Historic Images of Sri Lanka

Boatmen and Catamarans on the coast of Ceylon

Boatmen and Catamarans on the coast of Ceylon

Boatmen and Catamarans on the coast of Ceylon #IMG326

Singhalese Boatmen and Catamarans on the coast of Ceylon

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Photographer: Unknown
Medium: Photographic print
Date: 1885

Photograph of Sinhalese boatmen and catamarans on the coast of Sri Lanka taken in the 1880s by an unknown photographer. Out-rigger canoes or catamarans were originally rafts of three or four logs lashed together and their name comes from the Tamil ‘Kattu’ (binding) and ‘Maram’ (wood). T.H.Holdich wrote in the Imperial Gazeteer of India, ‘The coast-line of Ceylon is singularly beautiful. Fringed with palm-trees down to the very water’s edge, the long line of yellow foreshore is broken at broken at frequent intervals by the picturesque villages of a fishing population, which seems to swarm in every sheltered bay and backwater. On the east and south the coast is low, and the surf beats with long monotonous cadence on the sands…the harbour of Trincomalee…is celebrated as one of the most beautiful in the world ranking with Sydney or Rio de Janeiro.’ The British Library Board

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