These pictures are from a Chinese scroll dated around 1426-35, depicting entertainments in the Eastern Park of the Imperial Palace, probably under the Xuande Emperor, the fifth of the Ming Dynasty. They show in exquisite detail a group of archers shooting at targets on poles, targets which spun to indicate hits. The archers wear special overskirts to protect their silk robes. Note the soft tips on the arrows – the rest of the scroll, twenty feet long, depicts games similar of football, golf and polo in addition to archery. Note also the recurved (reflex) bows, the beatific smiles, the waiting around, and air of relaxed enjoyment, in what appears to be a head-to-head competition. Some things haven’t changed all that much in 600 years.
These photos are ©The Infinite Curve and were taken at the British Museum exhibition in Dec 2014.