Articles on this Page
- 11/17/16--07:11: _Buckminster Fuller'...
- 12/27/16--16:57: _A Solomon Islands C...
- 01/04/17--07:17: _Vatican boat model ...
- 01/18/17--07:34: _Vatican boat model ...
- 02/16/17--07:07: _The Yathra Dhoni - ...
- 03/10/17--08:34: _Bronze Age Carpow L...
- 03/23/17--08:06: _Bundle Boats in Oma...
- 04/07/17--07:13: _The Vattai of Tamil...
- 05/06/17--12:05: _Fishing Boats of Or...
- 06/18/17--11:16: _Shade Fishing from ...
- 07/05/17--18:00: _Bonito Fishing Boat...
- 09/15/17--07:23: _Philippine Bangka O...
- 09/20/17--06:59: _Philippine Bangkas ...
- 11/02/17--07:08: _“Popo” Outrigger Ca...
- 12/11/17--07:01: _A Shuar Dugout from...
- 12/22/17--06:18: _A Fishing Canoe fro...
- 01/12/18--08:26: _Canoes and Canoeist...
- 02/20/18--08:00: _Basket Boats on the...
- 03/05/18--13:01: _Traditional Fishing...
- 05/04/18--06:53: _The Boats of Iraq's...
- 05/16/18--07:47: _Madan Boat Use
- 05/25/18--16:48: _Shuar Logboat at Na...
- 06/26/18--06:47: _Ancient Boat Artifa...
- 08/02/18--09:34: _A Logboat Under Con...
- 09/16/18--05:23: _Log Rafts on Ecuado...
- 11/17/16--07:11: Buckminster Fuller's Model Boat Collection, Part 2
- 12/27/16--16:57: A Solomon Islands Canoe at the Vatican
- 01/04/17--07:17: Vatican boat model exhibit, Part 2
- 01/18/17--07:34: Vatican boat model exhibit, Part 3
- 02/16/17--07:07: The Yathra Dhoni - A Single-Outrigger Ship of Sri Lanka
- 03/10/17--08:34: Bronze Age Carpow Logboat Moves to Permanent Home in Perth
- 03/23/17--08:06: Bundle Boats in Oman and Elsewhere
- 04/07/17--07:13: The Vattai of Tamil Nadu
- whether the planks have a caulking bevel, and the materials (if any) used for caulking
- the design process for the end profiles (i.e., whether the stem and sternpost shapes are determined by template or drawn by eye.)
- details of the rig and leeboards
- details of usage: crew size, responsibilities, sailing procedures and performance
- 05/06/17--12:05: Fishing Boats of Orchid Island’s Tao People
- 06/18/17--11:16: Shade Fishing from Catamarans in India
- 07/05/17--18:00: Bonito Fishing Boats in Maldives
- 09/15/17--07:23: Philippine Bangka Outrigger and Boom Variations
- 09/20/17--06:59: Philippine Bangkas - More Design and Construction Details
- 11/02/17--07:08: “Popo” Outrigger Canoes of the Central Caroline Islands
- a narrow, deep hull with identical ends but lateral asymmetry, in which the windward side is much less curved than the leeward. In fact, on some boats, the windward side of the hull is nearly a flat plane.
- hull construction of stitched planks on a dugout base
- a platform extending from the hull on the lee side, opposite the outrigger
- an oceanic lateen rig, consisting of a single triangular sprit sail hung from a mast stepped exactly amidships that pivots fore-and-aft with each shunt, allowing the sail’s direction and its center of effort to shift ends (not, however, without some complex evolutions on the part of the crew)
- 12/11/17--07:01: A Shuar Dugout from the Ecuadorian Amazon
- 12/22/17--06:18: A Fishing Canoe from the Ecuador Coast
- 01/12/18--08:26: Canoes and Canoeists of Ancient Ecuador
- a bow platform
- structures that appear as side decks fastened to the outside of the hull from about midships to the stern
- an arched shelter amidships
- a coaming or seat backs aft of the shelter
- 02/20/18--08:00: Basket Boats on the Gulf of Tonkin
- 03/05/18--13:01: Traditional Fishing Schooner Launched in Northern Vietnam
- 05/04/18--06:53: The Boats of Iraq's Madan
- 05/16/18--07:47: Madan Boat Use
- 05/25/18--16:48: Shuar Logboat at National Museum of Ecuador
- 06/26/18--06:47: Ancient Boat Artifacts at National Museum of Ecuador
- 08/02/18--09:34: A Logboat Under Construction in Amazonian Ecuador
- 09/16/18--05:23: Log Rafts on Ecuador’s Rio Napo
|Deck beams extend through the sides of the house. Housetops are made of woven material, probably meant to represent bamboo or palm leaf matting.|
|Details of mizzenmast, deckhouse, transom and the large balanced rudder of complex construction.|
|Masthead device on foremast|
|Masthead device on mainmast (mizzen is similar).|
|Stern details, including painted transom design, unbalanced rudder, and heavy wales at the waterline.|
|"Horse" aft of mainmast;, windlass; crossbeams beneath the aft deck extend through the sides of the hull. Is the pole-mounted device on the aft deck a lantern or a symbol identifying the vessel's port of call or purpose?|
|Bow detail. The bow transom is painted red. Atop it is a heavy beam tying the gunwales together and extending beyond them: perhaps fishing nets would be drawn over it?|
|Thai Market Boat. The model represents a Thai market boat of the type used in the famous Bangkok floating market. Market gardeners bring their produce to the market in these boats and sell directly from them. The model shows the construction of this boat type fairly accurately. It is a plank-built boat of sampan construction, with wide planks laid on deep frames. An important function of the frames is to support the tall washstrakes. Boats like this are often built of teak, and the model may be as well.|
Most photos of the Bangkok market show paddles being used for propulsion, but the model has a long oar or sweep that pivots on a waist-high post and that would be rowed in a standing, forward-facing position. Perhaps the oar is used for efficiency in open water, then removed in the close confines of the market, where a paddle then comes into play.
A teak Thai market boat very much like this model was restored by the Small Open Boats shop in Port Republic, Maryland.
|All the decks and floorboards of the model are loose and removable, notched to fit over the deep frames.|
|The boat is steered by an underhung transom rudder of elegant shape. We speculate that when the oar is in use, the oarsman or -woman might operate the beautifully-curved tiller with one foot.|
|Stern view of a Solomon Islands mon canoe at the Vatican. (Click any image to enlarge.)|
|Bow of the Solomon Islands mon canoe at the Vatican.|
We believe the canoe is from the Solomon Islands. Haddon and Hornell (in Canoes of Oceania, Vol. 2) identify four types of plank-built monohull canoes in the Solomons. Those with continuous washstrakes like the one here were called mon and were characteristic of the central Solomons, including Bougainville, New Georgia, and Choiseul.
In contrast, canoes called lisi, with discontinuous washstrakes both fore and aft, were characteristic of the southern part of the chain (including Guadalcanal, Malaita and San Cristoval) and of the tiny island of Buka, at the chain's northernmost end. With the exception of its discontinuous washstrakes, the following image of a Buka canoe observed in 1753 by Labillardiere is very much like the canoe in the Vatican.
|"Buka Island Canoe (Solomon Islands)" from Labillardiere (1800), Atlas pour servir a la relation du voyage de la recherche de la Perouse. |
(Source: University of Cambridge)
|Bent (?) frames amidships, with decorative carving at the upper ends, are lashed to cleats on the planks' interior surface. Also in view is the seat riser.|
|Carved frame/thwart units near the bow.|
|Bow detail showing a carving of a horned beast (or demon?) at the waterline, extensive shell inlay, and cowry shells lashed to the forward surface of the stem well above the waterline.|
|Carved stem-head decoration|
Canoes of the Solomon Islands by R.J.A.W. Lever.
"Canoes of the Solomon Islands," from The Maori Canoe by Elsdon Best
Canoes of Oceania, Vol. II: The Canoes of Melanesia, Queensland, and New Guinea, by A.C. Haddon and James Hornell
We present our photos with the scanty information from the exhibit cards in quotation marks, and our own brief observations in parentheses. We invite readers to contribute additional information about any boat in the Comments. Only models representing craft from "outside the Western tradition" are included here. More images of other models from the exhibit will follow in a subsequent post. As always, click any image to enlarge.
|"Japan: Sailing boat" (looks like it would be highly capable in surf)|
|"Indonesia: Sailing boat with outrigger" -- (actually two outriggers. Although the rig is set as a square sail, it appears to be hung asymmetrically on the mast and can probably be canted to form a kind of lugsail.)|
|"Philippines: Sailing boat with outrigger" -- (again, two outriggers. This is a banca, with a Western-style sailing rig.)|
|"India: Pirogue with rowers" (paddlers, actually)|
|"China: Boat for recreation" (and by that, we mean eating, drinking and sex.)|
|(background) "India: Pirogue with rowers" (again, paddlers in fact)|
|"Thailand: Royal boat" (identical exhibit cards for both models)|
|"China: Sea Junk" (The truncated bow and minimal rig are fascinating aspects of this model, which is certainly not meant to be an accurate representation.)|
|"Southeast Asia: River boat" (a sampan)|
|"China: Sea Junk with three masts"|
|"China: River boat"|
|"China: Dragon boat for racing"|
|"Samoa: Seven paddle canoe" (Noticeable similarities to a Samoan canoe in our post about Buckminster Fuller's model collection)|
This is the final post about a current exhibit of boat models and canoe paddles at the Vatican Museums. Previous posts about this exhibit cover the other models representing boats from outside the Western tradition, and one full-size canoe from the Solomon Islands. As noted in the previous posts, exhibit signage was sparse. We reproduce the English text of the exhibit cards in quotation marks. Our own comments appear in parentheses. As always, click any image to enlarge.
|"Tahiti: Catamaran" (The two hulls are essentially the same but with their ends reversed. The boat should perform the same in either direction when it shunts.)|
|"Aotearoa New Zealand: Maori boat" (A monohull war canoe. See our earlier post on boats like this.)|
|"Papua New Guinea: Three hull catamaran" (beautiful double crab-claw rig)|
|(Same model as above, showing the hull configuration.)|
|"Papua New Guinea: Boat with outrigger" (The main hull is a dugout with high washstrakes stitched in place)|
|"Solomon (Islands): Canoe with bird shaped bow" (Somewhat similar to the full-size canoe that serves as the exhibit's centerpiece.)|
|"Fiji: Sailing boat" (Twin-hull canoe with oceanic lateen sail)|
|(Same model as previous. The port hull is much smaller and shorter than the starboard, but it is nonetheless a true hull, not an outrigger float.)|
|"Chile; Alakaluf Canoe" (This looks much like the Yamana/Yaghan canoe we've written about previously.)|
|"Alaska: Canoe" (Adney called this a "kayak-form canoe.")|
|"Chile: Yaghan (Yamana) canoe" (Images created by Europeans show greatly different forms of Yaghan or Yamana canoes. See the Alakaluf canoe two images above.)|
|"Canada: Canoe" (...and a rather fanciful one at that! We're not aware of any bark canoes built with full decks and a round cockpit coaming. The modeler seems to be combining aspects of the open bark canoe with the skin-on-frame kayaks of Alaska.)|
|"Brazil: Caraja river boat" (The cargo of what appears to represent a dugout canoe is probably tortoises or sea turtles. At the right is a pregnant woman; at the left, a baby.)|
|background: "Canada: Canoe"|
foreground: "Alaska: Bark canoe"
|"Bolivia: Mosetenes raft" (A double-hull raft. Perhaps it is built to be separated, so that it can be used as two smaller craft.)|
|"Peru - Bolivia: Ayamara boat"(A reed boat of the type used on Lake Titicaca.)|
|background: "Rocky Mountains: Canoe"|
foreground: "USA: Canoe"
(Both are birchbark types.)
|background: "Madagascar: Dugout canoe"|
middle-right: "Madagascar: Dugout canoe"
left: "...West Coast" (presumably Africa; we failed to capture the full label text)
front-right: "Madagascar: Dugout canoe"
|"Africa - East Coast: Sailing boat with outrigger" (The main hull is extraordinarily narrow and highly rockered. This must be a thrilling boat to sail.)|
|background: "Congo: Canoe with rower" (a paddler, in fact)|
foreground: "Congo: Canoe"
|"Nigeria: Yoruba boats: H.E. Mons, Carlo Maria Viganò" (These were the only models in the exhibit credited to whom we assume was the donor or lender.)|
|A nice selection of canoe paddles were exhibited at the end of each of the spiral levels of the hall, unfortunately with no exhibit cards or other identification. (This photo by Cate Monroe)|
|A closer look at the paddles on the middle level.|
|The large vessel is a yathra dhoni. Its outrigger allows it to sit upright on the beach without temporary supports (from Devendra, "The Lost Ships of Lanka.") (Click any image to enlarge)|
|Tom Vosmer's profile drawing of the Dodanduva yathra dhoni model (from Devendra, "The Lost Ships of Lanka)|
|The Dodanduva model of a yathra dhoni (from Green)|
|Hornell's sketch of a yathra dhoni|
|Vosmer's construction drawings of the Dodanduva yathra dhoni model (from Devendra, "Pre-Modern Sri Lankan Ships")|
|Yathra dhoni at anchor in Kalpitiya, Sri Lanka, 1913 (from Devendra, "The Lost Ships of Lanka")|
Jeremy Green, "The archaeological contribute to the knowledge of the extra-European shipbuilding at the time of the Medieval and Modern Iberian-Atlantic tradition" Proceedings: International Symposium on Archaeology of Medieval and Modern Ships of Iberian-Atlantic Tradition
The Carpow boat, a 3,000-year-old logboat excavated in 2006 from the River Tay in Scotland, was recently moved to a permanent home at the Perth Museum and Art Gallery. The 9.25-meter-long boat was recovered in generally very good condition, and it includes the transom board that closed in the stern. It is the second oldest logboat discovered in Scotland. Sadly, much of the bow is missing, but it is still one of the best-preserved Bronze Age logboats in Britain. This short video summarizes the excavation.
This next video shows the boat after conservation. The transom board is not in place, but you can clearly see the bosses that held it there, which were left standing on the inner surface of the boat when the trunk was carved out.
|A shasha -- an Omani bundle boat made of palm fronds (Source: The Sinbad Voyage)|
|Original caption: "These are fishing boats in Oman. They are filled with polystyrene and paddled out to sea. At night the catch is landed and the village builds bonfires to cook supper. Which is fish." (Posted by Jonathan Savill to the Facebook page Church of the Double-Bladed Paddle)|
|Ancient Egyptian papyrus-bundle canoes pulling a trawl between them. (Source: Hornell)|
|A fishing balsa made of totora reeds, on Lake Titicaca (Source: Hornell)|
|A vattai in Tamil Nadu. Source: Blue (click any image to enlarge)|
"Vattai, are flat-bottomed, have a box-like transverse section and are near wall-sided over much of their length. They range in size from around 13.72m long, with a beam of 2.13m and a depth of 1.37m, to the smallest vessels of c. 5.18m x 1.07m x 0.76m. However, irrespective of their size, they are all similar in shape with very high bows, and two or three masts each with a settee-lateen sail, a balance board, and, uniquely on this coast, leeboards."
|Use of the mould form and scrieve board (A) to create the shapes of the "equal" frames for the midbody (B,C,D), and the progressively narrower frames toward the ends (E, F, G).|
|Vattai construction drawing|
|Tao tatara boats, with and without culturally significant decorations. (source) Click any image to enlarge.|
|Structural cross-section of a chinedkulan. "Botel Tobago" is another name for Lanyu or Orchid Island. Image source: R. H. Barnes (see bibliography)|
|Detail of lashed-lug construction between frame and planks in a Tao tatara. Source: R. H. Barnes|
|Blind pegged fastening of planks. Source: R. H. Barnes (see bibliography)|
|Tatara with single frame amidships. Also shown are shelf near the bottom of the sheerstrake and a transverse bulkhead at right. Source: R.H. Barnes|
|Thole structures, sheerstrake shelf, steering oar yoke and thwarts (deckbeams) are all visible. Source: R.H. Barnes|
|Traditional decorations includes (from left to right) the sun-like oculus, human figures, and ocean waves. (source)|
|Tossing a newly-built chinedkulan into the air: part of the traditional launching ceremony on Lanyu. (source)|
“Surrounded by sea, the Tao society is a typical maritime one. Their annual schedule corresponds to the flying fish season. The Tao people designed a calendar according to habitual behaviors of marine life and the movements of ocean currents, which includes restrictions and taboos regulating the fishing area, timing and methods.” (source)
“After each drive, the fish are taken to shore, removed from the net and scaled. For scaling the Yami use stone chips. After the fish are cleaned, they are put back into the boat, the net is loaded into the boat as well, and the group performs one or two more drives. On a lucky day the catch may total over a thousand fish, but such days are rare. Usually a good catch brings in five or six hundred fish.”
|Model of a jangada (source). Click any image to enlarge.|
|A three-log raft from Sri Lanka of the type called a "boat catamaran" by Hornell. (source)|
|A bonito dhoni of the Maldives (click any image to enlarge)|
|This model of a traditional Maldivian dhoni shows the transverse bulkheads and butterly-shaped aft deck of the bonito boat, but not its S-curved stemhead, recurved sternpost, or two-sail rig. (Photo: Badr Naseem. Source.)|
“(T)he holes being unplugged, continuous streams of water spout inwards. This inrush would speedily swamp the boat were it not that two men are set to work to keep pace by bailing, with the inrush. By means of perforations at suitable and varying heights in the intervening bulkhead the inflowing water is conducted to the after compartment where the two bailers are located. In this way the water in the wells is constantly renewed and thereby maintained in a fit condition to keep alive the stock of little fishes for use as bait.”
|Bonito fishing in process. Note the heavy splashing around the aft deck.|
“This is a measure of economy; the bonito have to be gulled into the belief that a large shoal of small fish are about and without the splashing the amount of live bait thrown out would be insufficient to carry through the deception successfully.”
Indeed, there seem to be only two or three common features of bangkas: their main hulls are always narrow; they are always double-ended; and they almost always have two outriggers. Their differences, however, are manifold, including variations in materials, construction methods, most aspects of hull shape, houses, internal arrangements, overall size, propulsion, decoration, and usage. They're sometimes called the "Jeeps of the sea" because they are supposed to be able to do everything, but they do everything not necessarily because they are versatile, per se, but because there's a different style of bangka for nearly every possible application.
We've written about bangkas several times already, but an offer of photos from reader Michael Williams of Flatwolf Photography has given us a good reason to look at them yet again. What strikes us most about the current batch of images is the variation in the configuration of outrigger booms. As always, click any image to enlarge.
|Three booms with progressively steep ends to accommodate the sloping floats. The booms are stout and rectangular in section. Round poles lashed atop them do not seem to add much, if any, strength.|
|The booms to the right and left of the image are straight across the middle, while the boom in the middle is bent down somewhat amidship, for a bit of a gull-wing configuration. The booms appear to be built up of three sections, the joints visible where the horizontal section transitions to a downward curve toward the float. The joints are probably simple scarf joints, lashed with cordage and covered with some kind of sealant or adhesive.|
|A single-outrigger bangka. This appears to be by design, and not a partially disassembled boat. The float is a carved piece of timber, not a bamboo pole as in most other examples. The amount of flexibility in the construction appears to be minimal.|
|The outriggers on this small paddling bangka tilt downward toward the bow. We can't think of a good reason for this unusual design feature.|
|The flaring top strakes on this this bangka dive boat extend into a long, overhanging bow that supports a flat platform.|
|A bangka of similar size to the one above lacks the flaring top strake, and its long, extended bow is narrow and not intended for use as a platform.|
|This small bangka has an elegantly vertical sternpost.|
|Flying proas of the Caroline Islands, from Adm. Paris. (click any image to enlarge)|
|A proa from Satawal (From the cover of The Last Navigator, by Steve Thomas)|
|Flying proa or popo of the Caroline Islands. (From Hornell, after Paris)|
|Notable differences in canoe design existed between the main island groups of Micronesia, as shown in this comparison of proas from the western and central Carolines (left) and the Marshall Islands (right). (Kubary)|
|End, plan and section views of the Caroline proa (Hornell, after Paris)|
...all but the upper part of the sides and the two curved heads are hewn from a single log. In atolls where no large timber is available the dugout portion shrinks to a wedge-shaped piece channeled longitudinally on the upper side so as to give two everted edges upon which the garboard strakes are sewn.... Usually the shapes and sizes of the strake planks are irregular, suitable wood being too precious in atolls to permit either of long running lengths or of adzing opposite edges parallel. So the hull in these islands is a mass of patchwork, all, however, fitted together with remarkable accuracy. (Hornell)
|Paris's plan and construction views on which Hornell's illustrations are based. (We could find only this poor quality image. Please contact us if you can provide a better.)|
|Connection between the outrigger booms and the float. In the image on the left, the inner two crutches have been omitted for clarity. (Hornell)|
|Caroline proas (Paris)|
A shroud runs from near the masthead to the yoke [i.e., the short, stout timber connecting the outrigger booms at their outer ends], to which it is secured after passing through a hole bored through its center. There is also a fore-and-aft running stay made fast respectively to the endmost thwart at each end of the hull.
(T)he sail is hoisted by a peak halyard attached far out on the yard and rove through a sheave hole in the masthead; the heel of the yard rests against a sail step set on a short thwart right in the bows, to which the tack is made fast.
|Main features of a Satawal proa (from Thomas)|
Additional sources, useful websites and pages:
http://starrigging.blogspot.com/ and http://starrigging.blogspot.com/2017/06/canoe-sketch.html
First up: a contemporary dugout canoe of the Shuar people of Ecuadorian Amazonia, i.e., el Oriente, in the Museo Amazonico in Quito:
|Top view from the stern. From bottom of image: the stern platform; the flat, angular transition between the platform and the interior bottom, which is flat; nicely thinned sides, somewhat bulged outward amidships.|
|The bow is pointed in plan view, rounded in section view and curving smoothly into the flat bottom. The interior appears to have been treated against rot and insect infestation by charring. Adze marks are visible.|
|Exterior side view of the bow shows a somewhat sharp, angular transition between the bottom and cutwater -- a surprising element, given the bow's appearance when viewed from above. Tool marks are visible on the exterior surface, showing capable adze or ax work but no attempt at smoothing through abrasive methods.|
|The accompanying paddles are carved entire. They feature extremely large, heavy blades, short shafts, and triangular grips. The triangle of the grip of the paddle on the left departs from the shaft more abruptly than the one on the right and has a more distinct concave curve on its top edge. On both, the shaft extends somewhat into the blade and tapers gradually to the flat surface.|
The first item, the canoe that follows, was built by cholo pescadores -- literally "mixed-race fishermen" -- on the Pacific coast. Like many Ecuadorians, cholo are of mixed Indian and Spanish descent. The more common term for that genetic mixture in Ecuador and elsewhere in Latin America is mestaje (i.e., mestizo, literally meaning "miscegenation," but used in a nonperjorative sense to mean simply "mixed race"), but the cholo pescadores are considered a distinct culture. What follows is my sadly unfluent translation of the exhibit card, the only information provided about the boat and related items:
They are so called because of mixed Indian/Spanish ancestry and their primary economic activity. They live at the seashore in small towns or compounds.
Fishing in canoes and bongos*, using cast nets, trammel nets and other devices, is done at night or at dawn, as a group, and they return at noon. They tend to be organized in cooperatives and are abandoning traditional techniques and boats.
The mangrove is an important part of the coastal ecosystem; However, in the places where the fisherman lived traditionally, shrimp farms and loggingare now causing major alterations in the life of the inhabitants and in the natural balance.
The cholo pescador's language is Spanish, with unique modalities and tones. It has a rich poetic and narrative oral tradition. (The culture's) main festivals are those of the Virgin of Monserrate, María Auxiliadora, San Jacinto and St. Peter the Fisherman.
*The meaning of "bongo" as a type of watercraft is unknown. Reader input is requested.
|Ring bolt fastened through the bottom at the presumed bow to secure the painter.|
Plan view of the stern shows that the bottom is made of three strakes, the center one being the widest. The rising ends of the bottom are separate pieces from the central bottom plank, and they are hollowed, dugout-style. This is an interesting, rarely-seen stage of boat development, representing a small step between the extended dugout and the purely plank-built craft.|
Also apparent is the substantial shaping of the side planks. (The bow is similar.) Given their thickness, we presume the planks are hewn to the desired curves near the ends rather than bent to shape. The builders may find it easier to build the canoe with a transom than with stemposts and sharp ends, but the substantial hollow of the planking curve just inboard of the transom appears to have no functional explanation, and is probably aesthetic, or perhaps a design holdover from earlier dugout construction. It is somewhat reminiscent of the extended platforms at the ends of many dugout canoes from Ecuador and elsewhere.
|Fishermen's tools. Top: net needles. Bottom: harpoon heads|
Dugout canoes played an important enough role in some Ecuadorian cultures to have warranted frequent representation in ceramic miniatures. Although we don't know the purpose of these sculptures, it's probable that they had ritual significance, as is the case with almost all art from almost all ancient societies. In spite of their pleasing aesthetics, it is unlikely that they were made for purely decorative purposes.
With the exception of the anchor, the following photos were taken through glass exhibit cases. The first three boats (six photos), the paddlers without canoes, and the anchor are at the Museo Antropologico y de Arte Contemporaneo in Guayaquil. The last canoe miniature (three photos) is at the Archaeological Museum of the University of Cuenca. Click any image to enlarge.
|Chorrera dugout canoe with two paddlers. ("Existing in the late formative period the Chorrera culture lived in the Andes and Coastal Regions of Ecuador between 1000 and 300 BC." [Wikipedia]). The canoe has overhangs at both ends upon which the paddlers squat.|
|Tolita canoeist and canoe. More crudely fashioned or "schematic" than the previous one, this canoe nonetheless shows small bow or stern platforms. Although the canoeist lacks a paddle, he is otherwise well-equipped. The Tolita lived on the northern coast of Ecuador from 500BCE to 500CE.|
An elaborate Tolita canoe with several notable features, including:
The seat backs, and possibly the shelter, indicate the boat was used for transportation of people, although carrying cargo in addition cannot be ruled out. These features also appear to indicate a boat for a user of high status, perhaps a merchant who could afford to sit back and relax while others worked the boat.
The "side decks" are a curiosity Did men stand on them to paddle or pole the boat, leaving more room in the hull for passengers and/or cargo? If men stood on both of them simultaneously, the boat would have adequate balance. But if one paddler were to step or fall off, the boat might become highly unstable. Perhaps, instead of decks, they represent sponsons to increase the boat's stability and buoyancy, or simply planks that would provide momentary resistance if the boat were to heel suddenly.
|Two Tolita canoe paddlers. I speculate that in this and the following image, the missing canoes were made of wood, which disintegrated prior to the recovery of the ceramics. Unlike the Chorrera paddles, these have lanceolate blades. The paddlers squat, holding their paddles in a more realistic fashion than the Chorrera paddler, with their top hand nearer the end of the shaft (which, like the Chorrera example, lacks an end-grip). The paddlers appear to be wearing skirts and helmets.|
|Three more Tolita paddlers. The middle and rear figures sit with their bodies facing front and their legs extended. The front figure is in a more dynamic pose: his torso is twisted to his "on" paddling side and his onside leg is crossed over his offside leg. All three figures wear helmets but, unlike the previous example, their legs are bare.|
|Another angle showing the two groups of paddlers (and, behind them, the covered boat [left], two pieces of spondylus shell [right], which were used as currency and for decorative work, and the rude canoeist).|
|Tolita canoeists in a dugout canoe. The canoe, which is broken crosswise amidships, has bow and stern platforms and a nearly rectangular plan view. The paddlers' disc-shaped headgear with side flaps is similar to that worn by the aft-most paddler in the group of three above. Their legs are bare, and the bow paddler's legs are crossed.|
|The same item as above. Though simply rendered, the figures have the realistic energy of paddlers concentrating at their work, straining to push forward.|
|Aft view of the same item, showing the canoe's broad stern platform, slab-shaped sides, and rounded bottom.|
|Stone anchor from the Manteño civilization, which dominated Ecuador's central coast from 850CE to 1600CE. The Manteño used large sailing rafts of balsa logs to conduct intensive trade along the coast of Ecuador and as far north as Central America. This anchor, however, appears much too small to have been used on an oceanic raft and was probably used with a smaller watercraft. (American currency is for scale. Rope is not original).|
|Woven boat of the Gulf of Tonkin, Vietnam. From Hornell, Water Transport. (click to enlarge)|
This is a light, graceful craft made of inch-wide strips of split bamboo, closely woven into stiff matting, a material of great strength, resiliency and resistance to strain.
In plan it is of an elongated ovate form, the wider end being the stern. Both extremities are spoon-shaped like the fore end of a Norwegian praam [sic] and are rounded in horizontal outline. A gentle sheer toward each end carries stem and stern above the level of the midships gunwale, the stem rising the higher. The bent-up sides of the bamboo body are embraced around their margin by several broad bands of split bamboo on each side and bound together into a stout cylinder with rattan strips to form a stout, continuous gunwale. Four or five strong bamboos stretch from gunwale to gunwale to prevent spreading; they are secured partly by lashing and partly by pegging into the gunwales. Along each side above the gunwales and over the ends of the cross beam, a slender bamboo pole is lashed to form a top rail.
On the floor two long bamboos, spaced some distance apart, serve as inner stringers. One of the thwart beams, usually the second from the stern, is supported below by two short stanchions fixed at the lower ends into a stout bamboo bar, fitted athwart the bottom. Before launching, the interstices in the matting forming the skin of the hull are daubed with a caulking mixture of cow dung and coconut oil [citation omitted], periodically renewed. Strips of split bamboo matting are fitted over the floor to serve as dunnage and so keep cargo and passengers dry against moderate leaking.
Although very light and easily carried by one man, they are able to carry several passengers together with a quantity of baggage.
The dimensions of one measured by Nishimura [citation omitted] were as follows: length, 12 feet 7 inches; width, 5 feet; depth, 26 inches: usually they run smaller -- about 6 feet by 4 feet, by about 10 inches deep.
Nishimura states that this type of craft is very common in Tongking, where almost all families living near rivers and streams keep one or two.A couple observations on the above:
1. It seems unlikely that the caulking mixture was applied only to the "interstices in the matting." It is almost certainly spread over the entire outer surface of the hull. Road tar and roofing tar have largely replaced cow dung and coconut oil for waterproofing.
2. The purpose of the top rail is not explained. They may serve as the top elements of girders that stiffen the boat longitudinally, with the thwarts or cross-beams serving to create a vertical gap between them and the gunwales. But read on.
The image below, from Ken Foster's Boats & Rice blog, shows what appears to be the same kind of boat in current use on Halong (or Ha Long) Bay, near Hai Phong on the Gulf of Tonkin. This boat has a more elaborate and substantial framework around the perimeter than the light top rails in Hornell's image, but the curve of the bow (?) rising above the transverse end-piece of the perimeter framework seems to identify the boat as the same basic type. Along with strengthening the structure further, the fore-and-aft elements of the rectangular perimeter frame serve to anchor the tholepins. This might have been another unexplained purpose of the top rails in Hornell's image.
|Woven boat, Halong Bay, from Boats & Rice|
|Newly launched traditional fishing boat, Quang Yen, Vietnam. Photo: Ken Preston. Rights reserved/used by permission. (Click to enlarge.)|
The video shows the boat getting under way and looking quite lovely sailing up- and down-wind. The video was shot by one of Mr. Chan's sons; Ken edited it and added the explanatory text.
The (apparently unnamed) boat was built in the boatyard of Mr. Le Duc Chan of Quang Yen, a short distance upstream of Halong Bay. It was commissioned by Dr. Nguyen Viet, an archaeologist with an interest in Vietnam's maritime heritage. Dr. Viet caused the construction of the boat to be scrupulously recorded in still images and video, with the assistance of a naval architect who also documented the boat and its construction for legal purposes.
The boat is of a type that would have been owned (and lived on?) by a family and used for commercial fishing. Dr. Viet's version is true to the original, lacking modern accommodations belowdecks. It is 34.6' LOD, 27.3' at the waterline, with a maximum beam of 11.7', a board-up draft of just 18", and a daggerboard-down draft of 5.4'. It is junk-schooner rigged, and according to Ken's lengthy, colorful blog post, it can be easily handled by a crew of two: one at the helm and mainsheet, another at the foresail. Ken describes its sailing behavior as extremely well-mannered, getting under way, answering the helm, coming about, dropping sail, and docking reliably and with a total lack of fuss.
Ken's article about the boat will appear in the May issue of WoodenBoat magazine. He also has a book about Vietnamese fishing boats, with some 500 photos plus text, coming out soon from Women's Publishing House of Ho Chi Minh City. An English-language edition will appear this summer, to be followed by a Vietnamese translation. Neither appears on the publisher's website at the time of this writing.
|The Madan, or Marsh Arabs of Iraq, depended heavily upon their boats, including canoes like this one under construction. Note the heavy, closely-spaced, roughly-formed frames, inner planking at the tops of the frames, and heavy thwarts. (Click any image to enlarge.)|
“(H)aving seen Iraqui Kurdistan I had no desire to go back. Travel was too restricted, rather like stalking in a Highland deer forest . . . . Admittedly the Marshes, for which I was now bound, covered a smaller area than Iraqi Kurdistan, but they were a world complete in itself, not a fragment of a larger world to the rest of which I was denied access.”
|A Madan house, built of reeds and covered with mats, on a kibasha, or artificial island, also made of reeds and rushes. Buffalo were a mainstay for many of the Madan.|
|A mudhif, or Madan meeting house, where the public business and pleasure of the community was conducted. Thesiger was entertained in many of these, which also served as guest houses. They too were built entirely of reeds.|
|A balam with a load of reeds.|
|A tarada, with its incomparably graceful bow.|
“She was a beautiful craft that could carry as many as twelve people. Thirty-six feet long but only three and half feet at her widest beam, she was carvel-built, flat-bottomed and covered outside with a smooth coating of bitumen over the wooden planks. The front swept forwards and upwards in a perfect curve to form a long, thin, tapering stem; the stern too rose in a graceful sweep. Two feet of the stern and of the bows were decked; there was a thwart a third of the way forward, and a strengthening beam across the boat two thirds of the way forward. Movable boards covered the floor. The top part of the ribs was planked along the inside and studded with five rows of flat, round nail-heads two inches across. These decorative nails were the distinguishing mark of a tarada . . . .”
|In spite of its reed-bundle construction, the zaima was a true boat, with a hull that displaced water by virtue of its water-tight shell, not because of the buoyancy of its materials.|
|A young child's rudimentary reed raft.|
|This older child's reed raft is a bundle boat, floating by virtue of the reeds themselves. But with its rising bow, it mimics the form of the plank canoes of his elders.|
Soon after he had bought himself a balam for 10 pounds sterling to use in traveling about the marshes, Thesiger received from his sheik-patron the extraordinary gift of a top-notch tarada, 36’ long, which he used henceforth. He hired local youth as as crew and kept them with him for extended periods. To increase their loyalty, he did not pay them or treat them like employees. He was, in fact, more generous to them than would have been reasonable on a salary basis, but the arrangement allowed them to assert that they accompanied him as a matter of choice, respect, and friendship rather than a financial transaction.
|Thesiger's tarada in choppy water.|
|Balams and taradas feature a multiplicity of relatively light, closely-spaced frames and heavy thwarts, with floorboards and end decks. They lack the inner planking at the tops of the frames that was typical of the canoes in the Iraq marshes.|
|A balam being recoated with bitumen.|
|With a tool kit limited to an adze, a hand saw and a bow drill, workmanship on most boats was rough.|
|Nonetheless, Madan boats, especially the larger balams and taradas, were fine and graceful. (The stem appears to be badly cranked to port, however.)|
“We watched an old man start on a canoe. He outlined the bottom with transverse slats of wood, an inch or so apart, and then nailed a single long plank down the centre. While we drank tea he fashioned the ribs, selecting suitable pieces of wood from a pile beside him. He used an adze, and his only other tools, a small saw and a bow drill, lay on the mat beside him with a heap of nails.”
|Early stage of canoe building, with the floors and central planks in place. The boat is being built upside-down at this stage.|
Of the zaima, however, he provides a more detailed description:
“First he made half a dozen tight bundles of five or six qasab reeds rather longer than the length of the proposed boat, and fastened them securely together side by side to form the keel, leaving eighteen inches free at both ends, which he bent upwards. He next bent five long reeds into the shape of a U, passed the middle among the loose ends of the keel, and laced them back to the keel itself. He repeated the process at either end alternately, until he had built up the sides and ends of the hull. This framework he stiffened by tying into it a number of ribs made from two or three willow wands. Bundles of a few reeds, fastened one below the other along the inside of the boat, covered the top half of the ribs and formed the inner planking. Finally, he wedged three stout sticks across the boat as thwarts and secured their ends in place with lumps of bitumen. The zaima was now ready to be coated outside with bitumen.”
|A canoe being poled from the stern and padded from the bow through vegetation.|
|The solo paddler in the foreground canoe sits high in the stern. The tandem paddlers in the other boat are paddling on opposite sides.|
When paddling a balam, two men would sit in the stern on the deck, one in front of the other. One would sit on the forward thwart, and one would kneel in the bows.
|Huge stacks of rolled mats at the extreme right and left of the image are ready for export downstream. (Click any image to magnify.)|
“We passed . . . a large two masted boat loaded high with reed mats, being laboriously poled toward the Tigris. Later we passed a great raft made of dry reeds. Forty feet long and ten feet high, it was aground and temporarily abandoned. When the water-level rose, this stack of reeds would be floated downstream, perhaps as far as Basra, and there broken up and sold.”
“The Nuafil [one of the many tribes Thesiger visited] kept some buffaloes, but their livelihood depended on the weaving of mats, which they exported in great numbers. Large sailing boats, like the one we had already seen, fetched the mats when the water was deep enough.”
|Boats congregating in great numbers on market days.|
|Even with full load of passengers, there's still several inches of freeboard on this balam. Three men are paddling: one in the bow, and two (on opposite sides) in the stern.|
“Two boys in a canoe urged on half a dozen buffaloes, following behind a balam that was paddled by an elderly man and another boy, who made yodelling cries to encourage the swimming animals. A woman and three small children, one of them wearing nothing but a silver collar round his neck, shared the back of the boat with two buffalo calves, a kitten, and a lot of hens. The front was piled high with their belongings, including the dismantled framework of their house, reed mats, water jars, cooking pots, sacks of grain and a pile of quilts. A dog stood on top of all this between the wooden legs of a churn, and barked at us as we edged past.”
“Far out on the lake, Berbera were fishing from boats. We could hear the beating of tins, and the smack of poles on water as they drove the fish into their nets. The Madan had a profound contempt for the Berbera and, except that they would eat with them, despised them hardly less than the Sabeans who were at the very bottom of the social scale. Yet no tribesman ever suggested to me that the Berbera were of a different origin. The prejudice was solely against their occupation. At first sight this appeared to be illogical, since the Madan themselves caught fish. But the Berbers netted fish to make money, whereas the Madan speared fish for food.”
In the current fashion of most museums, this one takes pains to tell stories. Artifacts are displayed in service of narratives constructed by the curators (and, one suspects, by the museum's board of directors and management). This means that one might not find an extensive display of items from a particular culture or artistic movement all in one place. Instead, one or a few such items might appear in a conceptually linear display with different types of items from different eras, movements, or cultures, in order to illustrate, for example, the evolution of a national identity, art movement, or economy, the widespread effects of colonialism, racism, or nationalism, or some other major theme. In terms of public education and opinion-shaping, this is probably a good approach, but for visitors interested in a particular, narrow subject, it can be disappointing or frustrating. Count me in the latter group, even while I acknowledge that the museum is a fine one and well worth a visit.
I was there on opening day (ticket #36) and went searching for boat-related content. In this post we'll look at one notable item, a beautiful 20th century logboat (i.e., dugout canoe) of the Shuar people of Ecuador's Amazonian region, on loan from Museo Pumapungo in Cuenca, Ecuador. (We posted previously about another Shuar logboat of a different design on display in Quito.) As always, click any image to enlarge it.
|The Shuar logboat is about 17' LOA with a narrow beam of about 15.5". Type of wood was not identified. (Dimensions are either eyeballed or based on armspan and handspan measurements.)|
|The sides are straight and parallel. The ends are virtually identical, leading to square-ended extensions or platforms.|
|The interior sections are rather square. Sides and bottom are flat and at very close to right angles. The sides are about 7/8" thick at the sheer. The bottom is roughly 1.5" - 1.75" thick.|
|The platforms/extensions are fairly narrow, rising out of thickened "gunwales" near the ends. A slight ridge appears on the underside of the platform.|
|The exterior of the hull shows rounded chines and a flat bottom. A single bent nail appears sticking out to the right of the end extension/platform. It does not appear to be robust enough to serve as a tying-off point. Might it be a guide for a fishing line?|
|Even while the sides and bottom retain a sharp angle between them, the interior hollowing tapers and rises to a sharp point, leaving a large amount of timber intact at the ends. This visually appealing feature probably helps the hull resist cracking.|
|The boat was hollowed out using an adze, marks from which are clearly visible.|
|Applied decoration near one end does not appear to be paint. Perhaps it is derived from a plant resin (?).|
|Decoration near midships. Ax and/or adze marks can be seen on the exterior of the hull.|
|The paddle is about 5'6" long, but the upper end of the shaft is missing, along with any end-grip that may have existed (unlikely). The shaft and blade are carved from the whole. The shaft is flat on its front and back surfaces, but the sides are rounded and the edges are relieved. The blade has wide shoulders and tapers toward a broadly rounded tip.|
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|The ceramic canoe paddlers in this and the following image, from the Tolita culture (600 BCE to 400 CE) have been found in significant numbers (see previous post for similar figures of Tolita paddlers), testifying to the importance of the canoeist in daily life. (Click any image to enlarge.)|
|The bulging cheeks show that the paddlers are chewing coca leaves. Since coca is not native to Ecuador’s coast, this suggests regular trade between the coast and the Andes or even the Amazon. And because the medicinal effects of coca at countering altitude sickness are irrelevant on the coast, it may indicate that even common people – not just shamans – used coca for its stimulant/hallucinogenic effects.|
|A Tolita paddler in his ceramic canoe. Unlike the previous paddlers, who sat with their legs spread, this one sits with his legs together. Behind him are the remains of a second paddler with his legs spread to clear the first one’s hips, while in the bow are the feet of an otherwise missing standing or squatting passenger or high-status individual. The modeling of the complete paddler is more sophisticated than in the previous photos.|
|The canoe has stabilizer boards attached to both sides, at or just above the waterline. In case of a sudden loss of balance, these boards would provide some resistance to further tipping and give the paddlers a precious moment in which to apply bracing strokes to prevent a capsize.|
The item, from the Jama Coaque culture (350 BCE – 1532 CE) is identified on the exhibit card as a “paddler attached to a vessel” (Remero adosado a recipiente). I question the identification and suggest that the figure represents a warrior, not a paddler, as the item he holds looks more like a spear than a paddle to my eyes, and I have not seen the kneeling posture in other prehispanic depictions of Ecuadorian canoeists. The figure’s attachment to a drinking vessel strongly suggests ritual usage, which is not surprising for a warrior figure, somewhat more so for that of a canoeist. If the figure does indeed represent a paddler, this places canoeists at a high level of social significance.
|A model raft in silver from the Bahia culture (500 BCE to 650 CE), manned by two paddlers, a steersman, and an individual of high status.|
|The logs are lashed together with silver wire. The figures are severely flattened sagitally, meant to be viewed only frontally, regardless of their orientation on the raft.|
|The longer logs are outboard and shorter ones inboard, counter to common practice of Ecuador’s later Manteño culture (500-1532 CE) and of many other raft-building cultures around the world, in which longer logs tend to be placed closer to the centerline, giving the raft a pointed bow (and sometimes stern as well).|
Tools used by the Manteño culture to collect thorny oysters (Spondylus). On the left is a weight used by divers to enable them to descend rapidly to the depth where spondylus are found. On the right is a chisel used to loosen the mollusks from the rocks to which they attach themselves. Spondylus was important to many of Ecuador’s prehispanic coastal cultures for its spiritual symbolism, for the production of jewelry and other ornaments, and as an item of exchange.
A fish's-eye depiction of diving for spondylus from a three-log raft using tools like those in the previous photo.
|Fernando Vargas-Tapuy, Kichwa farmer and canoe builder, at the base of a chunchu tree. (Click any image to enlarge.)|
Fernando told my guide that with the help of an uncle, he was building a dugout canoe nearby, and he was willing to take us there to see it. With Fernando leading, we walked through his farm, across muddy fields, then up a slick, narrow, steep path over a low mountain. Although the sun was overcast, the humidity was oppressive, and the 40- minute walk proved to be the hardest hike I have ever done. At one point, Fernando stopped to cut me a walking stick with his machete. This helped a great deal, especially when crossing and recrossing the rocky Rio Yucho Pino several times.
|Fernando at the canoe building site, high on the side of a steep hill.|
The canoe had been under construction since April and, working with his uncle, Fernando expected to finish it in June. It would not be moved, however, until the flow in the Rio Yucho Pino went down. Too steep to paddle, the Yucho Pino represents an impediment, not a canoe corridor, until it dries out.
When it does, Fernando will call for a minga -- a Kichwa tradition in which the people of a community work together in a system of shared obligations. Approximately a dozen men will help carry the boat down the mountain and to the river, a process that will take about two days. Fernando will provide food and or drink to his helpers, but no payment. What is expected is Fernando's participation the next time a neighbor calls a minga.
Fernando plans to use the canoe to transport his produce to Tena and to bring his daughter to school when she is old enough. He says he will paddle it himself and not fit it with an outboard engine. With more than three people aboard or a heavy cargo, more than one paddler would be required. Based on observations of other canoeists nearby, I believe the canoe will also be poled as often as it is paddled, although I did not discuss this with Fernando.
|The canoe measures 7.50 meters LOA and 61cm beam. It is roughly 36 cm from the exterior bottom to the top of the gunwale and 25cm deep on the interior, but according to the builder, the bottom will be hollowed another 5cm or so, for a final interior depth of about 30cm and a bottom thickness of about 6cm. The sides are 27mm thick at the sheer.|
|Fungus growth is apparent on the exterior. Rough exterior shaping was done with a chainsaw, tool marks of which are visible.|
|Fernando called the tree from which the trunk was cut a chunchu, the wood of which he says is hard and durable. He expects the canoe's lifespan to be four years. The stump was deeply lobed, not at all round. Its extreme measurements at the cut were 142cm x 86cm. (A blue pen was placed on the trunk for scale.)|
|A chunchu tree on Fernando's farm -- not nearly as large in girth as the tree he and his uncle cut on the mountain for the canoe.|
|Leaves and branches of a chunchu.|
|After initial shaping with a chainsaw, the canoe is slab-sided with angular ends. The forefoot will be cut back later for an easier entry, and the square chines will be relieved for a round bottom. Fernando took a few swipes with his machete near the top of the bow to show that the red-colored wood was sound beneath the covering of fungus.|
|Another view of the rough-cut bow.|
|A seat for the paddler is carved into the stern just forward of the aft platform. This feature is typical of the canoes on the upper Napo drainage.|
|A more complete view of the stern.|
|From the cross-hatch marks in the bottom interior, it appears that gross material removal was performed with a chainsaw, although I did not confirm this with the builder. Later shaping was done with an axe and two-handed and one-hand adzes, marks of which are clearly visible on the sides.|
|The end of the trunk split when the tree was felled. A cleat was nailed across the transom to prevent the split from spreading further. A large percentage of the dugouts I saw in this area were split at the stern, with heavy wire more typically used to prevent further splitting.|
|The most archetypal of the six rafts has five logs, pointed at the bow end (left of photo) with two sets of cross-beams. (Click any image to enlarge.)|
|Each set of cross-beams consists of two beams, one atop the other, held in place and separated by pairs of pegs driven into the main logs in an X pattern. The beams and pegs are lashed together with what appear to be narrow palm leaves (possibly pandanus?).|
|The upper crossbeam is lashed indirectly to the lower one, and not to the pegs. Its purpose may be to spread the upper legs of the X'd pegs, locking them into the main logs.|
|Just forward of the forward crossbeam assembly is a pair of crossed pegs set in the top in the middle log. Their purpose is unknown: perhaps they were placed incorrectly and could not be easily removed.|
|The informant doing laundry with her children on a six-log raft. Most of the logs are tapered in plan view at the front. The boy wearing red shorts is sitting on a bench whose legs extend between the logs. The bench is not fastened to the raft and probably does not represent a permanent part of its furniture.|
|Lashing and peg arrangement of the forward cross-beam assembly. The lower crossbeam appears to be let into the upper surface of the outboard log.|
|The cross-plank in front of the woman is nailed in to least one of the logs. It is unclear if the plank she is sitting on is fastened or loose. The lower aft crossbeam also appears to be let into the upper surface of the outboard main log.|
|Unlike the previous rafts, the main logs on this 3-log raft are spaced away from each other, not adjacent. The outer logs are much larger in diameter than the central one and their bow ends are tapered both in plan view and from the bottom to the top for a true boat-bow shape. The smaller central log is only slightly tapered in plan view.|
|The front crossbeam is a single beam. On the port log, it is secured by a single peg placed aft of it.|
|The aft crossbeam assembly consists of two crossbeams, the upper one being a piece of recycled milled lumber. The port (foreground) lashing is old fishnet. The starboard lashing is a piece of insulated electrical wire. There are no lashings at the middle log. Forward of this assembly (to the left) is a piece of milled lumber nailed into all three logs and serving as an additional crossbeam.|
|This four-log raft was found aground on a gravel bar in the middle of the Rio Napo, probably washed from its owner's shore front home by heavy rains a couple days previously. The logs are all adjacent, the outer ones being much larger in diameter than the inner ones and milled flat on their upper surfaces. The inner logs, however, extend somewhat further (but not equally so) than the outer ones. The ends of the outer logs are boat-shaped; the ends of the inner logs are square.|
|At the opposite end, however, one of the inner logs is tapered to a boat shape while the other remains square. Both outer logs have notches cut in the upper edges of their tapered sections, probably to hold ropes which are no longer in evidence. Perhaps the logs were previously used in another raft which was held together by lashing alone instead of the pegs-and-lashing method.|
|Next to one of the crossbeam assemblies are a pair of vertical rods that stick up more than half a meter from the upper surface of the outer logs. Their purpose is unknown. The crossbeam is a single piece of milled lumber|
|The other crossbeam, also a single piece of milled lumber (but of different dimensions) is lashed carelessly with old fishnet. One of the pairs of pegs in an outer log (left foreground) does not enclose the crossbeam, providing support to the notion that the outer logs previously belonged to a different raft.|
|End view of the same raft shows that the smaller, inner logs are set lower than the larger outer ones.|