Jewel of Muscat sets sail for Singapore

The Jewel of Muscat, a working re-creation of a 9th century Arab dhow that plied trade between the Middle East and Southeast Asia, set sail from the port of Muscat in Oman on a five-month journey to Singapore, where it will remain as a symbol of friendship between the two countries.

Jewel sets sail on a tide of history
The National, 15 February 2010

The Jewel of Muscat, an 18-metre dhow weighing 50 tonnes, will trace a famous ancient trade route in a five-month voyage from Oman to the far east.

The vessel has been painstakingly built by Omani ship builders using traditional techniques from the ninth century. No nails were used and planks were sewed together watertight with coconut fibre. The wood is protected by a layer of goat fat mixed with lime, according to the Jewel’s Omani captain, Saleh Said al Jabri.

“We have to follow the local tradition in building the vessel otherwise the whole voyage will have no meaning. Most of the timber those days was imported by Omani sailors from abroad and brought here for construction,” Capt al Jabri said.


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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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