(meaning "three planks" in Chinese
) are small wooden boats first found in early China
's waterways. They are propelled
through the water with a single paddle
or pole at the stern
. They are often roofed with matting.
Sampans were used mostly by fishermen, who fished for among other things, squid, crabs and prawns, using a cormorant attached to a line, with a ring fitted around its neck to prevent it swallowing the fish.
Sampans are still seen in China today.