Chinese Lore- Legendary Chinese bows (1)

I almost forgot about today’s post but luckily I seemed to have developed some kind of reflex around posting on Mondays and Fridays (not bad since it’s close but not yet half a year since I started this blog).

Anyway, I have to admit that I’m still on my lethargy phase with respect to novel writing and random writing (except for the Live and Let Live series). At the Citadel, I’m cooking up another submission for the Villain quest and doing a whole bunch of research-based writing based on ancient China. So today I will be sharing some of these here.

Descriptive writing has ever been my short point so I’m going to point everyone to the following link containing pictures of these legendary bows: http://baike.baidu.com/view/1300606.htm”>. Note that the picture for no. 8 detailed here is missing as well as those for no. 5, 4 and 2 that will be posed up the coming Monday.

No. 10: The Dragon Tongue

Construction/Special Properties: reputedly its bowstring is made from the sinew of a dragon, giving it high speed and accuracy.

Lore: In the era of the Three Kingdoms, Lu Bu, the greatest warrior of that era, had used the Dragon Tongue to successfully shoot his halberd, thereby averting the awkward situation when Yuan Shu sent an emissary to force him to join in invading Liu Bei’s stronghold

No. 9: The Travelling Son

Construction/Special Properties: A strong bow, whose arrows fly at the speed that a *travelling son eager for homecoming wishes to travel at

Lore: the weapon of Hua Rong, ranked ninth among the one hundred and eight generals of the Water Margin (one of the 4 Chinese classics in literature) heroes, which together make up a grass-root rebellion group in the Northern Song dynasty.

Note: a travelling son is a generic term in ancient China for a son who is currently living far away from his parents. Back then, there’s a kind of a cultural dogma that’s against being apart from your parents encapsulated in the saying “when your parents are around, one should not travel far”. In reality, of course, some still do, especially for scholars for the purpose of studying and then later on if they become an official.

No. 8: The Divine Arm

Construction/Special Properties: Actually a crossbow whose body is made from a particular specie of mulberry trees, whose bowstring is made from silk, with the end of the bow being made of sandalwood and iron/steel making up the mechanic parts.

Lore: Some say it is wielded by the patriotic general Yue Fei who was instrumental in repelling the Jurchen invaders in the Southern Song dynasty but died at the hands of the corrupt official Qin Hui. Others say that it the multiple-shot crossbow invented by Zhuge Liang in the era of the Three Kingdoms.

No. 7: The Sentient Treasure

Lore: the weapon of Li Guang, a valiant general of the Western Han dynasty who was instrumental in repelling the Xiong Nu invaders (a race of nomads dominant in Central East Asia) and was given the nickname of General Fei or Flying General by them.

It was said that one day when Li Guang was out hunting, he saw a tiger crouching amidst a bush from afar and shot it. When he walked close, he found that it was actually just a stone but the arrow has sunk deep within the stone. Apparently a poet in the Tang dynasty had composed a poem that detailed this event.

No. 6: The Ten-thousand Stone

Construction/Special Properties: Composed from purple sandalwood that are harder than steel but much lighter

Lore: the weapon of Huang Zhong, one of the five Tiger General of the Shu Kingdom of the era of the Three Kingdoms (the others were Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, Zhao Yun and Ma Chao, basically the five greatest warriors of Shu). Huang Zhong was the eldest among them (in fact substantially older than the others) but he was such a valiant warrior that he managed to slay Xia Hou Yuan, cousin to Cao Cao and one of his eight Tiger Riders. Consequently, Huang Zhong was a classic image for a healthy and capable elder in Chinese culture. The name of this bow was a reference to weight (stone is a unit of measurement in ancient China since it was said that Huang Zhong can wield a bow that has the strength of two stones (a little over 19kg in modern terms) i.e. one needs to exert about 19kg of force to use such a bow. It was also said that he never missed a shot.

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