A beautifully preserved example of an antique 17th-18th century Chinese- Mongolian composite war bow with its original string that is in the original position from when the bow was used centuries ago, which is very rare and almost impossible to find. Also which makes this bow rare and very special is a stamped seal mark of possibly the maker or the owner of the bow. DETAILS: A composite bow built from horn, wood, sinew, and wood, decorated with green dyed ray skin and bark and applied decorative motifs. The process to make a composite bow was very long and complicated, different horn was used, wood, and sinew, and a correct balance between these different components provided a highly efficient bow, therefore composite bows were very expensive compared to other weapons. The composite bows were one of the most characteristic weapons of the Islamic, Mongolians, Chinese, and Eastern European warriors, and maintained a very similar construction and usage. Army military power was dependent on horsemen armed with composite bows even in the age of firearms. Since China and Mongolia were neighboring countries of Russia, Sino-Mongolian bows were very popular in Russia as extremely powerful weapons, particular among the Cossacks. References: 1) An identical bow also with the original string dated as 17th century and described as Ukrainian is published in the Catalogue - Album "The National Museum Of History Of Ukraine" No 191. Kyiv 2001. Most likely the bow which is in the Ukrainian museum was acquired by the Cossacks from the Tatars during the 17th century. A photocopy from this book together with the certificate of authenticity will be provided to the buyer. 2)"Cossack Armies of the Russian empire" By Oleg Agafonov 3)"Weapons of the Caucasian nations” By E.Astvacaturyan. There are three layers in the composite bows: sinew on the back (the side under tension), wood for the core and horn on the belly (the compression side facing the archer). Chinese Persian and Turkish bowyers purchased green wood or bamboo. The parts were shaped and reflexed as needed, seasoned for about a year, fitted, joined with glue and dried for another year. Pre-shaped horn strips were glued onto the belly of a bow. Both wood and horn were scored with a special toothed tool and glued together (clamping was achieved by tight binding with rope). Maching pairs of water buffalo horns were used almost exclusively, with an exeption of longhorn cattle horns for some Turkish bows. For best Chinese bows, expensive, translucent, white horns were preferred. Buffalo horns have no sidewise twist as present in cattle horns. Cattle horns had to be boiled heated and pressed into a correct shape in special wooden molds. Buffalo horns are also more flexible and resilient than cattle horns and provide thicker strips. It is probable that in Persian bows, instead of a solid strip, many thin ones were glued together into one wider strip. The back of a bow was then covered with sinew, leaving most of the ears/tips bare. Sinew usually came from cow leg tendons, possibly neck (back) tendons. Tendons from wild animals (deer, moose etc.) must have also been used, and, in the authors opinion, are better, leaner, stronger, longer and easier to work with. The dried tendon is pounded until separated into fibers, which are sorted into bundles of similar length. The bundles are soaked in glue and laid onto the back of a bow. 2-3 layers are used for a dry thickness of approx. 3-6mm. On Turkish flight bows a ridge along the centre of siyahs was formed to increase cast. Bows were always seasoned after this last operation from 6 months (Chinese) to at least a year (Turkish). Due to shrinkage of sinew and glue (and from deliberate, progressive reflexing betw. layers of sinew in case of Turkish) bows were at this point very strongly reflexed with tips touching or even crossed. The reflex made the tillering and stringing, which followed, a rather long and complicated operation. Glue was an important component of the bows, the amount of glue in a finished bow was almost equal to the relative amounts of sinew or horn. Only three kinds of collagen-based glues were used: fish, tendon and skin. For the fish glue, either dry skin from "the roof of the mouth" of Danube sturgeon (Turkish, other fish for Chinese) or isinglas (sturgeon air bladder, Chinese) were soaked in water and heated into solution. The Turks mixed this glue with tendon glue, made from boiled tendons. A glue of lesser quality was made from boiled skins. Such glues readily absorb moisture rendering the bows useless in relative humidity above 70%. The bows had to be stored as dry as possible, kept by the fire, in the sun, or in heated cabinets. The tillering was accomplished by gradual bending a warmed bow with minimal scraping of the horn layer to balance the arms. The arms were also given the desired curvature and/or weight by warming and tying to special wooden forms until cooled. Turkish flight bows were heated in "conditioning boxes" for 24 hours up to 4 days before competitions to thoroughly dry them (the sinew, glue and horn acquire very high strength and elasticity when very dry). Of course, the bows were never shot when warm; heat, as well as moisture, would make them weak and follow the string. The finished bows were decorated with painted and gilded leather or birchbark. Wooden or horn "bridges" were glued on the belly side where the ears join the siyahs/knees as supports for string loops. horn on the belly. MEASUREMENTS: length of the bow: 136 cm (53 1/2in) Condition: The bow is with wear and signs of heavy usage.