Korean bow boasts of multi-millennial history

The Korean bow has a long history.

It was called tangung or mokgung in the meaning that it was made with a short piece of wood in the period of Ancient Joson that existed between the early 30th century BC and 108 BC.

It was called kakgung in the period of the Three Kingdoms (Koguryo, Paekje and Silla). Especially, the bow of Koguryo (277 BC-AD 668) was termed maekgung since its people were described as Maek tribe.

Maekgung was widely known to different countries for the solidity and high efficiency and became a major export from the outset of the kingdom.

An old record of a neighbouring country shows that the people of the Maek tribe made a good bow.

It is said that at the time Korean ancestors used the bones, horns and tendons of three cows to make the strong bow for shooting arrows far away.

Bamboo and Securinega suffurticosa were used as the materials for the arrow which was known to be powerful enough to pierce an iron piece.

The arrowhead varied in kind and shape and was mostly made of iron.

In those days the bow of a foreign country had one curve, but the Koguryo bow had more curves which increased its power and efficiency.

Its bowshot was 150 metres in general and 360 metres at the maximum when the shooting angle was adjusted.

The bow scarcely made impact on the hand when shooting an arrow as the flying arrow absorbed almost all the impact.

An old record of a neighbouring country says that foreign countries could not dare to invade Koguryo fearful of the bow.

According to the Chronicles of the Feudal Joson Dynasty (1392-1910), the bow and arrow were the speciality of the country.