An Ottoman Light Composite Bow, 17th to 18th century

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Item ref: 2505

  • Ottoman Empire
  • Horn, wood, sinew, paint, lacquer and gold
  • 119 cm / 47 in x 32 cm / 12.5 in


Private collection, Belgium

A composite bow, as the name implies, is one made of several materials. The floral design that decorates this bow can be found on Ottoman textiles of the 17th  and 18th  centuries and it shows a European influence, suggesting that this bow was perhaps manufactured in Istanbul. It compares to a similar composite bow in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

This composite, recurved bow is lacquered on the grip and sides of the outer face of the arms with traces of gold embellishment. The slotted tips of the arms, called the nocks, are left undecorated, but have lacquered applied wooden bands that are also embellished with gold. The belly of the bow is adorned with cartouches that contain flowers alternating with yellow scroll patterns, both against a red background.