Suq al-Shuyuk: Coracle Makers

Date: 1951-58

According to Wilfred Thesiger (d. 2003), coracles (known in Arabic as zaima) were made from qasab reeds around Suq al-Shuyuk. Thesiger describes the process of forming these simple craft (measuring about 10 x 2.5 feet) from bundles of qasab reeds. The outer surfaces would then be coated with bitumen. The coating would only last for about a year, but could not be reapplied. In Thesiger’s time wooden boats were preferred by the Marsh Arabs of Madan. See also: Carpenter; Boat Recoater; Bitumen Collector; Mat Maker; Reed House Builder.

Citation: Wilfred Thesiger, The Marsh Arabs (London: The Folio Society, 2004. First edition: London: Longman, 1964), pp. 105-106.