Asian Archery FAQ

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Where can I get a Traditional Asian Bow?


ATARN gets a number of enquiries about obtaining Asian bows. Most are from people who want to start learning Asian styles of archery.

Here are some points to consider:



    The traditional Japanese Yumi can be obtainined easily in Japan or through Kyudo societies in many countries.


Traditional Chinese bows are no longer made anywhere in the world. The style of Chinese bows which were used in the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911) were in fact based on the Manchu heavy war bow. The design is very close to that of the 'Gung' style bow used in eastern Mongolia, and still made today. Before the Qing Dynasty, Chinese bows were very close in design to the bows now used in Korean archery (save for the ideosyncratic Korean bow grip.)


Bows for Korean Kungdo are readily available, both in traqditional materials and in FRP. Such bows are made down to quite light draw-weights, and are suitable for beginners practicing Chinese and Mongolian archery as well. Some of the bows I have used are too light in the hand. Choose one with a solid weight-in-hand. For more information, contact Tom Duvernay at


There are now just six traditional bowyers operating in Mongolia (excluding the Mongolian Autonomous Region of China.) They can hardly keep up with local demand, and are not geared to export. That said, they occasionally have to sell bows to tourist shops to make ends meet. Such bows are usually kept strung for display in the shops and will normally be useless to anyone who buys them for shooting. The current going price for such 'display bows' is US$500.


Tibetan bows from Qinghai, China, occasionally appear in markets.They usually have prodigious draw weights.

Thumb rings

Thumb rings are not difficult to make for yourself. But I have had a supply of thumbrings made up locally based on the design of Korean thumb-rings. The material is ivory-substitute. The cost is $15 each.

Up-dated 6 October 1998