Traditional Disciplines of the Turkish Archery

Traditional Disciplines of the Turkish Archery

There were several kinds of sportive archery contests in Ottoman. The foremost contest was long distance shooting. It was a fact that Ottoman archers had been shooting to tremendous distances.
Turkish target called "puta". Leather bag stuffed with sawdust or cotton seed. (Military Museum, Istanbul)
The second kind of contests was target shooting. Due to the name of targets (Puta), these were called "puta shooting" and the bows using were called "puta bows" and even the arrows were "puta arrows". The feathers and the forms of those arrows were suitable for target shooting and arrow points in form of olive stones as it is used today were common.

Disciplines of penetrating hard objects and horseback archery are the other kinds of performance shooting or archery games

Penetrating thick wooden logs and hard metal plates with hardened steel arrowheads was a spectacular performance. A powerful archer with high technique of shooting could easily penetrate a couple of metal plates stick together. Those bored objects can be found in museums. These shootings were called "darp" shootings. The "ayna" targets named after the big metal plates of mirror armour were other kinds of targets.

Another performance shooting named "Kabak (gourd) shooting" was performed on horseback. This kind of shooting done to a target placed at the top of a long pole while the archer was riding at full gallop. The archer made his shoot when he was going just under the target. The name of the shooting came after the targets were gourds in general. In this kind of shooting, concentration, condition of archer, the abilities of riding and shooting were at their top levels. As the entrance of ungulates to ok-meydans was forbidden, the places for gourds (kabak-meidan) were used for this kind of shooting.


Details from Kabak game
performed by Murad II. (1402-1451) 
 (Hunername, 16th century)


Pounding shootings to ploughshare and bell. (Military Museum, Istanbul)

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