The Grayson Archery Collection is one of the largest and most comprehensive in the world and allows the unique opportunity to explore the many different variations in technology and innovation that exist within the field of archery.  One such innovation that arose independently in many different areas and time periods is the pellet bow, or stone bow.  As the name implies, a pellet bow shoots small clay pellets or round stones instead of the typical arrow.  The pellets are loaded into a pouch attached between a double bow string and fired much like a sling-shot.  These types of bows generally lack the power of conventional bows and were often used for killing or stunning small game.  Shooting a pellet bow isn’t as straightforward as you may think, however.  With a bow and arrow, the arrow is naturally guided past the bow itself.  A pellet bow, on the other hand, needs to be rotated outwards to prevent the pellet from striking the bow or the hand.  Several examples in the Grayson Archery collection have grip attachments to help protect the hand from any pellet firing mishaps. A crossbow version of the pellet bow also appears across Europe and China.  Known for their accuracy and ease of use, these lightweight weapons were exceptional for hunting rabbits and birds. 

 

References: 

Heath, E.G. 1971  The Grey Goose Wing:  A History of Archery.  Berkshire: Osprey Publications Ltd.

Grayson, Charles E., French, M., & O’Brien, M.J. 2007  Traditional Archery From Six Continents: the Charles E. Grayson Collection.  Columbia, Missouri:  University of Missouri Press.

Simmonds, N.W. 1959  Archery in South East Asia & the Pacific.  Journal of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 32:67-104.