This was my Saturday night: me and my friends Rachel, Brian and our favourite bow collector, Chris, had put our names down for a table at Snakes and Lattes and went for some grub at Tacos El Asador. Chris got right into show-and-tell. He'd just come from strolling along the Danforth and he found this little cutie in a shop that imports stuff. It's maybe 2 feet long, and we could've used it to take down an ibex if one happened along Bloor. (I'm not a big hunting fan but this was pretty interesting stuff.) It had a quiver and wee arrows to match. Made of bone and sinew, they had pointy little tips that made Rachel kid that they needed some paralytic goo - and it turns out these are totally those. The store has one with the stuff on it, but it's on loan for a TV show.
Chris had an even teenier one, too, perfect for a kid to practice with. The other use for it is a little more remarkable, though. Adults rock like Cupid with 'em. Yup: one would shoot it AT object of one's affection. Sans poison but still, like, ouch. The tips of the little arrows were like wee barbs! I kinda hope somebody was adding some crack to their fart there. (An ancestral saying from my tribe.) Not gonna work on the ladies around here, fellas.
Anyway, when Chris was telling us his tale, I was like, "Oh wow. Was this place called Nharo!?" I've thought about going in to see if there was a good story behind the archer on their logo. So, after seeing these, I popped by. The owner, Paul Wellhauser, was just loads of fun. He hauled up a whole box of quivers (some made from oryx horn, even!) then went to dig around for bows. Most are about $45, I think, but the one he models below is ten times that. It's museum quality - contemporary but it was previously used by a real hunter from one of very few hunter gatherer tribes remaining. Since Chris rents his toys to actors, he was quite happy with the more economical ones.
Paul showed me anthro textbooks with diagrams of these kinds of bows and how they've changed over time, and descriptions of the tribes that use them. I didn't catch any of the names but they had lots of that cool click sound which dude's totally got the hang of. He's gone to South Africa many times to source stuff himself. (Now, he can text to ask them to send stuff if he can't make it over!) He confirmed that these delicate, teeny things are for large game, at about 20m distance. Totally basic, stick and string. Some of them weren't even particularly straight. Like Opie goin' fishing. I'm not gonna switch from my finely tuned and balanced Olympic-style stuff anytime soon, but it's keen to know stick and string still work just fine.