The Krackow Company

South America and Africa

There is little doubt that the bow was produced in many different lengths, shapes, and cross sections in South America, as well as Africa. The people of these two great continents were master archers and some of them still are. The Nubians (northern Sudan) and Ethiopians were renowned 3,000 to 4,000 years ago as deadly archers, and as late as A.D. 700 were known as the pupil smiters for their skill in blinding their opponents. If the armor of the opponents was too heavy for their arrows to penetrate, they prided themselves on hitting the eyes which had to remain unprotected.

Krackow previously had been able to acquire the great long lows from tribes in the Amazon Basin such as the Bari and the well publicized Yanomami. Regrettably these are no longer available. The same holds basically true for the whole of Africa. There are two African replicas not pictured here but we can have them made--the Nubian longbow, and the angular Egyptian horn bow borrowed from the Assyrians. It is the angular horn bow that one sees being used by the ancient nobility of Egypt in the many frescos, reliefs, and paintings. When fully drawn (as in the chariot scenes) the shape is a perfect semi-circle. They are always shown overdrawn and shot with a thumb-ring.

This type of Amazonian bow is occasionally still available by search, oval in cross section and quite typical of the “longbow” which seemed to emerge independently in many parts of the world, and not just in England.


African Archery by David Tukura In The Traditional Bowyer’s Bible, Volume III. 1994.

Texas: Bois de’Arc Press. Emphasis on Nigerian archery, but a very rare glimpse of older archery across the continent. This is the type of work that helps in a small way to correct our neglect of African archery and of African history in general. $24.95.

Ancient Egypt:The Great Ages of Man by L. Casson and Editors of Time-Life Books 1965.

New York: Time inc. By search only. Nice summary of the period and fine color graphics. By search and quoted price only.

Before Color Prejudice: The Ancient View of Blacks by Frank. M. Snowden 1983.

Cambridge:Harvard University Press, paper, 164 pages. An intriguing story of the interaction of peoples of differing color in northeastern Africa from about 2,000 B.C. through the times of the Roman Empire. Not solely about archery, but includes serious treatment of war and thus a fair amount about archery. Most readable and enlightening material regarding conflict between the lighter skinned Egyptians and the very dark skinned Nubians on the one hand, and intermarriage and equality of the two groups. At other times they were arch rivals and alternately dominated each other. $23.50.

Brazilian Indian Archery by E.G. Heath and V. Chiara. 1977.

Manchester, England: The Simon Archery Foundation. Hardback, 188 pages. The only readable and readily available book in English on the archery lore of the tribes of the great Amazon Basin. Dozens of catalogued types of bows with shapes and dimensions along with the native background. $62.00.

The Art of Warfare in Biblical Lands, Volume by I by Y. Yadin. 1963.

Rare and used-occasionally available by search. Jerusalem: International Publishing Company. $81.00 but variable.

The Complete Tutankhamun: The King, the Tomb. The Royal Treasure by N. Reeves. 1990.

London: Thames and Hudson. $22.50.

The Double Helix: Bowhunting African Plains Game by E. Donnell Thomas.

The only way many of us will hunt in Africa. Also another way to reflect on this wonderful continent. $29.95.

The Grey Goose Wing by E. G. Heath. Originally 1971.

Berkshire, England: Osprey Publishing Ltd. The first three chapters are excellent in picturing and describing prehistoric bows, the appearance of the composite bow, and then the highly touted horn bows of the Assyrians, Hittites, and Egyptians. Rare and by search only, several hundred dollars. Sometime the smaller lower-priced Derrydale version can be found.

Yanomamo—The Last Days of Eden by anthropologist Napolean Chagnon.

These are the people of the heavy jungle longbows, now under the heavy pressure of white intrusion. This edition is more balanced than the older one subtitled "The Fierce People." $18.00.

Yanoama: (spelling varies) The Story of Helen Valero by Ettore Biocca

Helen was kidnapped by the Yanoama, returned to her own "civilized’ biological family, but decided to return permanently to her Indian home. $17.50.