Take Aim With a Traditional Bow and Arrow

Staff at the Royal Archery Club prepare for a display of their skills at the Sankranta. Photo: Alan Kirk

SIEM REAP – Visitors to the Angkor Sangkranta will be able to put themselves in the shoes of ancient warriors by firing traditional bows and crossbows.

Seventy bows made from Angkor Empire era original materials have been made by craftsmen from the Royal Archery Club in Siem Reap, club founder Sa Dina says. 

Wood for the bows is selected from the talipot palm tree, which grows wild in the province.  

 The wood is cut to size and heated while it is held in the shape of a bow.  Wax is applied, which allows the bow to keep its shape as it cools. Rattan bindings hold the handle in place and strengthen the ends of the bow.

One modern touch is the nylon strings.  The knowledge of how to make a string from forest material has been lost.

Royal Archery Club founder Sa Dina with a replica crossbow of the kind used by the Kuy ethnic people. Photo: Alan Kirk

Arrows are made from bamboo shaved with glass. Bird feathers are used for the flights but the art of making the metal tips, again, has been lost.

Another five crossbows of the type used by the Kuy ethnic people for hunting and warfare will also be available for visitors to try out.

“There is a great history of the Kuy people,” Dina says.

“Kuy people are shown on the walls of Angkor Wat and the Bayon temple.  They were very loyal to the emperor and the Khmer people.”

The bows will be on display with experts on hand to talks about them opportunities to try them out at Road 60, behind Sokha Resort and  Hotel in Siem Reap and from 8am until sunset.

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