Artifact Spotlight — Apache Sinew-Backed Bow and Arrow

November 1, 2022
Bow with two arrows underneath

In honor of National Native American Heritage Month, the Alamo is previewing a new item we recently acquired from the Donald and Louise Yena Spanish Colonial Collection, the Apache Sinew-Backed Bow and Arrows. 

Identified by known provenance as Apache, this rare sinew-backed bow is an excellent example of the type. Very powerful, most of the original sinew, which provided the power and strength, is intact. Because of the sinew, the bow is in a rebounded configuration. Sinew would have been attached to the bow by a glue produced by the native Americans, possibly a type of hoof glue. The wood of the bow is possibly "bois d'arc" or bow wood. The bow is 44 3/4" in length, which is typically short for an Apache type.

The original Apache arrows all exhibit the use of iron metal points possibly acquired from traders or made by Apache at camp. An additional deadly effect of these points is that they were prone to fold overbend when striking bone, making removal very difficult. Points would also detach in wounds. The feathers original fletching on these arrows are mostly intact. Arrows, short Apache types range from 18 12" to 25 1/2". This bow and arrows are circa 1870's.