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Rare 18th C. Qianlong Chinese Bow, marked to period of the Qianlong Emperor

( ID: ca1015 )

A fine example of a rare 18th C. Chinese bow. This example is made of horn and birch wood, covered in birch bark and painted with lacquer and especially most interesting is the paint of tiger stripes.

 It has various design features that are associated with earlier bows, namely:
1. All decoration follows straight lines, comparable to what are fangshi or "angular style" on saber fittings.
2. Ears are of angular cross-section, with the analogy to saber scabbard and handle cross-sections from earlier swords, such as the Qianlong sword we have in our sold section.
3. It has an absence of auspicious symbols that were popular over the course of the 19th century.
4. A tiger stripe pattern that is closer to that of real tigers than the very abstract stripes common on later bows.

All these features were common on bows from the beginning of the dynasty up to the late 18th century. They were gradually replaced by bows with rounder cross-section ears and more complex lobed panels with auspicious symbols. Like with sabers, this change started in the mid. 18th century with the design of some bows by the emperor's hand in 1748. It spread to the highest echelons of the Qing military especially.

What is most interesting about this example is that it is one of very few examples that are signed and can be attributed to a specific maker in Guangdong Province.  We can be sure it's attributed to a maker in the Yuedong, a prefecture in the east of Guangdong province. The name of the maker, translates as a workshop named "Li Guang's Promotion", with the workshop named after the famous Han dynasty general.  However the top line of script translates to "Made during emperor Qianlong," a rare period attribution to find on any Chinese arms and armor.  It displays some loss of decoration but is fine and in presentable order.

Overall length is 63".

Photo #1 of Rare 18th C. Qianlong Chinese Bow, marked to period of the Qianlong Emperor
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