Tanii bows are plain bamboo bows, with no stock. The whole bow is called alyi; the string is called lyiha (from alyi, bow, and aha, string). Whether there is a specific word in Tanii to denote the stave is not known, nor is known which bamboo variety is considered most suitable for making staves. The stave is a simple bamboo section, the inside of the bamboo making the convex side. Two notches are made at the ends to receive the string. Strings are ostensibly made of twisted cane fibre, although this has yet to be confirmed. The string is attached to the two ends of the bow stave by a knot.
Arrows (apii/apu) are of 2 types :
- - bamboo-tipped arrow, unbarbed. It consists of a rounded shaft with a pointed tip, having no separate head.
- - iron-headed bamboo arrow. The head has a barbed iron point (apu-putu). Plant fibers (pyarmo) are used to fasten the iron tip onto the shaft. Possibly these are identical to fibers known as tama-amu used for making waterproof coatings.
All arrows are feathered with finely cut leaf fletches (murto) for regulating their direction. Again, it is still unclear which of these two plant species, tama amu or pyarmo, is used for making fletches, but pyarmo fibers are used to tie the fletches onto the arrow shaft. At the end of the shaft butt a notch is made to receive the bow string. The iron heads are sometimes poisoned with aconite (iimyo, Aconitum ferox). The plant is made into a paste which is applied on arrow tips.
The arrows are carried in a quiver (age) made of a hollow bamboo, suspended over the right shoulder by a sling of plaited cane. The quiver is fitted with a cane lid also attached to the sling by means of plaited cane (left).
In olden days bows and arrows were used both for war and for hunting. It seems that they were also employed in inter village disputes among Taniis, including those gyambo sonii or 'demonstrations of war', by which two clans or villages could challenge each other openly in a conventional manner. However, according to Fürer-Haimendorf, as a rule they were confined to long-distance arrow shooting, as was also bamboo spear throwing. The same author also reports that it was an arrow who killed the victim of the last Apatani gyambo sonii having opposed Tajang and Reru in 1972 (some information on this event can be found here).