The Jewel of Muscat

The Jewel of Muscat
The Jewel of Muscat

The wreck of a 9th century dhow was discovered by local fishermen off the island of Belitung. In 1998 a German company was given permission to excavate the wreck where they discovered 60,000 pieces of rare Chinese porcelain.

From the remains, a reconstruction of the sailing ship was made using original materials, including coconut fibre to sew together the hull, with the aim to sail the ship along an old trade route from Oman to Singapore.

In May 2009 I saw the Jewel of Muscat being constructed at Qantab in Oman.I was amazed to see that it was sewn together, following the construction techniques used in the wrecked ship, rather than the using more traditional methods of pegs or nails. In October 2009 I saw it in Oman’s mariner where I did a couple of sketchbook watercolours of the dhow at rest in the water without it’s masts.

After sea trials, the Jewel of Muscat set sail in February 2010 for Singapore using ancient navigation methods. I was able to track its progress through the tweets of Oman Sail. I completed this watercolour depicting the vessel sailing past a well known rock formation near Muscat, Oman. Since then I have painted many more paintings of dhows which can be seen on my website.

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