- Museum number
Hunting bow made of wood from the bough of a tree (mutateko?); strips of softened ligament wound around the bow to support the bow string (acuko).
- Production date
- 20thC (Prior to 1969)
Height: 192.05 centimetres
Width: 3.05 centimetres
Depth: 11.07 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Eth.Doc.355. Exhibition of Material Equipment of the Hadza, Hunters and Food Gatherers of Northern Tanganyika. University College, London (Department of Anthropology), 1965.
Woodburn, J. (1970), Hunters and Gatherers: The material culture of the nomadic Hadza. The British Museum, pp11-17.
The Hadza (also known as Hadzapi, Tindiga, Kindiga, Kangeju), who live near Lake Eyasi in Northern Tanganyika (Tanzania) are a population of approximately 600 people; living in small nomadic groups comprising on average eighteen adults who regularly move camp. Food is obtained by hunting game animals; such as eland, zebra, giraffe, impala, wildebeest, and game birds; guinea-fowl, francolin, pigeon. They collect honey from bees, eat roots, edible fungi, and berries from trees and plants. Until a government scheme in 1964 and 1965 they practised no agriculture. Hadza live in beehive-shaped huts intertwined with branches, or rock shelters during wet weather.
Materials for bows and other items are scarce; often obtained through trading honey, tails of wildebeest and giraffe, herbal medicines and bush products in exchange for beads, gourds, pots, cloth, and pieces of iron; to make arrowheads and useful objects. Stone pipes, //'anako arrows, and valued items made with traded goods are used as stakes in a gambling game.
Men usually hunt alone; most Hadza meat is obtained with a bow and arrow. Bows are personal items carried by men, even when they are too old to hunt. The manufacture involves trimming the bough to shape with an axe and knife. If straightening is necessary fat is applied to the wood, carefully heated over hot ashes to straighten. It is allowed to dry out for a few days; longitudinal splits are prevented from spreading by the use of lugumedabi; pieces of animal hide, which are slipped onto the bow when freshly cut, to shrink tight as they dry around the bow. The bow string (acuko) is usually made by women from strips of nuchal ligament or sinew; chewed until soft, rolled on the thigh to make string, attached to the base of the bow with a slip knot and head of the bow by a distinctive hitch that can be tightened. Surplus string is coiled around the head of the bow just below the hitch.
Bows may be converted into musical instruments, by attaching a gourd resonator to the back of the bow with a cord, dividing the bow string into two sections of unequal length, to produce different notes.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Vendor purchased this collection during seven periods of field research in social anthropology and medicine among the Hadza in northern Tanzania, between 1958 and 1969.
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number