Traditional Turkish archery

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Inscribed in 2019 (14.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

© Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey, General Directorate of Research and Training, 2017

Traditional Turkish archery encompasses principles, rituals and social practices, the craftsmanship of traditional equipment, archery disciplines and shooting techniques that have evolved over the centuries. In traditional Turkish archery, there are different types of disciplines practised on foot and horseback. Bearers and practitioners train individually or collectively to improve their skills, carry out individual shootings and take part in competitions and festive events. The craftsmanship of traditional archery equipment is a key component of the element. The equipment is made with raw materials such as trees grown under certain climatic conditions at high altitudes, organic glues, horns, tendons, silk and leather. Craftspeople must therefore have advanced knowledge of nature, including plants, animals and the climate. Archery equipment is generally decorated with calligraphy, ornaments and marquetry. Craftspeople engaged in the craftsmanship of traditional archery equipment also play an important role in safeguarding the element, with the related skills being transmitted from master to apprentice or through self-learning. In recent years, there has been a remarkable increase in the number of female archers and trainees, as well as a significant increase in the number of non-governmental organizations involved in archery in various regions of Turkey. Bearers and practitioners ensure the continued viability of the element by adopting it to fit contemporary conditions.

Puta (target) shooting in Çanakkale Biga Province Competition
Horseback Kabak shooting
Ercan Özek (bow maker)
Raw materials and tools in Ercan Özek's bow making atelier
Raw materials and tools in Orhan Parlağı's Zihgir making atelier
Raw materials and tools in Bekir Büyüksındır's Zihgir making atelier
Horseback archer with traditional attire and equipment
Master and trainees in training session, called 'Meşk'
The rituals of Permission, called 'kabza alma töreni' (taking grip ceremony)
Archers shoot arrows through their rings in the wedding ceremony
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