Seafaring in the Arabian Gulf and Oman: People of the Dhow (Kegan Paul Arabia Library)

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9780710309396: Seafaring in the Arabian Gulf and Oman: People of the Dhow (Kegan Paul Arabia Library)

This book is a study of the seafaring communities of the Arabian Gulf and Oman in the past 150 years. It analyses the significance of the dhow and how coastal communities interacted throughout their long tradition of seafaring.

In addition to archival material, the work is based on extensive field research in which the voices of seamen were recorded in over 200 interviews. The book provides an integrated study of dhow activity in the area concerned and examines the consciousness of belonging to the wider culture of the Indian ocean as it is expressed in boat-building traditions, navigational techniques, crew organisation and port towns.

People of the Dhow brings together the different measures of time past, the sea, its people and their material culture. The Arabian Gulf and Oman have traditionally shared a common destiny within the Western Indian Ocean. The seasonal monsoonal winds were fundamental to the physical and human unities of the seafaring communities, producing a way of life in harmony with the natural world, a world which was abruptly changed with the discovery of oil. What remains is memories of a seafaring past, a history of traditions and customs recorded here in the recollections of a dying generation and in the rich artistic heritage of the region.

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About the Author:

Dionisius A. Agius is Professor of Arabic and Islamic Material Culture at the University of Exeter, with a special interest in maritime culture and ethnography. He is currently working on traditional dhow-building, dhow-types, sea trade and seafaring communities of the Red Sea region. He is co-editor (with Richard Hitchcock) of The Arab Influence in Medieval Europe (1996); author of In the Wake of the Dhow: The Arabian Gulf and Oman (2002) and Classic Ships of Islam: From Mesopotamia to the Indian Ocean (2008).

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