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Navigation chart (mattang)
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This frame of sticks and seashells is a map to help sailors navigate part of the Pacific Ocean. It was used by the Marshall Islanders of Micronesia, whose islands are spread across several hundred miles of the Pacific Ocean. A detailed knowledge of winds, tides, currents, wave patterns and swells was vital to their successful navigation. The map would not have been taken on a voyage but was made to help train people selected to become navigators and could be used as a memory aid before setting out.

Made from sticks tied together and popularly known as ‘stick charts’, they depict the location of islands and their surrounding swell movements and wave patterns. The horizontal and vertical sticks form a framework upon which diagonal and curved sticks represent wave swells and small shells represent the positions of the islands.

Navigation chart (mattang)


From the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, probably 19th or early 20th century AD
L. 75.5 cm
Gift of Mrs H.G.Beasley




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