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Construction features of perso-arabian and west indian ships in medieval Islam

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents general shipbuilding features of the Medieval Islamic period through literary sources and pictorial representation. In the early centuries of Islam, Ubulla and Siraf had two main dockyards, while Aden was an important boat-building centre during most of the Middle Medieval Islamic period. The most common practice in construction methodology in the Western Indian Ocean, as in the Classical Mediterranean, was the shell first process, it involved building the hu first (i.e. the shell) by fitting the planks to the sides of the ship then laying the frames or ribs, a method which determined the shape of the hull. Stitching of entire boats has ended in the Arabian Gulf and Oman region, though the tradition of using stitches prevails on the West Indian shores, such as Kerala.

Keywords: Arabian Gulf; hull; Medieval Islamic period; Mediterranean; shipbuilding features; Siraf; Ubulla; Western Indian Ocean



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