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Navigational Chart (Rebbilib)

Date:
19th–early 20th century
Geography:
Republic of the Marshall Islands
Culture:
Marshallese people
Medium:
Coconut midrib, fiber
Dimensions:
H. 35 1/4 x W. 43 1/4 x D. 1 in. (89.5 x 109.9 x 2.5 cm)
Classification:
Basketry-Implements
Credit Line:
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Gift of the Estate of Kay Sage Tanguy, 1963
Accession Number:
1978.412.826
  • Description

    Navigational maps, commonly known as "stick charts," were originally used in the Marshall Islands by navigators during long ocean voyages. Although stylized, the charts were functional objects providing information on the locations of individual islands as well as wave patterns.

    This example consists of a gridlike structure of seven vertical sticks lashed to four horizontal ones. The corners extend outside the main grid, while three curved strips, possibly representing the patterns of ocean swells, extend from side to side. The intersections created by the slanting sticks at the corners may indicate the locations of specific islands. In some instances, small cowrie shells, absent on this example, are also used to indicate the positions of individual islands.

  • Provenance

    Kay Sage Tanguy Estate, until 1963; The Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1963–1978

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
311297

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