Attention crafters of bows, arrows, and archery gear, and historical researchers, this year the Middle Kingdom will be hosting the Archery Masterwork Judging. You will have the opportunity to compete against other in your field from many kingdoms, exchange ideas, learn more about your craft and gain recognition for your skill and knowledge.

The competition will take place on Wednesday, August 17th, at 5:30 PM on the Archery Range, and will recognize excellence in several categories:

Hand bows
Arrows and Quarrels
Period-style archery gear (arrowheads, quivers, bracers, etc)
Combat archery equipment (combat arrows, rattan war bows, etc)
Historical Research

The entries will be on display before the judging, so that other archers and the populace may view them. This year, I plan on getting a few A&S judges to come and help judge the masterwork. All judging will be based on Archery Masterwork critics, not A&S standard. This will be an opportunity to educate A&S judges on how to judge archery equipment. Also we will ask them to tell you what to change in order to enter your work in a kingdom A&S competition.

Entrants will present their work before the judges and fellow entrants. The judges will question entrants and provide comments on each entry. Final results and winners will be announced during Pennsic XXXII and notice for the winners will also be sent to the kingdom newsletters. You may send your entry with a representative if you are unable to attend in person.

Volunteers will be needed to help with the judging! Entrants may submit items for judging as well as participate in the judging process. Anyone having questions or wishing to volunteer to judge this competition should contact:

Forester Neko Me

Keith Drew
9271 Hamlin Ave.
Des Plaines, IL 60016
(847) 298-6248

Official Rules for Archery Masterwork Judging at Pennsic War XXXIII

All entries must be of pre-1600 design. Non-period materials may be used but greater value will be given for those items made from period materials and fashioned by period methods. No item that has been entered at previous
Masterwork competitions will be allowed.

The divisions to be judged are:

Hand bows


Arrows and quarrels

Other related period archery equipment (bracers, arrowheads, quivers, etc.)

Combat archery equipment

Historical Research



Bows will be judged based on:

  1. Materials used - period materials will be favored
  2. Feel - feel of draw, degree of stack, hand shock
  3. Construction - how well tillered, degree of string follow, tools and techniques used, etc.
  4. Finish - absence of tool marks, resemblance to period weapon, etc.
  5. Additional details (horn/antler nocks, bowstring type, string material, inlay work, decoration, etc.)
  6. Documentation - not as heavily stressed.



Crossbows will judged based on:

  1. Materials used - period materials will be favored.
  2. Release - smoothness of release.
  3. Finish - absence of tool marks, resemblance to period crossbows.
  4. Documentation - not as heavily stressed



In the case of an entry of a matched bow and arrow set, the bow and arrows will be judged separately.

Ammunition will be judged based on:

  1. Materials used - period materials will be favored
  2. How well matched the set is (spine, grain weight, balance)
  3. Construction - self-made or purchased shafts, nocks (self / reinforced), heads (handmade/purchased and period/modern), fletching (type of feather, how well cut & aligned), etc.
  4. Finish - cresting, resemblance to actual period arrows, etc.
  5. Documentation - not as heavily stressed



As this category covers a wide variety of entries (bracers, arrowheads, archer's shields and short swords or armor), criteria for judging will be more general. If many entries of one type are submitted, additional categories may be created at the discretion of the judges-in-charge. Items will be judged against each other based on:

  1. Level of project difficulty
  2. Quality of construction
  3. Documentation and resemblance to period example(s).



Gear will be judged based on:

  1. Materials used - period materials will be favored.
  2. Construction - tools and techniques used, etc.
  3. Finish - absence of tool marks, resemblance to period weapon, etc.
  4. Additional details - inlay work, decoration, etc.
  5. Documentation - not as heavily stressed



Limit: 10 pages/5000 words

Must include a cover page with a general description of the subject and the purpose of the research project. List sources.

Project will be judged on:

  1. Complexity of the subject & difficulty in presentation within the length of paper allowed. Does the paper achieve the purpose outlined on the cover page?
  2. Workmanship: Basic writing skills, clarity of the piece, bibliography of quality sources & footnotes, drawings, pictures etc.
  3. Aesthetic Quality: Was it readable, informative and stimulating?



The judging will be done by those entrants present and any others that may be picked by those in charge of the judging. These may be: other bowyers or fletchers that have not entered, knowledgeable archers, workers in leather, wood, metal, etc. Those in charge will decide if entrants are to judge entries only in the field they entered or may judge in all fields. All judges will have three votes, but may give only one vote per entry. The winner is the entry with the highest score. The judges may decide to pick more than one masterpiece, in each craft, if they feel the judging is very close. If there are very many entries the judging in any of the above divisions, then those divisions may be subdivided into novice, journeyman, and master categories.