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Bighorn Sheep Bow
Metal Arrowheads

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Bow and arrow

Mandan or Hidatsa

Horns from the bighorn sheep were softened with steam to enable them to be cut and shaped. Sinew (muscle along the buffalo’s backbone) was attached with hide glue to the back of the bow and became the source of the bow’s power.

While on a hunt with the Mandans, Lewis observed that the power of the bow could propel an arrow all the way through a buffalo.

The three feathers and point of each arrow are secured with sinew and hide glue. The shafts have blood grooves that are symbolic of lightning. It was believed that the grooved lines helped the arrow find its target. The painted green band at the base identified the owner of the arrow. After a hunt, a warrior could identify which buffalo he had killed.


Tip of Arrow

All Images © Franz Brown