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  1. It is interesting to say a few more things about the mentioned five understandings, material, size, shape, sequence and procedure. If you are an outsider, which one of these understandings would be hard to describe? In other words, which understandings can be described by a spectator and which ones are hard to describe by a spectator? Material is not so very hard. Size might look quite innocent but isn’t. If you take into account the two understandings that accompany size, where to measure to, and, in what direction, it is clear that you have to describe how a measurement is taken. Many sizes
  2. Another, quite serious omission that can be found in Nicolaes’ books is the lack of trim by the stern when determining the height of the sternpost. Nicolaes is not very accurate in mentioning all the factors involved in constituting this height. He states: “Tot de lengte van de achter-steven brengt t'zaam, of addeert, de holte, het opzetten, en dat daar boven is” (For the length of the sternpost bring together or add the height (of the ship), the rising of the deck and what is above that.) Nicolaes mentions two specific measurements, the height of the ship, one of the three main measurements a
  3. The content of Nicolaes’ books raises more questions. The following example is a plate with a very peculiar omission. It concerns plate 49 from the edition of 1671. (Attachment 1). This plate shows the completed stern construction seen from the front. Nicolaes states about this plate: “Model van de Spiegel aen de binnekant te zien by L. (Model of the stern construction at the inside visible at L.). Very peculiar are the missing gunports. In the Dutch seventeenth century, the bigger square sterned ships usually have two gunports, one at port and one starboard just below the wing transom. E
  4. For me, the most striking enigma Nicolaes Witsen presents in his two books is the geometry of his pinas. In chapter nine Nicolaes starts with giving general ratios according to which a good ship should be built. To demonstrate how to derive the desired measurements, Nicolaes calculates these measurements using these ratio’s using a pinas with a length of 100 feet as an example. He goes on doing this about seven pages long. After that Nicolaes starts giving the mere measurements of his example ship he calls a pinas, measuring 134 feet over stem and stern. The striking thing is that all given me
  5. Hello PietFriet, Thanks for your reaction. You present a slight but very interesting change in perspective for me. Nicolaes Witsen wasn't a shipwright. So with the phrase 'by gedachten gebouwt', built in mind, Nicolaes can never have meant he built or helped building this ship in reality let alone the stature of the man. That is quite an interesting way to interpret this phrase. When you look at the amount of information Nicolaes presents, this must have been an existing ship, at least that is what I think. For what I now understand of what Nicolaes wrote he isn't capable either o
  6. In the following posts I will give a few examples of the strange inconsistencies and/or omissions in the books of Nicolaes Witsen. The first one can be found on plate 42 from the edition of 1671. Here Nicolaes presents a longitudinal section of his example ship. He states the following about this plate: “Dit zyn de meest voorname Scheeps-deelen, die men byzonder op 't papier vertoonen kan. D'overige zullen best bekent worden, wanneer men haar in het Schip zelve aanwyst; waar toe ik het voorgestelde Schip in gedachten, doorgesneden in verscheide gestalten, ten toon stel, als hier volght”. (Thes
  7. The two books, written by Nicolaes Witsen about shipbuilding in his time raises many questions. The core of both books consists of a ship Nicolaes calls a ‘pinas’, a type of ship built in the Dutch Republic as a merchant ship. A ship with a square stern and three masts. And Nicolaes mentions this ship to be ‘by gedachten gebouwt’, built in mind. Is this a virtual ship, a complete imaginary ship, purely made up by Nicolaes, assembled with bits and pieces of information he could get hold on, or is it a description of a ship that really existed? It is interesting to examine and compare the i
  8. The ship Nicolaes Witsen presents is not an 'average' ship, certainly not according to the general ratios and rules Witsen presents himself in his book. You could even argue the presented ship, Nicolaes' example ship 'by gedachten gebouwt' (built in mind), isn't a pinas at all but another type of ship.
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