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/