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   Back to Ships carrying Goan crewmen.

A model of a mtepe.

A model of a mtepe.
A model of a mtepe.
© National Maritime Museum, London
Repro ID: B5079
Description: The mtepe owed its construction to the coconut tree. The hull was made from coconut planks sewn together with rope made from coir (the husk-like covering of the coconut). The mast was made from a single coconut tree, while the square sail was made from plaited coconut leaves. Mtepes were probably originally from Southeast Asia. Sewn hulls can be seen on an Indian sculpture from the 2nd century BC, and were recorded by Arab travellers at Oman in the 10th century AD and in India, where they were known as Meshiat, in the 12th century. Marco Polo also mentioned sewn boats in the Persian Gulf in the 13th century.
Creator: Unknown
Date: 20th century
Credit line: National Maritime Museum, London
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