Archery History: The Ottoman Bowcase

A rather unique item found almost exclusively in Eastern Archery is the bowcase.  Think of it as a holster for your bow – one you can either wear or attach to your saddle.  In the old west, the rifle scabbard was an essential piece of kit for the same reason.  The ability to sling a rifle on your horse while keeping it secure and at the same time have it readily accessible is invaluable. Typically they were made as a matched pair with a quiver, as seen above.

The bowcase functions the same way.

Often times, you see archers trying to sling the bow across their chests, or over one shoulder. And while this may be a great way to free up your hands – utilizing a bow case is a great alternative. Some wear the case with the bow pointed forward, others wear it pointed back. Our rule is that if you’re spending more time on foot – have it pointed forward for control and as to not run into things or people. If you’re on horse, rear-facing is generally better.

A 17th century example from the Istanbul Museum, showing the matching nature of the quiver, bowcase and belt setup:

Generally they were made from a relatively stiff, thin leather covered in a decorative material like velvet or embroidered fabric. The set above is the latter. The back side of both pieces is bare leather to help with wear and tear associated with war and riding.

The quiver is typically integrated into the belt, whereas the bowcase is tied to the belt by two cords. That way it is easily removed in case of emergency or if it needs to be attached to the saddle.

From a war perspective, having the bow pointed back would indeed make it easier to swing a sword or mace and not hit your bow while it was slung. The same idea is used for our mounted archery quivers.

Historically, we see both uses. Attached to the rider and attached to the saddle. In this image – Sultan Murad II practicing at the qabac, wearing his red bowcase on the left hand side:

And another with Beyazid II; though his seems to be floating (and the quiver set behind the bow case being the same color is confusing) – it would be at minimum attached to the belt with two points:

And finally, the rider in black using a shoulder draw, bowcase on the belt. The rider in blue appears to have lost his bow and is instead using a two handed hammer. But the image shows the bowcase predominantly on the left side, attached to the belt, facing rearward.

All in all, the bowcase is a fantastic accessory and typically overlooked here in the west. Everyone needs a quiver, but few know about its partner – a matching bowcase. The Flying Hun has been producing custom bowcases for a few years, but recently has been producing matched sets to accompany their custom quivers.

Archery History: The Turkish Majra

One of the greatest things about archery, is that if you dig back far enough you begin to find some really interesting tools that expand past your bow and arrows.

One such device is the “Majra” also known as the navak, or tong-ah. The basic idea was to turn your bow into a semblance of a crossbow. There are a few different ideas as to how it came to be the first, being a way to use ammunition (short darts) that could not be fired back by your enemy.

The second, was that the Turkic cultures and Chinese clashed often and since the Chinese used predominantly crossbows – the enemy came up with a way of shooting their short crossbow bolts back at them.

There are a few others.

I built this one out of poplar, I’ve built s few of them in the past. Most depictions of the majra are seen with rounded backs (like this one) – if you’re wanting to build one, I suggest flat backed for your first experiment.

Because of the small size of the projectile and the high speed – it makes an excellent armor piercer. We did some testing over the summer with various bodkin points on the darts – they perform very well.

We filmed a video about it this weekend – take a look if you want to see how it works.

The Flying Hun – Majra Video

TXIAF Updates!

Every day the Texas International Archery Festival is getting bigger and bigger! Two new bands announced and we’re getting new vendors every day!

The Texas International Archery Festival

Check out this awesome poster – it should be up in a few places here soon.

Big News for 2019 – The Texas Renaissance Festival!

We have big news!

The Flying Hun – Archery and Leather will be at The Texas Renaissance Festival in 2019! We weighed the options of different faires, and decided this was the year for expansion!

We recently closed a deal on a beautiful new location – Shop #4 which is just to the right, inside the front gates! This is a big step up for us, and we’re up to the challenge. We’ll have the great stuff you’ve come to love, and a whole lot of new goodies. I’ll be releasing more info about the new products and direction we’re taking, but for Eastern and Eurasian style archery gear, we’re the place to get it.

2019 is a great year to come find us – Sherwood Forest Faire is March-April, Comicpalooza in May and now TRF from September-November. Keep up with us on Facebook and Instagram for more details as they arise.

We look forward to seeing you this year!

Comicpalooza – May 10-12, 2019!

2019 is shaping up to be an amazing year! We just secured our spot for Comicpalooza, here in Houston at the George R. Brown Convention Center the weekend of May 10-12, 2019.

This year we are on the main path through the convention – so expect to see a bunch of new media from us. We’ll have a bunch of info on mounted archery, details from our International Tournament and all the goodies you’ve come to love from us.

This is our third year vending at the show, and it’s always a good one. So, if you get a chance – come visit! It’s a fun mix of things and if you’ve always wanted to go to a con, but never have – you can’t go wrong with this one.

Put it on your calendar, it’s an excellent show.

The Texas International Archery Festival – April 26th-28th, 2019

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SAVE THE DATES!!!

My group, The Eastern Contingent is hosting the first annual Texas International Archery Festival on April 26-28, 2019!

Registration, Course Details, and More will be announced soon. Until then, mark your calendars! Inquiries may be sent to our Instagram, Facebook Page, or to TXInternationalArcheryFestival@gmail.com!

We look forward to seeing you there.

We will have:
-Traditional Mounted Courses
-Traditional Ground Courses
-Music
-Food
-Vendor Faire
-Demonstrations
-On Site Camping

COME ONE, COME ALL!

I’m on Patreon – Support Your Local Artists

Hello!

I have a couple questions: have you ever looked at my work and said “I’m not an archer, but I love what you make” or, do you love history, research and someone that cares about making things the right way?

If so, then this post is for you.

I like to think I make pretty stuff, or at the least try to. But what a lot of folks don’t know, is that I quit a terrible corporate recruiting job to do the thing I love. I’ve had moments where I look back and question what I’m doing. I think I should go do it again, to afford a different kind of life – but I always come back to the art. I love creating, building things that people want to show off and love forever.

True factoid: this is my sole source of income; I have my shop online, and I vend at various faires – and that’s it. It’s not easy, I rely on commissions, good seasons and a lot of crazy factors that are outside of my control.

It’s not a cheap pursuit. I got lucky with my recent trips, but came away with a lot of great inspiration and information. I’m already building new products based on those – it’s an exciting time.

But I need your help.

If you love art, or want to support your favorite artists – Patreon is a great platform; everything you give goes directly into new projects, materials and helping me keep this crazy dream going a little longer.

Many thanks, and I couldn’t have gotten here without you!

Check out the link to my Patreon page:

Rob “The Flying Hun” Morton on Patreon