How did the nomadic Mongols make their world famous bows.

The present day territory of Mongolia has 17 million hectares of forests. That’s roughly 11 percent of territory.

Birch tree is primarily used in making a recurve bow. It grows mostly in the central and eastern areas. Almost 12 percent of the forests in Mongolia are birch trees.

Mongolian bows are made from several ingredients:

illustration A (top right-limb):

  • Horn (ibex)

Illustration B (second top right-siyah)

  • Horn

Illustration C (grip)

  • Horn

Everything is glued together by an animal glue, the best ones usually from the fish glue.

Wood is an important ingredient, but it is hardly the rarest one. Ibex horns are much more difficult to get than birch trees. Today, we make bows from domestic animals, such as, goats and oxens as ibexes are an endangered species. Altai ibexes live mostly in the mountainous areas to the west. Gobi ibexes live in the Gobi area to the south.

The biggest difficulty would have been combining them. As the major ingredients, such as, birch trees grow to the east and north, while ibexes live to the west and south.

Arrows were made from birch trees and shrubs (Salix pentandra, the bay willow). Shrubs grow on the banks of most rivers. Shrubs grow fast and make perfect arrows.

For more visit me at Mongolia FAQ

A Mongol from the land of Blue skies. www.mongoliaFAQ.COM

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store