Depiction of Indo-Arabic Ships on an Eighteenth-century Sea Chart
A sea chart of the Red Sea, which was probably drawn up around the early to mid- eighteenth century in India and given to the Royal Geographical Society in 1835 by Burnes, shows 25 depictions of ships. The age of the sea chart was determined in different ways. These depictions of ships were examined for features which would make it possible to assign them to known Indian or Arabic ship types, or to Indo-Arabic shipbuilding traditions. The consistency of the images was also checked and within the general frame of detail is good. Nearly all of the depictions of ships can, with high probability, be allocated to the Indo-Arabic shipbuilding tradition, 45 per cent of them being known ship types. Of the 14 ships with clear Indo-Arabic hulls, 10 have square sails and only four have settee sails.