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.
The book was awarded a major prize in 2006 by the Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah Foundation and the British-Kuwait Friendship Society for the best scholarly work on the Middle East published in the UK in 2005 and is one of the most significant and prestigious awards in this field.
Table of Content
1. The Present Study
2. The Dhow
3. The Northern Arabian Gulf and the People of the Sea
4. Oman and its Seafarers: Gateway to the Indian Ocean
5. The Dhow Industry
6. The Routes to West India
7. The Crew of an Ocean-going Dhow
8. The Pearldivers and Crew
9. The Principles of Navigation
10. Getting Ready: Steering and Rigging
11. Braving the Winds
12. The Sea: Portraying the Reality