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A sambuk in Aden in 1936

Sambuk (ultimately from Middle Persian sambūk[1]), known in New Persian as Sunbūk (سنبوک) and in Arabic as Sambūk (سنبوك), Sambūq (سنبوق) and Ṣumbūq (صنبوق), is a type of dhow, a traditional wooden sailing vessel. It has a characteristic keel design, with a sharp curve right below the top of the prow. Formerly sambuks had ornate carvings.[2]


The exact origins of the dhow are lost to history. Most scholars believe that it originated in India from 600 BC to 600 AD. Some scholars claim that the sambuk, a type of dhow, may be derived from the Portuguese caravel.[3][4]

The sambuk was used along the coasts of the Persian Gulf, especially in Southern Arabia, like Saham and Sur in Oman, where it was formerly used in pearl fishing,[5] as well as in the Yemeni coast of the Red Sea. It is the largest type of dhow seen in the Persian Gulf today.

Usually a sambuk had one or two masts[6] with lateen sails,[7] but nowadays most are motorized.[8] It has been one of the most successful dhows in history.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dionisius A. Agius (2008) Classic Ships of Islam: From Mesopotamia to the Indian Ocean, BRILL, ISBN 9004158634. p. 314.
  2. ^ Dhows of the Persian Gulf – a brief introduction.
  3. ^ Taylor, James. "Traditional Arab sailing ships". The British-Yemeni Society. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  4. ^ Sambuk – Robert's Model ships and boats
  5. ^ The Traditional Dhow. Retrieved on 2013-09-02.
  6. ^ Traditional Arab sailing ships. Retrieved on 2013-09-02.
  7. ^ Sambuk – World sailing Ships. (2007-10-26). Retrieved on 2013-09-02.
  8. ^ Picture of a motorized Sambuk. Retrieved on 2013-09-02.
  9. ^ Oman, a Seafaring Nation, Ministry of Information, Oman 1979

Further reading[edit]

  • Clifford W. Hawkins, The dhow: an illustrated history of the dhow and its world.

External links[edit]