Mughal composite bow, kaman | Mandarin Mansion

Mughal composite bow, kaman

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Length: 150 cm / 59 inch (measured tip to tip over the belly)
Ear length: 29.5 cm (measured tip to knee)
Effective ear length: 26 cm (nock to knee)
Mid-limb: 52.5 mm wide and 16 mm thick
Weight in hand: 1000 grams (yes that is exactly one kilo!)

An exceptional Mughal kaman bow, also referred to as "crab" bow due to its crab-like shape when unstrung. This type of bow was primarily used in North India. It probably dates from the 18th century, the art of making these died out not long afterwards due to a shifting focus on firearms.

Of typical form, deeply reflexed with tips that are overlapping. Due to the humid weather in India, these bows are completely covered with lacquer. Most of the bow's surface is red, with green extremities and an elegant green lining around the flat surface of the belly side. There are losses of the outmost layers of lacquer in various places. Most of the losses are in the sections that took the most bending, indicating that the loss occurred from use and during its working life. Handle and the inside of both rigid ears are lacquered in black with remains of precise and delicate floral decoration in lacquer mixed with gold particles. Its cracks in the lacquer indicate it was in fact used. There is a museum inventory number on one limb, 381, on the outside of one ear. Apart from the loss of lacquer the bow is in very good, solid condition. No twisting, insect damage or other structural damage that these bows are prone for. Even both tips are still intact.

The most striking feature is its sheer size, it is a giant compared to most other kamana in private and museum collection. Weighing exactly a kilo in the hand, the draw weight probably exceeds 150 pounds.

A few specimens are published, one of the best known examples may be that bow in the Charles E. Grayson collection, published in Traditional Archery From Six Continents; the Charles E. Grayson Collection. The Grayson bow is only 112.3 cm long, 40mm wide and 11mm thick is mid limb, compare to the numbers stated above for this bow.

An extremely rare example of a large and very heavy draw weight Indian "crab" bow.

For sale on EBAY

Interested? Questions?