Mother of Bows

A new student recently brought us a fine expression of traditional East African archery; it’s a bow crafted by a man of the Hadza people.  The elegance of its effective simplicity, along with the deep cultural traditions which these people carry, favor a view that the Hadza bow bears a ‘source design.’  If so, it’s not off-mark to call it a Mother Bow.  Such regard the bow inspires, that I carried it the other day on a walk around the Shire, introducing places of significance here.  It’s clear that the bow is made for travel, and certainly expresses a lifeway shaped by the simple freedom of movement which can be difficult for the “modern westerner” to appreciate, restricted as we are by our mechanical modes and narrow (safe?) channels of travel.


To us the craftsman remains nameless, but the bow traveled a long distance in reaching our hands from his own; it’s a blessing on this place in accepting the grip.  Tonight I’ll carry it beneath a Winter starfield, confident that Orion––that old hunter––will be duly impressed.

0 thoughts on “Mother of Bows”

  1. William Smith

    From what wood was the bow made? Did the bowyer chase a growth ring on the back side of the bow or just remove bark and then tiller the belly side?
    So fascinating….a primitive bow from the Motherland. Is there any way a North American can obtain staves of the wood that was used?

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