Re: [SCA-Archery] Re: What is a period bow
- I should also like to point out that period bows include a number of designs with wide, flat limbs which taper to quite narrow center grips. These are typically found in nomadic Asiatic or New World cultures but were by no means unknown to Europeans. Many of the features we call "modern" can be found in various "period" examples.
There is also a difficult problem to overcome in the SCA owing to its very nature. We are a cross-cultural re-creation society, not a re-enactment group. We have more in common with the Victorian English than any other culture. The mixing and blending of cultures in our personas is an organic part of our group. I have seen more people leave because some clique has, for a time, in an area, come to be politically dominant and chased folks out because they pushed their narrow view of "period" based on a (possibly flawed) understanding of their limited time and place of interest. I would hate to see a ethnocentric bias develop here which does the same thing. The ELB has become the focus of archery for many and they forget to look at the broader realm of possibilities. I haven't seen this happen in this discussion and I am not picking on any participant here, just making a general observation so we are aware of what can happen.
CarolusOn 6/4/2013 8:54 AM, aelric_southlake wrote:
Carolus, thank you for pointing that out. I'd heard that there was evidence for applied arrow rests late in period. What I should've said, and more to the point I was really addressing, was: A period bow doesn't have a modern cut-away arrow shelf. By my definition, it's the lack of modern advantages that makes a bow "period," not its composition.
Example: I have this great, low poundage, no cut-away, lemonwood american flatbow I found on ebay (for a song) that is a part of my slowly growing loaner gear arsenal. It has a small applied rest wedged into the grip wrap (though I'll probably remove it when I re-do the grip). I'd call that a very SCA friendly bow due to its simplicity of design. In fact, applying my definition as regards the question of "What is a period bow?" I'd say that it IS period. Not STRICTLY period; but someone using a non-cut-away bow, with no modern advantages, who wants to slip in a wedge of something to sit their arrow on - well, that'd be more than all right by me.
I mentioned fiberglass "summer camp bows" with their modern shelf grips removed as being more period than a wooden bow with modern engineering, and someone pointed out that the narrowness of the small fiberglass bows, without their grips, removes much of the paradox issue... Yes, true. But I was hoping though that my point about "off the knuckle/no engineering advantages" would come across more with the somewhat extreme example of the modified cheap camp bow.
Ideally (in my mind) all of us would be shooting a medieval experience, where Archer's Paradox was part of what we do. We owe that much adhesion to the old traditions simply by being the medieval style group that we are. Don't know how wide the average period/peri-oid horsebow is, but there is always some amount of paradox (no?), when the arrow isn't being fired DIRECTLY down the center of the bow. Whether or not that specific detail is the case, I think getting people moving towards being comfortable with shooting off the knuckle is something we should strive for. Whatever steps that may be for each individual.
The wide availability of modern engineering enhanced bows (modern recurves and longbows) - and again, I'm talking about form, not materials - and their continued use by people in more authoritative positions (even though it is rather easy to get period/peri-oid bows nowadays) is the bane of SCA archery progress.
Not so long ago, someone posted a question to this forum looking for input about which modern recurve to buy. In their post, they even mentioned that they already had a modern recurve of similar poundage. NOW, I LOVE modern recurves, but I wanted to say (and was wondering why no one said) "Hey, this is a medieval group. Modern recurves are allowed, but since you already have one, why not get a more period bow? In many cases they cost less too." I have NO problem with people shooting modern longbows and recurves at events, so's they can be participating too. More archers the better. But when someone is at a crossroads about CHOICE, and our culture is inclined to... well... not say anything, then we might have a little problem. I mention that vingette simply (as what I saw) as an example of where we are at...
The fighter communities are very much about helping new people raise up their level of authenticity as opportunities arise. Not so much the archery community - though archery is not the central focus of the SCA the way heavy fighting is. But more importantly, I think that difference exists because armour is something the SCA has had to LEARN how to make, and bows have always been around and available. Take from that what you will, and all it implies - and know that I am fully aware that I may be wrong in that asessment.