Navigational Chart


From: Marshall Islands

Curatorial Section: Oceanian

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Object Number P3297
Current Location Collections Storage
Provenience Marshall Islands
Section Oceanian
Materials Twigs | Shell | Plant Fiber

Navigational chart of the Marshall Islands constructed of thin wooden sticks, with islands represented by shells. For generations, oceangoing sailors in the Marshalls have observed patterns of ocean swells after they are deflected around islands in the group as navigational guides for confirming the location of islands that are out of sight over the horizon. As teaching aids to use when instructing apprentice navigators they have devised two kinds of wooden “stick charts.” One type (meddo) includes representations not only of ocean swells but also the islands of the Marshalls chain, the other (mattang) is a schematic, generalized representation of ocean swells as they are affected by encounters with islands. This chart is a fine old example of a meddo, collected by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1890.

Height 124 cm
Length 71 cm
Credit Line Purchased from Mrs. Isobel Strong through Anderson Auction Company, 1914
Other Number 613 - Dealer's Number

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