The Maqamat Ship: Context and Comparison of the Iconic Arab Manuscript Painting

Author(s): Mick de Ruyter

Year: 2020


This is an abstract from the session entitled "Historical Archaeology in the Indian Ocean" , at the 2020 annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology.

The iconic ship illustration in the thirteenth-century Paris 'Schefer' Maqamat manuscript is one of the most significant individual images used in maritime archaeology. This painting was the primary iconographic source for interpretations of the Belitung wreck and for the design and construction of two full-sized replica ships, and more widely in the study of Arab and Indian Ocean seafaring in general. The Maqamat ship illustration is prized because of the relative paucity of other archaeological, iconographic or documentary sources, which conversely makes validation difficult. This paper compares this famous image to other lesser known Maqamat ships, and with watercraft in contemporary Arab and Persian manuscripts and shadow theatre. Consideration of the intended audience and consumption of these images gives further context, showing how the Paris Maqamat painting has often been misinterpreted. These images nevertheless retain their evidentiary value when used together and in artistic context.

Cite this Record

The Maqamat Ship: Context and Comparison of the Iconic Arab Manuscript Painting. Mick de Ruyter. 2020 ( tDAR id: 457015)

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Temporal Keywords
Medieval thirteenth century

Spatial Coverage

min long: 112.952; min lat: -43.648 ; max long: 153.606; max lat: -10.71 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 741