Updated 22 October 2002


Archaeological discoveries shedding light on SCA technology issues. A interesting example of Asian crossbows is documented from a tower model dating to the Han Dynasty:

Chinese ceramic tower model with 4 crossbow men, part of the Minnesota Institute of Art collection



China, Eastern Han dynasty

Military Watchtower, 1st century
Glazed earthenware
Gift of the Asian Art Council

Text provided for display:

The multi-storied manor houses and watchtowers of Han towered above the countryside. Some lords built watchtowers and hired private armies to protect their property. This tower is built over a pond as indicated by the fish, frongs, and aquatic fowl in the round basin-like base. The corners of the balconey show soldiers with crossbows. Though invented during the Warring States Period (481 - 221 B.C.), crossbows were perfected during the Han Period. Central to military control, the powerful weapon gave the Han an advantage against all enemies. In fact, the crossbow was a state secret protected by the dealth penalty.

Full length view of the Military Watchtower

Detail of crossbow man

Detail of crossbow man

Detail of crossbow man

Lord Michael with his bow bought at Pensic from David R. Watson, the New World Arbalest