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Reproductions of quivers 
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Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2006 2:25 am
Posts: 49
Location: Sydney, Australia
Post Reproductions of quivers
Recently I built three reproduction quivers. One is in the Safavid Persian style based on a miniature. It is made from vegetable tanned calfskin, hand dyed and sewn with thick linen thread. The metal fixtures were bought off the shelf. In the original painting, the arrow separating studs were white, which suggests either bone or ivory, but metal ones are easier to find. The embossing is a simple flower and diagonal trellis design. Other quivers in paintings have much more complex designs, though not the one this is based on. The embossing was suggested by surviving plain leather quivers which usually have some surface decoration.

The base is a glued and sewn in piece of pine with the grain parallel to the arrow shafts. This is so that arrowheads like broad heads (the arrows at the back) will not blunt their points. It also means the arrowheads do not slide around. The base is covered on the outside with a red leather lining. The mouth of the quiver wants to lie flat so it automatically lines the arrows up in a row.

The straps are of deerskin suede. This is a very strong leather that is suitable where thin flexible straps are needed. There is a balancing strap on the inside face (the surface against the archer's body). It runs through several slots and is tied to a folded piece of leather that goes over the belt. Mostly only the attachment points on the quiver are the only survivors of this strap arrangement, but where the complete strap survives it is designed to be able to slide along the the archer's belt. This makes it easy to adjust the angle of the quiver after mounting a horse without having to shorten straps.

The lower edge of the under panel of the outside face of the quiver is not the full length. I made one once based on a surviving quiver in a Polish collection where the panel only extended just past the outermost half panel. This caused problems with broadheads and any arrowhead that was wider than the shaft because they could catch on the edge of the panel when being withdrawn. In this quiver the panel extends to the upper surface of the wooden base insert. It doesn't snag the arrowheads and it makes the quiver stiffer and a better protection for the arrows.

The small crescent shaped slot is to take an unfletched amaji arrow of the type used for close quarters armour-piercing. The upper part of the shaft to the nock on this type of arrow was usually highly decorated. I have several originals, but haven't made any yet. Aside for qighaj shooting, there is little use for them in the modern world.

The title of the original painting is "Goshtasp slays the dragon of Mount Saqila" and is from the so-called Houghton Shahnama or the Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp. It was commenced about 1522 and finished in the 1530s as a present from the Safavid Shah Ismail to his son and heir Tahmasp. The painting is on 402 recto. It has been published in Stuart Cay Welch's Royal Persian manuscripts, 1976, Thames and Hudson, London. Plate 9 page 51.


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Bede
Mon May 05, 2014 6:41 am
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Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2006 2:25 am
Posts: 49
Location: Sydney, Australia
Post Re: Reproductions of quivers
This quiver is in the Turkish style, but has the earlier feature of having the main body made out of a folded piece of leather. This construction can be seen in the earliest of the open quivers in Song and Jin paintings and also the excavated example from Mongolia. The constructional style survived in China until the end of the Qing dynasty.

In Turkey surviving examples are rarer which might be because, while it is less labour intensive to make, it requires larger pieces of unmarked leather. More quivers can be cut out of a given piece of leather if they have the inside and outside pieces cut separately.

The main difference in outside pocket design between Turkish and Persian quivers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries seems to be the shrinking size of the pocket in relation to the length of the quiver in Turkey as time went on. This may only be an accident of survival. Another feature that changed with time is that the two leading edge suspension points became closer together in later quivers.

Dying leather yellow was very popular in the Middle East and did not have the connotations that it did in late Imperial China. The quiver is sewn with black linen thread and has a glued and sewn in leather covered base. The base is red.

I have no direct evidence of the spacers on the outside of the quiver. Indirectly there is the fact they were used in Safavid Iran and some of the quiver covers had evenly spaced holes suggesting the arrows normally were separated. However, some designs of pocket did not require any separators since the trailing edge of the pocket provide a stop for the arrows. Others had a ring mounted which could stop arrows sliding past it and could hold a special arrow if necessary. I add the spacers to this type of quiver because the short pocket is not so good at keeping the arrows upright.


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Turkish0002b.JPG
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Bede
Mon May 05, 2014 6:43 am
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Location: Sydney, Australia
Post Re: Reproductions of quivers
This quiver is based on a Crimean Tatar quiver associated with one of the Tatar Khans.

It has a single piece wooden frame on three sides. The leather is glued to the frame and then stitched to the red leather covering the edges of the frame. Sometimes in this type of quiver the leather is riveted or nailed to the frame as well. There are two straps running longitudinally from leading edge to trailing edge inside the mouth of the quiver. There are three transverse straps running through the other two from inside face to outside face of the quiver inside the mouth. This creates three rows of four compartments to separate the arrows internally.

I have made an extra ring to take a balancing strap on the inside face of the quiver similar to those on Manchu quivers. In reality these quivers may have had sewn on leather strap retainers like Tibetan quivers and very early Ottoman quivers.


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Bede
Mon May 05, 2014 6:44 am
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Location: Sydney, Australia
Post Re: Reproductions of quivers
This is the front side of the quiver. The stitching is artificial sinew. If I had that much real sinew thread, I would be making bowstrings from it.\Here are some more details on the Tatar quiver from the book Stara bron w polskich zbiorach,by Zdzislaw Zygulski. The translation is mine and may be inaccurate.


b. A quiver of arrows (inv. 24267x).

Purchased in 1917 from Anthony J. Strzałeckiego. The brown goat skin, the wooden frame, sewn with linen thread.

Bevelled grille opening secured leather quiver with two longitudinal and three transverse straps; grid was used to hold the arrows.

With the quiver, there was a leather belt with an iron hook at one end and with holes at the other end.



I had no suitable brown dye and my goatskin was too thin for quiver construction so I made it from calfskin and dyed it black since that colour is popular in earlier and later Tatar quivers. I did once examine a Manchu quiver of the Qianlong Emperor which was made from de-haired leopard skin that was naturally black. The folded body type quivers are particularly suited to be cut from a goat or antelope skin since the middle of the back can form the fold making it much stronger.

My quiver is shorter since I build quivers to match the arrows they are intended for so that I can maintain the correct proportions. Usually I use 73 cm arrows, while the general Tatar arrows are in the range of 82 to 85 cm.


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Bede
Mon May 05, 2014 6:46 am
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Location: Sydney, Australia
Post Re: Reproductions of quivers
I had originally posted this information on ATARN and one of our fellow archers from Norway suggested I repost it here. The quivers are simply hung from a rope in the pictures, but they each have their own belts. I have made cord belts as shown in some of the Persian manuscripts, but people find them a little difficult to adjust. There are plenty of surviving belts in museums from Turkey so that leather belts are well documented.

Since these quivers are intended for use rather than display, decoration has been kept to a minimum. Also since I am not a silversmith, the metal fittings are bought not made. The metal conchos that keep the straps attached to the quivers would have had soldered loops on their backs to take the straps, but I used commercial ones with two slots instead. They still have a pleasing effect and are less liable to break in use.

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Bede


Mon May 05, 2014 6:55 am
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Location: Norway
Post Re: Reproductions of quivers
Yes I thought such beautiful work would be of interest on this forum also. Oddbjørn.


Mon May 05, 2014 4:11 pm
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Joined: Tue Oct 11, 2005 10:01 am
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Post Re: Reproductions of quivers
Bede, what beautiful and intricate work. well done.

.I think if this could be arranged as a short article it would go well in Arrowhead.

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Mon Jun 16, 2014 5:09 pm
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Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2006 2:25 am
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Location: Sydney, Australia
Post Re: Reproductions of quivers
I am preparing a longer article on the relationship between the representation of quivers in Persian miniatures and the surviving quivers. However, I should be able to do a short version of it. It has taken longer than anticipated due to new material turning up all the time. How many words?

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Bede


Tue Jun 17, 2014 1:22 am
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Post Re: Reproductions of quivers
For Arrowhead it would have to be quite short, especially as there would have to be room for the images. Remember the pages are only A5. I would say that what you wrote here would be sufficient - an explanation of each quiver.

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Thu Jun 19, 2014 11:27 pm
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Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2006 2:25 am
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Location: Sydney, Australia
Post Re: Reproductions of quivers
I will do it. Can you handle black and white diagrams?

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Bede


Fri Jun 20, 2014 2:08 pm
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Post Re: Reproductions of quivers
I can handle most things which are not "set" into a particular format. Most stuff I have to re-set anyway, so no pdf's please. All images will have to be greyscaled - (but I can usually do that) - except for those in the Arrowhead which goes to around 20 members on-line, where they can remain coloured.

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Sun Jun 22, 2014 11:11 pm
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