The Lost Dhow


Magnificent 9th-century Tang dynasty gold, silver, and bronze objects and thousands of ceramics were recently discovered off the coast of Belitung Island, Indonesia, as part of an Arab shipwreck.

In 1998 fishermen discovered a remarkable wreck of a 9th-century Arab merchant ship just off the coast of Belitung Island, Indonesia. The sunken ship’s amazing cargo included silver ingots, bronze mirrors, gold and silver vessels, and 60,000 glazed ceramics. As the oldest Arab ship ever found in Asian waters, the wreck is one of the most important archaeological finds of the late 20th century, is the earliest datable shipwreck in Southeast Asia, and confirms the existence of a direct maritime trade route between East and West, stretching from the Arabian Gulf to the ports of China.

The Lost Dhow, a companion book to an exhibition hosted by Toronto’s Aga Khan Museum in the winter of 2014–15, combines art, history, and marine archaeology in a dramatic narrative of the fabled Tang dynasty and its relationship with the Arab world.

About the Author

Simon Worrall

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014

Simon Worrall

Simon Worrall wrote previously about the Belitung shipwreck for National Geographic and is also the author of the acclaimed non-fiction book The Poet and the Murderer. He has published articles in a wide range of magazines and newspapers, including Smithsonian, The New Yorker, The Guardian, The Paris Review, and the Sunday Times.