Chart

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Registration number
25090
Item name
Chart 
Category
Surveying/Navigation
 
Indigenous name
 
Maker
 
Associated cultural group
 
Place
Pacific > Marshall Islands
Map
Collector
Unrecorded 
Acquisition date
January 01, 1970 
Acquisition method
Donated by Mr P. Brooks 
Dimensions
H: W: L: D: Circum:

Description

Item 25090 is a navigation stick chart. These are an instructional and mnemonic device used to demonstrate, by curved coconut ribs and cowrie shells, the requirements for successful sailing around the Marshall Islands group. Overall it is 82cm long, 39.3cm wide, and approx. 0.3mm thick. The chart consists of a series of 35 sticks (from the midrib of coconut leaves) lashed together with string (hand twisted two-string coconut fibre / sennet) , and with a series of 25 ringed money cowrie shells (Cypraea annulus) glued on at intersections to represent the main islands of the Marshall Islands chain [Jo-anne Tozer 1999].

Research notes

Such charts are usually made of sticks bound together and attached with shells to guide them through the coral reefs and islands of their Pacific archipelago. The shells symbolised the islands / reefs, while the sticks, taken from the centre of palm leaves, represented winds and ocean currents.

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