Labour

Four Hundred Years Afloat, Still Knocking on Wood

Images from Mandvi in Kutch, Gujarat, where workers with skills inherited over generations make wooden dhows using sal and babul timber. Ships made in Mandvi still carry cargo to West Asian countries 400 years after the port was established.

Mandvi shipbuilding yard is located at Bandar Road by the 16th century Mandvi port in Kutch, Gujarat.

Wooden ships here are traditionally called dhows. These handmade vessels are still used to transport cargo to ports in West Asia.

Inside a dhow, workers move large logs of wood by hand.

A worker shapes logs sitting inside a dhow that is under construction.

Balancing act: a worker crosses a high beam in a dhow that will be three storeys high when finished.

The builders shape the logs by hand to match the curves of the boat. Their skills make an extremely demanding task look effortless.

Workers often make use of simple pulley mechanisms to move heavy wood in dhows under construction.

The outer surface or ‘skin’ of a ship, which when completed gives the vessel a finished look. Workers call these patias.

Work in progress inside a dhow.

Friday is the weekly off for workers and so a more relaxed day.

A labourer wields a hammer in repairing the bottom of a dhow.

A group of local kids enjoy the view from the top.

This piece originally appeared on People’s Archive of Rural India.

Read the original article here.