Bow and arrow prices in 1802

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The below list is a translation from the 欽定軍器則例 a work concerning the manufacture and repair of military equipment. This particular list dates from the 7th year of Jiaqing, or 1802. The absence of many items, such as quivers from most provinces, is probably not due to the fact they were not made there, but rather because it was very hard to gather such data across the vast empire effectively. What is interesting is that quivers of differing sizes are noted from province to province. Also, the Yunnan list reflects the local use of crossbows that was continued into recent times by ethnic minorities in the area such as the Miao and Yi.

A note on prices and wages
Prices are in silver tael. One tael is approximately 37,5 gram in weight. The daily wage of a master artisan would be around 0,05 teal and a regular worker would be paid 0,04 in most provinces. Zhili, where the capital Beijing was situated was an exceptionally well-paid area, with 0,08 for the master artisan and 0,06 for a regular worker. An apprentice would only get one day of pay for three days, and an apprenticeship lasted about 5 years. With some dedication though, one could then eventually become a well-paid master artisan. With records of gambling houses showing that around that time in Zhili an average wage was 0,04 taels a day, they would make twice average.



Zhili (Capital Beijing)
Bow 1,5
Big arrow 0,04
War arrow 0,03

Jiangnan
Bow 0,95
Quiver with 19 arrows 0,541
Patrol boat spare arrow 0,025
Manufacturing a war arrow 0,02
Repairing a war arrow 0,015

Jiangxi
Bow and arrow manufacturing prices same as Jiangnan

Zhejiang
Bow 1,05
Arrow 0,03
Zhapu Manchu Army bow 1,272
Arrow 0,034

Fujian
Bow 1,009
Short ear bow 0,756
War arrow 0,0238

Henan
Bow 1,05
War arrow 0,03

Shandong
Bow and arrow prices same as Henan

Shanxi
Bow 1,05
War arrow 0,0225
Practice arrow 0,03
Big arrow 0,085

Shaanxi
Bow 1,13
Long broadhead arrow 0,06
Duckbill arrow 0,035
War arrow 0,03

Sichuan
Bow 1,2637
War arrow 0,035

Guangdong
Bow 1,05
War arrow 0,022
Large broadhead arrow 0,03
Quiver with 13 arrows 0,21

Guangxi
Bow 0,8
War arrow 0,012

Hunan
Bow 1,05
War arrow 0,02

Hubei
Bow 1,05
Quiver with 18 arrows 0,35

Yunnan
Bow 1,05
War arrow 0,03
Crossbow 0,14584
Iron (tipped) crossbow arrow 0,006
Bamboo crossbow arrow 0,002
Crossbow string 0,043
Crossbow arrow tube 0,24518
Crossbow arrow box 0,21578

Guizhou
Bow 1,05
War arrow 0,03

1The word used for quiver in this text is 撒袋 (sā dài) which means "spreading bag", named after the manner in which the quiver spreads the arrows out. The Manchu name for this type of quiver is jebele See "Bow cases and quivers of the Qing" for more information and pictures of antique examples of such quivers.

2Zhapu was a seaport through which trade with Japan and Korea was conducted and where a naval garrison was founded in 1728. Some 1600 Manchu soldiers were stationed there that trained in naval warfare.