Collection online


  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Navigation chart of straight and curved slivers of light wood tied in position. Two shells represent islands.

  • Ethnic name

  • Date

    • 19thC-20thC early (pre 1941)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 63 centimetres
    • Width: 57.5 centimetres
    • Depth: 2.5 centimetres
    • Width: 108.5 centimetres (special box)
    • Height: 7.4 centimetres (special box)
    • Depth: 77.8 centimetres (special box)
  • Curator's comments

    Was previously framed and glazed.
    The shells are either Monetaria moneta or Monetaria annulus.

    Notes from Dr Arina Lebedeva from the Kunstkamera (Museum of Anthropology and Ethnology), St Petersburg (Oct 2013):
    There are three types Marshall Islands navigational charts; this one is called ‘Mattang’. It doesn’t show specific islands, but the swell of the Ocean and how that moves between Island groups. These charts are used to instruct beginners in the art of reading and constructing charts.
    It is a later type of ‘Mattang’. Each shell is an Island and each curve is the swell.

    For more information on Marshall Islands navigational charts see:
    Davenport, William, Marshall Islands navigational charts, Imago Mundi, Vol 5 (1960) pp.19-26
    Lewis, David, We the navigators, 1972 ANU Press, p.201


  • Bibliography

    • Harper 2016 p.19, fig.10 bibliographic details
    • Brunt et al, 2012 pp.56-7 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Exhibition history

    1983–1986 16 Dec-29 Jun, London, BM, Museum of Mankind, Pattern of islands: Micronesia yesterday and today (Possibly but taken off display for the below)
    1984 New York, Museum of Modern Art
    2012 18 April-17 July, Abu Dhabi, ZNM, Treasures of the World's Cultures
    2012-2013 30 Nov to 7 April, Bonn, Treasures of the World's Cultures
    2016-2017 Nov-Mar, London, British Library, Twentieth Century Maps

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Register 1941: Part of a "token" gift, as first instalment of a proposed large gift, subsequently confirmed. See "Man" 1929/144.

  • Department

    Africa, Oceania & the Americas

  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • 3291 (Beasley catalogue number)
COMPASS Image Caption: Navigation chart (mattang)


COMPASS Image Caption: Navigation chart (mattang)

Image description



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Object reference number: EOC19100

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