Category Archive 'Bow'

10 Aug 2013

Gold Damascened Steel Bow

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A 19th century Indo-Persian Steel Bow sold last year at Christie’s for £30,000 ($48,840).

Apparently, steel bows began replacing composite bows in Central Asia in the 16th century. Steel bows were superior with respect to having no need to be unstrung when not in use.

This take-down example is a remarkable piece of craftsmanship, made entirely of Damascus steel and completely inlaid on the front with 24 karat gold koftgari decoration.


Hat tip to Sari Mantila.

17 Nov 2009

“Obama Bows; Nation Cringes”

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There was a time when American leaders did not bow to foreign princes.

Wesley Pruden delivers some well-deserved criticism of Barack Obama’s mistakes in presidential protocol.

So far it’s a memorable trip. He established a new precedent for how American presidents should pay obeisance to kings, emperors, monarchs, sovereigns and assorted other authentic man-made masters of the universe. He stopped just this side of the full grovel to the emperor of Japan, risking a painful genuflection if his forehead had hit the floor with a nasty bump, which it almost did. No president before him so abused custom, traditions, protocol (and the country he represents). Several Internet sites published a rogue’s gallery showing how other national leaders – the prime ministers of Israel, India, Slovenia, South Korea, Russia and Dick Cheney among them – have greeted Emperor Akihito with a friendly handshake and an ever-so-slight but respectful nod (and sometimes not even that).

Now we know why Mr. Obama stunned everyone with an earlier similar bow to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, only the bow to the Japanese emperor was far more flamboyant, a sign of a really deep sense of inferiority. He was only practicing his bow in Riyadh. Sometimes rituals are learned with difficulty. It took Bill Clinton months to learn how to return a military salute worthy of a commander in chief; like any draft dodger, he kept poking a thumb in his eye until he finally got it. Mr. Obama, on the other hand, seems right at home now giving a wow of a bow. …

Some of the president’s critics are giving him a hard time, and it’s true that this president seems never to have studied much American history. Not bowing to foreign potentates was what 1776 was all about. His predecessors learned with no difficulty that the essence of America is that all men stand equal and are entitled to look even a king, maybe particularly a king, straight in the eye. Can anyone imagine George Washington, John Adams or Thomas Jefferson making a similar gesture of servile submission? Or Harry Truman? Or FDR, who famously served the lowly hot dog, with ballpark mustard, to the king and queen of England? John F. Kennedy, on the eve of a trip to London, sharply warned Jackie not to curtsy to the queen.

Douglas MacArthur, who ranked above mere heads of state in his own mind, once invented his own protocol on greeting Emperor Hirohito. The emperor, the father of Akihito, wanted to meet MacArthur soon after he arrived to become the military regent of Japan in 1945, perhaps to thank him for saving the throne at the end of World War II. When the emperor invited MacArthur to call on him, the general sent word that the emperor should call on him – speaking of breaches of custom – and the two men were photographed together, astonishing the Japanese. The emperor arrived in full formal dress, cutaway coat and all, and MacArthur received him in summer khakis, sans tie, with his hands stuffed casually in his back pockets. Further astonishing the Japanese, he towered over the diminutive emperor.

Read the whole thing.

15 Nov 2009

Pondering the Protocol

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Vladimir Putin doesn’t bow

HotAirPundit demonstrates that he-men heads of state don’t bow to Akihito.

OTOH, Kathy Kattenburg thinks caring about these kinds of issues (Republic vs. Monarchy, Government by Consent vs. Divine Right) makes you a “yokel.” For her, politically correct guilt over Harry Truman dropping the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki trumps these formal considerations. We bombed Akihito’s country and defeated it. Obviously, the poor soul cries himself to sleep every night over what my father’s generation did to his countrymen. The least Obama can do is grovel to him in compensation.

The Politico channels the explanation:

A senior administration official said President Barack Obama was simply observing protocol when he bowed to Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko upon arriving at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Saturday.

“I think that those who try to politicize those things are just way, way, way off base,” the official said. “He observes protocol. But I don’t think anybody who was in Japan – who saw his speech and the reaction to it, certainly those who witnesses his bilateral meetings there – would say anything other than that he enhanced both the position and the status of the U.S., relative to Japan. It was a good, positive visit at an important time, because there’s a lot going on in Japan.”

Gilbert and Sullivan put it better:

If you want to know who we are,
We are gentlemen of Japan:
On many a vase and jar–
On many a screen and fan,
We figure in lively paint:
Our attitude’s queer and quaint–
You’re wrong if you think it ain’t, oh!

If you think we are worked by strings,
Like a Japanese marionette,
You don’t understand these things:
It is simply Court etiquette.

14 Nov 2009

Obama Bows Again

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The President of the United States bows before the Emperor of Japan

The LA Times reports that the Chosen One bent low again, this time to Akihito, 125th Emperor of Japan.

Obama’s bow to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia last April produced widespread criticism as a violation of American Republican principle and protocol. Many Americans believe it is profoundly inappropriate for the President of the United States to render honors acknowledging the superiority of any monarch since the American Republic by its Declaration of Independence rejected monarchy and the claim of unelected rulers to reign on the basis of divine authority.

Oddly enough, Obama reserves, it seems, his gestures of supreme respect for Worthy Oriental Gentlemens. He merely nodded to Queen Elizabeth. In the case of Queen Elizabeth, Michelle Obama made gestures in quite the opposite direction, hugging the Queen and later even patting her affectionately on the back.

Last April’s obeisance to the “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques”

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