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» 12th Century Chinese Crossbow Chronographed
by stuckinthemud1 Fri Nov 24, 2023 3:50 pm

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» Arab Crossbow
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» [solved]Skane/Lillohus crossbow thread
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by Andy. Fri Jan 06, 2023 12:29 pm

» Wood Prods
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    Post by Geezer Tue Aug 06, 2013 11:12 am

    Headsup, crossbow makers.  I just discovered this site from Spain.  It's a catalog for an exhibit of artifacts from the last Moorish stronghold... the Alhambra in Granada.  Take a look, there's a really interesting and different Arab crossbow, plus illustrations of more european style crossbows being used by moors-arabs-whatever one calls muslim Spaniards of the 15th century.  It's pretty cool anyhow.  Geezer http://www.alhambra-patronato.es/fileadmin/pdf/CATALOGO_Armas_y_enseres_de_la_defensa_nazar__.pdf
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    Post by jds6 Tue Aug 06, 2013 6:40 pm

    Very interesting, the crossbow looks very thin to say the least. Thanks Greezer for the heads up. Just wish I could get it to translate into Texan!!!

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    Post by Geezer Tue Aug 06, 2013 7:26 pm

    For what it's worth, I've got some dimensions at least.  The stock length is 79 centimeters... call it 30 inches.  Prod length is 1.3 meters... pretty darned big... it looks like wood backed with a substantial bit of sinew.  The roller-nuts listed on another page all come out to 25-27 mm wide and @ 30 mm in diameter.  Given a nut of @ 25 mm (1 inch) wide, that makes this stick about 1.5 inches... say 37 mm wide at the lock.  Note that the stock suddenly narrows to a more or less cylindrical handle a few inches behind the lock.  I suspect that's the hold-point for the back hand, so some sort of tickler trigger (consistent with the bone nuts) should terminate about there.  Presumably fore-hand holds beneath lock, or more likely some distance ahead of that. 
    Note also that there's no real groove atop the stock, just lots of fancy carving that presumably would wear against the string.  I suppose the dark, bent-down section above the prod has some sort of bolt-groove, otherwise the bow's not actually shootable.  The text says markings on the stock suggest the bow either belonged to the Sultan's family or one of his retainers.   I hope that helps a bit.  Geezer
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    Post by kenh Thu Aug 08, 2013 8:03 am

    Great find, Geezer.  With any luck I'll be able to visit the exhibit.  My Lady Sally and I are going to Spain in October to settle some things with her father's estate (he passed away about a month ago). Probably no archery related souvenirs from his estate, but I will be bring back a WWII regimental Kukri (he served with the Ghurkas in Bruma) and perhaps an 18th century flinchlock pistol that he collected at some point.  However there is a rumor that he at some point had a crossbow (call it 50 years ago) in England.  Who knows what treasures we'll unearth.
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    Post by Geezer Thu Aug 08, 2013 8:51 am

    Great idea, Kenh.  Be sure and take pictures of the Arab bow, if they're allowed.  Views from the lock back might be helpful in replication... see if there's any sort of trigger left.
    As for life being a beach, I saw a bumper sticker on a weekend sailor's car that said.
    'Life's a reach, and then you gybe.'
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    Post by mac Thu Aug 08, 2013 9:02 am

    There's a good pic of this bow in Harmuth's book.  I will try to post it later, if I can figure out what the problem is with my camera.

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    Post by mac Thu Aug 08, 2013 10:33 am

    Here we go.  My battery was just low.

    This is from Egon Harmuth's "Die Armbrust", 1986.

    Arab Crossbow <a href=Arab Crossbow Sdc18910" />
    Arab Crossbow <a href=
    It really is skinny, isn't it!

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    Post by stuckinthemud1 Thu Jan 05, 2023 3:46 am

    I don't want this thread to disappear, so I am resurecting it to post new information.  I have been in touch with the museo arquelogico granada who kindly sent me a bundle of information, in the form of a copy of their fiche and a link to an article from 1982, which they believe to be the only article written on the crossbow - so well done Geezer for finding the article in the OP!

    This is the text from the fiche after having gone through Deepl :


    Archaeological and Ethnological Museum of Granada
    Inventory CE01002
    Generic Classification Weapons
    Object/Document Crossbow
    Material/Support Wood
    Iron
    Bronze
    Ivory
    Bone
    Tendon
    Technique Carving
    Dimensions Larger shaft = 123 cm; smaller shaft = 80 cm

    Description It is composed of two pieces of different origin corresponding to a war crossbow and a hunting crossbow.
    a war crossbow and a hunting crossbow. 
    The bow is made of two pieces reinforced with sinew and five strips of linen thread.
    and inserted in the hollow of the fork, attached to the carriage with
    a loop of leather straps that pass through a hole in the upper part of the fork. 
    The two fragments that make up this piece are fastened at three ends with ties.
    and the ends are incised to hold the strings which would have been used to draw the bow to fire the shot.

    The tiller is triangular in shape, forked open at its widest part to accommodate the bow, the upper part of which is angled to facilitate the exit of the arrow and to act as a sighting point when aiming.
    The tiller tapers progressively from the fork to the cylindrical, cross-striated piece of bone at the tip,a design already documented in the 'Cantigas de Santa María'. 
    The nut is housed at one-third of the total length, reinforced by a chiselled piece with a clamp that reinforces its case and the rabera.
    The key is covered with ivory plaques, and the clamp is encircled by inlaid work
     and the bracket is delimited by inlaid motifs.
    The ornamental richness of the carriage is considerable and indicative of a luxurious hunting crossbow.
    Some authors, influenced by its character, have considered it
    belonged to the Royal Household (Mendoza Eguaras, 1982). 
    The inlaid ornamentation is found in two sectors: a lower ring which houses the nut and another part at the end that finishes off one of the handles of the fork.
    The work is made of a geometric bronze loop inlaid with ivory. 
    The main decorative element is the incised and chiselled bronze appliqués,
    The main decorative element, with arabesque work, gives the whole piece great aesthetic beauty.

    Dating 1300-1499
    Cultural Context/Style Middle Ages. Al-Andalus. Nasrid


    Last edited by stuckinthemud1 on Tue Apr 25, 2023 8:37 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Post by stuckinthemud1 Thu Jan 05, 2023 3:47 am

    For Spanish speakers, the original text:


    Museo Museo Arqueológico y Etnológico de Granada
    Inventario CE01002
    Clasificación Genérica Armas
    Objeto/Documento Ballesta
    Materia/Soporte Madera
    Hierro
    Bronce
    Marfil
    Hueso
    Tendón
    Técnica Tallado
    Dimensiones Eje mayor = 123 cm; Eje menor = 80 cm
    Descripción Está compuesta de dos piezas de diferente origen correspondientes
    a una ballesta de guerra y otra de caza. El arco o verga está
    constituido en dos piezas reforzadas con tendón y cinco fajas de hilo
    de lino e insertado en el hueco de la horquilla, atado a la cureña con
    un trabazón de cintas de cuero que la traspasan por una perforación
    en la parte superior. Los dos fragmentos que componen esta pieza
    están trabados en tres partes de la misma con ataduras y los
    extremos poseen incisiones para sostener las cuerdas o nervaduras
    que tendrían la misión de tensar el arco para efectuar el disparo.
    La cureña es de forma triangular, abierta en horquilla en su parte más
    ancha para dar cabida al arco cuya parte superior se inclina para
    facilitar la salida de la flecha y actuar como punto de mira al apuntar.
    La cureña disminuye progresivamente desde las quijeras a la pieza
    del hueso cilíndrica, estriada en sentido transversal de la rabera,
    diseño ya documentado en las ´Cantigas de Santa María". La nuez
    se aloja a un tercio de la longitud total, reforzada por una pieza
    cincelada dotada de abrazadera que refuerza su caja y la rabera. La
    llave se recubre por placas de marfil y la abrazadera queda
    delimitada con motivos de taracea. La riqueza ornamental de la
    cureña es considerable e indicativa de una lujosa ballesta de caza.
    Algunos autores, llevados por este carácter, han considerado que
    perteneció a la Casa Real (Mendoza Eguaras, 1982). Su
    ornamentación en taracea se realiza en dos sectores de la misma: un
    anillo inferior que alberga la nuez y otra parte en la extremidad que
    remata una de las asas de la horquilla. Su labor es de lazo
    geométrico de bronce con incrustaciones de marfil. Las aplicaciones
    de bronce calado y cincelado son el principal elemento decorativo,
    con labores de ataurique, lo que le confiere una gran belleza estética
    al conjunto.
    Datación 1300-1499
    Contexto Cultural/Estilo Edad Media. Al-Andalus. Nazarí
    Uso/función Arma
    Descriptores Geográficos Granada
    Lugar de Procedencia Mecina Bombarrón(Alpujarra de la Sierra, Alpujarras (comarca))
    Clasificación Razonada La ballesta representó un papel muy importante en el mundo
    musulmán, siendo frecuentes las noticias sobre ella en textos desde
    el siglo XII. Destacan la eficacia de los ballesteros, incluidos como
    cuerpos especiales del ejército. También en las Cantigas queda
    reflejado su labor en el asedio de las ciudades, documentándose
    ballestas con estribo a partir del siglo XIII. El sistema constructivo de
    esta pieza está recogido por Ibn Hudayl, escritor granadino de la
    segunda mitad del siglo XIV, y en las pinturas de la Alhambra.
    Tipo de Colección Colección Estable
    Bibliografía MOLINA FAJARDO, E.. ´Caza en el recinto de la Alhambra´. 1967. p.
    31-53.; Cuadernos de la Alhambra, 3.
    Observaciones Disponible para exposición temporal, de acuerdo a la normativa legal
    vigente.
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    Post by kenh Thu Jan 05, 2023 5:11 am

    So if I'm reading this right, the prod was a "loose laminate" of two pieces held together with ties:

    The arch or yard is made up of two pieces reinforced with tendon and five strips of thread
    of linen.... The two fragments that make up this piece are locked in three parts of it with ties and the ends have incisions to hold the strings...." 
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    Post by stuckinthemud1 Thu Jan 05, 2023 5:21 am

    Umm, not a loose laminate, I'm not even sure it was two pieces or if the pressure from the sinew drying split the lath, but that is idle speculation - the bow is in two pieces a top and a bottom piece, not a front and back piece. You're really on the ball today Ken, am trying to resize and post the photos from the fiche.  Anyone know how to translate a PDF?  I can screen grab the 1982 article but I can't translate it.

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    Post by stuckinthemud1 Thu Jan 05, 2023 5:25 am

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    Post by stuckinthemud1 Thu Jan 05, 2023 5:28 am

    Arab Crossbow Img_0384Arab Crossbow Img_0388Arab Crossbow Img_0387
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    Post by mac Thu Jan 05, 2023 8:07 am

    Great pictures, stuckinthemud1

    I wonder why they think the bow and tiller do not belong together.  They seem to fit OK, and the side view shows that while the tiller is slender, there is still a lot of wood there.  I think the tiller is probably strong enough to handle the bow.

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    Post by stuckinthemud1 Thu Jan 05, 2023 4:00 pm

    This is a set of screenshots of the article from 


     Cuadernos de La Alhambra,  ISSN 0590-1987, Nº 18, 1982,  págs. 179-182 


    It was published in 1982 but I am posting it here so that all the major articles on the crossbow are in one place.  

    I'm afraid it's still in the original Spanish, once I manage to get it translated, I'll post an English version (unless someone else gets there first!)

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    Last edited by stuckinthemud1 on Thu Jan 05, 2023 4:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Post by stuckinthemud1 Thu Jan 05, 2023 4:07 pm

    Arab Crossbow Img_0393-2282185184-e1672960311562



    Arab Crossbow Img_0394-375649347-e1672960356693
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    Post by stuckinthemud1 Thu Jan 05, 2023 4:25 pm

    Arab Crossbow Img_0395-1633993941-e1672960204307



    Arab Crossbow Img_0400


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    Post by stuckinthemud1 Thu Jan 05, 2023 4:29 pm

    Arab Crossbow Img_0398

    Arab Crossbow Img_0396-4167931247-e1672960407144

    Arab Crossbow Img_0399-1758628094-e1672960470295

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    Post by kenh Thu Jan 05, 2023 8:39 pm

    With the nice new photos photos I now see the "split" lathe.  Funnily enough I was actually thinking about this arrangement in order to make a wider prod but not necessarily stronger prod. A useful idea if the timber you have readily available isn't big enough.  As long as the lathes are bound together -- and in this case they were sinewed across the split as well as being tied and held together at the tips but the string loops -- there should be little issue as long as the two pieces of wood share similar flexibility.
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    Post by stuckinthemud1 Tue Apr 25, 2023 7:57 am

    Just fiished running the La Ballestra Nazari article through Deepl - had to type it in as the article is a JPEG (picture).  Probably made a few mistakes along the way, but some very interesting discoveries all the same, including dimensions for bow and tiller.

    The Nazari Crossbow of Museo Arqueologico de Granada
    Angela Mendoza Egueras
    Leovigildo Sarz Perez
    Emilio de Santiago Simon
    Translation via Deepl, 2023, stuckinthemud
     
     
    From Mecina Bombaron in the Alpajarras of Granada, a unique crossbow is kept in the Museum, in all probability belonging to the Nazari royal armoury. The information that has been published about it is very scanty and not very detailed and does not correspond to the exceptional importance of the piece. It is therefore worthwhile to offer here a detailed and as far as possible, complete description of this weapon, accompanied by a study of its decoration, illustrated with drawings and reproductions of all its elements. This is the first time that a work of this kind has been carried out on such a unique piece.
    1. Description
    The piece in question is almost complete. In general terms, both the wooden frame and the bronze fittings are in very good condition, but the inlaid decoration is very deteriorated. It is made up of very small pieces of ivory, bone, and fine wood.
     
    It generally conforms to the description given by Ibn Hudayi, a writer from Granada in the second half of the 14th century. In accordance with the terminology used in his text, we will describe this crossbow.
    Ibn Hudayi calls this type of weapon "Christian bow" or "afranyi", from the Andalusian perspective, what for the oriental authors was the "Persian or foreign bow".
    It is made up of the following parts:
    The tiller (in Arabic amud), one of the essential elements, is triangular in shape (0.795 m long) and opens like a fork, at the top, to accommodate the arch. One of the arms of this fork, the upper, pointed one, slants slightly inwards with a triple function: to hold the bow, to facilitate the exit of the projectile that slides through the CANAL O MAYRA and to serve as a sighting point when aiming. The other arm widens towards the rim so that it also holds the bow on the lower side. The lower part of the tiller is finished off with a cylindrical piece of bone, striated in a transverse direction, which comes together in a sort of flattened ball. It is also grooved to facilitate the positioning of the weapon in relation to the shooter (5cm in total).
     
    The nut or VERSATIL (in Arabic yawza) was housed in a concavity located in the upper plane of the tiller, at a third of the total length. The nut revolved around a central axis, of which only the holes where it was arranged have survived. It was used to hold the string that put the bow in tension (in Arabic harbi awir). It was articulated with the KEY, covered with ivory in this case, whose lower end comes out from underneath the board and was used to hold the nut when the weapon was drawn. The key is decorated with parallel grooves along its length.
    The bow or VERGA (in Arabic qadib) is the least ornamental part of the piece. It is inserted into the hollow of the fork, attached to the tiller by means of a loop of leather bands that pass through the tiller through a hole in the upper part. The surface that borders the tiller has a fine and stylised arabesque decoration in bronze, set into the wood by means of small spikes.  The bow is 1.24 m long and is made of two pieces of flexible wood that complement each other as they overlap. The interlocking of the two pieces is achieved by means of a covering of thick, strong linen strands that cover the convex part of the bow and are attached to it at each half of the arch by three points of attachment. The ends are provided with slightly rounded incisions to accommodate the strings or ribs that served as tension rods when the bow was being spliced. The wood of the bow is of a different nature and less well cared for than the rest of the piece, perhaps because of its specific purpose.
     
     
    2. Decoration
    It is important to note the profusion and richness of the ornamental elements, distributed in different parts of the crossbow. The technique of ornamentation is based on two typologies, bronze appliqué and inlay, and two types of ornamentation, arabesque in the first case and geometric decoration in the second.
    2.1. The bronze appliqués in fretworked bronze constitute the most abundant and essential part of the crossbow's ornamentation, and also gives it a practical function by giving consistency to each fundamental element of the ensemble. This ornamentation is distributed along the entire length of the tiller at the following points;
    a) At the lower end, forming a body made up of two symmetrically arranged elements, which are attached to the flanks of the tiller and join at the bottom in the form of a ring formed by the central extremities of the drawing and, at the top, form the concavity where the nut device is housed. This element shows traces of alternating red and blue polychrome rings which colour the inside of the circles described by the casting.
     
    b. In the upper extremity, covering one of the lower ones that make up the fork, which, due to its function requires it, as it houses the channel where the projectile runs along its entire length.
     
    c. Around the orifice through which the leather ligaments that hold the bow penetrate, an ornamental arabesque motif is developed with very fine fingerings on its surface, centred on an axis of symmetry. The hole itself is framed by a figure reminiscent of a heraldic shield.
     
    d. The same morphology is repeated in the bronze openwork portions which, while not fulfilling a practical function of reinforcing the piece, have the exclusive function of ornamenting it. This decoration, in the form of inlaid inserts, has decorative motifs alternating between arabesque work and a different set of geometrical loops. With a few rare exceptions, only the incisions made in the wood to inlay the metalwork have survived.
     
    2.2 The inlaid decorative elements are reduced to two portions; one in the form of a ring at the lower end of the concavity which houses the nut framed in turn by a thin line of copicola work which surrounds the "trigger" device which operated the trigger - and the other at the end of the cone which finishes off one of the handles of the fork. The inlaid work is of geometric bronze ribbon with inlaid marble, the harmony and refinement of which lend the piece an extraordinary elegance and lightness, allowing us to assume its original preciousness and to hypothesise its royal precedence for use in hunting purposes.
    Another function of the crossbows was bellicose. We have observed in the war scenes of the illustrations of the Contigas of Alfonso X the Wise the use of crossbows as offensive weapons in sieges and attacks on fortresses. The morphology of these heavier and less carefully made weapons offers some analogies with that of the Archaeological Museum of Grenada.

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