Bracer

Bracer

[brey-ser]

A bracer (or arm-guard) is a strap or sheath, commonly made of leather, stone, or plastic that covers the inside of an archer's arm to protect it while shooting. Bracers keep the inside of the archer's forearm from getting hurt by the string of the bow or the fletching of the arrow; they also prevent loose clothing from catching the bow string. They normally cover the forearm only, but chest-guards are sometimes worn, usually by female archers, and other areas have at times been protected. With some combinations of non-baggy clothing and bows with a larger distance between the bow and the string, the archer may not need to wear any bracer.

Stone wrist-guards from the European Bronze Age have been thought to be archery bracers, but a recent suggestion is that they were status symbols without practical function. The two functions may be combined. The Navajo people have developed their "ketoh" bracers, using silver, turquoise, and other adornments. Ketoh decorations usually have a center motif, sometimes with a central ornament, and four curvilinear shapes that radiate toward the corners. Ketohs may have a smooth leather surface on the inside of the arm and are thus still perfectly functional, but are normally used as items of personal and ritual adornment, or as works of art in their own right.

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