Know Your Bow: Tips for Owners and Users of Pernambuco Bows
Prepared by: American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada, The Independent Society of Musicians (ISM), International Alliance of Violin and Bow Makers for Endangered Species, International Federation of Musicians (FIM), League of American Orchestras, Musicians’ Union (MU), National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), Pearle* Live Performance Europe

Shortly before the CITES plants committee meets in Geneva from 5 to 9 June, music sector federations together with partners from the music industry and bow makers have prepared a guidance for owners and users of Pernambuco wood, such as ensembles, orchestras and individual musicians.

The publication helps the sector to better understand new CITES rules on Pernambuco which were adopted at the meeting of CITES parties in November 2022 (CoP19) and went into effect in February 2023.

Pernambuco wood is used in most advanced student and professional bows. The vast majority of Pernambuco bows made over the past two hundred years were already located outside of Brazil before the newest rules came into effect and are not subject to new permit requirements. This means that in most cases, CITES permits are not required when travelling with Pernambuco bows. Only bows leaving Brazil for the first time must be accompanied by a CITES permit. 

While most of the travels with Pernambuco bows won’t require a permit, all bow owners and users should better understand the history of the bows they own and gather basic documentation about the material used. This can help establish their legal origin.

CITES Parties adopted measures on Pernambuco at CoP19 in an effort to halt the trafficking of Pernambuco wood and bows and to protect wild populations of Pernambuco.  

The document will be updated regularly.

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