Traditional Skills of Building and Sailing Iranian Lenj Boats in the Persian Gulf

Traditional Skills of Building and Sailing Iranian Lenj Boats in the Persian Gulf

Traditional Skills of Building and Sailing Iranian Lenj Boats in the Persian Gulf

Building Lenj and boat is one of the oldest local industries in south of Iran dating back to Afsharid period. However, the history of Iranian sailing can be considered to be even longer after discovering Sasanid antiquities in today's Mongolia and also Parthian and Sasanid ports.

The habitants of the north beach of the Persian Gulf use their own hand-built Lenjes for sea journeys, trading, pearl diving and fishing. They experienced the business trips to Mumbai, Basra and the eastern cities of Africa and Tanzania using wind Lenjes, in the past. 

This industry has a long cultural history; the poems sung by women returning from the sea or the boatmen songs at work can be considered the intangible heritage of this industry. Like many other professions in the past, the knowledge of building Lenjes has been passed on from father to son, over time. Lenjes are mentally built without any plan.

Lenj-builders had learned the primary plan of Lenjes from their fathers and they also learned it from their ancestors; therefore, the whole process of Lenj-building has been empirically transferred. The traditional Lenjes were built of jungle woods resistant to moisture, the trunks of local trees such as Gum Arabic tree, Mesquite, Jujube and nonlocal trees as Berry and Plane as well as an Indian high-quality wood namely "sāy" which was used for the body of vessels.

Formerly, the main centers of Lenj- Building were Kong, Lengeh ports and the historical port of Laft (in Qeshm Island). Today, most of Lenjes are built in Qeshm, Kulghan, Dargahan, Ramchah, Suza, Laft, Dulab and Guran cities. Masters of this profession coat the seams of Lenjes using bitumen, after the end of building process; therefore, they will be resistant to water penetration. Traditional Skills of Building and Sailing Iranian Lenj Boats in the Persian Gulf were inscribed as the eighth Iranian Intangible Heritage in 2011.