Power and Dexterity

Asian Games: The Art of Contest

Pitch-Pot: The Scholar’s Arrow-Throwing Game
Played the world over, throwing games in which the aim is to hit a particular target stem directly from the need to hone survival skills, be they skills of hunting or warfare. A child trained first in the throwing of small objects at close distances graduates to slingshots and thence to archery and javelin throwing. The game of pitch-pot (touhu in Chinese; toko in Japanese; tuho in Korean)—throwing arrows, rods, or darts into a receptacle—falls between the two extremes of the children’s game of coin throwing and archery contests. In the former, the relation of the activity to survival skills is subliminal; in the latter, it is explicit. In its most distant origins, touhu probably began as a pastime invented by archers (most likely soldiers), who whiled away the hours pitching arrows into an empty wine pot.

Pitchpot (toko) set
larger image

Pitchpot (toko) set
Japan; Edo period (1615–1868), Koka 3 (1846)
Wood, feather, bamboo; h. 25.8 cm (large), 15.8 cm (small); l. 25.8 (arrow)
Reikanji Imperial Convent, Kyoto