OKÇULUK (Traditional Turkish Archery)
Inventory Number : 01.0091
Inscription Date : 06.08.2014
Other Names : Geleneksel Türk Okçuluğu, Kemânkeşlik, Tîrendâzlık,
ICH Domain(s): Social Practices, Rituals and Festive Events; Knowledge and Practices Concerning Nature and the Universe; Traditional Craftsmanship
Domain(s) of the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage:
Geographical Location (The Applicant Provincial Directorates): Sivas, Tokat
Traditional Turkish Archery is an element of the intangible cultural heritage which has been shaped as sportive activity by principles, rules, rituals and social practices, the use of equipment made with traditional craftsmanship and archery disciplines and shooting techniques that have been developed over centuries.
Traditional Turkish Archery is a traditions that was brought from Central Asia to Anatolia by Turks. Traditional archery developed as a martial art, but has become a sporting branch that is based on moral principles and training since its earliest times. Today, it is a regular sporting activity that has special practice areas that include archery fields and archers lodges, which date back to the 15th century.
In Traditional Turkish Archery, there are different types of disciplines practiced on foot and horseback. The archery on foot discipline includes “Menzil” (Long-Distance Arrow) Shooting, “Darp” (Pounding) shooting, “Puta” (Target) shooting Horseback archery, includes “Kıgaç”, “Kabak” and “Tabla” shooting. Archers use traditional shooting techniques and skills learnt from masters, allowing shootings performed on either foot or horseback to be carried out successfully.
Traditional Turkish Archery, which requires a high level of shooting skills, is learned from masters known as “üstat” through daily based training known as “meşk” and carried out in a certain disciplined way. The tradition in which the trainee acquires an adequate level of skills and receives his/her permission from his/her master is called “kabza alma töreni” (taking grip ceremony).
Composite bows and various different arrows are used in the practice of archery. The production of these bows and arrows requires a deep knowledge of materials and craftsmanship that can take many years to learn. Timber, fish glue, animal horns and tendons are used in the production of bows, while arrow production requires timber, reed and feathers. A bow maker is supposed to have an advanced level of knowledge of these natural materials.
Today, there are a many NGOs and communities who are trying to safeguard this tradition. These communities organize courses for the making bows and teach archery to young people. They also organize promotional activities as well as competitions, performances, panels and festivals in various public spaces, particularly museums and schools. The wide participation from all across the world into traditional archery events which are organized both at national and international levels indicates how the tradition of archery serves for the strengthening of intercultural dialogue environment.