, which was almost always in a state of war, the ability to handle a bow was the only way to survive. This led to the emergence of its own traditional bow, which, according to most weapons experts, was destined to become the best in history. Thus, the maximum aimed shooting range for an English longbow or a Japanese traditional yumi, as a rule, did not exceed 180 m (in exceptional cases - 230 m). The target firing range of the Mongolian bow reached 320 m. Also, at a distance of up to 200 m, an arrow fired from a Mongolian bow pierced almost any armor. And this despite the fact that the Mongolian sample was almost half the size of the English and Japanese ones.

The high efficiency of the Mongolian bow is also confirmed by the legend of the brothers Temujin and Khasar. Already from the age of five they learned to shoot from a children's bow - alangir (they actually sat on a horse at the age of 3-4 years). The mature brothers were once riding on horseback across the steppe and noticed a kite soaring far in the sky. Then Temujin asked Khasar, who was considered an excellent archer, if he could hit this bird. To which Khasar asked his elder brother where exactly he should hit the kite. Temu-chin, who did not attach any importance to his words, told him to hit the bird exactly above the eye. Imagine his surprise when the arrow fired by Khasar from a Mongolian bow not only killed the kite, which was difficult to see, but also hit it right above the eye. Now it is difficult to judge how true this legend is. However, archers like Khasar became the basis of the victorious army of Temujin, proclaimed Genghis Khan in 1206.

A striking example of the superiority of Mongol horse archers is the Battle of the Kalka River (May 31, 1223). An army of 20-30 thousand, led by commanders Sl/baday and Jebe, was opposed by an army of 80 thousand of Russian principalities and Polovtsians. The Mongol horse archers made a decisive contribution to the victory. Out of nowhere they flew into enemy formations, showered them with clouds of arrows and just as quickly disappeared. In an attempt to overtake the retreating Mongols, Russian troops gave chase and fell into the most terrible military trap of those times, the hellish carousel.

Having scattered, the Mongols surrounded the enemy troops that were overtaking them, constantly firing at them. No matter which direction the surrounded warrior turned, trying to hide from one archer, he inevitably exposed his back to another.

The Mongolian bow became the prototype for many traditional bows of other Asian peoples. The Japanese also had similar bows. The most widespread of them is Hankyu. Like the Mongolian prototype (although the Japanese adopted the design of their bow not from the Mongols, but from the Koreans, whose bow, nevertheless, is a variety of the Mongolian one), the Japanese hankyu was composite. In addition to wood, whalebone and tendons were used in its production. Despite its modest size - 50-90 cm (compared to the large yumi bow), hankyu had a good aiming range and was chosen by warriors who, for some reason, could not use the large yumi bow. For example, the legendary Japanese spies and saboteurs shinobi (or ninja). Hankyu was also liked by high-ranking officials and even daimyos, because its modest dimensions made it possible to shoot from it without even leaving the palanquin.

Since time immemorial, the national holiday Naadam has been celebrated every year in Mongolia. During it, international archery competitions are held

The invention that changed the course of history

Many historians (here it is worth highlighting the famous Russian specialist, Doctor of Historical Sciences Sergei Nefedov) point out that the invention of a new bow design played a decisive role in the victories of the nomads. Warriors of the Eurasian steppe have been using a bow with a composite (multi-component) design for quite a long time. The craftsmen tightened the wooden arch on the sides in the center of the bow with bone plates. The revolutionary invention of the Mongols was that they got rid of one plate and placed the second one frontally: previously, the linings strengthened the structure, but now the bow has become much more elastic. Sedentary peoples did not take advantage of this advantage, since the tensile strength of the wood they most often took to make bows was several times lower than that of parts made from animal bones.

In addition to increasing power, the innovation made it possible to greatly reduce the size of the weapon and use it with maximum benefit when riding. Having a sufficient number of arrows, riders could conduct intense shooting on the move, which in effect was comparable to the use of automatic firearms. Moreover, the force of an arrow fired from a new type of weapon was so great that it was not inferior to the power of the first guns.

How and from what are Buryat bows made?

The power of this Mongolian weapon in the Middle Ages allowed the warriors of Genghis Khan to conquer Eurasia. Making it is a tricky business; it takes craftsmen at least a month to work. A bow has many parts and requires wood, skins, horns, sinew and glue. Even in Buryatia and Transbaikalia there are few people who can do it correctly. TASS correspondent Ilya Barinov spoke with master Bayaskhalan Tsybenzhapov from Aginsky about how to twist a bowstring from camel skin and why boil buffalo horns.

Cut, cook, sharpen

“Few people make traditional horn bows: the technology is complex, the process is painstaking,” says Bayaskhalan Nomtoevich, laying out the components of the future product on the table in the workshop. The length of the Buryat bow is 150–160 centimeters. The master makes its base (called “kibit”) from birch, for this he takes the butt - the thick part of the trunk immediately above the root. The wood is first boiled to soften it, then shaped into the desired shape, and then dried. “It is important that this part of the bow does not break and is strong,” explains the gunsmith.

The inner side of the base and its ends are covered with thin plates from the horns of a buffalo or a seven-year-old bull. In order for these plates to turn out just right, the horn is first boiled until soft - Tsybenzhapov does this in the yard in an iron trough. Then the horn is cut lengthwise, the resulting plates are straightened with a vice over a blowtorch (previously this was done over a fire), and then ground. One horn is enough for two bows. For elasticity, the outer side of the bow is glued with the tendons of a horse or game - for example, wapiti. The tendons are taken from the back muscles of the animals when the carcass is cut up, thoroughly dried and separated into long, thin fibers similar to dried squid. Nomads have used twisted fibers instead of thread for centuries. The resulting strands are dipped in glue and laid on the bow in several layers. “I use organic glue, I make it from cow or lamb skins,” explains the master. “It’s like cooking jellied meat, only even longer.” You cool the resulting “jelly” and “roll” it into balls, which you then melt in a water bath when you need glue.” This glue, the gunsmith adds, holds the parts of the bow together well and is resistant to moisture. The last layer on the bow is birch bark. It protects the weapon from moisture, for example, when shooting in the rain.

Eagle feathers and animal tendons

A string is attached to the ends of the bow. Previously, it was made from camel skin: it was cut in strips from the back of the carcass, twisted, stretched and dried. If a thin one was needed, then they took the vertebral tendons of animals. “The bowstring must be strong and not stretch,” the master teaches. “If it’s thick, then the arrow flies a shorter distance, but hits more accurately; if it’s thin, it flies further, but the accuracy drops.” The central part of the bowstring is called the “socket” - the arrow is inserted into it before the shot. To ensure that the arrow holds tightly and does not fall or slip, a special cutout is made at its end - it is inserted into the “socket” until it clicks.

The length of the arrow is 90–95 centimeters. It is made from birch, ground with a plane to a perfectly round shape. For plumage, Tsybenzhapov uses eagle feathers - he says they can be found in the steppe in the vicinity of the village. It takes a craftsman up to two hours to make one arrow.

“Eagle feathers last longer and do not get wet in the rain, they have good aerodynamics - arrows fly better with them,” adds the master. All tail blades must be the same length and width, bend in one direction - this shape makes the arrow more stable during flight and ensures its range. Traditionally, arrows are brightly colored.

According to Buryat rules, sharp tips are not used for sport shooting. They are replaced with wooden “barrels” - bulsuu. They are shot not at targets, but at special pins - suras, pads made of dense fabric 10 centimeters high, stuffed with wool. “If you get hit in the head with such an arrow, it won’t kill you, but you will lose consciousness,” says Bayaskhalan Nomtoevich.

Shoot according to the rules

As Doctor of Historical Sciences Mikhail Konstantinov writes, since the end of the 19th century, the Buryats no longer needed a bow as a military or hunting weapon. They began to be used as sports during national holidays. Previously, during such competitions, nomads shot at harnesses previously rolled into balls; they were replaced by suras.

Over time, sura shooting became, along with wrestling and horse racing, part of the national men's triathlon - the “three games of husbands.” For such competitions, suras are installed on a special site. The shooters' task is to knock the pins out of this field. During folk festivals, men shoot from 50 meters, but when the games are hosted by Buddhist monasteries-datsans, the distance increases to 60 meters.

Archery is the sport in which the majority of Transbaikal residents participate. For example, three of the eight members of the main team of the Russian men's classical archery team are residents of the Trans-Baikal Territory. Three more are from neighboring Buryatia. According to the regional Ministry of Sports, 1.1 thousand athletes practice classical archery in Transbaikalia, 60 of them are masters of sports.

According to the head of the department for the development of national culture and sports of the Administration of the Aginsky Buryat District, Bulat Balzhinimaev, almost every Buryat village has sections in which children engage in classical target shooting. Traditional shooting is also gaining popularity: “This is an accessible sport, it is often practiced by older people, but young people are also interested.” Representatives of three regions at once - Buryatia, Irkutsk region and Trans-Baikal Territory - intend to propose to the Russian Ministry of Sports to include archery according to Buryat rules in the All-Russian register of sports. “To do this, we need to create a federation and hold all-Russian competitions,” says Balzhinimaev. “Our regions already have this, now we need to unite and create an all-Russian one by 2020.”

Bayaskhalan Tsybenzhapov not only makes bows, but also teaches young people to shoot from them: he works as an instructor at the regional sports training center for national sports. And for his accuracy he received dozens of awards - certificates, cups and even horses. “The main quality of a good archer is inner peace,” the master teaches.


The peculiarities of the Mongolian bow were also the complexity of production and operation, which also prevented its use by other peoples. Making Mongolian compound bows can be compared to forging samurai swords. Layers of wood and bone plates, like layers of metal in Japanese swords, were connected to each other using a special technology. The production of weapons required significant effort. Moreover, this was not feasible everywhere. In a humid climate, for example, it was impossible to achieve the required structural strength: it was impossible to dry the glued parts.

The special way of life of the nomads also gave them an advantage in mastering a new type of weapon. In order to pull the bowstring as tightly and often as possible (riders could do this hundreds of times during hours of battle), it is necessary to have special training. Nomads learned to shoot and ride horses from childhood. As a result of many years of hard training, the reflex skill of shooting on horseback was developed. Neither the Europeans nor the Arabs could use the new weapons at the same level.

Another factor that influenced the success of the use of the Mongolian bow by a certain community of tribes, historians consider the inaccessibility of heavy weapons to most nomads. Metal armor and swords are found only in a few burials of the Horde: most likely, they were available only to rich warriors. As a result, special battle tactics were predetermined. The army, mostly consisting of lightly armed archers, could constantly avoid a head-on collision with the enemy, exhaust and shoot him, and often on the battlefield it did not even come to the use of swords and spears.

The new battle tactics that appeared along with the Mongolian bow made it possible for the nomads to make a qualitative leap in the art of war and create an empire on a scale unprecedented before that time.

The bow is the main weapon of the Mongols

The Mongolian bow has a reverse kibiti curve. This means that the bow itself and the ends of the bow are curved outward in a special way. Traditional manufacturing technologies for these weapons included the use of wood, birch bark, and reinforcement with horn pads.

Unlike other bows, they had an additional side bend in the form of an overlay made of leather, wood and horns. It was designed to protect the nomad from the return blow of the bowstring on the wrist of the left hand, which largely determined the methods of firing shots. Including the traditional shooting of nomads from behind, which amazed contemporaries. That is why the Mongols did not need the traditional bracers used by other peoples.

Making this bow is a long, patient process. It was created from several layers of wood, covered on the outside with birch bark. The rather small (up to 170 cm long) bow of the Mongols had incredible destructive power, piercing not only the armor of European knights, but also right through the warrior himself.

The Mongolian bow consisted of three main elements: wood, bone, horn and glue. The bow was made by a special artisan. All other parts of the Mongol archer’s equipment, such as a quiver, a bow or bow case, and arrows, were also made by specialist artisans. The quiver and bow were made of specially tanned leather. The leather was soaked for seven to ten days in a wooden barrel with salt water, then brushed, stretched and kneaded to the desired condition. The quiver consisted of two wooden planks connected by a wooden frame and covered with leather. The belt for carrying the quiver was thrown over the right shoulder and the quiver hung at the right hip. The number of arrows in the quiver could be different - from four to fifteen, depending on the type of hunting and the type of arrows. The armband was cut from one large piece of leather, subtriangular in shape, with the seam located on one side and only to the middle of the cover. In the upper, narrow part of the bow there was a loop through which the shooter's belt was threaded. The cover was worn on the left side in an inclined position, as the most convenient for riding a horse. The bow in the case was in a stretched state, with the string down, the wood up, and only half covered with the case.

Contrary to popular belief, the Mongols almost never used poison arrows. Their weapons were already deadly enough. Arrowheads came in a wide variety of weights, sizes, and configurations. Many of them were not just parts of weapons, but also unique traditional talismans of nomads.

The bowstring was made from animal vertebral tendons. They were divided into threads and twisted together, obtaining a tight and elastic bowstring. To avoid injury during shooting, the nomads used a special ring to protect the fingers of their right hand.

The technology for making Mongolian-type bows was extremely complex and required high technical development. Master archers had excellent knowledge of the properties of all the constituent materials from which the bow was made: various types of wood, horn, bone, birch bark tendons, glue, varnishes, etc. The best types of wood of the highest quality were selected for the manufacture of the wooden base of the bows; horn and bone plates without the slightest flaw. Tendons and birch bark, varnishes and raw materials for the preparation of glue were carefully selected.

In Western and Central Asia, the technology for producing compound bows has reached such perfection that when making onions, the climatic characteristics of the areas where it will be used, the purpose of the bow for certain purposes and the individual build of the archer were taken into account. Depending on these factors, the ratio and quality of its component parts, length, width, bending value and shape of the bow were determined. The design features and shape of the bow greatly depended on its power and the amount of effort applied to tension it and keep it taut. 31 It has been experimentally proven that with an optimal ratio of bow and arrow, its range, arrow flight speed, its penetrating ability and stopping effect depended on the correct distribution and combination of constituent materials, size and shape of the bow.

Arrows _

Making arrows that were hollow inside provided a whistle during flight. This brought mortal horror to the enemies of the nomads. This, undoubtedly, is similar to the whistle of a certain type of Mongolian arrows called “singing death”. Both believed that whistling arrows scared away evil spirits. Mongolian arrows made a sound with a kind of whistle located at the tip. The most powerful Mongolian bow, as many learned historians believe, had an arrow range of over 300 meters.

The completion of the bow was accompanied by a special ceremony for opening the bow, which consisted of pronouncing the wish-blessing erool, where praise for the virtues of the bow was combined with wishes of good luck to its owner. Following the utterance of the wish-blessing, a libation was poured on the “head” of the bowairag, for which the shooter chose one of the ends of the bow, to which the hadak accompanying the wish was tied. The libation was carried out using a ritual wooden spoon, on the deep part of which there were nine or twelve small holes. The ceremony ended with refreshments for those present. The first use of the arrow was also accompanied by wishes and anointing.

In relation to the bow, the Mongols had a number of regulations and prohibitions, which later transferred to the gun. These include, first of all, the prohibition of stepping over the bow (gun), as well as rubbing the bow (or gun) in case of misses with the blood of predatory animals, so that the weapon becomes more deadly. Archery to this day remains one of the favorite traditional entertainments of the Mongols and, along with national wrestling and horse racing, plays a significant role in the annual folk festival nadam, the roots of which are associated with military sports competitions and go back to the distant past of the Mongolian people.

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