Tibetan archery in Qinghai

Added On January 17, 2015

Jianzha, a county in west China's Qinghai Province is a picturesque place known as "China's National Archery Town".

Archery is not only a sport here, it is a way of life.
Legend has it that archery in Jianzha dates back to the 9th century when a brave monk shot a man who had launched an attack on Tibetan Buddhism.
After shooting him he buried the iron bow in the ground at Jianzha and and the bow became a holy symbol for monks there.
After that archery became a huge part of culture and life.
"Archery is a traditional and folk sports activity at Jianzha. The people here are very fond of it. Each year in this season, around the Spring Festival, when all of the people come back home including migrant workers, we hold archery competitions between villages. If you have a chance to watch competitions in person, you will see how grand it is. Everyone is delighted with their villagers and cheers for them. It is really grand."
After the competition people feast and see other performances.
They call this the "Dhaton" feast.
"Dhaton means the feast for arrows and it is a party held after the archery. This word comes from the ancient Tibetan language and has cultural meanings. For example, after the competition between two villages, they set up a time to hold this feast. If these two villages had a conflict before, they will become friends after the archery competitions."
People here not only have the unique hobby of archery, but also have a unique way of making bows and arrows.
"Since my childhood, I've enjoyed making bows and arrows, under the instruction of some old people who used to be archers. In this area, most people learned it when they were children. Besides, almost all of the people here like to watch archery. Archery is my favorite sport and is indispensable in my whole life."
In Jianzha, people have inherited and stuck with the traditional culture of archery.
Nearly a decade ago, Jianzha successfully held its first "Colorful Shenjian Cup" traditional archery tournament. It later invited competitors from abroad to join the event.
"In order to protect our traditional culture, we began to hold the Colorful Shenjian tournament from 2005. But now holding one event is not enough, so our next step is to establish training institutes, for Colorful Shenjian and for Dhaton feast. I believe these institutes will help inherit our traditional culture."
Jianzha has successfully held the "Colorful Shenjian Cup" International Ethnic Traditional Archery Tournament twice so far.
Through the "Colorful Shenjian" activities, the county shows this ancient vibrant national traditional archery of Qinghai to the world.