Plate 44, 18x27
This group of friends had engaged in many archery matches, and though they competed strenuously, smiling, chattering and good fellowship ran through the whole scene. The archery contests in this area were delineated by the age of the contestant. It was a universal sport, but it was more than a sport. It was a binding thread of their community and their social life into a more exquisite tapestry.
On the days of competition, everyone arrived early and showed joviality, warmth and eagerness. The eagerness seemed rooted in the sociability and the competition. It was almost as if they said, "I want to win, but I want to be your friend. I want to exchange." The bows for the older men were long, and as they struck the bow, they did not move a fraction of an inch from one end of the bow to the other. The eye, the grip, the strength was something I have never witnessed before in my life. The celebrating, upon being the best in any given contest, was done in a communal spirit, in a friendly almost neighborly manner, to the point where I am not sure if the defeated got less than the victors.