Crossbows, bows, quivers, and arrows

The crossbow of King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary (reigned 1458-1490)

It is on display in the Metropolitan Museum, New York. Before that, it had been offered for the Hungarian National Museum for sale twice but it was rejected. 

This crossbow is one of the earliest surviving dated examples to include heraldry in its decoration. It was made for Matthias Corvinus (1443–1490), king of Hungary and Bohemia, whose personal coat of arms and the arms of his kingdom are visible. In addition to its rich ornament, the crossbow is remarkable for its sophisticated firing mechanism.

Carved into the ornamented hunting crossbow’s bone plating are various animals, designs, depictions of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and the various coats of arms of Hungary, Bohemia, and the Hunyadi family. Perhaps the most interesting carving on the artifact, however, is the depiction of Saint George slaying the dragon, but the individual depicted in the heroic act is no other than King Mathias himself.

You might take out the details of this hunting crossbow better in the black-and-white pictures:




An Ottoman quiver and arrows

At the end of a TEMREN (the Turkish Ottoman steel tip arrowhead), many lost their lives or lived scarred or crippled by them. Especially our ancestors in central and eastern Europe, including of course those in the Hungary of the 16th-17th century. These arrowheads were, along with the cannonballs, the sword tip, and musket bullets the most common means to die in a battle. Here are some fantastic, original examples of Ottoman arrows, as a result of various museum collections. 

The description of the blue quiver:
Turkish Bow case “Sadak” and Quiver “Tirkeş” set. Made of, Leather with appliqués, silk threads, silk fabric, and gold leaf, ca. 1550. The bow, which was stowed in the bow case, had become a symbol of Turkish armament alongside the Kilij. Depending on the quality of the bow, it took up to ten years to manufacture the weapon, with individual layers of wood, buffalo horn, and sinew (tendon) glued together with fish glue. Each of these operations required extensive drying times, resulting in a long manufacturing time. The Turkish army did not renounce this weapon even after the introduction of firearms. With these composite bows, the Turks shot up to 800 meters. To protect the bow from moisture, after use, it was stored in a Sadak, which was worn on the left side. Sadak also made it possible to stow the bow in close combat, as it was a hindrance. On the other hand, a “Tirkeş” (Quiver) was a container for holding the arrows, which was worn on the right side.

(Source: Radu Fradu, Stork Kosova via Philip Stryjewski and the drawings of Somogyi Győző)

Here are more pictures of this particular item and see more related pictures as well:

Source: partly from “Hungary Today”

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