Yang helplessly said that he eagerly hoped there was someone who could master the skill. There are many processes for making one bow. Even some original professionals have a mastery of only one or two working procedures.
Besides the complex procedures, traditional arrow manufacture needs many material, like silk, bamboo, horn, tendon, wood, rubber, lacquer, skin, and so on; these material are hard to obtain or even to find today.
Moreover, as a bow maker, one must know many other technologies, and must be able to sink his or her heart into learning this dirty, tiring job.
An ordinary bow can be sold for 100 Yuan, or about US$12.5, and a special-made strong one is worth one or two thousand Yuan. However, compared with the time and energy spent on making it, such a price is not high.
Yang Fuxi said making a traditional bow was too hard. Generally, it would take him 3 to 4 months to make only 10 to 12 bows. This is because there are nearly 200 steps for making a single bow. For making a superior bow, the technique is more complicated.
It is Difficult to Find an Apprentice
Many traditional crafts like bow and arrow making are facing the prospect that once the old craftsmen pass away, the technique will be forever lost. Yang Fuxi said he want to have an apprentice, but so far he has been unable to find one. Bow making is hard work that cannot earn much money, so many young people do not want to learn it.
Not long before, Yang was offered a job as the folk researcher in the China Culture Academy. He told journalists that the reason that he and other handicraftsmen worked as researchers was to protect and pass on the folk technique. Yang said that soon, the government and research institute would record some words and audiovisual aids for them so that later generations could resume the crafts.
Reason for Optimism
In the earliest Chinese royal dynasties, archery had an important place both in mystic ritual and in war. It was a compulsory subject, together with ritual, music, charioteering, reading, and arithmetic in the schools that trained the Chinese nobility.
At present, although archery is no longer a fighting skill used in the battlefield, it's not merely a traditional sport. More important, much China traditional culture is contained in the archery. By study traditional archery, people can learn about some of China's traditional lifestyle as well its traditional way of thinking, which might have some influence on today's society.
Yang Fuxi said that Ju Yuan Hao has weathered the storms of three centuries, sometimes at the crest of the waves and sometimes in the troughs. He said people should have faith that in these days of China's open economy, the Ju Yuan Hao can be rode up to a crest once again.