The crossbow originated in China and became widespread during the Warring States period. Some types would have been fired with just one hand and larger versions would have been mounted on a movable base which could be carried around on the battlefield. It was indeed one of the deadliest weapons invented to that day and its power led to the ascendancy of the Han Dynasty.
Embodying one of the most interesting examples of ancient warring technology, crossbows evolved from the earlier bow and arrow design. They comprised of a bronze trigger mechanism that also held the dart, a short wooden bow, and a string or rope. These weapons could fire a variety of sharp arrows, dart and bolts which, thanks to the trigger mechanism, had a much more brutal penetration force, giving a great advantage in battle. Sun Tzu, the author of The Art of War, an ancient Chinese treatise dedicated to warring strategy and military skills, defines the crossbow as “might” which gives a sense of the great power that this weapon represented.