11th-century Russian-style crossbow quiver – Ivan Matfeevich Rezansky

East Kingdom Wiki: https://wiki.eastkingdom.org/index.php?title=Ivan_Matfeevich_Rezansky

Today I am displaying an 11th-century Russian-style quiver for crossbow bolts. The piece was constructed using woodworking, leather carving, leather dying, and bronze-smithing. I built this item after purchasing a crossbow in September 2020 and needing a way to carry my bolts (which were also made by me). There is evidence that crossbows existed in Rus’ as early as the 11th century, the time period of my persona, and although no crossbow quivers have been found from that time period in the archeological record, I constructed this quiver using reasonable guesses based on archery quivers which have been discovered from that time period.

The quiver is constructed in the “semi-cylindrical” style, one of two styles which were commonly used in the pre-Mongol-Invasion Rus’ period (9th-13th century). The back and bottom of the quiver are made of birch wood, a commonly found and used wood in the Russian lands, and one that had special protective connotations in Russia’s pagan and multi-faith (dvoeverie) throughout the medieval period and into the 19th century. The front is made of leather, carved with a knotwork design of two simargls, a winged dog creature similar to a Persian senmurv. These were believed to be protective spirits for Russia’s rivers, and as a result, for sailors on those rivers, such as my persona. The design is adapted from a period jewelry mold. The quiver is mounted from the belt using a strap, which is held in place by two brackets on either side. I constructed the brackets from 4ga bronze rods, forged into leaf shapes on either end and bent in the middle to form the arch shape.

Overall this project took approximately 40-50 hours to complete, over September-December 2020. This was my first significant leather and woodworking project for the SCA. I learned a lot in the process, and am quite happy with the final result.

More details on the research and construction, as well as in progress photos, can be found on my blog at https://rezansky.com/11th-century-russian-style-crossbow-bolt-quiver/

14 thoughts on “11th-century Russian-style crossbow quiver – Ivan Matfeevich Rezansky

  1. I love the colors you got with the dye, and all the different skills needed to create this are incredibly impressive! Thank you so much for sharing your art!

  2. I appreciate hearing the context for your educated guesses, and really admire how many skills this took to construct! Terrific documentation.

  3. This is very nicely done and it was interesting to read about the many different steps to the process.

  4. I enjoyed learning more about the craft of shaping leather and the object is not only functional, but beautiful as well. Thank you for sharing your work!

  5. This is an amazing piece of work. I really love the tooling and the dying you did to decorate the piece. Also, it is really cool that your choices have meaning to your persona. Everything is so well thought out.

  6. This is really beautiful. I especially love the simargls on the front protective and charming. I will definitely ping you as I try to make a quiver of my own in the Spring.

  7. I love that you are always trying new A&S things – it’s really inspiring to watch your process! Your work is always gorgeous, and this is no exception. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful piece

  8. Beautiful design, and impressive documentation! Thank you for sharing it…very cool!

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