Livro de traças de carpintaria, 1616





The Livro de Traças de Carpintaria is signed by a Manoel Fernandez, shipwright, and dated to 1616.  We do not know with certainty who this shipwright named Fernandez was, although there are a few possible candidates, none of whom were ever entrusted with high ranking responsibilities either in Lisbon or in India.  The Livro de Traças describes a variety of vessels, from caravels to India naus, and is divided into two main sections. 

The first section has lists of dimensions of the primary structural components of a ship such as stem, stern post, midship and tail frames. 

The second contains an impressive collection of drawings, mainly intended as descriptions of the structural components of the ships, and less concerned with the conceptual aspect of the shipbuilding process. 

When analysed together with the one of the Coriosidades de Gonçalo de Souza, it becomes clear that these two texts are copies of the same original. Manoel Fernandez's version contains a number of gaps and mistakes that reinforce our first impression of him as a practical man, as a shipwright should be, rather than a theoretical expert, as would be expected from a master shipwright or a naval architect. 

His work was published as a magnificent facsimile in the early 1989, followed by a transcription and translation into English in 1995.


Fernandez, Manoel Livro de traças de carpintaria, 1616. Fac-simile, Academia de Marinha. Lisboa, 1989, and Livro de traças de carpintaria, transcription and translation into English, Lisboa: Academia de Marinha, 1995.

Xavier, Hernani Amaral Novos elementos para o estudo da arquitectura naval portuguesa antiga, Lisboa: Academia de Marinha, 1992.

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