Diving For Sponges On The Coast Of Syria

Diving for sponges on the coast of Syria, 1862. 'Latakia sponges are known and appreciated in England, but very few of the superior quality ever reach this country, chiefly from the great demand for this useful appendage to the toilet amongst the ladies of the various hareems, whose constant visits to the hummums, or baths, bring the sponge into daily requisition...The natives employed in these fisheries are a peculiar people, mostly inhabiting the small island of Ruad, not far from the Gulf of Antioch. Of an almost amphibious nature, they are from their infancy exposed to the hardships and privations of fishers generally...A hard and a dangerous life do these poor divers lead, and one which at any moment exposes them to instant death. Yet they are a robust and cheerful people, always full of mirth and frolic. The most astonishing thing about them is the wonderful length of time they can remain under water. Sometimes the dive is so protracted, owing to falling upon a good field of sponges, that when the poor fellows reach the surface again they are utterly exhausted, and the blood gushes from their mouths, noses, eyes, and even ears'. From "Illustrated London News", 1862. Creator: Unknown. (Photo by The Print Collector/Heritage Images via Getty Images)
Diving for sponges on the coast of Syria, 1862. 'Latakia sponges are known and appreciated in England, but very few of the superior quality ever reach this country, chiefly from the great demand for this useful appendage to the toilet amongst the ladies of the various hareems, whose constant visits to the hummums, or baths, bring the sponge into daily requisition...The natives employed in these fisheries are a peculiar people, mostly inhabiting the small island of Ruad, not far from the Gulf of Antioch. Of an almost amphibious nature, they are from their infancy exposed to the hardships and privations of fishers generally...A hard and a dangerous life do these poor divers lead, and one which at any moment exposes them to instant death. Yet they are a robust and cheerful people, always full of mirth and frolic. The most astonishing thing about them is the wonderful length of time they can remain under water. Sometimes the dive is so protracted, owing to falling upon a good field of sponges, that when the poor fellows reach the surface again they are utterly exhausted, and the blood gushes from their mouths, noses, eyes, and even ears'. From "Illustrated London News", 1862. Creator: Unknown. (Photo by The Print Collector/Heritage Images via Getty Images)
Diving For Sponges On The Coast Of Syria
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Credit:
Heritage Images / Contributor
Editorial #:
2062999004
Collection:
Hulton Archive
Date created:
01 January, 1900
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Source:
Hulton Archive
Object name:
3008821
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3747 x 2544 px (31.72 x 21.54 cm) - 300 dpi - 8 MB