Huwair: Boat Builders

Date: 1951-58

Wilfred Thesiger (d. 2003) identifies the settlement of Huwair on the Euphrates as a major centre for the manufacture of wooden canoes and two-masted boats. The favoured materials for this purpose was mulberry from Kurdistan for the ribs and imported wood for the planks. Thesiger provides an account of the construction of a wooden canoe, and notes that they also worked on repairs. A particularly renowned practioner from the village was Haji Hamaid. His work is recorded in photographs. The boat builders of Huwair were all Muslim, but Thesiger notes that the craft was mostly practised by Sabaeans in other places. See also: Carpenter; Boat Recoater; Bitumen Collector.

Citation: Wilfred Thesiger, The Marsh Arabs (London: The Folio Society, 2004. First edition: London: Longman, 1964), pp. 105, 162-63. Illustrations of Hajji Humaid making and recoating boats appear between pp. 174, 175 (images: 16636.1, 16695.1, 16634.1, 10644.1).

Date: 2013-17

The article describes the work of Rashad Salim, reviving traditional crafts in Iraq. One such project has involved the construction of canoes in Huwair in Basra province. The canoes follow the form of those used by the Marsh Arabs. See also: Carpenter; Ghuffa Builder; Sawyer.

Citation: Karen Dabrowska and Rashad Salim, “Iraqi artist works to revive traditional crafts in southern Iraq,” The Middle East Online: (last consulted: 16 January 2022).