Skip Navigation

When you visit the Brooklyn Museum, you can use our app to ask us questions or chat about the artwork you see.

You’ll be connected with a team of art historians and educators who know our collection, can answer your questions, and can give you recommendations on what to see next. 

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

I'm curious if these statues have significance as religious objects or were just artistic objects created to sell (since kachinas are usually worn as costumes ceremonially).
Kachina dolls are used to teach children about religion in Zuni and Hopi Pueblo Native American culture. Kachinas are thought to embody the spirit of a living thing and when called upon, they will evoke the power of whatever spirit they represented, such as an eagle. They are also represented by men in costume during ceremonies and sacred dances, so that's another aspect of them. The dolls are not considered sacred and are given to children and young women during ceremonies so that they may learn about the religion.
Awesome, thank you!
No problem!
What is this?
This is the OLPC XO Laptop, which stands for One Laptop Per Child. This was a part of a project that intended to provide a laptop for every child for learning. It was a non-profit initiative taken to distribute technology to teaching and learning in the developing world.
The project faced strong criticism since many human rights groups argued that third world countries don't have the infrastructure needed to support such a technology. It was good in theory, but not entirely practical.
What does "provenance not known" mean? It's on the label for this statue.
Provenance means the history of how this object came from its original location to its current location. Very often, museums have a record of original location found, and what the history of ownership is for each object, but sometimes this information is missing from the record. That's a great observation and a great question!
Oh, I see. Do we know whether this was originally freestanding or carved into a rock wall? I was also wondering about that
Also, whether it originally had a head?
It was probably part of a larger group statue which was freestanding, but placed next to a wall in a tomb. And it would definitely originally have had a head, headless statues were not a deliberate style in Ancient Egyptian statues. Which is interesting though considering modern sculpture. Rodin made bodies deliberately missing certain body parts, sometimes limbs, sometimes head, to concentrate on the shape and figure of a specific element of the human body. You'll notice some of his casts on your way out of the museum in the lobby!
I'll look for those! Thanks.
What are the main embroidery techniques used on Paracas textiles?
Hi and thanks for using the ASK app today! What a great question, while I look into a specific answer, in the meantime I can tell you than Andean textiles (those made by peoples in the Andes regions) are known for their extraordinary designs and colors. We do know that the ninety figures around the border were created by "needle knitting." The interior fabric was woven on a loom with the colored designs of faces of the Occulate Being made by wrapping the colored thread around the beige warp threads.
So sorry about that! I can tell you also that the fibers are made of camelid fibers (alpaca or vicuna) and were dyed about 7 different colors to make up the work.
What is the blue dye in the Paracas textile? Indigo?
We don't have the specific dyes listed but we do know they were all dyed with natural pigments from plants, minerals, and animals, so it's possible. I am truthfully not sure what was common for dye use in Peru at the time!
Are the figures deities? Do these deities have names?
This piece is somewhat of a mystery because not much is known about these figures. Around the border, there is a combination of human, supernatural, and animal forms. If you look at the feet of the figures, you will see the more flat-footed ones are human, and those with the sort of back-toe are supernatural beings (also referred to as monkey feet). The animals look like animals - llamas, pampas cat, frogs, snakes, etc.- and the plants and trees are also realistically rendered and depict real plants and trees found on the south coast of Peru today. All of these figures together have been interpreted as a microcosm of life on Peru's South Coast during this time. There is a focus on agriculture as well as the practice of ritual sacrifice, symbolizing the cycles of birth and death.
What do the germinating heads look like? I can't seem to spot them.
They are the face-like elements with sprouting coming out of the top. I am trying to figure out how to point you to an example. It actually may be easier to find them on the line drawing on the wall first, and then go back to the textile to look.
Here is how the curators explain the germinating heads: Other border figures hold or display disembodied heads and small doll-like objects that scholars call "trophy heads" and "effigy figures."...Trophy heads on the border often appear to germinate like seeds, sprouting plants and animals, suggesting interconnected cycles of birth and death.
Why are these niched facades so important?
That niched facade is based on the palace because this is where the body of the (royal) deceased would live for eternity. You may know this but, in ancient Egypt, it was believed that the physical body was still of use to the person in the afterlife so it was very important that it be kept safe and secure.
I thought the facade was a reference to early funerary enclosures at places like Abydos?
The funerary enclosure of Khasekhemwy at Abydos definitely has the same kind of niching and it is likely also derived from the same palace-architecture concept.
How would someone make something like this in 1825?
That particular mirror is made of gilt wood meaning that someone would have carved that elaborate frame in which the mirror would be placed. The technique was likely similar to that used to carve actual frames for works of art. The mirror itself is made of curved, silvered glass, giving the convex shape. This came in handy in homes before electricity because a convex mirror would reflect candle light well throughout a room.
Oh wow, that's so interesting! Thanks!
You're very welcome! Feel free to send along more questions as you continue to explore the Museum today.
What is the least important object in this room?
Take a close look, what do you think the least important object is?
I'm going to guess the carpet?
Wow, that's actually a great idea! While I like to say that everything in the period rooms are important (they are my favorites in the Museum) that carpet is a replacement. The original carpet was patterned and the Museum hopes to replicate the original carpet eventually when funds and time are available!
This is so much fun. Thanks!
You're welcome, so glad you're enjoying it. You're asking great questions!
This is so opulent! I want it in my house. But I couldn't do my makeup in it.
Yes, it's definitely a "non-functional" mirror -- unlike the others on that wall! The artist, Fred Wilson, was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmaking and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Much of his art addresses issues of identity and race. Does the title, "Iago's Mirror," suggest anything to you?
Wow! That's so interesting! Iago was the bad guy in Othello right? I'm thinking Shakespeare...
Yes indeed! He's the villain in Shakespeare's tragedy. Whereas Othello is the tragic hero and called "The Moor," referring to his blackness. Wilson has frequently used black glass to represent Africa and “blackness” in his work. Also it's just a remarkable object, like you said so ornate and well-constructed.
I think this quote from the artist is intriguing: "For Othello, largeness, beauty, and power together form a double-edged sword. People are afraid of power, but Iago’s jealousy was so huge that he got around his own fear and destroyed Othello from the inside out. That is what 'Iago's Mirror' is about: this is Iago looking at himself as Othello; love and hate mixed with his own jealous ego."
Which suggests jealousy still. You study your enemies and learn all of their ins and outs. All the things that disgust you but draw you to them at the same time.
Yes! Complicated but true.
I'll have to look him up when I get home tonight, thanks.
Definitely look into Fred Wilson if you're curious! Another fact about him: he worked as a museum educator earlier in his career, and he thinks a lot about the way we view art in museums and how the art "speaks" to us in museum settings -- and about who/what is represented in museums, and who/what is *not* represented. Oh! And we have another work by Wilson on display right now, on the 4th floor in "I See Myself in You."
Headed up there now, awesome!
Excellent! 
Can you tell me about his style of painting?
Hello! Thanks for using the ASK app this afternoon. That Albert Bierstadt landscape is almost as breathtaking as I feel like the view in person would be. Albert Bierstadt painted this upon his return to New York after a trip out West. He created dozens of drawings and plein-air oil studies (much smaller than this!) and the final work you see here took nearly a year to paint.
William Newton Byers, who traveled with Bierstadt on this expedition out West in 1863, wrote of Bierstadt: "Mr. Bierstadt was in raptures with the scenery, but restrained his inclination to try his pencils until within two or three miles of the upper limit of tree growth...Patience vanished, and in nervous haste, canvas, paints and brushes were unpacked and a couple of hours saw, under his skillful hands, some miles of mountain, hills, forests and valley"
Bierstadt was trained in Dusseldorf and artists trained in this style generally painted "wet-to-wet" meaning that layers of wet paint are applied to layers of wet paint or, the previous layers on the canvas are not set to dry before adding more paint. There are many ways to paint with oil, this being one, another is wet-to-dry, where the previous layers dry before adding more.
Thanks, that's great!
Why were felines often chosen to be represented in Ancient Egypt? I mean, I don't see many other animals.
One reason cats were so revered in ancient Egypt was that they were able to kill vermin (like mice and rats) that would get into food supplies. Of course, food was crucial to survival, so cats were seen as protectors in that way! The Goddess Bastet, usually shown in cat form or cat/human form, was the goddess of protection, fertility, and motherhood.
Other animals do appear in the art of ancient Egypt, you'll see quite a few hippopotami in the galleries, for example, but cats were especially popular!
Thanks!
Let us know if any other objects catch your eye as you move through the Egypt galleries.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

I'm curious if these statues have significance as religious objects or were just artistic objects created to sell (since kachinas are usually worn as costumes ceremonially).
Kachina dolls are used to teach children about religion in Zuni and Hopi Pueblo Native American culture. Kachinas are thought to embody the spirit of a living thing and when called upon, they will evoke the power of whatever spirit they represented, such as an eagle. They are also represented by men in costume during ceremonies and sacred dances, so that's another aspect of them. The dolls are not considered sacred and are given to children and young women during ceremonies so that they may learn about the religion.
Awesome, thank you!
No problem!
What is this?
This is the OLPC XO Laptop, which stands for One Laptop Per Child. This was a part of a project that intended to provide a laptop for every child for learning. It was a non-profit initiative taken to distribute technology to teaching and learning in the developing world.
The project faced strong criticism since many human rights groups argued that third world countries don't have the infrastructure needed to support such a technology. It was good in theory, but not entirely practical.
What does "provenance not known" mean? It's on the label for this statue.
Provenance means the history of how this object came from its original location to its current location. Very often, museums have a record of original location found, and what the history of ownership is for each object, but sometimes this information is missing from the record. That's a great observation and a great question!
Oh, I see. Do we know whether this was originally freestanding or carved into a rock wall? I was also wondering about that
Also, whether it originally had a head?
It was probably part of a larger group statue which was freestanding, but placed next to a wall in a tomb. And it would definitely originally have had a head, headless statues were not a deliberate style in Ancient Egyptian statues. Which is interesting though considering modern sculpture. Rodin made bodies deliberately missing certain body parts, sometimes limbs, sometimes head, to concentrate on the shape and figure of a specific element of the human body. You'll notice some of his casts on your way out of the museum in the lobby!
I'll look for those! Thanks.
What are the main embroidery techniques used on Paracas textiles?
Hi and thanks for using the ASK app today! What a great question, while I look into a specific answer, in the meantime I can tell you than Andean textiles (those made by peoples in the Andes regions) are known for their extraordinary designs and colors. We do know that the ninety figures around the border were created by "needle knitting." The interior fabric was woven on a loom with the colored designs of faces of the Occulate Being made by wrapping the colored thread around the beige warp threads.
So sorry about that! I can tell you also that the fibers are made of camelid fibers (alpaca or vicuna) and were dyed about 7 different colors to make up the work.
What is the blue dye in the Paracas textile? Indigo?
We don't have the specific dyes listed but we do know they were all dyed with natural pigments from plants, minerals, and animals, so it's possible. I am truthfully not sure what was common for dye use in Peru at the time!
Are the figures deities? Do these deities have names?
This piece is somewhat of a mystery because not much is known about these figures. Around the border, there is a combination of human, supernatural, and animal forms. If you look at the feet of the figures, you will see the more flat-footed ones are human, and those with the sort of back-toe are supernatural beings (also referred to as monkey feet). The animals look like animals - llamas, pampas cat, frogs, snakes, etc.- and the plants and trees are also realistically rendered and depict real plants and trees found on the south coast of Peru today. All of these figures together have been interpreted as a microcosm of life on Peru's South Coast during this time. There is a focus on agriculture as well as the practice of ritual sacrifice, symbolizing the cycles of birth and death.
What do the germinating heads look like? I can't seem to spot them.
They are the face-like elements with sprouting coming out of the top. I am trying to figure out how to point you to an example. It actually may be easier to find them on the line drawing on the wall first, and then go back to the textile to look.
Here is how the curators explain the germinating heads: Other border figures hold or display disembodied heads and small doll-like objects that scholars call "trophy heads" and "effigy figures."...Trophy heads on the border often appear to germinate like seeds, sprouting plants and animals, suggesting interconnected cycles of birth and death.
Why are these niched facades so important?
That niched facade is based on the palace because this is where the body of the (royal) deceased would live for eternity. You may know this but, in ancient Egypt, it was believed that the physical body was still of use to the person in the afterlife so it was very important that it be kept safe and secure.
I thought the facade was a reference to early funerary enclosures at places like Abydos?
The funerary enclosure of Khasekhemwy at Abydos definitely has the same kind of niching and it is likely also derived from the same palace-architecture concept.
How would someone make something like this in 1825?
That particular mirror is made of gilt wood meaning that someone would have carved that elaborate frame in which the mirror would be placed. The technique was likely similar to that used to carve actual frames for works of art. The mirror itself is made of curved, silvered glass, giving the convex shape. This came in handy in homes before electricity because a convex mirror would reflect candle light well throughout a room.
Oh wow, that's so interesting! Thanks!
You're very welcome! Feel free to send along more questions as you continue to explore the Museum today.
What is the least important object in this room?
Take a close look, what do you think the least important object is?
I'm going to guess the carpet?
Wow, that's actually a great idea! While I like to say that everything in the period rooms are important (they are my favorites in the Museum) that carpet is a replacement. The original carpet was patterned and the Museum hopes to replicate the original carpet eventually when funds and time are available!
This is so much fun. Thanks!
You're welcome, so glad you're enjoying it. You're asking great questions!
This is so opulent! I want it in my house. But I couldn't do my makeup in it.
Yes, it's definitely a "non-functional" mirror -- unlike the others on that wall! The artist, Fred Wilson, was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmaking and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Much of his art addresses issues of identity and race. Does the title, "Iago's Mirror," suggest anything to you?
Wow! That's so interesting! Iago was the bad guy in Othello right? I'm thinking Shakespeare...
Yes indeed! He's the villain in Shakespeare's tragedy. Whereas Othello is the tragic hero and called "The Moor," referring to his blackness. Wilson has frequently used black glass to represent Africa and “blackness” in his work. Also it's just a remarkable object, like you said so ornate and well-constructed.
I think this quote from the artist is intriguing: "For Othello, largeness, beauty, and power together form a double-edged sword. People are afraid of power, but Iago’s jealousy was so huge that he got around his own fear and destroyed Othello from the inside out. That is what 'Iago's Mirror' is about: this is Iago looking at himself as Othello; love and hate mixed with his own jealous ego."
Which suggests jealousy still. You study your enemies and learn all of their ins and outs. All the things that disgust you but draw you to them at the same time.
Yes! Complicated but true.
I'll have to look him up when I get home tonight, thanks.
Definitely look into Fred Wilson if you're curious! Another fact about him: he worked as a museum educator earlier in his career, and he thinks a lot about the way we view art in museums and how the art "speaks" to us in museum settings -- and about who/what is represented in museums, and who/what is *not* represented. Oh! And we have another work by Wilson on display right now, on the 4th floor in "I See Myself in You."
Headed up there now, awesome!
Excellent! 
Can you tell me about his style of painting?
Hello! Thanks for using the ASK app this afternoon. That Albert Bierstadt landscape is almost as breathtaking as I feel like the view in person would be. Albert Bierstadt painted this upon his return to New York after a trip out West. He created dozens of drawings and plein-air oil studies (much smaller than this!) and the final work you see here took nearly a year to paint.
William Newton Byers, who traveled with Bierstadt on this expedition out West in 1863, wrote of Bierstadt: "Mr. Bierstadt was in raptures with the scenery, but restrained his inclination to try his pencils until within two or three miles of the upper limit of tree growth...Patience vanished, and in nervous haste, canvas, paints and brushes were unpacked and a couple of hours saw, under his skillful hands, some miles of mountain, hills, forests and valley"
Bierstadt was trained in Dusseldorf and artists trained in this style generally painted "wet-to-wet" meaning that layers of wet paint are applied to layers of wet paint or, the previous layers on the canvas are not set to dry before adding more paint. There are many ways to paint with oil, this being one, another is wet-to-dry, where the previous layers dry before adding more.
Thanks, that's great!
Why were felines often chosen to be represented in Ancient Egypt? I mean, I don't see many other animals.
One reason cats were so revered in ancient Egypt was that they were able to kill vermin (like mice and rats) that would get into food supplies. Of course, food was crucial to survival, so cats were seen as protectors in that way! The Goddess Bastet, usually shown in cat form or cat/human form, was the goddess of protection, fertility, and motherhood.
Other animals do appear in the art of ancient Egypt, you'll see quite a few hippopotami in the galleries, for example, but cats were especially popular!
Thanks!
Let us know if any other objects catch your eye as you move through the Egypt galleries.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

Explore our permanent collection or a special exhibition on a guided group tour led by one of our friendly and experienced Museum Guides, or on your own with a self-guided group tour. These tours are for adult groups with at least 10 people, last about one hour, and can be tailored to meet the interests and needs of your group.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

I'm curious if these statues have significance as religious objects or were just artistic objects created to sell (since kachinas are usually worn as costumes ceremonially).
Kachina dolls are used to teach children about religion in Zuni and Hopi Pueblo Native American culture. Kachinas are thought to embody the spirit of a living thing and when called upon, they will evoke the power of whatever spirit they represented, such as an eagle. They are also represented by men in costume during ceremonies and sacred dances, so that's another aspect of them. The dolls are not considered sacred and are given to children and young women during ceremonies so that they may learn about the religion.
Awesome, thank you!
No problem!
What is this?
This is the OLPC XO Laptop, which stands for One Laptop Per Child. This was a part of a project that intended to provide a laptop for every child for learning. It was a non-profit initiative taken to distribute technology to teaching and learning in the developing world.
The project faced strong criticism since many human rights groups argued that third world countries don't have the infrastructure needed to support such a technology. It was good in theory, but not entirely practical.
What does "provenance not known" mean? It's on the label for this statue.
Provenance means the history of how this object came from its original location to its current location. Very often, museums have a record of original location found, and what the history of ownership is for each object, but sometimes this information is missing from the record. That's a great observation and a great question!
Oh, I see. Do we know whether this was originally freestanding or carved into a rock wall? I was also wondering about that
Also, whether it originally had a head?
It was probably part of a larger group statue which was freestanding, but placed next to a wall in a tomb. And it would definitely originally have had a head, headless statues were not a deliberate style in Ancient Egyptian statues. Which is interesting though considering modern sculpture. Rodin made bodies deliberately missing certain body parts, sometimes limbs, sometimes head, to concentrate on the shape and figure of a specific element of the human body. You'll notice some of his casts on your way out of the museum in the lobby!
I'll look for those! Thanks.
What are the main embroidery techniques used on Paracas textiles?
Hi and thanks for using the ASK app today! What a great question, while I look into a specific answer, in the meantime I can tell you than Andean textiles (those made by peoples in the Andes regions) are known for their extraordinary designs and colors. We do know that the ninety figures around the border were created by "needle knitting." The interior fabric was woven on a loom with the colored designs of faces of the Occulate Being made by wrapping the colored thread around the beige warp threads.
So sorry about that! I can tell you also that the fibers are made of camelid fibers (alpaca or vicuna) and were dyed about 7 different colors to make up the work.
What is the blue dye in the Paracas textile? Indigo?
We don't have the specific dyes listed but we do know they were all dyed with natural pigments from plants, minerals, and animals, so it's possible. I am truthfully not sure what was common for dye use in Peru at the time!
Are the figures deities? Do these deities have names?
This piece is somewhat of a mystery because not much is known about these figures. Around the border, there is a combination of human, supernatural, and animal forms. If you look at the feet of the figures, you will see the more flat-footed ones are human, and those with the sort of back-toe are supernatural beings (also referred to as monkey feet). The animals look like animals - llamas, pampas cat, frogs, snakes, etc.- and the plants and trees are also realistically rendered and depict real plants and trees found on the south coast of Peru today. All of these figures together have been interpreted as a microcosm of life on Peru's South Coast during this time. There is a focus on agriculture as well as the practice of ritual sacrifice, symbolizing the cycles of birth and death.
What do the germinating heads look like? I can't seem to spot them.
They are the face-like elements with sprouting coming out of the top. I am trying to figure out how to point you to an example. It actually may be easier to find them on the line drawing on the wall first, and then go back to the textile to look.
Here is how the curators explain the germinating heads: Other border figures hold or display disembodied heads and small doll-like objects that scholars call "trophy heads" and "effigy figures."...Trophy heads on the border often appear to germinate like seeds, sprouting plants and animals, suggesting interconnected cycles of birth and death.
Why are these niched facades so important?
That niched facade is based on the palace because this is where the body of the (royal) deceased would live for eternity. You may know this but, in ancient Egypt, it was believed that the physical body was still of use to the person in the afterlife so it was very important that it be kept safe and secure.
I thought the facade was a reference to early funerary enclosures at places like Abydos?
The funerary enclosure of Khasekhemwy at Abydos definitely has the same kind of niching and it is likely also derived from the same palace-architecture concept.
How would someone make something like this in 1825?
That particular mirror is made of gilt wood meaning that someone would have carved that elaborate frame in which the mirror would be placed. The technique was likely similar to that used to carve actual frames for works of art. The mirror itself is made of curved, silvered glass, giving the convex shape. This came in handy in homes before electricity because a convex mirror would reflect candle light well throughout a room.
Oh wow, that's so interesting! Thanks!
You're very welcome! Feel free to send along more questions as you continue to explore the Museum today.
What is the least important object in this room?
Take a close look, what do you think the least important object is?
I'm going to guess the carpet?
Wow, that's actually a great idea! While I like to say that everything in the period rooms are important (they are my favorites in the Museum) that carpet is a replacement. The original carpet was patterned and the Museum hopes to replicate the original carpet eventually when funds and time are available!
This is so much fun. Thanks!
You're welcome, so glad you're enjoying it. You're asking great questions!
This is so opulent! I want it in my house. But I couldn't do my makeup in it.
Yes, it's definitely a "non-functional" mirror -- unlike the others on that wall! The artist, Fred Wilson, was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmaking and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Much of his art addresses issues of identity and race. Does the title, "Iago's Mirror," suggest anything to you?
Wow! That's so interesting! Iago was the bad guy in Othello right? I'm thinking Shakespeare...
Yes indeed! He's the villain in Shakespeare's tragedy. Whereas Othello is the tragic hero and called "The Moor," referring to his blackness. Wilson has frequently used black glass to represent Africa and “blackness” in his work. Also it's just a remarkable object, like you said so ornate and well-constructed.
I think this quote from the artist is intriguing: "For Othello, largeness, beauty, and power together form a double-edged sword. People are afraid of power, but Iago’s jealousy was so huge that he got around his own fear and destroyed Othello from the inside out. That is what 'Iago's Mirror' is about: this is Iago looking at himself as Othello; love and hate mixed with his own jealous ego."
Which suggests jealousy still. You study your enemies and learn all of their ins and outs. All the things that disgust you but draw you to them at the same time.
Yes! Complicated but true.
I'll have to look him up when I get home tonight, thanks.
Definitely look into Fred Wilson if you're curious! Another fact about him: he worked as a museum educator earlier in his career, and he thinks a lot about the way we view art in museums and how the art "speaks" to us in museum settings -- and about who/what is represented in museums, and who/what is *not* represented. Oh! And we have another work by Wilson on display right now, on the 4th floor in "I See Myself in You."
Headed up there now, awesome!
Excellent! 
Can you tell me about his style of painting?
Hello! Thanks for using the ASK app this afternoon. That Albert Bierstadt landscape is almost as breathtaking as I feel like the view in person would be. Albert Bierstadt painted this upon his return to New York after a trip out West. He created dozens of drawings and plein-air oil studies (much smaller than this!) and the final work you see here took nearly a year to paint.
William Newton Byers, who traveled with Bierstadt on this expedition out West in 1863, wrote of Bierstadt: "Mr. Bierstadt was in raptures with the scenery, but restrained his inclination to try his pencils until within two or three miles of the upper limit of tree growth...Patience vanished, and in nervous haste, canvas, paints and brushes were unpacked and a couple of hours saw, under his skillful hands, some miles of mountain, hills, forests and valley"
Bierstadt was trained in Dusseldorf and artists trained in this style generally painted "wet-to-wet" meaning that layers of wet paint are applied to layers of wet paint or, the previous layers on the canvas are not set to dry before adding more paint. There are many ways to paint with oil, this being one, another is wet-to-dry, where the previous layers dry before adding more.
Thanks, that's great!
Why were felines often chosen to be represented in Ancient Egypt? I mean, I don't see many other animals.
One reason cats were so revered in ancient Egypt was that they were able to kill vermin (like mice and rats) that would get into food supplies. Of course, food was crucial to survival, so cats were seen as protectors in that way! The Goddess Bastet, usually shown in cat form or cat/human form, was the goddess of protection, fertility, and motherhood.
Other animals do appear in the art of ancient Egypt, you'll see quite a few hippopotami in the galleries, for example, but cats were especially popular!
Thanks!
Let us know if any other objects catch your eye as you move through the Egypt galleries.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

We're renovating our second floor to bring you a better experience, which means the Libraries and Archives are closed to the public until fall 2017. If you're a researcher who would like to access our resources, send us an email and we'll do our best to assist you.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

I'm curious if these statues have significance as religious objects or were just artistic objects created to sell (since kachinas are usually worn as costumes ceremonially).
Kachina dolls are used to teach children about religion in Zuni and Hopi Pueblo Native American culture. Kachinas are thought to embody the spirit of a living thing and when called upon, they will evoke the power of whatever spirit they represented, such as an eagle. They are also represented by men in costume during ceremonies and sacred dances, so that's another aspect of them. The dolls are not considered sacred and are given to children and young women during ceremonies so that they may learn about the religion.
Awesome, thank you!
No problem!
What is this?
This is the OLPC XO Laptop, which stands for One Laptop Per Child. This was a part of a project that intended to provide a laptop for every child for learning. It was a non-profit initiative taken to distribute technology to teaching and learning in the developing world.
The project faced strong criticism since many human rights groups argued that third world countries don't have the infrastructure needed to support such a technology. It was good in theory, but not entirely practical.
What does "provenance not known" mean? It's on the label for this statue.
Provenance means the history of how this object came from its original location to its current location. Very often, museums have a record of original location found, and what the history of ownership is for each object, but sometimes this information is missing from the record. That's a great observation and a great question!
Oh, I see. Do we know whether this was originally freestanding or carved into a rock wall? I was also wondering about that
Also, whether it originally had a head?
It was probably part of a larger group statue which was freestanding, but placed next to a wall in a tomb. And it would definitely originally have had a head, headless statues were not a deliberate style in Ancient Egyptian statues. Which is interesting though considering modern sculpture. Rodin made bodies deliberately missing certain body parts, sometimes limbs, sometimes head, to concentrate on the shape and figure of a specific element of the human body. You'll notice some of his casts on your way out of the museum in the lobby!
I'll look for those! Thanks.
What are the main embroidery techniques used on Paracas textiles?
Hi and thanks for using the ASK app today! What a great question, while I look into a specific answer, in the meantime I can tell you than Andean textiles (those made by peoples in the Andes regions) are known for their extraordinary designs and colors. We do know that the ninety figures around the border were created by "needle knitting." The interior fabric was woven on a loom with the colored designs of faces of the Occulate Being made by wrapping the colored thread around the beige warp threads.
So sorry about that! I can tell you also that the fibers are made of camelid fibers (alpaca or vicuna) and were dyed about 7 different colors to make up the work.
What is the blue dye in the Paracas textile? Indigo?
We don't have the specific dyes listed but we do know they were all dyed with natural pigments from plants, minerals, and animals, so it's possible. I am truthfully not sure what was common for dye use in Peru at the time!
Are the figures deities? Do these deities have names?
This piece is somewhat of a mystery because not much is known about these figures. Around the border, there is a combination of human, supernatural, and animal forms. If you look at the feet of the figures, you will see the more flat-footed ones are human, and those with the sort of back-toe are supernatural beings (also referred to as monkey feet). The animals look like animals - llamas, pampas cat, frogs, snakes, etc.- and the plants and trees are also realistically rendered and depict real plants and trees found on the south coast of Peru today. All of these figures together have been interpreted as a microcosm of life on Peru's South Coast during this time. There is a focus on agriculture as well as the practice of ritual sacrifice, symbolizing the cycles of birth and death.
What do the germinating heads look like? I can't seem to spot them.
They are the face-like elements with sprouting coming out of the top. I am trying to figure out how to point you to an example. It actually may be easier to find them on the line drawing on the wall first, and then go back to the textile to look.
Here is how the curators explain the germinating heads: Other border figures hold or display disembodied heads and small doll-like objects that scholars call "trophy heads" and "effigy figures."...Trophy heads on the border often appear to germinate like seeds, sprouting plants and animals, suggesting interconnected cycles of birth and death.
Why are these niched facades so important?
That niched facade is based on the palace because this is where the body of the (royal) deceased would live for eternity. You may know this but, in ancient Egypt, it was believed that the physical body was still of use to the person in the afterlife so it was very important that it be kept safe and secure.
I thought the facade was a reference to early funerary enclosures at places like Abydos?
The funerary enclosure of Khasekhemwy at Abydos definitely has the same kind of niching and it is likely also derived from the same palace-architecture concept.
How would someone make something like this in 1825?
That particular mirror is made of gilt wood meaning that someone would have carved that elaborate frame in which the mirror would be placed. The technique was likely similar to that used to carve actual frames for works of art. The mirror itself is made of curved, silvered glass, giving the convex shape. This came in handy in homes before electricity because a convex mirror would reflect candle light well throughout a room.
Oh wow, that's so interesting! Thanks!
You're very welcome! Feel free to send along more questions as you continue to explore the Museum today.
What is the least important object in this room?
Take a close look, what do you think the least important object is?
I'm going to guess the carpet?
Wow, that's actually a great idea! While I like to say that everything in the period rooms are important (they are my favorites in the Museum) that carpet is a replacement. The original carpet was patterned and the Museum hopes to replicate the original carpet eventually when funds and time are available!
This is so much fun. Thanks!
You're welcome, so glad you're enjoying it. You're asking great questions!
This is so opulent! I want it in my house. But I couldn't do my makeup in it.
Yes, it's definitely a "non-functional" mirror -- unlike the others on that wall! The artist, Fred Wilson, was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmaking and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Much of his art addresses issues of identity and race. Does the title, "Iago's Mirror," suggest anything to you?
Wow! That's so interesting! Iago was the bad guy in Othello right? I'm thinking Shakespeare...
Yes indeed! He's the villain in Shakespeare's tragedy. Whereas Othello is the tragic hero and called "The Moor," referring to his blackness. Wilson has frequently used black glass to represent Africa and “blackness” in his work. Also it's just a remarkable object, like you said so ornate and well-constructed.
I think this quote from the artist is intriguing: "For Othello, largeness, beauty, and power together form a double-edged sword. People are afraid of power, but Iago’s jealousy was so huge that he got around his own fear and destroyed Othello from the inside out. That is what 'Iago's Mirror' is about: this is Iago looking at himself as Othello; love and hate mixed with his own jealous ego."
Which suggests jealousy still. You study your enemies and learn all of their ins and outs. All the things that disgust you but draw you to them at the same time.
Yes! Complicated but true.
I'll have to look him up when I get home tonight, thanks.
Definitely look into Fred Wilson if you're curious! Another fact about him: he worked as a museum educator earlier in his career, and he thinks a lot about the way we view art in museums and how the art "speaks" to us in museum settings -- and about who/what is represented in museums, and who/what is *not* represented. Oh! And we have another work by Wilson on display right now, on the 4th floor in "I See Myself in You."
Headed up there now, awesome!
Excellent! 
Can you tell me about his style of painting?
Hello! Thanks for using the ASK app this afternoon. That Albert Bierstadt landscape is almost as breathtaking as I feel like the view in person would be. Albert Bierstadt painted this upon his return to New York after a trip out West. He created dozens of drawings and plein-air oil studies (much smaller than this!) and the final work you see here took nearly a year to paint.
William Newton Byers, who traveled with Bierstadt on this expedition out West in 1863, wrote of Bierstadt: "Mr. Bierstadt was in raptures with the scenery, but restrained his inclination to try his pencils until within two or three miles of the upper limit of tree growth...Patience vanished, and in nervous haste, canvas, paints and brushes were unpacked and a couple of hours saw, under his skillful hands, some miles of mountain, hills, forests and valley"
Bierstadt was trained in Dusseldorf and artists trained in this style generally painted "wet-to-wet" meaning that layers of wet paint are applied to layers of wet paint or, the previous layers on the canvas are not set to dry before adding more paint. There are many ways to paint with oil, this being one, another is wet-to-dry, where the previous layers dry before adding more.
Thanks, that's great!
Why were felines often chosen to be represented in Ancient Egypt? I mean, I don't see many other animals.
One reason cats were so revered in ancient Egypt was that they were able to kill vermin (like mice and rats) that would get into food supplies. Of course, food was crucial to survival, so cats were seen as protectors in that way! The Goddess Bastet, usually shown in cat form or cat/human form, was the goddess of protection, fertility, and motherhood.
Other animals do appear in the art of ancient Egypt, you'll see quite a few hippopotami in the galleries, for example, but cats were especially popular!
Thanks!
Let us know if any other objects catch your eye as you move through the Egypt galleries.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

I'm curious if these statues have significance as religious objects or were just artistic objects created to sell (since kachinas are usually worn as costumes ceremonially).
Kachina dolls are used to teach children about religion in Zuni and Hopi Pueblo Native American culture. Kachinas are thought to embody the spirit of a living thing and when called upon, they will evoke the power of whatever spirit they represented, such as an eagle. They are also represented by men in costume during ceremonies and sacred dances, so that's another aspect of them. The dolls are not considered sacred and are given to children and young women during ceremonies so that they may learn about the religion.
Awesome, thank you!
No problem!
What is this?
This is the OLPC XO Laptop, which stands for One Laptop Per Child. This was a part of a project that intended to provide a laptop for every child for learning. It was a non-profit initiative taken to distribute technology to teaching and learning in the developing world.
The project faced strong criticism since many human rights groups argued that third world countries don't have the infrastructure needed to support such a technology. It was good in theory, but not entirely practical.
What does "provenance not known" mean? It's on the label for this statue.
Provenance means the history of how this object came from its original location to its current location. Very often, museums have a record of original location found, and what the history of ownership is for each object, but sometimes this information is missing from the record. That's a great observation and a great question!
Oh, I see. Do we know whether this was originally freestanding or carved into a rock wall? I was also wondering about that
Also, whether it originally had a head?
It was probably part of a larger group statue which was freestanding, but placed next to a wall in a tomb. And it would definitely originally have had a head, headless statues were not a deliberate style in Ancient Egyptian statues. Which is interesting though considering modern sculpture. Rodin made bodies deliberately missing certain body parts, sometimes limbs, sometimes head, to concentrate on the shape and figure of a specific element of the human body. You'll notice some of his casts on your way out of the museum in the lobby!
I'll look for those! Thanks.
What are the main embroidery techniques used on Paracas textiles?
Hi and thanks for using the ASK app today! What a great question, while I look into a specific answer, in the meantime I can tell you than Andean textiles (those made by peoples in the Andes regions) are known for their extraordinary designs and colors. We do know that the ninety figures around the border were created by "needle knitting." The interior fabric was woven on a loom with the colored designs of faces of the Occulate Being made by wrapping the colored thread around the beige warp threads.
So sorry about that! I can tell you also that the fibers are made of camelid fibers (alpaca or vicuna) and were dyed about 7 different colors to make up the work.
What is the blue dye in the Paracas textile? Indigo?
We don't have the specific dyes listed but we do know they were all dyed with natural pigments from plants, minerals, and animals, so it's possible. I am truthfully not sure what was common for dye use in Peru at the time!
Are the figures deities? Do these deities have names?
This piece is somewhat of a mystery because not much is known about these figures. Around the border, there is a combination of human, supernatural, and animal forms. If you look at the feet of the figures, you will see the more flat-footed ones are human, and those with the sort of back-toe are supernatural beings (also referred to as monkey feet). The animals look like animals - llamas, pampas cat, frogs, snakes, etc.- and the plants and trees are also realistically rendered and depict real plants and trees found on the south coast of Peru today. All of these figures together have been interpreted as a microcosm of life on Peru's South Coast during this time. There is a focus on agriculture as well as the practice of ritual sacrifice, symbolizing the cycles of birth and death.
What do the germinating heads look like? I can't seem to spot them.
They are the face-like elements with sprouting coming out of the top. I am trying to figure out how to point you to an example. It actually may be easier to find them on the line drawing on the wall first, and then go back to the textile to look.
Here is how the curators explain the germinating heads: Other border figures hold or display disembodied heads and small doll-like objects that scholars call "trophy heads" and "effigy figures."...Trophy heads on the border often appear to germinate like seeds, sprouting plants and animals, suggesting interconnected cycles of birth and death.
Why are these niched facades so important?
That niched facade is based on the palace because this is where the body of the (royal) deceased would live for eternity. You may know this but, in ancient Egypt, it was believed that the physical body was still of use to the person in the afterlife so it was very important that it be kept safe and secure.
I thought the facade was a reference to early funerary enclosures at places like Abydos?
The funerary enclosure of Khasekhemwy at Abydos definitely has the same kind of niching and it is likely also derived from the same palace-architecture concept.
How would someone make something like this in 1825?
That particular mirror is made of gilt wood meaning that someone would have carved that elaborate frame in which the mirror would be placed. The technique was likely similar to that used to carve actual frames for works of art. The mirror itself is made of curved, silvered glass, giving the convex shape. This came in handy in homes before electricity because a convex mirror would reflect candle light well throughout a room.
Oh wow, that's so interesting! Thanks!
You're very welcome! Feel free to send along more questions as you continue to explore the Museum today.
What is the least important object in this room?
Take a close look, what do you think the least important object is?
I'm going to guess the carpet?
Wow, that's actually a great idea! While I like to say that everything in the period rooms are important (they are my favorites in the Museum) that carpet is a replacement. The original carpet was patterned and the Museum hopes to replicate the original carpet eventually when funds and time are available!
This is so much fun. Thanks!
You're welcome, so glad you're enjoying it. You're asking great questions!
This is so opulent! I want it in my house. But I couldn't do my makeup in it.
Yes, it's definitely a "non-functional" mirror -- unlike the others on that wall! The artist, Fred Wilson, was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmaking and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Much of his art addresses issues of identity and race. Does the title, "Iago's Mirror," suggest anything to you?
Wow! That's so interesting! Iago was the bad guy in Othello right? I'm thinking Shakespeare...
Yes indeed! He's the villain in Shakespeare's tragedy. Whereas Othello is the tragic hero and called "The Moor," referring to his blackness. Wilson has frequently used black glass to represent Africa and “blackness” in his work. Also it's just a remarkable object, like you said so ornate and well-constructed.
I think this quote from the artist is intriguing: "For Othello, largeness, beauty, and power together form a double-edged sword. People are afraid of power, but Iago’s jealousy was so huge that he got around his own fear and destroyed Othello from the inside out. That is what 'Iago's Mirror' is about: this is Iago looking at himself as Othello; love and hate mixed with his own jealous ego."
Which suggests jealousy still. You study your enemies and learn all of their ins and outs. All the things that disgust you but draw you to them at the same time.
Yes! Complicated but true.
I'll have to look him up when I get home tonight, thanks.
Definitely look into Fred Wilson if you're curious! Another fact about him: he worked as a museum educator earlier in his career, and he thinks a lot about the way we view art in museums and how the art "speaks" to us in museum settings -- and about who/what is represented in museums, and who/what is *not* represented. Oh! And we have another work by Wilson on display right now, on the 4th floor in "I See Myself in You."
Headed up there now, awesome!
Excellent! 
Can you tell me about his style of painting?
Hello! Thanks for using the ASK app this afternoon. That Albert Bierstadt landscape is almost as breathtaking as I feel like the view in person would be. Albert Bierstadt painted this upon his return to New York after a trip out West. He created dozens of drawings and plein-air oil studies (much smaller than this!) and the final work you see here took nearly a year to paint.
William Newton Byers, who traveled with Bierstadt on this expedition out West in 1863, wrote of Bierstadt: "Mr. Bierstadt was in raptures with the scenery, but restrained his inclination to try his pencils until within two or three miles of the upper limit of tree growth...Patience vanished, and in nervous haste, canvas, paints and brushes were unpacked and a couple of hours saw, under his skillful hands, some miles of mountain, hills, forests and valley"
Bierstadt was trained in Dusseldorf and artists trained in this style generally painted "wet-to-wet" meaning that layers of wet paint are applied to layers of wet paint or, the previous layers on the canvas are not set to dry before adding more paint. There are many ways to paint with oil, this being one, another is wet-to-dry, where the previous layers dry before adding more.
Thanks, that's great!
Why were felines often chosen to be represented in Ancient Egypt? I mean, I don't see many other animals.
One reason cats were so revered in ancient Egypt was that they were able to kill vermin (like mice and rats) that would get into food supplies. Of course, food was crucial to survival, so cats were seen as protectors in that way! The Goddess Bastet, usually shown in cat form or cat/human form, was the goddess of protection, fertility, and motherhood.
Other animals do appear in the art of ancient Egypt, you'll see quite a few hippopotami in the galleries, for example, but cats were especially popular!
Thanks!
Let us know if any other objects catch your eye as you move through the Egypt galleries.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

Exhibitions on the Fifth Floor

Rest rooms are on the first, second, and third floors; those on the first and third floors are wheelchair accessible. The second-floor rest rooms can be reached only via the stairs from the Schapiro Wing on the third floor. Water fountains are near the first- and third-floor rest rooms.

Pick up Assistive Listening Devices at the Admissions Desk on the first floor.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

I'm curious if these statues have significance as religious objects or were just artistic objects created to sell (since kachinas are usually worn as costumes ceremonially).
Kachina dolls are used to teach children about religion in Zuni and Hopi Pueblo Native American culture. Kachinas are thought to embody the spirit of a living thing and when called upon, they will evoke the power of whatever spirit they represented, such as an eagle. They are also represented by men in costume during ceremonies and sacred dances, so that's another aspect of them. The dolls are not considered sacred and are given to children and young women during ceremonies so that they may learn about the religion.
Awesome, thank you!
No problem!
What is this?
This is the OLPC XO Laptop, which stands for One Laptop Per Child. This was a part of a project that intended to provide a laptop for every child for learning. It was a non-profit initiative taken to distribute technology to teaching and learning in the developing world.
The project faced strong criticism since many human rights groups argued that third world countries don't have the infrastructure needed to support such a technology. It was good in theory, but not entirely practical.
What does "provenance not known" mean? It's on the label for this statue.
Provenance means the history of how this object came from its original location to its current location. Very often, museums have a record of original location found, and what the history of ownership is for each object, but sometimes this information is missing from the record. That's a great observation and a great question!
Oh, I see. Do we know whether this was originally freestanding or carved into a rock wall? I was also wondering about that
Also, whether it originally had a head?
It was probably part of a larger group statue which was freestanding, but placed next to a wall in a tomb. And it would definitely originally have had a head, headless statues were not a deliberate style in Ancient Egyptian statues. Which is interesting though considering modern sculpture. Rodin made bodies deliberately missing certain body parts, sometimes limbs, sometimes head, to concentrate on the shape and figure of a specific element of the human body. You'll notice some of his casts on your way out of the museum in the lobby!
I'll look for those! Thanks.
What are the main embroidery techniques used on Paracas textiles?
Hi and thanks for using the ASK app today! What a great question, while I look into a specific answer, in the meantime I can tell you than Andean textiles (those made by peoples in the Andes regions) are known for their extraordinary designs and colors. We do know that the ninety figures around the border were created by "needle knitting." The interior fabric was woven on a loom with the colored designs of faces of the Occulate Being made by wrapping the colored thread around the beige warp threads.
So sorry about that! I can tell you also that the fibers are made of camelid fibers (alpaca or vicuna) and were dyed about 7 different colors to make up the work.
What is the blue dye in the Paracas textile? Indigo?
We don't have the specific dyes listed but we do know they were all dyed with natural pigments from plants, minerals, and animals, so it's possible. I am truthfully not sure what was common for dye use in Peru at the time!
Are the figures deities? Do these deities have names?
This piece is somewhat of a mystery because not much is known about these figures. Around the border, there is a combination of human, supernatural, and animal forms. If you look at the feet of the figures, you will see the more flat-footed ones are human, and those with the sort of back-toe are supernatural beings (also referred to as monkey feet). The animals look like animals - llamas, pampas cat, frogs, snakes, etc.- and the plants and trees are also realistically rendered and depict real plants and trees found on the south coast of Peru today. All of these figures together have been interpreted as a microcosm of life on Peru's South Coast during this time. There is a focus on agriculture as well as the practice of ritual sacrifice, symbolizing the cycles of birth and death.
What do the germinating heads look like? I can't seem to spot them.
They are the face-like elements with sprouting coming out of the top. I am trying to figure out how to point you to an example. It actually may be easier to find them on the line drawing on the wall first, and then go back to the textile to look.
Here is how the curators explain the germinating heads: Other border figures hold or display disembodied heads and small doll-like objects that scholars call "trophy heads" and "effigy figures."...Trophy heads on the border often appear to germinate like seeds, sprouting plants and animals, suggesting interconnected cycles of birth and death.
Why are these niched facades so important?
That niched facade is based on the palace because this is where the body of the (royal) deceased would live for eternity. You may know this but, in ancient Egypt, it was believed that the physical body was still of use to the person in the afterlife so it was very important that it be kept safe and secure.
I thought the facade was a reference to early funerary enclosures at places like Abydos?
The funerary enclosure of Khasekhemwy at Abydos definitely has the same kind of niching and it is likely also derived from the same palace-architecture concept.
How would someone make something like this in 1825?
That particular mirror is made of gilt wood meaning that someone would have carved that elaborate frame in which the mirror would be placed. The technique was likely similar to that used to carve actual frames for works of art. The mirror itself is made of curved, silvered glass, giving the convex shape. This came in handy in homes before electricity because a convex mirror would reflect candle light well throughout a room.
Oh wow, that's so interesting! Thanks!
You're very welcome! Feel free to send along more questions as you continue to explore the Museum today.
What is the least important object in this room?
Take a close look, what do you think the least important object is?
I'm going to guess the carpet?
Wow, that's actually a great idea! While I like to say that everything in the period rooms are important (they are my favorites in the Museum) that carpet is a replacement. The original carpet was patterned and the Museum hopes to replicate the original carpet eventually when funds and time are available!
This is so much fun. Thanks!
You're welcome, so glad you're enjoying it. You're asking great questions!
This is so opulent! I want it in my house. But I couldn't do my makeup in it.
Yes, it's definitely a "non-functional" mirror -- unlike the others on that wall! The artist, Fred Wilson, was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmaking and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Much of his art addresses issues of identity and race. Does the title, "Iago's Mirror," suggest anything to you?
Wow! That's so interesting! Iago was the bad guy in Othello right? I'm thinking Shakespeare...
Yes indeed! He's the villain in Shakespeare's tragedy. Whereas Othello is the tragic hero and called "The Moor," referring to his blackness. Wilson has frequently used black glass to represent Africa and “blackness” in his work. Also it's just a remarkable object, like you said so ornate and well-constructed.
I think this quote from the artist is intriguing: "For Othello, largeness, beauty, and power together form a double-edged sword. People are afraid of power, but Iago’s jealousy was so huge that he got around his own fear and destroyed Othello from the inside out. That is what 'Iago's Mirror' is about: this is Iago looking at himself as Othello; love and hate mixed with his own jealous ego."
Which suggests jealousy still. You study your enemies and learn all of their ins and outs. All the things that disgust you but draw you to them at the same time.
Yes! Complicated but true.
I'll have to look him up when I get home tonight, thanks.
Definitely look into Fred Wilson if you're curious! Another fact about him: he worked as a museum educator earlier in his career, and he thinks a lot about the way we view art in museums and how the art "speaks" to us in museum settings -- and about who/what is represented in museums, and who/what is *not* represented. Oh! And we have another work by Wilson on display right now, on the 4th floor in "I See Myself in You."
Headed up there now, awesome!
Excellent! 
Can you tell me about his style of painting?
Hello! Thanks for using the ASK app this afternoon. That Albert Bierstadt landscape is almost as breathtaking as I feel like the view in person would be. Albert Bierstadt painted this upon his return to New York after a trip out West. He created dozens of drawings and plein-air oil studies (much smaller than this!) and the final work you see here took nearly a year to paint.
William Newton Byers, who traveled with Bierstadt on this expedition out West in 1863, wrote of Bierstadt: "Mr. Bierstadt was in raptures with the scenery, but restrained his inclination to try his pencils until within two or three miles of the upper limit of tree growth...Patience vanished, and in nervous haste, canvas, paints and brushes were unpacked and a couple of hours saw, under his skillful hands, some miles of mountain, hills, forests and valley"
Bierstadt was trained in Dusseldorf and artists trained in this style generally painted "wet-to-wet" meaning that layers of wet paint are applied to layers of wet paint or, the previous layers on the canvas are not set to dry before adding more paint. There are many ways to paint with oil, this being one, another is wet-to-dry, where the previous layers dry before adding more.
Thanks, that's great!
Why were felines often chosen to be represented in Ancient Egypt? I mean, I don't see many other animals.
One reason cats were so revered in ancient Egypt was that they were able to kill vermin (like mice and rats) that would get into food supplies. Of course, food was crucial to survival, so cats were seen as protectors in that way! The Goddess Bastet, usually shown in cat form or cat/human form, was the goddess of protection, fertility, and motherhood.
Other animals do appear in the art of ancient Egypt, you'll see quite a few hippopotami in the galleries, for example, but cats were especially popular!
Thanks!
Let us know if any other objects catch your eye as you move through the Egypt galleries.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

Exhibitions on the Fourth Floor

Rest rooms are on the first, second, and third floors; those on the first and third floors are wheelchair accessible. The second-floor rest rooms can be reached only via the stairs from the Schapiro Wing on the third floor. Water fountains are near the first- and third-floor rest rooms.

Pick up Assistive Listening Devices at the Admissions Desk on the first floor.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

I'm curious if these statues have significance as religious objects or were just artistic objects created to sell (since kachinas are usually worn as costumes ceremonially).
Kachina dolls are used to teach children about religion in Zuni and Hopi Pueblo Native American culture. Kachinas are thought to embody the spirit of a living thing and when called upon, they will evoke the power of whatever spirit they represented, such as an eagle. They are also represented by men in costume during ceremonies and sacred dances, so that's another aspect of them. The dolls are not considered sacred and are given to children and young women during ceremonies so that they may learn about the religion.
Awesome, thank you!
No problem!
What is this?
This is the OLPC XO Laptop, which stands for One Laptop Per Child. This was a part of a project that intended to provide a laptop for every child for learning. It was a non-profit initiative taken to distribute technology to teaching and learning in the developing world.
The project faced strong criticism since many human rights groups argued that third world countries don't have the infrastructure needed to support such a technology. It was good in theory, but not entirely practical.
What does "provenance not known" mean? It's on the label for this statue.
Provenance means the history of how this object came from its original location to its current location. Very often, museums have a record of original location found, and what the history of ownership is for each object, but sometimes this information is missing from the record. That's a great observation and a great question!
Oh, I see. Do we know whether this was originally freestanding or carved into a rock wall? I was also wondering about that
Also, whether it originally had a head?
It was probably part of a larger group statue which was freestanding, but placed next to a wall in a tomb. And it would definitely originally have had a head, headless statues were not a deliberate style in Ancient Egyptian statues. Which is interesting though considering modern sculpture. Rodin made bodies deliberately missing certain body parts, sometimes limbs, sometimes head, to concentrate on the shape and figure of a specific element of the human body. You'll notice some of his casts on your way out of the museum in the lobby!
I'll look for those! Thanks.
What are the main embroidery techniques used on Paracas textiles?
Hi and thanks for using the ASK app today! What a great question, while I look into a specific answer, in the meantime I can tell you than Andean textiles (those made by peoples in the Andes regions) are known for their extraordinary designs and colors. We do know that the ninety figures around the border were created by "needle knitting." The interior fabric was woven on a loom with the colored designs of faces of the Occulate Being made by wrapping the colored thread around the beige warp threads.
So sorry about that! I can tell you also that the fibers are made of camelid fibers (alpaca or vicuna) and were dyed about 7 different colors to make up the work.
What is the blue dye in the Paracas textile? Indigo?
We don't have the specific dyes listed but we do know they were all dyed with natural pigments from plants, minerals, and animals, so it's possible. I am truthfully not sure what was common for dye use in Peru at the time!
Are the figures deities? Do these deities have names?
This piece is somewhat of a mystery because not much is known about these figures. Around the border, there is a combination of human, supernatural, and animal forms. If you look at the feet of the figures, you will see the more flat-footed ones are human, and those with the sort of back-toe are supernatural beings (also referred to as monkey feet). The animals look like animals - llamas, pampas cat, frogs, snakes, etc.- and the plants and trees are also realistically rendered and depict real plants and trees found on the south coast of Peru today. All of these figures together have been interpreted as a microcosm of life on Peru's South Coast during this time. There is a focus on agriculture as well as the practice of ritual sacrifice, symbolizing the cycles of birth and death.
What do the germinating heads look like? I can't seem to spot them.
They are the face-like elements with sprouting coming out of the top. I am trying to figure out how to point you to an example. It actually may be easier to find them on the line drawing on the wall first, and then go back to the textile to look.
Here is how the curators explain the germinating heads: Other border figures hold or display disembodied heads and small doll-like objects that scholars call "trophy heads" and "effigy figures."...Trophy heads on the border often appear to germinate like seeds, sprouting plants and animals, suggesting interconnected cycles of birth and death.
Why are these niched facades so important?
That niched facade is based on the palace because this is where the body of the (royal) deceased would live for eternity. You may know this but, in ancient Egypt, it was believed that the physical body was still of use to the person in the afterlife so it was very important that it be kept safe and secure.
I thought the facade was a reference to early funerary enclosures at places like Abydos?
The funerary enclosure of Khasekhemwy at Abydos definitely has the same kind of niching and it is likely also derived from the same palace-architecture concept.
How would someone make something like this in 1825?
That particular mirror is made of gilt wood meaning that someone would have carved that elaborate frame in which the mirror would be placed. The technique was likely similar to that used to carve actual frames for works of art. The mirror itself is made of curved, silvered glass, giving the convex shape. This came in handy in homes before electricity because a convex mirror would reflect candle light well throughout a room.
Oh wow, that's so interesting! Thanks!
You're very welcome! Feel free to send along more questions as you continue to explore the Museum today.
What is the least important object in this room?
Take a close look, what do you think the least important object is?
I'm going to guess the carpet?
Wow, that's actually a great idea! While I like to say that everything in the period rooms are important (they are my favorites in the Museum) that carpet is a replacement. The original carpet was patterned and the Museum hopes to replicate the original carpet eventually when funds and time are available!
This is so much fun. Thanks!
You're welcome, so glad you're enjoying it. You're asking great questions!
This is so opulent! I want it in my house. But I couldn't do my makeup in it.
Yes, it's definitely a "non-functional" mirror -- unlike the others on that wall! The artist, Fred Wilson, was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmaking and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Much of his art addresses issues of identity and race. Does the title, "Iago's Mirror," suggest anything to you?
Wow! That's so interesting! Iago was the bad guy in Othello right? I'm thinking Shakespeare...
Yes indeed! He's the villain in Shakespeare's tragedy. Whereas Othello is the tragic hero and called "The Moor," referring to his blackness. Wilson has frequently used black glass to represent Africa and “blackness” in his work. Also it's just a remarkable object, like you said so ornate and well-constructed.
I think this quote from the artist is intriguing: "For Othello, largeness, beauty, and power together form a double-edged sword. People are afraid of power, but Iago’s jealousy was so huge that he got around his own fear and destroyed Othello from the inside out. That is what 'Iago's Mirror' is about: this is Iago looking at himself as Othello; love and hate mixed with his own jealous ego."
Which suggests jealousy still. You study your enemies and learn all of their ins and outs. All the things that disgust you but draw you to them at the same time.
Yes! Complicated but true.
I'll have to look him up when I get home tonight, thanks.
Definitely look into Fred Wilson if you're curious! Another fact about him: he worked as a museum educator earlier in his career, and he thinks a lot about the way we view art in museums and how the art "speaks" to us in museum settings -- and about who/what is represented in museums, and who/what is *not* represented. Oh! And we have another work by Wilson on display right now, on the 4th floor in "I See Myself in You."
Headed up there now, awesome!
Excellent! 
Can you tell me about his style of painting?
Hello! Thanks for using the ASK app this afternoon. That Albert Bierstadt landscape is almost as breathtaking as I feel like the view in person would be. Albert Bierstadt painted this upon his return to New York after a trip out West. He created dozens of drawings and plein-air oil studies (much smaller than this!) and the final work you see here took nearly a year to paint.
William Newton Byers, who traveled with Bierstadt on this expedition out West in 1863, wrote of Bierstadt: "Mr. Bierstadt was in raptures with the scenery, but restrained his inclination to try his pencils until within two or three miles of the upper limit of tree growth...Patience vanished, and in nervous haste, canvas, paints and brushes were unpacked and a couple of hours saw, under his skillful hands, some miles of mountain, hills, forests and valley"
Bierstadt was trained in Dusseldorf and artists trained in this style generally painted "wet-to-wet" meaning that layers of wet paint are applied to layers of wet paint or, the previous layers on the canvas are not set to dry before adding more paint. There are many ways to paint with oil, this being one, another is wet-to-dry, where the previous layers dry before adding more.
Thanks, that's great!
Why were felines often chosen to be represented in Ancient Egypt? I mean, I don't see many other animals.
One reason cats were so revered in ancient Egypt was that they were able to kill vermin (like mice and rats) that would get into food supplies. Of course, food was crucial to survival, so cats were seen as protectors in that way! The Goddess Bastet, usually shown in cat form or cat/human form, was the goddess of protection, fertility, and motherhood.
Other animals do appear in the art of ancient Egypt, you'll see quite a few hippopotami in the galleries, for example, but cats were especially popular!
Thanks!
Let us know if any other objects catch your eye as you move through the Egypt galleries.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

Exhibitions on the Third Floor

Also on the Third Floor: Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Auditorium

Rest rooms are on the first, second, and third floors; those on the first and third floors are wheelchair accessible. The second-floor rest rooms can be reached only via the stairs from the Schapiro Wing on the third floor. Water fountains are near the first- and third-floor rest rooms.

Pick up Assistive Listening Devices at the Admissions Desk on the first floor.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

I'm curious if these statues have significance as religious objects or were just artistic objects created to sell (since kachinas are usually worn as costumes ceremonially).
Kachina dolls are used to teach children about religion in Zuni and Hopi Pueblo Native American culture. Kachinas are thought to embody the spirit of a living thing and when called upon, they will evoke the power of whatever spirit they represented, such as an eagle. They are also represented by men in costume during ceremonies and sacred dances, so that's another aspect of them. The dolls are not considered sacred and are given to children and young women during ceremonies so that they may learn about the religion.
Awesome, thank you!
No problem!
What is this?
This is the OLPC XO Laptop, which stands for One Laptop Per Child. This was a part of a project that intended to provide a laptop for every child for learning. It was a non-profit initiative taken to distribute technology to teaching and learning in the developing world.
The project faced strong criticism since many human rights groups argued that third world countries don't have the infrastructure needed to support such a technology. It was good in theory, but not entirely practical.
What does "provenance not known" mean? It's on the label for this statue.
Provenance means the history of how this object came from its original location to its current location. Very often, museums have a record of original location found, and what the history of ownership is for each object, but sometimes this information is missing from the record. That's a great observation and a great question!
Oh, I see. Do we know whether this was originally freestanding or carved into a rock wall? I was also wondering about that
Also, whether it originally had a head?
It was probably part of a larger group statue which was freestanding, but placed next to a wall in a tomb. And it would definitely originally have had a head, headless statues were not a deliberate style in Ancient Egyptian statues. Which is interesting though considering modern sculpture. Rodin made bodies deliberately missing certain body parts, sometimes limbs, sometimes head, to concentrate on the shape and figure of a specific element of the human body. You'll notice some of his casts on your way out of the museum in the lobby!
I'll look for those! Thanks.
What are the main embroidery techniques used on Paracas textiles?
Hi and thanks for using the ASK app today! What a great question, while I look into a specific answer, in the meantime I can tell you than Andean textiles (those made by peoples in the Andes regions) are known for their extraordinary designs and colors. We do know that the ninety figures around the border were created by "needle knitting." The interior fabric was woven on a loom with the colored designs of faces of the Occulate Being made by wrapping the colored thread around the beige warp threads.
So sorry about that! I can tell you also that the fibers are made of camelid fibers (alpaca or vicuna) and were dyed about 7 different colors to make up the work.
What is the blue dye in the Paracas textile? Indigo?
We don't have the specific dyes listed but we do know they were all dyed with natural pigments from plants, minerals, and animals, so it's possible. I am truthfully not sure what was common for dye use in Peru at the time!
Are the figures deities? Do these deities have names?
This piece is somewhat of a mystery because not much is known about these figures. Around the border, there is a combination of human, supernatural, and animal forms. If you look at the feet of the figures, you will see the more flat-footed ones are human, and those with the sort of back-toe are supernatural beings (also referred to as monkey feet). The animals look like animals - llamas, pampas cat, frogs, snakes, etc.- and the plants and trees are also realistically rendered and depict real plants and trees found on the south coast of Peru today. All of these figures together have been interpreted as a microcosm of life on Peru's South Coast during this time. There is a focus on agriculture as well as the practice of ritual sacrifice, symbolizing the cycles of birth and death.
What do the germinating heads look like? I can't seem to spot them.
They are the face-like elements with sprouting coming out of the top. I am trying to figure out how to point you to an example. It actually may be easier to find them on the line drawing on the wall first, and then go back to the textile to look.
Here is how the curators explain the germinating heads: Other border figures hold or display disembodied heads and small doll-like objects that scholars call "trophy heads" and "effigy figures."...Trophy heads on the border often appear to germinate like seeds, sprouting plants and animals, suggesting interconnected cycles of birth and death.
Why are these niched facades so important?
That niched facade is based on the palace because this is where the body of the (royal) deceased would live for eternity. You may know this but, in ancient Egypt, it was believed that the physical body was still of use to the person in the afterlife so it was very important that it be kept safe and secure.
I thought the facade was a reference to early funerary enclosures at places like Abydos?
The funerary enclosure of Khasekhemwy at Abydos definitely has the same kind of niching and it is likely also derived from the same palace-architecture concept.
How would someone make something like this in 1825?
That particular mirror is made of gilt wood meaning that someone would have carved that elaborate frame in which the mirror would be placed. The technique was likely similar to that used to carve actual frames for works of art. The mirror itself is made of curved, silvered glass, giving the convex shape. This came in handy in homes before electricity because a convex mirror would reflect candle light well throughout a room.
Oh wow, that's so interesting! Thanks!
You're very welcome! Feel free to send along more questions as you continue to explore the Museum today.
What is the least important object in this room?
Take a close look, what do you think the least important object is?
I'm going to guess the carpet?
Wow, that's actually a great idea! While I like to say that everything in the period rooms are important (they are my favorites in the Museum) that carpet is a replacement. The original carpet was patterned and the Museum hopes to replicate the original carpet eventually when funds and time are available!
This is so much fun. Thanks!
You're welcome, so glad you're enjoying it. You're asking great questions!
This is so opulent! I want it in my house. But I couldn't do my makeup in it.
Yes, it's definitely a "non-functional" mirror -- unlike the others on that wall! The artist, Fred Wilson, was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmaking and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Much of his art addresses issues of identity and race. Does the title, "Iago's Mirror," suggest anything to you?
Wow! That's so interesting! Iago was the bad guy in Othello right? I'm thinking Shakespeare...
Yes indeed! He's the villain in Shakespeare's tragedy. Whereas Othello is the tragic hero and called "The Moor," referring to his blackness. Wilson has frequently used black glass to represent Africa and “blackness” in his work. Also it's just a remarkable object, like you said so ornate and well-constructed.
I think this quote from the artist is intriguing: "For Othello, largeness, beauty, and power together form a double-edged sword. People are afraid of power, but Iago’s jealousy was so huge that he got around his own fear and destroyed Othello from the inside out. That is what 'Iago's Mirror' is about: this is Iago looking at himself as Othello; love and hate mixed with his own jealous ego."
Which suggests jealousy still. You study your enemies and learn all of their ins and outs. All the things that disgust you but draw you to them at the same time.
Yes! Complicated but true.
I'll have to look him up when I get home tonight, thanks.
Definitely look into Fred Wilson if you're curious! Another fact about him: he worked as a museum educator earlier in his career, and he thinks a lot about the way we view art in museums and how the art "speaks" to us in museum settings -- and about who/what is represented in museums, and who/what is *not* represented. Oh! And we have another work by Wilson on display right now, on the 4th floor in "I See Myself in You."
Headed up there now, awesome!
Excellent! 
Can you tell me about his style of painting?
Hello! Thanks for using the ASK app this afternoon. That Albert Bierstadt landscape is almost as breathtaking as I feel like the view in person would be. Albert Bierstadt painted this upon his return to New York after a trip out West. He created dozens of drawings and plein-air oil studies (much smaller than this!) and the final work you see here took nearly a year to paint.
William Newton Byers, who traveled with Bierstadt on this expedition out West in 1863, wrote of Bierstadt: "Mr. Bierstadt was in raptures with the scenery, but restrained his inclination to try his pencils until within two or three miles of the upper limit of tree growth...Patience vanished, and in nervous haste, canvas, paints and brushes were unpacked and a couple of hours saw, under his skillful hands, some miles of mountain, hills, forests and valley"
Bierstadt was trained in Dusseldorf and artists trained in this style generally painted "wet-to-wet" meaning that layers of wet paint are applied to layers of wet paint or, the previous layers on the canvas are not set to dry before adding more paint. There are many ways to paint with oil, this being one, another is wet-to-dry, where the previous layers dry before adding more.
Thanks, that's great!
Why were felines often chosen to be represented in Ancient Egypt? I mean, I don't see many other animals.
One reason cats were so revered in ancient Egypt was that they were able to kill vermin (like mice and rats) that would get into food supplies. Of course, food was crucial to survival, so cats were seen as protectors in that way! The Goddess Bastet, usually shown in cat form or cat/human form, was the goddess of protection, fertility, and motherhood.
Other animals do appear in the art of ancient Egypt, you'll see quite a few hippopotami in the galleries, for example, but cats were especially popular!
Thanks!
Let us know if any other objects catch your eye as you move through the Egypt galleries.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

Our Second Floor galleries are currently closed for renovations.

Also on the Second Floor

Rest rooms are on the first, second, and third floors; those on the first and third floors are wheelchair accessible. The second-floor rest rooms can be reached only via the stairs from the Schapiro Wing on the third floor. Water fountains are near the first- and third-floor rest rooms.

Pick up Assistive Listening Devices at the Admissions Desk on the first floor.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

I'm curious if these statues have significance as religious objects or were just artistic objects created to sell (since kachinas are usually worn as costumes ceremonially).
Kachina dolls are used to teach children about religion in Zuni and Hopi Pueblo Native American culture. Kachinas are thought to embody the spirit of a living thing and when called upon, they will evoke the power of whatever spirit they represented, such as an eagle. They are also represented by men in costume during ceremonies and sacred dances, so that's another aspect of them. The dolls are not considered sacred and are given to children and young women during ceremonies so that they may learn about the religion.
Awesome, thank you!
No problem!
What is this?
This is the OLPC XO Laptop, which stands for One Laptop Per Child. This was a part of a project that intended to provide a laptop for every child for learning. It was a non-profit initiative taken to distribute technology to teaching and learning in the developing world.
The project faced strong criticism since many human rights groups argued that third world countries don't have the infrastructure needed to support such a technology. It was good in theory, but not entirely practical.
What does "provenance not known" mean? It's on the label for this statue.
Provenance means the history of how this object came from its original location to its current location. Very often, museums have a record of original location found, and what the history of ownership is for each object, but sometimes this information is missing from the record. That's a great observation and a great question!
Oh, I see. Do we know whether this was originally freestanding or carved into a rock wall? I was also wondering about that
Also, whether it originally had a head?
It was probably part of a larger group statue which was freestanding, but placed next to a wall in a tomb. And it would definitely originally have had a head, headless statues were not a deliberate style in Ancient Egyptian statues. Which is interesting though considering modern sculpture. Rodin made bodies deliberately missing certain body parts, sometimes limbs, sometimes head, to concentrate on the shape and figure of a specific element of the human body. You'll notice some of his casts on your way out of the museum in the lobby!
I'll look for those! Thanks.
What are the main embroidery techniques used on Paracas textiles?
Hi and thanks for using the ASK app today! What a great question, while I look into a specific answer, in the meantime I can tell you than Andean textiles (those made by peoples in the Andes regions) are known for their extraordinary designs and colors. We do know that the ninety figures around the border were created by "needle knitting." The interior fabric was woven on a loom with the colored designs of faces of the Occulate Being made by wrapping the colored thread around the beige warp threads.
So sorry about that! I can tell you also that the fibers are made of camelid fibers (alpaca or vicuna) and were dyed about 7 different colors to make up the work.
What is the blue dye in the Paracas textile? Indigo?
We don't have the specific dyes listed but we do know they were all dyed with natural pigments from plants, minerals, and animals, so it's possible. I am truthfully not sure what was common for dye use in Peru at the time!
Are the figures deities? Do these deities have names?
This piece is somewhat of a mystery because not much is known about these figures. Around the border, there is a combination of human, supernatural, and animal forms. If you look at the feet of the figures, you will see the more flat-footed ones are human, and those with the sort of back-toe are supernatural beings (also referred to as monkey feet). The animals look like animals - llamas, pampas cat, frogs, snakes, etc.- and the plants and trees are also realistically rendered and depict real plants and trees found on the south coast of Peru today. All of these figures together have been interpreted as a microcosm of life on Peru's South Coast during this time. There is a focus on agriculture as well as the practice of ritual sacrifice, symbolizing the cycles of birth and death.
What do the germinating heads look like? I can't seem to spot them.
They are the face-like elements with sprouting coming out of the top. I am trying to figure out how to point you to an example. It actually may be easier to find them on the line drawing on the wall first, and then go back to the textile to look.
Here is how the curators explain the germinating heads: Other border figures hold or display disembodied heads and small doll-like objects that scholars call "trophy heads" and "effigy figures."...Trophy heads on the border often appear to germinate like seeds, sprouting plants and animals, suggesting interconnected cycles of birth and death.
Why are these niched facades so important?
That niched facade is based on the palace because this is where the body of the (royal) deceased would live for eternity. You may know this but, in ancient Egypt, it was believed that the physical body was still of use to the person in the afterlife so it was very important that it be kept safe and secure.
I thought the facade was a reference to early funerary enclosures at places like Abydos?
The funerary enclosure of Khasekhemwy at Abydos definitely has the same kind of niching and it is likely also derived from the same palace-architecture concept.
How would someone make something like this in 1825?
That particular mirror is made of gilt wood meaning that someone would have carved that elaborate frame in which the mirror would be placed. The technique was likely similar to that used to carve actual frames for works of art. The mirror itself is made of curved, silvered glass, giving the convex shape. This came in handy in homes before electricity because a convex mirror would reflect candle light well throughout a room.
Oh wow, that's so interesting! Thanks!
You're very welcome! Feel free to send along more questions as you continue to explore the Museum today.
What is the least important object in this room?
Take a close look, what do you think the least important object is?
I'm going to guess the carpet?
Wow, that's actually a great idea! While I like to say that everything in the period rooms are important (they are my favorites in the Museum) that carpet is a replacement. The original carpet was patterned and the Museum hopes to replicate the original carpet eventually when funds and time are available!
This is so much fun. Thanks!
You're welcome, so glad you're enjoying it. You're asking great questions!
This is so opulent! I want it in my house. But I couldn't do my makeup in it.
Yes, it's definitely a "non-functional" mirror -- unlike the others on that wall! The artist, Fred Wilson, was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmaking and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Much of his art addresses issues of identity and race. Does the title, "Iago's Mirror," suggest anything to you?
Wow! That's so interesting! Iago was the bad guy in Othello right? I'm thinking Shakespeare...
Yes indeed! He's the villain in Shakespeare's tragedy. Whereas Othello is the tragic hero and called "The Moor," referring to his blackness. Wilson has frequently used black glass to represent Africa and “blackness” in his work. Also it's just a remarkable object, like you said so ornate and well-constructed.
I think this quote from the artist is intriguing: "For Othello, largeness, beauty, and power together form a double-edged sword. People are afraid of power, but Iago’s jealousy was so huge that he got around his own fear and destroyed Othello from the inside out. That is what 'Iago's Mirror' is about: this is Iago looking at himself as Othello; love and hate mixed with his own jealous ego."
Which suggests jealousy still. You study your enemies and learn all of their ins and outs. All the things that disgust you but draw you to them at the same time.
Yes! Complicated but true.
I'll have to look him up when I get home tonight, thanks.
Definitely look into Fred Wilson if you're curious! Another fact about him: he worked as a museum educator earlier in his career, and he thinks a lot about the way we view art in museums and how the art "speaks" to us in museum settings -- and about who/what is represented in museums, and who/what is *not* represented. Oh! And we have another work by Wilson on display right now, on the 4th floor in "I See Myself in You."
Headed up there now, awesome!
Excellent! 
Can you tell me about his style of painting?
Hello! Thanks for using the ASK app this afternoon. That Albert Bierstadt landscape is almost as breathtaking as I feel like the view in person would be. Albert Bierstadt painted this upon his return to New York after a trip out West. He created dozens of drawings and plein-air oil studies (much smaller than this!) and the final work you see here took nearly a year to paint.
William Newton Byers, who traveled with Bierstadt on this expedition out West in 1863, wrote of Bierstadt: "Mr. Bierstadt was in raptures with the scenery, but restrained his inclination to try his pencils until within two or three miles of the upper limit of tree growth...Patience vanished, and in nervous haste, canvas, paints and brushes were unpacked and a couple of hours saw, under his skillful hands, some miles of mountain, hills, forests and valley"
Bierstadt was trained in Dusseldorf and artists trained in this style generally painted "wet-to-wet" meaning that layers of wet paint are applied to layers of wet paint or, the previous layers on the canvas are not set to dry before adding more paint. There are many ways to paint with oil, this being one, another is wet-to-dry, where the previous layers dry before adding more.
Thanks, that's great!
Why were felines often chosen to be represented in Ancient Egypt? I mean, I don't see many other animals.
One reason cats were so revered in ancient Egypt was that they were able to kill vermin (like mice and rats) that would get into food supplies. Of course, food was crucial to survival, so cats were seen as protectors in that way! The Goddess Bastet, usually shown in cat form or cat/human form, was the goddess of protection, fertility, and motherhood.
Other animals do appear in the art of ancient Egypt, you'll see quite a few hippopotami in the galleries, for example, but cats were especially popular!
Thanks!
Let us know if any other objects catch your eye as you move through the Egypt galleries.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

Parking
Parking is available in the lot behind the Museum, off Washington Avenue. On Target First Saturdays, there's a flat rate of $6 starting at 5 p.m. Park your bicycle in the rack behind the building, next to our sculpture garden.

Shopping
Our Shop offers an eclectic mix of gifts, jewelry, books, clothing, crafts, and foods from around Brooklyn and around the world. Shop hours

Dining
Have small plates, dinner, or drinks at The Norm restaurant and bar, led by Michelin-starred Chef Saul Bolton. Or stop by the BKM Café or Bowl. Planning a group tour? Consider a catered lunch for your group.

Rest Rooms
Rest rooms are on the first and third floors (floor plan), are wheelchair accessible, and have baby-changing tables. A family rest room is located just off the main lobby.

Coat Check
A free coat check is available on the first floor, where you can leave any packages, large bags, umbrellas, or strollers.

Wheelchairs
Complimentary wheelchairs are available at the coat check on the first floor. Our entrances and rest rooms are wheelchair accessible. For more information, visit our Accessibility page.

Strollers
You're welcome to use strollers throughout the building (although from time to time there are certain areas where we might need to restrict their use, on account of small spaces, especially fragile art, or other circumstances). If necessary, leave your stroller at the coat check.

Wireless Access
We offer free wireless access throughout our galleries and grounds. During your visit, we encourage you to switch to wifi (BrooklynMuseum) for faster download speeds. The wireless project was created by the Brooklyn Museum Technology Department, with help from NYCWireless.

Go Mobile
Need information on the go? Planning your next visit? Access www.brooklynmuseum.org from your mobile phone to view our mobile-friendly website.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

I'm curious if these statues have significance as religious objects or were just artistic objects created to sell (since kachinas are usually worn as costumes ceremonially).
Kachina dolls are used to teach children about religion in Zuni and Hopi Pueblo Native American culture. Kachinas are thought to embody the spirit of a living thing and when called upon, they will evoke the power of whatever spirit they represented, such as an eagle. They are also represented by men in costume during ceremonies and sacred dances, so that's another aspect of them. The dolls are not considered sacred and are given to children and young women during ceremonies so that they may learn about the religion.
Awesome, thank you!
No problem!
What is this?
This is the OLPC XO Laptop, which stands for One Laptop Per Child. This was a part of a project that intended to provide a laptop for every child for learning. It was a non-profit initiative taken to distribute technology to teaching and learning in the developing world.
The project faced strong criticism since many human rights groups argued that third world countries don't have the infrastructure needed to support such a technology. It was good in theory, but not entirely practical.
What does "provenance not known" mean? It's on the label for this statue.
Provenance means the history of how this object came from its original location to its current location. Very often, museums have a record of original location found, and what the history of ownership is for each object, but sometimes this information is missing from the record. That's a great observation and a great question!
Oh, I see. Do we know whether this was originally freestanding or carved into a rock wall? I was also wondering about that
Also, whether it originally had a head?
It was probably part of a larger group statue which was freestanding, but placed next to a wall in a tomb. And it would definitely originally have had a head, headless statues were not a deliberate style in Ancient Egyptian statues. Which is interesting though considering modern sculpture. Rodin made bodies deliberately missing certain body parts, sometimes limbs, sometimes head, to concentrate on the shape and figure of a specific element of the human body. You'll notice some of his casts on your way out of the museum in the lobby!
I'll look for those! Thanks.
What are the main embroidery techniques used on Paracas textiles?
Hi and thanks for using the ASK app today! What a great question, while I look into a specific answer, in the meantime I can tell you than Andean textiles (those made by peoples in the Andes regions) are known for their extraordinary designs and colors. We do know that the ninety figures around the border were created by "needle knitting." The interior fabric was woven on a loom with the colored designs of faces of the Occulate Being made by wrapping the colored thread around the beige warp threads.
So sorry about that! I can tell you also that the fibers are made of camelid fibers (alpaca or vicuna) and were dyed about 7 different colors to make up the work.
What is the blue dye in the Paracas textile? Indigo?
We don't have the specific dyes listed but we do know they were all dyed with natural pigments from plants, minerals, and animals, so it's possible. I am truthfully not sure what was common for dye use in Peru at the time!
Are the figures deities? Do these deities have names?
This piece is somewhat of a mystery because not much is known about these figures. Around the border, there is a combination of human, supernatural, and animal forms. If you look at the feet of the figures, you will see the more flat-footed ones are human, and those with the sort of back-toe are supernatural beings (also referred to as monkey feet). The animals look like animals - llamas, pampas cat, frogs, snakes, etc.- and the plants and trees are also realistically rendered and depict real plants and trees found on the south coast of Peru today. All of these figures together have been interpreted as a microcosm of life on Peru's South Coast during this time. There is a focus on agriculture as well as the practice of ritual sacrifice, symbolizing the cycles of birth and death.
What do the germinating heads look like? I can't seem to spot them.
They are the face-like elements with sprouting coming out of the top. I am trying to figure out how to point you to an example. It actually may be easier to find them on the line drawing on the wall first, and then go back to the textile to look.
Here is how the curators explain the germinating heads: Other border figures hold or display disembodied heads and small doll-like objects that scholars call "trophy heads" and "effigy figures."...Trophy heads on the border often appear to germinate like seeds, sprouting plants and animals, suggesting interconnected cycles of birth and death.
Why are these niched facades so important?
That niched facade is based on the palace because this is where the body of the (royal) deceased would live for eternity. You may know this but, in ancient Egypt, it was believed that the physical body was still of use to the person in the afterlife so it was very important that it be kept safe and secure.
I thought the facade was a reference to early funerary enclosures at places like Abydos?
The funerary enclosure of Khasekhemwy at Abydos definitely has the same kind of niching and it is likely also derived from the same palace-architecture concept.
How would someone make something like this in 1825?
That particular mirror is made of gilt wood meaning that someone would have carved that elaborate frame in which the mirror would be placed. The technique was likely similar to that used to carve actual frames for works of art. The mirror itself is made of curved, silvered glass, giving the convex shape. This came in handy in homes before electricity because a convex mirror would reflect candle light well throughout a room.
Oh wow, that's so interesting! Thanks!
You're very welcome! Feel free to send along more questions as you continue to explore the Museum today.
What is the least important object in this room?
Take a close look, what do you think the least important object is?
I'm going to guess the carpet?
Wow, that's actually a great idea! While I like to say that everything in the period rooms are important (they are my favorites in the Museum) that carpet is a replacement. The original carpet was patterned and the Museum hopes to replicate the original carpet eventually when funds and time are available!
This is so much fun. Thanks!
You're welcome, so glad you're enjoying it. You're asking great questions!
This is so opulent! I want it in my house. But I couldn't do my makeup in it.
Yes, it's definitely a "non-functional" mirror -- unlike the others on that wall! The artist, Fred Wilson, was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmaking and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Much of his art addresses issues of identity and race. Does the title, "Iago's Mirror," suggest anything to you?
Wow! That's so interesting! Iago was the bad guy in Othello right? I'm thinking Shakespeare...
Yes indeed! He's the villain in Shakespeare's tragedy. Whereas Othello is the tragic hero and called "The Moor," referring to his blackness. Wilson has frequently used black glass to represent Africa and “blackness” in his work. Also it's just a remarkable object, like you said so ornate and well-constructed.
I think this quote from the artist is intriguing: "For Othello, largeness, beauty, and power together form a double-edged sword. People are afraid of power, but Iago’s jealousy was so huge that he got around his own fear and destroyed Othello from the inside out. That is what 'Iago's Mirror' is about: this is Iago looking at himself as Othello; love and hate mixed with his own jealous ego."
Which suggests jealousy still. You study your enemies and learn all of their ins and outs. All the things that disgust you but draw you to them at the same time.
Yes! Complicated but true.
I'll have to look him up when I get home tonight, thanks.
Definitely look into Fred Wilson if you're curious! Another fact about him: he worked as a museum educator earlier in his career, and he thinks a lot about the way we view art in museums and how the art "speaks" to us in museum settings -- and about who/what is represented in museums, and who/what is *not* represented. Oh! And we have another work by Wilson on display right now, on the 4th floor in "I See Myself in You."
Headed up there now, awesome!
Excellent! 
Can you tell me about his style of painting?
Hello! Thanks for using the ASK app this afternoon. That Albert Bierstadt landscape is almost as breathtaking as I feel like the view in person would be. Albert Bierstadt painted this upon his return to New York after a trip out West. He created dozens of drawings and plein-air oil studies (much smaller than this!) and the final work you see here took nearly a year to paint.
William Newton Byers, who traveled with Bierstadt on this expedition out West in 1863, wrote of Bierstadt: "Mr. Bierstadt was in raptures with the scenery, but restrained his inclination to try his pencils until within two or three miles of the upper limit of tree growth...Patience vanished, and in nervous haste, canvas, paints and brushes were unpacked and a couple of hours saw, under his skillful hands, some miles of mountain, hills, forests and valley"
Bierstadt was trained in Dusseldorf and artists trained in this style generally painted "wet-to-wet" meaning that layers of wet paint are applied to layers of wet paint or, the previous layers on the canvas are not set to dry before adding more paint. There are many ways to paint with oil, this being one, another is wet-to-dry, where the previous layers dry before adding more.
Thanks, that's great!
Why were felines often chosen to be represented in Ancient Egypt? I mean, I don't see many other animals.
One reason cats were so revered in ancient Egypt was that they were able to kill vermin (like mice and rats) that would get into food supplies. Of course, food was crucial to survival, so cats were seen as protectors in that way! The Goddess Bastet, usually shown in cat form or cat/human form, was the goddess of protection, fertility, and motherhood.
Other animals do appear in the art of ancient Egypt, you'll see quite a few hippopotami in the galleries, for example, but cats were especially popular!
Thanks!
Let us know if any other objects catch your eye as you move through the Egypt galleries.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

We're committed to making our galleries and facilities accessible to everyone.

  • We are fully wheelchair accessible. Check our online and printed floor plan for details.
  • If you need a wheelchair during your visit, they're available for free at the coat check in the lobby.
  • Companions of people with disabilities are admitted for free.
  • The parking lot behind the Museum is fully accessible. There's a free, 15-minute grace period for pickups and dropoffs.
  • If you need an assistive-listening device, they're available for free at our Admissions Desk, on the first floor.

We also offer a wide range of services for our visitors of all ages with special needs.

  • For those who have low or no vision, guided visits that include verbal descriptions can be scheduled for both adult and school groups, with advance notice. We also offer Sensory Tours, monthly public tours designed to accommodate and engage both sighted and non-sighted visitors. Verbal descriptions of collection highlights are available via Art Beyond Sight.
  • For those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, American Sign Language interpretation for both adult and school group tours can be arranged, with advance notice.
  • For those with intellectual disabilities or other special needs, we offer specially tailored guided gallery visits to adult and school groups.

We hope that you'll get in touch with us via email or at 718.501.6229 if you have questions about any of the above services, or if you'd like to make advance arrangements.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

I'm curious if these statues have significance as religious objects or were just artistic objects created to sell (since kachinas are usually worn as costumes ceremonially).
Kachina dolls are used to teach children about religion in Zuni and Hopi Pueblo Native American culture. Kachinas are thought to embody the spirit of a living thing and when called upon, they will evoke the power of whatever spirit they represented, such as an eagle. They are also represented by men in costume during ceremonies and sacred dances, so that's another aspect of them. The dolls are not considered sacred and are given to children and young women during ceremonies so that they may learn about the religion.
Awesome, thank you!
No problem!
What is this?
This is the OLPC XO Laptop, which stands for One Laptop Per Child. This was a part of a project that intended to provide a laptop for every child for learning. It was a non-profit initiative taken to distribute technology to teaching and learning in the developing world.
The project faced strong criticism since many human rights groups argued that third world countries don't have the infrastructure needed to support such a technology. It was good in theory, but not entirely practical.
What does "provenance not known" mean? It's on the label for this statue.
Provenance means the history of how this object came from its original location to its current location. Very often, museums have a record of original location found, and what the history of ownership is for each object, but sometimes this information is missing from the record. That's a great observation and a great question!
Oh, I see. Do we know whether this was originally freestanding or carved into a rock wall? I was also wondering about that
Also, whether it originally had a head?
It was probably part of a larger group statue which was freestanding, but placed next to a wall in a tomb. And it would definitely originally have had a head, headless statues were not a deliberate style in Ancient Egyptian statues. Which is interesting though considering modern sculpture. Rodin made bodies deliberately missing certain body parts, sometimes limbs, sometimes head, to concentrate on the shape and figure of a specific element of the human body. You'll notice some of his casts on your way out of the museum in the lobby!
I'll look for those! Thanks.
What are the main embroidery techniques used on Paracas textiles?
Hi and thanks for using the ASK app today! What a great question, while I look into a specific answer, in the meantime I can tell you than Andean textiles (those made by peoples in the Andes regions) are known for their extraordinary designs and colors. We do know that the ninety figures around the border were created by "needle knitting." The interior fabric was woven on a loom with the colored designs of faces of the Occulate Being made by wrapping the colored thread around the beige warp threads.
So sorry about that! I can tell you also that the fibers are made of camelid fibers (alpaca or vicuna) and were dyed about 7 different colors to make up the work.
What is the blue dye in the Paracas textile? Indigo?
We don't have the specific dyes listed but we do know they were all dyed with natural pigments from plants, minerals, and animals, so it's possible. I am truthfully not sure what was common for dye use in Peru at the time!
Are the figures deities? Do these deities have names?
This piece is somewhat of a mystery because not much is known about these figures. Around the border, there is a combination of human, supernatural, and animal forms. If you look at the feet of the figures, you will see the more flat-footed ones are human, and those with the sort of back-toe are supernatural beings (also referred to as monkey feet). The animals look like animals - llamas, pampas cat, frogs, snakes, etc.- and the plants and trees are also realistically rendered and depict real plants and trees found on the south coast of Peru today. All of these figures together have been interpreted as a microcosm of life on Peru's South Coast during this time. There is a focus on agriculture as well as the practice of ritual sacrifice, symbolizing the cycles of birth and death.
What do the germinating heads look like? I can't seem to spot them.
They are the face-like elements with sprouting coming out of the top. I am trying to figure out how to point you to an example. It actually may be easier to find them on the line drawing on the wall first, and then go back to the textile to look.
Here is how the curators explain the germinating heads: Other border figures hold or display disembodied heads and small doll-like objects that scholars call "trophy heads" and "effigy figures."...Trophy heads on the border often appear to germinate like seeds, sprouting plants and animals, suggesting interconnected cycles of birth and death.
Why are these niched facades so important?
That niched facade is based on the palace because this is where the body of the (royal) deceased would live for eternity. You may know this but, in ancient Egypt, it was believed that the physical body was still of use to the person in the afterlife so it was very important that it be kept safe and secure.
I thought the facade was a reference to early funerary enclosures at places like Abydos?
The funerary enclosure of Khasekhemwy at Abydos definitely has the same kind of niching and it is likely also derived from the same palace-architecture concept.
How would someone make something like this in 1825?
That particular mirror is made of gilt wood meaning that someone would have carved that elaborate frame in which the mirror would be placed. The technique was likely similar to that used to carve actual frames for works of art. The mirror itself is made of curved, silvered glass, giving the convex shape. This came in handy in homes before electricity because a convex mirror would reflect candle light well throughout a room.
Oh wow, that's so interesting! Thanks!
You're very welcome! Feel free to send along more questions as you continue to explore the Museum today.
What is the least important object in this room?
Take a close look, what do you think the least important object is?
I'm going to guess the carpet?
Wow, that's actually a great idea! While I like to say that everything in the period rooms are important (they are my favorites in the Museum) that carpet is a replacement. The original carpet was patterned and the Museum hopes to replicate the original carpet eventually when funds and time are available!
This is so much fun. Thanks!
You're welcome, so glad you're enjoying it. You're asking great questions!
This is so opulent! I want it in my house. But I couldn't do my makeup in it.
Yes, it's definitely a "non-functional" mirror -- unlike the others on that wall! The artist, Fred Wilson, was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmaking and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Much of his art addresses issues of identity and race. Does the title, "Iago's Mirror," suggest anything to you?
Wow! That's so interesting! Iago was the bad guy in Othello right? I'm thinking Shakespeare...
Yes indeed! He's the villain in Shakespeare's tragedy. Whereas Othello is the tragic hero and called "The Moor," referring to his blackness. Wilson has frequently used black glass to represent Africa and “blackness” in his work. Also it's just a remarkable object, like you said so ornate and well-constructed.
I think this quote from the artist is intriguing: "For Othello, largeness, beauty, and power together form a double-edged sword. People are afraid of power, but Iago’s jealousy was so huge that he got around his own fear and destroyed Othello from the inside out. That is what 'Iago's Mirror' is about: this is Iago looking at himself as Othello; love and hate mixed with his own jealous ego."
Which suggests jealousy still. You study your enemies and learn all of their ins and outs. All the things that disgust you but draw you to them at the same time.
Yes! Complicated but true.
I'll have to look him up when I get home tonight, thanks.
Definitely look into Fred Wilson if you're curious! Another fact about him: he worked as a museum educator earlier in his career, and he thinks a lot about the way we view art in museums and how the art "speaks" to us in museum settings -- and about who/what is represented in museums, and who/what is *not* represented. Oh! And we have another work by Wilson on display right now, on the 4th floor in "I See Myself in You."
Headed up there now, awesome!
Excellent! 
Can you tell me about his style of painting?
Hello! Thanks for using the ASK app this afternoon. That Albert Bierstadt landscape is almost as breathtaking as I feel like the view in person would be. Albert Bierstadt painted this upon his return to New York after a trip out West. He created dozens of drawings and plein-air oil studies (much smaller than this!) and the final work you see here took nearly a year to paint.
William Newton Byers, who traveled with Bierstadt on this expedition out West in 1863, wrote of Bierstadt: "Mr. Bierstadt was in raptures with the scenery, but restrained his inclination to try his pencils until within two or three miles of the upper limit of tree growth...Patience vanished, and in nervous haste, canvas, paints and brushes were unpacked and a couple of hours saw, under his skillful hands, some miles of mountain, hills, forests and valley"
Bierstadt was trained in Dusseldorf and artists trained in this style generally painted "wet-to-wet" meaning that layers of wet paint are applied to layers of wet paint or, the previous layers on the canvas are not set to dry before adding more paint. There are many ways to paint with oil, this being one, another is wet-to-dry, where the previous layers dry before adding more.
Thanks, that's great!
Why were felines often chosen to be represented in Ancient Egypt? I mean, I don't see many other animals.
One reason cats were so revered in ancient Egypt was that they were able to kill vermin (like mice and rats) that would get into food supplies. Of course, food was crucial to survival, so cats were seen as protectors in that way! The Goddess Bastet, usually shown in cat form or cat/human form, was the goddess of protection, fertility, and motherhood.
Other animals do appear in the art of ancient Egypt, you'll see quite a few hippopotami in the galleries, for example, but cats were especially popular!
Thanks!
Let us know if any other objects catch your eye as you move through the Egypt galleries.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

No matter what your interest, there's a tour for you:

  • Join our Museum Guides for daily public tours (free with admission) focusing on a variety of themes, eras, and movements in art.
  • Book a group tour for ten or more adults.
  • Explore tours and programs for school groups, all designed to help students and teachers construct meaningful experiences with works of art.
ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

I'm curious if these statues have significance as religious objects or were just artistic objects created to sell (since kachinas are usually worn as costumes ceremonially).
Kachina dolls are used to teach children about religion in Zuni and Hopi Pueblo Native American culture. Kachinas are thought to embody the spirit of a living thing and when called upon, they will evoke the power of whatever spirit they represented, such as an eagle. They are also represented by men in costume during ceremonies and sacred dances, so that's another aspect of them. The dolls are not considered sacred and are given to children and young women during ceremonies so that they may learn about the religion.
Awesome, thank you!
No problem!
What is this?
This is the OLPC XO Laptop, which stands for One Laptop Per Child. This was a part of a project that intended to provide a laptop for every child for learning. It was a non-profit initiative taken to distribute technology to teaching and learning in the developing world.
The project faced strong criticism since many human rights groups argued that third world countries don't have the infrastructure needed to support such a technology. It was good in theory, but not entirely practical.
What does "provenance not known" mean? It's on the label for this statue.
Provenance means the history of how this object came from its original location to its current location. Very often, museums have a record of original location found, and what the history of ownership is for each object, but sometimes this information is missing from the record. That's a great observation and a great question!
Oh, I see. Do we know whether this was originally freestanding or carved into a rock wall? I was also wondering about that
Also, whether it originally had a head?
It was probably part of a larger group statue which was freestanding, but placed next to a wall in a tomb. And it would definitely originally have had a head, headless statues were not a deliberate style in Ancient Egyptian statues. Which is interesting though considering modern sculpture. Rodin made bodies deliberately missing certain body parts, sometimes limbs, sometimes head, to concentrate on the shape and figure of a specific element of the human body. You'll notice some of his casts on your way out of the museum in the lobby!
I'll look for those! Thanks.
What are the main embroidery techniques used on Paracas textiles?
Hi and thanks for using the ASK app today! What a great question, while I look into a specific answer, in the meantime I can tell you than Andean textiles (those made by peoples in the Andes regions) are known for their extraordinary designs and colors. We do know that the ninety figures around the border were created by "needle knitting." The interior fabric was woven on a loom with the colored designs of faces of the Occulate Being made by wrapping the colored thread around the beige warp threads.
So sorry about that! I can tell you also that the fibers are made of camelid fibers (alpaca or vicuna) and were dyed about 7 different colors to make up the work.
What is the blue dye in the Paracas textile? Indigo?
We don't have the specific dyes listed but we do know they were all dyed with natural pigments from plants, minerals, and animals, so it's possible. I am truthfully not sure what was common for dye use in Peru at the time!
Are the figures deities? Do these deities have names?
This piece is somewhat of a mystery because not much is known about these figures. Around the border, there is a combination of human, supernatural, and animal forms. If you look at the feet of the figures, you will see the more flat-footed ones are human, and those with the sort of back-toe are supernatural beings (also referred to as monkey feet). The animals look like animals - llamas, pampas cat, frogs, snakes, etc.- and the plants and trees are also realistically rendered and depict real plants and trees found on the south coast of Peru today. All of these figures together have been interpreted as a microcosm of life on Peru's South Coast during this time. There is a focus on agriculture as well as the practice of ritual sacrifice, symbolizing the cycles of birth and death.
What do the germinating heads look like? I can't seem to spot them.
They are the face-like elements with sprouting coming out of the top. I am trying to figure out how to point you to an example. It actually may be easier to find them on the line drawing on the wall first, and then go back to the textile to look.
Here is how the curators explain the germinating heads: Other border figures hold or display disembodied heads and small doll-like objects that scholars call "trophy heads" and "effigy figures."...Trophy heads on the border often appear to germinate like seeds, sprouting plants and animals, suggesting interconnected cycles of birth and death.
Why are these niched facades so important?
That niched facade is based on the palace because this is where the body of the (royal) deceased would live for eternity. You may know this but, in ancient Egypt, it was believed that the physical body was still of use to the person in the afterlife so it was very important that it be kept safe and secure.
I thought the facade was a reference to early funerary enclosures at places like Abydos?
The funerary enclosure of Khasekhemwy at Abydos definitely has the same kind of niching and it is likely also derived from the same palace-architecture concept.
How would someone make something like this in 1825?
That particular mirror is made of gilt wood meaning that someone would have carved that elaborate frame in which the mirror would be placed. The technique was likely similar to that used to carve actual frames for works of art. The mirror itself is made of curved, silvered glass, giving the convex shape. This came in handy in homes before electricity because a convex mirror would reflect candle light well throughout a room.
Oh wow, that's so interesting! Thanks!
You're very welcome! Feel free to send along more questions as you continue to explore the Museum today.
What is the least important object in this room?
Take a close look, what do you think the least important object is?
I'm going to guess the carpet?
Wow, that's actually a great idea! While I like to say that everything in the period rooms are important (they are my favorites in the Museum) that carpet is a replacement. The original carpet was patterned and the Museum hopes to replicate the original carpet eventually when funds and time are available!
This is so much fun. Thanks!
You're welcome, so glad you're enjoying it. You're asking great questions!
This is so opulent! I want it in my house. But I couldn't do my makeup in it.
Yes, it's definitely a "non-functional" mirror -- unlike the others on that wall! The artist, Fred Wilson, was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmaking and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Much of his art addresses issues of identity and race. Does the title, "Iago's Mirror," suggest anything to you?
Wow! That's so interesting! Iago was the bad guy in Othello right? I'm thinking Shakespeare...
Yes indeed! He's the villain in Shakespeare's tragedy. Whereas Othello is the tragic hero and called "The Moor," referring to his blackness. Wilson has frequently used black glass to represent Africa and “blackness” in his work. Also it's just a remarkable object, like you said so ornate and well-constructed.
I think this quote from the artist is intriguing: "For Othello, largeness, beauty, and power together form a double-edged sword. People are afraid of power, but Iago’s jealousy was so huge that he got around his own fear and destroyed Othello from the inside out. That is what 'Iago's Mirror' is about: this is Iago looking at himself as Othello; love and hate mixed with his own jealous ego."
Which suggests jealousy still. You study your enemies and learn all of their ins and outs. All the things that disgust you but draw you to them at the same time.
Yes! Complicated but true.
I'll have to look him up when I get home tonight, thanks.
Definitely look into Fred Wilson if you're curious! Another fact about him: he worked as a museum educator earlier in his career, and he thinks a lot about the way we view art in museums and how the art "speaks" to us in museum settings -- and about who/what is represented in museums, and who/what is *not* represented. Oh! And we have another work by Wilson on display right now, on the 4th floor in "I See Myself in You."
Headed up there now, awesome!
Excellent! 
Can you tell me about his style of painting?
Hello! Thanks for using the ASK app this afternoon. That Albert Bierstadt landscape is almost as breathtaking as I feel like the view in person would be. Albert Bierstadt painted this upon his return to New York after a trip out West. He created dozens of drawings and plein-air oil studies (much smaller than this!) and the final work you see here took nearly a year to paint.
William Newton Byers, who traveled with Bierstadt on this expedition out West in 1863, wrote of Bierstadt: "Mr. Bierstadt was in raptures with the scenery, but restrained his inclination to try his pencils until within two or three miles of the upper limit of tree growth...Patience vanished, and in nervous haste, canvas, paints and brushes were unpacked and a couple of hours saw, under his skillful hands, some miles of mountain, hills, forests and valley"
Bierstadt was trained in Dusseldorf and artists trained in this style generally painted "wet-to-wet" meaning that layers of wet paint are applied to layers of wet paint or, the previous layers on the canvas are not set to dry before adding more paint. There are many ways to paint with oil, this being one, another is wet-to-dry, where the previous layers dry before adding more.
Thanks, that's great!
Why were felines often chosen to be represented in Ancient Egypt? I mean, I don't see many other animals.
One reason cats were so revered in ancient Egypt was that they were able to kill vermin (like mice and rats) that would get into food supplies. Of course, food was crucial to survival, so cats were seen as protectors in that way! The Goddess Bastet, usually shown in cat form or cat/human form, was the goddess of protection, fertility, and motherhood.
Other animals do appear in the art of ancient Egypt, you'll see quite a few hippopotami in the galleries, for example, but cats were especially popular!
Thanks!
Let us know if any other objects catch your eye as you move through the Egypt galleries.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

Exhibitions on the First Floor

Also on the First Floor

  • Admissions Desk
  • Museum Shop
  • Dining (The Norm restaurant and bar; BKM Café and Bowl)

Rest rooms are on the first, second, and third floors; those on the first and third floors are wheelchair accessible. The second-floor rest rooms can be reached only via the stairs from the Schapiro Wing on the third floor. Water fountains are near the first- and third-floor rest rooms.

Pick up Assistive Listening Devices at the Admissions Desk.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

I'm curious if these statues have significance as religious objects or were just artistic objects created to sell (since kachinas are usually worn as costumes ceremonially).
Kachina dolls are used to teach children about religion in Zuni and Hopi Pueblo Native American culture. Kachinas are thought to embody the spirit of a living thing and when called upon, they will evoke the power of whatever spirit they represented, such as an eagle. They are also represented by men in costume during ceremonies and sacred dances, so that's another aspect of them. The dolls are not considered sacred and are given to children and young women during ceremonies so that they may learn about the religion.
Awesome, thank you!
No problem!
What is this?
This is the OLPC XO Laptop, which stands for One Laptop Per Child. This was a part of a project that intended to provide a laptop for every child for learning. It was a non-profit initiative taken to distribute technology to teaching and learning in the developing world.
The project faced strong criticism since many human rights groups argued that third world countries don't have the infrastructure needed to support such a technology. It was good in theory, but not entirely practical.
What does "provenance not known" mean? It's on the label for this statue.
Provenance means the history of how this object came from its original location to its current location. Very often, museums have a record of original location found, and what the history of ownership is for each object, but sometimes this information is missing from the record. That's a great observation and a great question!
Oh, I see. Do we know whether this was originally freestanding or carved into a rock wall? I was also wondering about that
Also, whether it originally had a head?
It was probably part of a larger group statue which was freestanding, but placed next to a wall in a tomb. And it would definitely originally have had a head, headless statues were not a deliberate style in Ancient Egyptian statues. Which is interesting though considering modern sculpture. Rodin made bodies deliberately missing certain body parts, sometimes limbs, sometimes head, to concentrate on the shape and figure of a specific element of the human body. You'll notice some of his casts on your way out of the museum in the lobby!
I'll look for those! Thanks.
What are the main embroidery techniques used on Paracas textiles?
Hi and thanks for using the ASK app today! What a great question, while I look into a specific answer, in the meantime I can tell you than Andean textiles (those made by peoples in the Andes regions) are known for their extraordinary designs and colors. We do know that the ninety figures around the border were created by "needle knitting." The interior fabric was woven on a loom with the colored designs of faces of the Occulate Being made by wrapping the colored thread around the beige warp threads.
So sorry about that! I can tell you also that the fibers are made of camelid fibers (alpaca or vicuna) and were dyed about 7 different colors to make up the work.
What is the blue dye in the Paracas textile? Indigo?
We don't have the specific dyes listed but we do know they were all dyed with natural pigments from plants, minerals, and animals, so it's possible. I am truthfully not sure what was common for dye use in Peru at the time!
Are the figures deities? Do these deities have names?
This piece is somewhat of a mystery because not much is known about these figures. Around the border, there is a combination of human, supernatural, and animal forms. If you look at the feet of the figures, you will see the more flat-footed ones are human, and those with the sort of back-toe are supernatural beings (also referred to as monkey feet). The animals look like animals - llamas, pampas cat, frogs, snakes, etc.- and the plants and trees are also realistically rendered and depict real plants and trees found on the south coast of Peru today. All of these figures together have been interpreted as a microcosm of life on Peru's South Coast during this time. There is a focus on agriculture as well as the practice of ritual sacrifice, symbolizing the cycles of birth and death.
What do the germinating heads look like? I can't seem to spot them.
They are the face-like elements with sprouting coming out of the top. I am trying to figure out how to point you to an example. It actually may be easier to find them on the line drawing on the wall first, and then go back to the textile to look.
Here is how the curators explain the germinating heads: Other border figures hold or display disembodied heads and small doll-like objects that scholars call "trophy heads" and "effigy figures."...Trophy heads on the border often appear to germinate like seeds, sprouting plants and animals, suggesting interconnected cycles of birth and death.
Why are these niched facades so important?
That niched facade is based on the palace because this is where the body of the (royal) deceased would live for eternity. You may know this but, in ancient Egypt, it was believed that the physical body was still of use to the person in the afterlife so it was very important that it be kept safe and secure.
I thought the facade was a reference to early funerary enclosures at places like Abydos?
The funerary enclosure of Khasekhemwy at Abydos definitely has the same kind of niching and it is likely also derived from the same palace-architecture concept.
How would someone make something like this in 1825?
That particular mirror is made of gilt wood meaning that someone would have carved that elaborate frame in which the mirror would be placed. The technique was likely similar to that used to carve actual frames for works of art. The mirror itself is made of curved, silvered glass, giving the convex shape. This came in handy in homes before electricity because a convex mirror would reflect candle light well throughout a room.
Oh wow, that's so interesting! Thanks!
You're very welcome! Feel free to send along more questions as you continue to explore the Museum today.
What is the least important object in this room?
Take a close look, what do you think the least important object is?
I'm going to guess the carpet?
Wow, that's actually a great idea! While I like to say that everything in the period rooms are important (they are my favorites in the Museum) that carpet is a replacement. The original carpet was patterned and the Museum hopes to replicate the original carpet eventually when funds and time are available!
This is so much fun. Thanks!
You're welcome, so glad you're enjoying it. You're asking great questions!
This is so opulent! I want it in my house. But I couldn't do my makeup in it.
Yes, it's definitely a "non-functional" mirror -- unlike the others on that wall! The artist, Fred Wilson, was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmaking and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Much of his art addresses issues of identity and race. Does the title, "Iago's Mirror," suggest anything to you?
Wow! That's so interesting! Iago was the bad guy in Othello right? I'm thinking Shakespeare...
Yes indeed! He's the villain in Shakespeare's tragedy. Whereas Othello is the tragic hero and called "The Moor," referring to his blackness. Wilson has frequently used black glass to represent Africa and “blackness” in his work. Also it's just a remarkable object, like you said so ornate and well-constructed.
I think this quote from the artist is intriguing: "For Othello, largeness, beauty, and power together form a double-edged sword. People are afraid of power, but Iago’s jealousy was so huge that he got around his own fear and destroyed Othello from the inside out. That is what 'Iago's Mirror' is about: this is Iago looking at himself as Othello; love and hate mixed with his own jealous ego."
Which suggests jealousy still. You study your enemies and learn all of their ins and outs. All the things that disgust you but draw you to them at the same time.
Yes! Complicated but true.
I'll have to look him up when I get home tonight, thanks.
Definitely look into Fred Wilson if you're curious! Another fact about him: he worked as a museum educator earlier in his career, and he thinks a lot about the way we view art in museums and how the art "speaks" to us in museum settings -- and about who/what is represented in museums, and who/what is *not* represented. Oh! And we have another work by Wilson on display right now, on the 4th floor in "I See Myself in You."
Headed up there now, awesome!
Excellent! 
Can you tell me about his style of painting?
Hello! Thanks for using the ASK app this afternoon. That Albert Bierstadt landscape is almost as breathtaking as I feel like the view in person would be. Albert Bierstadt painted this upon his return to New York after a trip out West. He created dozens of drawings and plein-air oil studies (much smaller than this!) and the final work you see here took nearly a year to paint.
William Newton Byers, who traveled with Bierstadt on this expedition out West in 1863, wrote of Bierstadt: "Mr. Bierstadt was in raptures with the scenery, but restrained his inclination to try his pencils until within two or three miles of the upper limit of tree growth...Patience vanished, and in nervous haste, canvas, paints and brushes were unpacked and a couple of hours saw, under his skillful hands, some miles of mountain, hills, forests and valley"
Bierstadt was trained in Dusseldorf and artists trained in this style generally painted "wet-to-wet" meaning that layers of wet paint are applied to layers of wet paint or, the previous layers on the canvas are not set to dry before adding more paint. There are many ways to paint with oil, this being one, another is wet-to-dry, where the previous layers dry before adding more.
Thanks, that's great!
Why were felines often chosen to be represented in Ancient Egypt? I mean, I don't see many other animals.
One reason cats were so revered in ancient Egypt was that they were able to kill vermin (like mice and rats) that would get into food supplies. Of course, food was crucial to survival, so cats were seen as protectors in that way! The Goddess Bastet, usually shown in cat form or cat/human form, was the goddess of protection, fertility, and motherhood.
Other animals do appear in the art of ancient Egypt, you'll see quite a few hippopotami in the galleries, for example, but cats were especially popular!
Thanks!
Let us know if any other objects catch your eye as you move through the Egypt galleries.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

I'm curious if these statues have significance as religious objects or were just artistic objects created to sell (since kachinas are usually worn as costumes ceremonially).
Kachina dolls are used to teach children about religion in Zuni and Hopi Pueblo Native American culture. Kachinas are thought to embody the spirit of a living thing and when called upon, they will evoke the power of whatever spirit they represented, such as an eagle. They are also represented by men in costume during ceremonies and sacred dances, so that's another aspect of them. The dolls are not considered sacred and are given to children and young women during ceremonies so that they may learn about the religion.
Awesome, thank you!
No problem!
What is this?
This is the OLPC XO Laptop, which stands for One Laptop Per Child. This was a part of a project that intended to provide a laptop for every child for learning. It was a non-profit initiative taken to distribute technology to teaching and learning in the developing world.
The project faced strong criticism since many human rights groups argued that third world countries don't have the infrastructure needed to support such a technology. It was good in theory, but not entirely practical.
What does "provenance not known" mean? It's on the label for this statue.
Provenance means the history of how this object came from its original location to its current location. Very often, museums have a record of original location found, and what the history of ownership is for each object, but sometimes this information is missing from the record. That's a great observation and a great question!
Oh, I see. Do we know whether this was originally freestanding or carved into a rock wall? I was also wondering about that
Also, whether it originally had a head?
It was probably part of a larger group statue which was freestanding, but placed next to a wall in a tomb. And it would definitely originally have had a head, headless statues were not a deliberate style in Ancient Egyptian statues. Which is interesting though considering modern sculpture. Rodin made bodies deliberately missing certain body parts, sometimes limbs, sometimes head, to concentrate on the shape and figure of a specific element of the human body. You'll notice some of his casts on your way out of the museum in the lobby!
I'll look for those! Thanks.
What are the main embroidery techniques used on Paracas textiles?
Hi and thanks for using the ASK app today! What a great question, while I look into a specific answer, in the meantime I can tell you than Andean textiles (those made by peoples in the Andes regions) are known for their extraordinary designs and colors. We do know that the ninety figures around the border were created by "needle knitting." The interior fabric was woven on a loom with the colored designs of faces of the Occulate Being made by wrapping the colored thread around the beige warp threads.
So sorry about that! I can tell you also that the fibers are made of camelid fibers (alpaca or vicuna) and were dyed about 7 different colors to make up the work.
What is the blue dye in the Paracas textile? Indigo?
We don't have the specific dyes listed but we do know they were all dyed with natural pigments from plants, minerals, and animals, so it's possible. I am truthfully not sure what was common for dye use in Peru at the time!
Are the figures deities? Do these deities have names?
This piece is somewhat of a mystery because not much is known about these figures. Around the border, there is a combination of human, supernatural, and animal forms. If you look at the feet of the figures, you will see the more flat-footed ones are human, and those with the sort of back-toe are supernatural beings (also referred to as monkey feet). The animals look like animals - llamas, pampas cat, frogs, snakes, etc.- and the plants and trees are also realistically rendered and depict real plants and trees found on the south coast of Peru today. All of these figures together have been interpreted as a microcosm of life on Peru's South Coast during this time. There is a focus on agriculture as well as the practice of ritual sacrifice, symbolizing the cycles of birth and death.
What do the germinating heads look like? I can't seem to spot them.
They are the face-like elements with sprouting coming out of the top. I am trying to figure out how to point you to an example. It actually may be easier to find them on the line drawing on the wall first, and then go back to the textile to look.
Here is how the curators explain the germinating heads: Other border figures hold or display disembodied heads and small doll-like objects that scholars call "trophy heads" and "effigy figures."...Trophy heads on the border often appear to germinate like seeds, sprouting plants and animals, suggesting interconnected cycles of birth and death.
Why are these niched facades so important?
That niched facade is based on the palace because this is where the body of the (royal) deceased would live for eternity. You may know this but, in ancient Egypt, it was believed that the physical body was still of use to the person in the afterlife so it was very important that it be kept safe and secure.
I thought the facade was a reference to early funerary enclosures at places like Abydos?
The funerary enclosure of Khasekhemwy at Abydos definitely has the same kind of niching and it is likely also derived from the same palace-architecture concept.
How would someone make something like this in 1825?
That particular mirror is made of gilt wood meaning that someone would have carved that elaborate frame in which the mirror would be placed. The technique was likely similar to that used to carve actual frames for works of art. The mirror itself is made of curved, silvered glass, giving the convex shape. This came in handy in homes before electricity because a convex mirror would reflect candle light well throughout a room.
Oh wow, that's so interesting! Thanks!
You're very welcome! Feel free to send along more questions as you continue to explore the Museum today.
What is the least important object in this room?
Take a close look, what do you think the least important object is?
I'm going to guess the carpet?
Wow, that's actually a great idea! While I like to say that everything in the period rooms are important (they are my favorites in the Museum) that carpet is a replacement. The original carpet was patterned and the Museum hopes to replicate the original carpet eventually when funds and time are available!
This is so much fun. Thanks!
You're welcome, so glad you're enjoying it. You're asking great questions!
This is so opulent! I want it in my house. But I couldn't do my makeup in it.
Yes, it's definitely a "non-functional" mirror -- unlike the others on that wall! The artist, Fred Wilson, was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmaking and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Much of his art addresses issues of identity and race. Does the title, "Iago's Mirror," suggest anything to you?
Wow! That's so interesting! Iago was the bad guy in Othello right? I'm thinking Shakespeare...
Yes indeed! He's the villain in Shakespeare's tragedy. Whereas Othello is the tragic hero and called "The Moor," referring to his blackness. Wilson has frequently used black glass to represent Africa and “blackness” in his work. Also it's just a remarkable object, like you said so ornate and well-constructed.
I think this quote from the artist is intriguing: "For Othello, largeness, beauty, and power together form a double-edged sword. People are afraid of power, but Iago’s jealousy was so huge that he got around his own fear and destroyed Othello from the inside out. That is what 'Iago's Mirror' is about: this is Iago looking at himself as Othello; love and hate mixed with his own jealous ego."
Which suggests jealousy still. You study your enemies and learn all of their ins and outs. All the things that disgust you but draw you to them at the same time.
Yes! Complicated but true.
I'll have to look him up when I get home tonight, thanks.
Definitely look into Fred Wilson if you're curious! Another fact about him: he worked as a museum educator earlier in his career, and he thinks a lot about the way we view art in museums and how the art "speaks" to us in museum settings -- and about who/what is represented in museums, and who/what is *not* represented. Oh! And we have another work by Wilson on display right now, on the 4th floor in "I See Myself in You."
Headed up there now, awesome!
Excellent! 
Can you tell me about his style of painting?
Hello! Thanks for using the ASK app this afternoon. That Albert Bierstadt landscape is almost as breathtaking as I feel like the view in person would be. Albert Bierstadt painted this upon his return to New York after a trip out West. He created dozens of drawings and plein-air oil studies (much smaller than this!) and the final work you see here took nearly a year to paint.
William Newton Byers, who traveled with Bierstadt on this expedition out West in 1863, wrote of Bierstadt: "Mr. Bierstadt was in raptures with the scenery, but restrained his inclination to try his pencils until within two or three miles of the upper limit of tree growth...Patience vanished, and in nervous haste, canvas, paints and brushes were unpacked and a couple of hours saw, under his skillful hands, some miles of mountain, hills, forests and valley"
Bierstadt was trained in Dusseldorf and artists trained in this style generally painted "wet-to-wet" meaning that layers of wet paint are applied to layers of wet paint or, the previous layers on the canvas are not set to dry before adding more paint. There are many ways to paint with oil, this being one, another is wet-to-dry, where the previous layers dry before adding more.
Thanks, that's great!
Why were felines often chosen to be represented in Ancient Egypt? I mean, I don't see many other animals.
One reason cats were so revered in ancient Egypt was that they were able to kill vermin (like mice and rats) that would get into food supplies. Of course, food was crucial to survival, so cats were seen as protectors in that way! The Goddess Bastet, usually shown in cat form or cat/human form, was the goddess of protection, fertility, and motherhood.
Other animals do appear in the art of ancient Egypt, you'll see quite a few hippopotami in the galleries, for example, but cats were especially popular!
Thanks!
Let us know if any other objects catch your eye as you move through the Egypt galleries.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

By Subway

2/3 to Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum. Transfer to 2/3 from 4/5 (at Nevins Street) and B, D, Q, N, R, and LIRR (at Atlantic Terminal-Barclays Center). See a subway map. Make sure to check with the MTA for any service changes, especially on the weekend.


By Bus

The closest bus stops are:

B41 and B69 at Grand Army Plaza

B45 at St. Johns Place and Washington Avenue

Check with the MTA for the most up-to-date bus information.


By Car

From Manhattan:

Brooklyn Bridge; left at Tillary Street; right on Flatbush Avenue for about 1.5 miles to Grand Army Plaza; about 2/3 around Plaza; right on Eastern Parkway. We're at the first intersection (Eastern Parkway and Washington Avenue). Or: Manhattan Bridge enters directly onto Flatbush Avenue.

From Westchester, the Bronx, Queens, or Connecticut:

Robert F. Kennedy Bridge (Triborough) to Brooklyn Queens Express (BQE); Manhattan Bridge exit to Tillary Street; left onto Flatbush Avenue and proceed according to the directions from Manhattan.

From Staten Island and southern or central New Jersey:

Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to Gowanus Expressway (Route 278 towards Manhattan); exit to 38th Street; left on Fourth Avenue for about 2 miles; right on Union Street; 5 blocks to Grand Army Plaza; go 1/2 around Plaza; right on Eastern Parkway. We're at first intersection (Eastern Parkway and Washington Avenue).

From northern or north central New Jersey:

George Washington Bridge/Holland or Lincoln Tunnel to Manhattan; follow directions from Manhattan.

From Long Island:

Grand Central Parkway to Jackie Robinson Parkway; exit at Bushwick Avenue; left at third traffic light to Eastern Parkway; about 3 miles to Washington Avenue. We're across intersection at left.


Parking

On-site parking is available in the lot behind the Museum, off Washington Avenue. On Target First Saturdays there's a flat rate of $5 beginning at 5 p.m.


Bikes

Park your bicycle at the racks behind the Museum, next to the Sculpture Garden. Bikes are parked at your own risk; we don't accept responsibility for vandalism or theft.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

I'm curious if these statues have significance as religious objects or were just artistic objects created to sell (since kachinas are usually worn as costumes ceremonially).
Kachina dolls are used to teach children about religion in Zuni and Hopi Pueblo Native American culture. Kachinas are thought to embody the spirit of a living thing and when called upon, they will evoke the power of whatever spirit they represented, such as an eagle. They are also represented by men in costume during ceremonies and sacred dances, so that's another aspect of them. The dolls are not considered sacred and are given to children and young women during ceremonies so that they may learn about the religion.
Awesome, thank you!
No problem!
What is this?
This is the OLPC XO Laptop, which stands for One Laptop Per Child. This was a part of a project that intended to provide a laptop for every child for learning. It was a non-profit initiative taken to distribute technology to teaching and learning in the developing world.
The project faced strong criticism since many human rights groups argued that third world countries don't have the infrastructure needed to support such a technology. It was good in theory, but not entirely practical.
What does "provenance not known" mean? It's on the label for this statue.
Provenance means the history of how this object came from its original location to its current location. Very often, museums have a record of original location found, and what the history of ownership is for each object, but sometimes this information is missing from the record. That's a great observation and a great question!
Oh, I see. Do we know whether this was originally freestanding or carved into a rock wall? I was also wondering about that
Also, whether it originally had a head?
It was probably part of a larger group statue which was freestanding, but placed next to a wall in a tomb. And it would definitely originally have had a head, headless statues were not a deliberate style in Ancient Egyptian statues. Which is interesting though considering modern sculpture. Rodin made bodies deliberately missing certain body parts, sometimes limbs, sometimes head, to concentrate on the shape and figure of a specific element of the human body. You'll notice some of his casts on your way out of the museum in the lobby!
I'll look for those! Thanks.
What are the main embroidery techniques used on Paracas textiles?
Hi and thanks for using the ASK app today! What a great question, while I look into a specific answer, in the meantime I can tell you than Andean textiles (those made by peoples in the Andes regions) are known for their extraordinary designs and colors. We do know that the ninety figures around the border were created by "needle knitting." The interior fabric was woven on a loom with the colored designs of faces of the Occulate Being made by wrapping the colored thread around the beige warp threads.
So sorry about that! I can tell you also that the fibers are made of camelid fibers (alpaca or vicuna) and were dyed about 7 different colors to make up the work.
What is the blue dye in the Paracas textile? Indigo?
We don't have the specific dyes listed but we do know they were all dyed with natural pigments from plants, minerals, and animals, so it's possible. I am truthfully not sure what was common for dye use in Peru at the time!
Are the figures deities? Do these deities have names?
This piece is somewhat of a mystery because not much is known about these figures. Around the border, there is a combination of human, supernatural, and animal forms. If you look at the feet of the figures, you will see the more flat-footed ones are human, and those with the sort of back-toe are supernatural beings (also referred to as monkey feet). The animals look like animals - llamas, pampas cat, frogs, snakes, etc.- and the plants and trees are also realistically rendered and depict real plants and trees found on the south coast of Peru today. All of these figures together have been interpreted as a microcosm of life on Peru's South Coast during this time. There is a focus on agriculture as well as the practice of ritual sacrifice, symbolizing the cycles of birth and death.
What do the germinating heads look like? I can't seem to spot them.
They are the face-like elements with sprouting coming out of the top. I am trying to figure out how to point you to an example. It actually may be easier to find them on the line drawing on the wall first, and then go back to the textile to look.
Here is how the curators explain the germinating heads: Other border figures hold or display disembodied heads and small doll-like objects that scholars call "trophy heads" and "effigy figures."...Trophy heads on the border often appear to germinate like seeds, sprouting plants and animals, suggesting interconnected cycles of birth and death.
Why are these niched facades so important?
That niched facade is based on the palace because this is where the body of the (royal) deceased would live for eternity. You may know this but, in ancient Egypt, it was believed that the physical body was still of use to the person in the afterlife so it was very important that it be kept safe and secure.
I thought the facade was a reference to early funerary enclosures at places like Abydos?
The funerary enclosure of Khasekhemwy at Abydos definitely has the same kind of niching and it is likely also derived from the same palace-architecture concept.
How would someone make something like this in 1825?
That particular mirror is made of gilt wood meaning that someone would have carved that elaborate frame in which the mirror would be placed. The technique was likely similar to that used to carve actual frames for works of art. The mirror itself is made of curved, silvered glass, giving the convex shape. This came in handy in homes before electricity because a convex mirror would reflect candle light well throughout a room.
Oh wow, that's so interesting! Thanks!
You're very welcome! Feel free to send along more questions as you continue to explore the Museum today.
What is the least important object in this room?
Take a close look, what do you think the least important object is?
I'm going to guess the carpet?
Wow, that's actually a great idea! While I like to say that everything in the period rooms are important (they are my favorites in the Museum) that carpet is a replacement. The original carpet was patterned and the Museum hopes to replicate the original carpet eventually when funds and time are available!
This is so much fun. Thanks!
You're welcome, so glad you're enjoying it. You're asking great questions!
This is so opulent! I want it in my house. But I couldn't do my makeup in it.
Yes, it's definitely a "non-functional" mirror -- unlike the others on that wall! The artist, Fred Wilson, was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmaking and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Much of his art addresses issues of identity and race. Does the title, "Iago's Mirror," suggest anything to you?
Wow! That's so interesting! Iago was the bad guy in Othello right? I'm thinking Shakespeare...
Yes indeed! He's the villain in Shakespeare's tragedy. Whereas Othello is the tragic hero and called "The Moor," referring to his blackness. Wilson has frequently used black glass to represent Africa and “blackness” in his work. Also it's just a remarkable object, like you said so ornate and well-constructed.
I think this quote from the artist is intriguing: "For Othello, largeness, beauty, and power together form a double-edged sword. People are afraid of power, but Iago’s jealousy was so huge that he got around his own fear and destroyed Othello from the inside out. That is what 'Iago's Mirror' is about: this is Iago looking at himself as Othello; love and hate mixed with his own jealous ego."
Which suggests jealousy still. You study your enemies and learn all of their ins and outs. All the things that disgust you but draw you to them at the same time.
Yes! Complicated but true.
I'll have to look him up when I get home tonight, thanks.
Definitely look into Fred Wilson if you're curious! Another fact about him: he worked as a museum educator earlier in his career, and he thinks a lot about the way we view art in museums and how the art "speaks" to us in museum settings -- and about who/what is represented in museums, and who/what is *not* represented. Oh! And we have another work by Wilson on display right now, on the 4th floor in "I See Myself in You."
Headed up there now, awesome!
Excellent! 
Can you tell me about his style of painting?
Hello! Thanks for using the ASK app this afternoon. That Albert Bierstadt landscape is almost as breathtaking as I feel like the view in person would be. Albert Bierstadt painted this upon his return to New York after a trip out West. He created dozens of drawings and plein-air oil studies (much smaller than this!) and the final work you see here took nearly a year to paint.
William Newton Byers, who traveled with Bierstadt on this expedition out West in 1863, wrote of Bierstadt: "Mr. Bierstadt was in raptures with the scenery, but restrained his inclination to try his pencils until within two or three miles of the upper limit of tree growth...Patience vanished, and in nervous haste, canvas, paints and brushes were unpacked and a couple of hours saw, under his skillful hands, some miles of mountain, hills, forests and valley"
Bierstadt was trained in Dusseldorf and artists trained in this style generally painted "wet-to-wet" meaning that layers of wet paint are applied to layers of wet paint or, the previous layers on the canvas are not set to dry before adding more paint. There are many ways to paint with oil, this being one, another is wet-to-dry, where the previous layers dry before adding more.
Thanks, that's great!
Why were felines often chosen to be represented in Ancient Egypt? I mean, I don't see many other animals.
One reason cats were so revered in ancient Egypt was that they were able to kill vermin (like mice and rats) that would get into food supplies. Of course, food was crucial to survival, so cats were seen as protectors in that way! The Goddess Bastet, usually shown in cat form or cat/human form, was the goddess of protection, fertility, and motherhood.
Other animals do appear in the art of ancient Egypt, you'll see quite a few hippopotami in the galleries, for example, but cats were especially popular!
Thanks!
Let us know if any other objects catch your eye as you move through the Egypt galleries.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

I'm curious if these statues have significance as religious objects or were just artistic objects created to sell (since kachinas are usually worn as costumes ceremonially).
Kachina dolls are used to teach children about religion in Zuni and Hopi Pueblo Native American culture. Kachinas are thought to embody the spirit of a living thing and when called upon, they will evoke the power of whatever spirit they represented, such as an eagle. They are also represented by men in costume during ceremonies and sacred dances, so that's another aspect of them. The dolls are not considered sacred and are given to children and young women during ceremonies so that they may learn about the religion.
Awesome, thank you!
No problem!
What is this?
This is the OLPC XO Laptop, which stands for One Laptop Per Child. This was a part of a project that intended to provide a laptop for every child for learning. It was a non-profit initiative taken to distribute technology to teaching and learning in the developing world.
The project faced strong criticism since many human rights groups argued that third world countries don't have the infrastructure needed to support such a technology. It was good in theory, but not entirely practical.
What does "provenance not known" mean? It's on the label for this statue.
Provenance means the history of how this object came from its original location to its current location. Very often, museums have a record of original location found, and what the history of ownership is for each object, but sometimes this information is missing from the record. That's a great observation and a great question!
Oh, I see. Do we know whether this was originally freestanding or carved into a rock wall? I was also wondering about that
Also, whether it originally had a head?
It was probably part of a larger group statue which was freestanding, but placed next to a wall in a tomb. And it would definitely originally have had a head, headless statues were not a deliberate style in Ancient Egyptian statues. Which is interesting though considering modern sculpture. Rodin made bodies deliberately missing certain body parts, sometimes limbs, sometimes head, to concentrate on the shape and figure of a specific element of the human body. You'll notice some of his casts on your way out of the museum in the lobby!
I'll look for those! Thanks.
What are the main embroidery techniques used on Paracas textiles?
Hi and thanks for using the ASK app today! What a great question, while I look into a specific answer, in the meantime I can tell you than Andean textiles (those made by peoples in the Andes regions) are known for their extraordinary designs and colors. We do know that the ninety figures around the border were created by "needle knitting." The interior fabric was woven on a loom with the colored designs of faces of the Occulate Being made by wrapping the colored thread around the beige warp threads.
So sorry about that! I can tell you also that the fibers are made of camelid fibers (alpaca or vicuna) and were dyed about 7 different colors to make up the work.
What is the blue dye in the Paracas textile? Indigo?
We don't have the specific dyes listed but we do know they were all dyed with natural pigments from plants, minerals, and animals, so it's possible. I am truthfully not sure what was common for dye use in Peru at the time!
Are the figures deities? Do these deities have names?
This piece is somewhat of a mystery because not much is known about these figures. Around the border, there is a combination of human, supernatural, and animal forms. If you look at the feet of the figures, you will see the more flat-footed ones are human, and those with the sort of back-toe are supernatural beings (also referred to as monkey feet). The animals look like animals - llamas, pampas cat, frogs, snakes, etc.- and the plants and trees are also realistically rendered and depict real plants and trees found on the south coast of Peru today. All of these figures together have been interpreted as a microcosm of life on Peru's South Coast during this time. There is a focus on agriculture as well as the practice of ritual sacrifice, symbolizing the cycles of birth and death.
What do the germinating heads look like? I can't seem to spot them.
They are the face-like elements with sprouting coming out of the top. I am trying to figure out how to point you to an example. It actually may be easier to find them on the line drawing on the wall first, and then go back to the textile to look.
Here is how the curators explain the germinating heads: Other border figures hold or display disembodied heads and small doll-like objects that scholars call "trophy heads" and "effigy figures."...Trophy heads on the border often appear to germinate like seeds, sprouting plants and animals, suggesting interconnected cycles of birth and death.
Why are these niched facades so important?
That niched facade is based on the palace because this is where the body of the (royal) deceased would live for eternity. You may know this but, in ancient Egypt, it was believed that the physical body was still of use to the person in the afterlife so it was very important that it be kept safe and secure.
I thought the facade was a reference to early funerary enclosures at places like Abydos?
The funerary enclosure of Khasekhemwy at Abydos definitely has the same kind of niching and it is likely also derived from the same palace-architecture concept.
How would someone make something like this in 1825?
That particular mirror is made of gilt wood meaning that someone would have carved that elaborate frame in which the mirror would be placed. The technique was likely similar to that used to carve actual frames for works of art. The mirror itself is made of curved, silvered glass, giving the convex shape. This came in handy in homes before electricity because a convex mirror would reflect candle light well throughout a room.
Oh wow, that's so interesting! Thanks!
You're very welcome! Feel free to send along more questions as you continue to explore the Museum today.
What is the least important object in this room?
Take a close look, what do you think the least important object is?
I'm going to guess the carpet?
Wow, that's actually a great idea! While I like to say that everything in the period rooms are important (they are my favorites in the Museum) that carpet is a replacement. The original carpet was patterned and the Museum hopes to replicate the original carpet eventually when funds and time are available!
This is so much fun. Thanks!
You're welcome, so glad you're enjoying it. You're asking great questions!
This is so opulent! I want it in my house. But I couldn't do my makeup in it.
Yes, it's definitely a "non-functional" mirror -- unlike the others on that wall! The artist, Fred Wilson, was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmaking and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Much of his art addresses issues of identity and race. Does the title, "Iago's Mirror," suggest anything to you?
Wow! That's so interesting! Iago was the bad guy in Othello right? I'm thinking Shakespeare...
Yes indeed! He's the villain in Shakespeare's tragedy. Whereas Othello is the tragic hero and called "The Moor," referring to his blackness. Wilson has frequently used black glass to represent Africa and “blackness” in his work. Also it's just a remarkable object, like you said so ornate and well-constructed.
I think this quote from the artist is intriguing: "For Othello, largeness, beauty, and power together form a double-edged sword. People are afraid of power, but Iago’s jealousy was so huge that he got around his own fear and destroyed Othello from the inside out. That is what 'Iago's Mirror' is about: this is Iago looking at himself as Othello; love and hate mixed with his own jealous ego."
Which suggests jealousy still. You study your enemies and learn all of their ins and outs. All the things that disgust you but draw you to them at the same time.
Yes! Complicated but true.
I'll have to look him up when I get home tonight, thanks.
Definitely look into Fred Wilson if you're curious! Another fact about him: he worked as a museum educator earlier in his career, and he thinks a lot about the way we view art in museums and how the art "speaks" to us in museum settings -- and about who/what is represented in museums, and who/what is *not* represented. Oh! And we have another work by Wilson on display right now, on the 4th floor in "I See Myself in You."
Headed up there now, awesome!
Excellent! 
Can you tell me about his style of painting?
Hello! Thanks for using the ASK app this afternoon. That Albert Bierstadt landscape is almost as breathtaking as I feel like the view in person would be. Albert Bierstadt painted this upon his return to New York after a trip out West. He created dozens of drawings and plein-air oil studies (much smaller than this!) and the final work you see here took nearly a year to paint.
William Newton Byers, who traveled with Bierstadt on this expedition out West in 1863, wrote of Bierstadt: "Mr. Bierstadt was in raptures with the scenery, but restrained his inclination to try his pencils until within two or three miles of the upper limit of tree growth...Patience vanished, and in nervous haste, canvas, paints and brushes were unpacked and a couple of hours saw, under his skillful hands, some miles of mountain, hills, forests and valley"
Bierstadt was trained in Dusseldorf and artists trained in this style generally painted "wet-to-wet" meaning that layers of wet paint are applied to layers of wet paint or, the previous layers on the canvas are not set to dry before adding more paint. There are many ways to paint with oil, this being one, another is wet-to-dry, where the previous layers dry before adding more.
Thanks, that's great!
Why were felines often chosen to be represented in Ancient Egypt? I mean, I don't see many other animals.
One reason cats were so revered in ancient Egypt was that they were able to kill vermin (like mice and rats) that would get into food supplies. Of course, food was crucial to survival, so cats were seen as protectors in that way! The Goddess Bastet, usually shown in cat form or cat/human form, was the goddess of protection, fertility, and motherhood.
Other animals do appear in the art of ancient Egypt, you'll see quite a few hippopotami in the galleries, for example, but cats were especially popular!
Thanks!
Let us know if any other objects catch your eye as you move through the Egypt galleries.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

I'm curious if these statues have significance as religious objects or were just artistic objects created to sell (since kachinas are usually worn as costumes ceremonially).
Kachina dolls are used to teach children about religion in Zuni and Hopi Pueblo Native American culture. Kachinas are thought to embody the spirit of a living thing and when called upon, they will evoke the power of whatever spirit they represented, such as an eagle. They are also represented by men in costume during ceremonies and sacred dances, so that's another aspect of them. The dolls are not considered sacred and are given to children and young women during ceremonies so that they may learn about the religion.
Awesome, thank you!
No problem!
What is this?
This is the OLPC XO Laptop, which stands for One Laptop Per Child. This was a part of a project that intended to provide a laptop for every child for learning. It was a non-profit initiative taken to distribute technology to teaching and learning in the developing world.
The project faced strong criticism since many human rights groups argued that third world countries don't have the infrastructure needed to support such a technology. It was good in theory, but not entirely practical.
What does "provenance not known" mean? It's on the label for this statue.
Provenance means the history of how this object came from its original location to its current location. Very often, museums have a record of original location found, and what the history of ownership is for each object, but sometimes this information is missing from the record. That's a great observation and a great question!
Oh, I see. Do we know whether this was originally freestanding or carved into a rock wall? I was also wondering about that
Also, whether it originally had a head?
It was probably part of a larger group statue which was freestanding, but placed next to a wall in a tomb. And it would definitely originally have had a head, headless statues were not a deliberate style in Ancient Egyptian statues. Which is interesting though considering modern sculpture. Rodin made bodies deliberately missing certain body parts, sometimes limbs, sometimes head, to concentrate on the shape and figure of a specific element of the human body. You'll notice some of his casts on your way out of the museum in the lobby!
I'll look for those! Thanks.
What are the main embroidery techniques used on Paracas textiles?
Hi and thanks for using the ASK app today! What a great question, while I look into a specific answer, in the meantime I can tell you than Andean textiles (those made by peoples in the Andes regions) are known for their extraordinary designs and colors. We do know that the ninety figures around the border were created by "needle knitting." The interior fabric was woven on a loom with the colored designs of faces of the Occulate Being made by wrapping the colored thread around the beige warp threads.
So sorry about that! I can tell you also that the fibers are made of camelid fibers (alpaca or vicuna) and were dyed about 7 different colors to make up the work.
What is the blue dye in the Paracas textile? Indigo?
We don't have the specific dyes listed but we do know they were all dyed with natural pigments from plants, minerals, and animals, so it's possible. I am truthfully not sure what was common for dye use in Peru at the time!
Are the figures deities? Do these deities have names?
This piece is somewhat of a mystery because not much is known about these figures. Around the border, there is a combination of human, supernatural, and animal forms. If you look at the feet of the figures, you will see the more flat-footed ones are human, and those with the sort of back-toe are supernatural beings (also referred to as monkey feet). The animals look like animals - llamas, pampas cat, frogs, snakes, etc.- and the plants and trees are also realistically rendered and depict real plants and trees found on the south coast of Peru today. All of these figures together have been interpreted as a microcosm of life on Peru's South Coast during this time. There is a focus on agriculture as well as the practice of ritual sacrifice, symbolizing the cycles of birth and death.
What do the germinating heads look like? I can't seem to spot them.
They are the face-like elements with sprouting coming out of the top. I am trying to figure out how to point you to an example. It actually may be easier to find them on the line drawing on the wall first, and then go back to the textile to look.
Here is how the curators explain the germinating heads: Other border figures hold or display disembodied heads and small doll-like objects that scholars call "trophy heads" and "effigy figures."...Trophy heads on the border often appear to germinate like seeds, sprouting plants and animals, suggesting interconnected cycles of birth and death.
Why are these niched facades so important?
That niched facade is based on the palace because this is where the body of the (royal) deceased would live for eternity. You may know this but, in ancient Egypt, it was believed that the physical body was still of use to the person in the afterlife so it was very important that it be kept safe and secure.
I thought the facade was a reference to early funerary enclosures at places like Abydos?
The funerary enclosure of Khasekhemwy at Abydos definitely has the same kind of niching and it is likely also derived from the same palace-architecture concept.
How would someone make something like this in 1825?
That particular mirror is made of gilt wood meaning that someone would have carved that elaborate frame in which the mirror would be placed. The technique was likely similar to that used to carve actual frames for works of art. The mirror itself is made of curved, silvered glass, giving the convex shape. This came in handy in homes before electricity because a convex mirror would reflect candle light well throughout a room.
Oh wow, that's so interesting! Thanks!
You're very welcome! Feel free to send along more questions as you continue to explore the Museum today.
What is the least important object in this room?
Take a close look, what do you think the least important object is?
I'm going to guess the carpet?
Wow, that's actually a great idea! While I like to say that everything in the period rooms are important (they are my favorites in the Museum) that carpet is a replacement. The original carpet was patterned and the Museum hopes to replicate the original carpet eventually when funds and time are available!
This is so much fun. Thanks!
You're welcome, so glad you're enjoying it. You're asking great questions!
This is so opulent! I want it in my house. But I couldn't do my makeup in it.
Yes, it's definitely a "non-functional" mirror -- unlike the others on that wall! The artist, Fred Wilson, was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmaking and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Much of his art addresses issues of identity and race. Does the title, "Iago's Mirror," suggest anything to you?
Wow! That's so interesting! Iago was the bad guy in Othello right? I'm thinking Shakespeare...
Yes indeed! He's the villain in Shakespeare's tragedy. Whereas Othello is the tragic hero and called "The Moor," referring to his blackness. Wilson has frequently used black glass to represent Africa and “blackness” in his work. Also it's just a remarkable object, like you said so ornate and well-constructed.
I think this quote from the artist is intriguing: "For Othello, largeness, beauty, and power together form a double-edged sword. People are afraid of power, but Iago’s jealousy was so huge that he got around his own fear and destroyed Othello from the inside out. That is what 'Iago's Mirror' is about: this is Iago looking at himself as Othello; love and hate mixed with his own jealous ego."
Which suggests jealousy still. You study your enemies and learn all of their ins and outs. All the things that disgust you but draw you to them at the same time.
Yes! Complicated but true.
I'll have to look him up when I get home tonight, thanks.
Definitely look into Fred Wilson if you're curious! Another fact about him: he worked as a museum educator earlier in his career, and he thinks a lot about the way we view art in museums and how the art "speaks" to us in museum settings -- and about who/what is represented in museums, and who/what is *not* represented. Oh! And we have another work by Wilson on display right now, on the 4th floor in "I See Myself in You."
Headed up there now, awesome!
Excellent! 
Can you tell me about his style of painting?
Hello! Thanks for using the ASK app this afternoon. That Albert Bierstadt landscape is almost as breathtaking as I feel like the view in person would be. Albert Bierstadt painted this upon his return to New York after a trip out West. He created dozens of drawings and plein-air oil studies (much smaller than this!) and the final work you see here took nearly a year to paint.
William Newton Byers, who traveled with Bierstadt on this expedition out West in 1863, wrote of Bierstadt: "Mr. Bierstadt was in raptures with the scenery, but restrained his inclination to try his pencils until within two or three miles of the upper limit of tree growth...Patience vanished, and in nervous haste, canvas, paints and brushes were unpacked and a couple of hours saw, under his skillful hands, some miles of mountain, hills, forests and valley"
Bierstadt was trained in Dusseldorf and artists trained in this style generally painted "wet-to-wet" meaning that layers of wet paint are applied to layers of wet paint or, the previous layers on the canvas are not set to dry before adding more paint. There are many ways to paint with oil, this being one, another is wet-to-dry, where the previous layers dry before adding more.
Thanks, that's great!
Why were felines often chosen to be represented in Ancient Egypt? I mean, I don't see many other animals.
One reason cats were so revered in ancient Egypt was that they were able to kill vermin (like mice and rats) that would get into food supplies. Of course, food was crucial to survival, so cats were seen as protectors in that way! The Goddess Bastet, usually shown in cat form or cat/human form, was the goddess of protection, fertility, and motherhood.
Other animals do appear in the art of ancient Egypt, you'll see quite a few hippopotami in the galleries, for example, but cats were especially popular!
Thanks!
Let us know if any other objects catch your eye as you move through the Egypt galleries.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

I'm curious if these statues have significance as religious objects or were just artistic objects created to sell (since kachinas are usually worn as costumes ceremonially).
Kachina dolls are used to teach children about religion in Zuni and Hopi Pueblo Native American culture. Kachinas are thought to embody the spirit of a living thing and when called upon, they will evoke the power of whatever spirit they represented, such as an eagle. They are also represented by men in costume during ceremonies and sacred dances, so that's another aspect of them. The dolls are not considered sacred and are given to children and young women during ceremonies so that they may learn about the religion.
Awesome, thank you!
No problem!
What is this?
This is the OLPC XO Laptop, which stands for One Laptop Per Child. This was a part of a project that intended to provide a laptop for every child for learning. It was a non-profit initiative taken to distribute technology to teaching and learning in the developing world.
The project faced strong criticism since many human rights groups argued that third world countries don't have the infrastructure needed to support such a technology. It was good in theory, but not entirely practical.
What does "provenance not known" mean? It's on the label for this statue.
Provenance means the history of how this object came from its original location to its current location. Very often, museums have a record of original location found, and what the history of ownership is for each object, but sometimes this information is missing from the record. That's a great observation and a great question!
Oh, I see. Do we know whether this was originally freestanding or carved into a rock wall? I was also wondering about that
Also, whether it originally had a head?
It was probably part of a larger group statue which was freestanding, but placed next to a wall in a tomb. And it would definitely originally have had a head, headless statues were not a deliberate style in Ancient Egyptian statues. Which is interesting though considering modern sculpture. Rodin made bodies deliberately missing certain body parts, sometimes limbs, sometimes head, to concentrate on the shape and figure of a specific element of the human body. You'll notice some of his casts on your way out of the museum in the lobby!
I'll look for those! Thanks.
What are the main embroidery techniques used on Paracas textiles?
Hi and thanks for using the ASK app today! What a great question, while I look into a specific answer, in the meantime I can tell you than Andean textiles (those made by peoples in the Andes regions) are known for their extraordinary designs and colors. We do know that the ninety figures around the border were created by "needle knitting." The interior fabric was woven on a loom with the colored designs of faces of the Occulate Being made by wrapping the colored thread around the beige warp threads.
So sorry about that! I can tell you also that the fibers are made of camelid fibers (alpaca or vicuna) and were dyed about 7 different colors to make up the work.
What is the blue dye in the Paracas textile? Indigo?
We don't have the specific dyes listed but we do know they were all dyed with natural pigments from plants, minerals, and animals, so it's possible. I am truthfully not sure what was common for dye use in Peru at the time!
Are the figures deities? Do these deities have names?
This piece is somewhat of a mystery because not much is known about these figures. Around the border, there is a combination of human, supernatural, and animal forms. If you look at the feet of the figures, you will see the more flat-footed ones are human, and those with the sort of back-toe are supernatural beings (also referred to as monkey feet). The animals look like animals - llamas, pampas cat, frogs, snakes, etc.- and the plants and trees are also realistically rendered and depict real plants and trees found on the south coast of Peru today. All of these figures together have been interpreted as a microcosm of life on Peru's South Coast during this time. There is a focus on agriculture as well as the practice of ritual sacrifice, symbolizing the cycles of birth and death.
What do the germinating heads look like? I can't seem to spot them.
They are the face-like elements with sprouting coming out of the top. I am trying to figure out how to point you to an example. It actually may be easier to find them on the line drawing on the wall first, and then go back to the textile to look.
Here is how the curators explain the germinating heads: Other border figures hold or display disembodied heads and small doll-like objects that scholars call "trophy heads" and "effigy figures."...Trophy heads on the border often appear to germinate like seeds, sprouting plants and animals, suggesting interconnected cycles of birth and death.
Why are these niched facades so important?
That niched facade is based on the palace because this is where the body of the (royal) deceased would live for eternity. You may know this but, in ancient Egypt, it was believed that the physical body was still of use to the person in the afterlife so it was very important that it be kept safe and secure.
I thought the facade was a reference to early funerary enclosures at places like Abydos?
The funerary enclosure of Khasekhemwy at Abydos definitely has the same kind of niching and it is likely also derived from the same palace-architecture concept.
How would someone make something like this in 1825?
That particular mirror is made of gilt wood meaning that someone would have carved that elaborate frame in which the mirror would be placed. The technique was likely similar to that used to carve actual frames for works of art. The mirror itself is made of curved, silvered glass, giving the convex shape. This came in handy in homes before electricity because a convex mirror would reflect candle light well throughout a room.
Oh wow, that's so interesting! Thanks!
You're very welcome! Feel free to send along more questions as you continue to explore the Museum today.
What is the least important object in this room?
Take a close look, what do you think the least important object is?
I'm going to guess the carpet?
Wow, that's actually a great idea! While I like to say that everything in the period rooms are important (they are my favorites in the Museum) that carpet is a replacement. The original carpet was patterned and the Museum hopes to replicate the original carpet eventually when funds and time are available!
This is so much fun. Thanks!
You're welcome, so glad you're enjoying it. You're asking great questions!
This is so opulent! I want it in my house. But I couldn't do my makeup in it.
Yes, it's definitely a "non-functional" mirror -- unlike the others on that wall! The artist, Fred Wilson, was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmaking and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Much of his art addresses issues of identity and race. Does the title, "Iago's Mirror," suggest anything to you?
Wow! That's so interesting! Iago was the bad guy in Othello right? I'm thinking Shakespeare...
Yes indeed! He's the villain in Shakespeare's tragedy. Whereas Othello is the tragic hero and called "The Moor," referring to his blackness. Wilson has frequently used black glass to represent Africa and “blackness” in his work. Also it's just a remarkable object, like you said so ornate and well-constructed.
I think this quote from the artist is intriguing: "For Othello, largeness, beauty, and power together form a double-edged sword. People are afraid of power, but Iago’s jealousy was so huge that he got around his own fear and destroyed Othello from the inside out. That is what 'Iago's Mirror' is about: this is Iago looking at himself as Othello; love and hate mixed with his own jealous ego."
Which suggests jealousy still. You study your enemies and learn all of their ins and outs. All the things that disgust you but draw you to them at the same time.
Yes! Complicated but true.
I'll have to look him up when I get home tonight, thanks.
Definitely look into Fred Wilson if you're curious! Another fact about him: he worked as a museum educator earlier in his career, and he thinks a lot about the way we view art in museums and how the art "speaks" to us in museum settings -- and about who/what is represented in museums, and who/what is *not* represented. Oh! And we have another work by Wilson on display right now, on the 4th floor in "I See Myself in You."
Headed up there now, awesome!
Excellent! 
Can you tell me about his style of painting?
Hello! Thanks for using the ASK app this afternoon. That Albert Bierstadt landscape is almost as breathtaking as I feel like the view in person would be. Albert Bierstadt painted this upon his return to New York after a trip out West. He created dozens of drawings and plein-air oil studies (much smaller than this!) and the final work you see here took nearly a year to paint.
William Newton Byers, who traveled with Bierstadt on this expedition out West in 1863, wrote of Bierstadt: "Mr. Bierstadt was in raptures with the scenery, but restrained his inclination to try his pencils until within two or three miles of the upper limit of tree growth...Patience vanished, and in nervous haste, canvas, paints and brushes were unpacked and a couple of hours saw, under his skillful hands, some miles of mountain, hills, forests and valley"
Bierstadt was trained in Dusseldorf and artists trained in this style generally painted "wet-to-wet" meaning that layers of wet paint are applied to layers of wet paint or, the previous layers on the canvas are not set to dry before adding more paint. There are many ways to paint with oil, this being one, another is wet-to-dry, where the previous layers dry before adding more.
Thanks, that's great!
Why were felines often chosen to be represented in Ancient Egypt? I mean, I don't see many other animals.
One reason cats were so revered in ancient Egypt was that they were able to kill vermin (like mice and rats) that would get into food supplies. Of course, food was crucial to survival, so cats were seen as protectors in that way! The Goddess Bastet, usually shown in cat form or cat/human form, was the goddess of protection, fertility, and motherhood.
Other animals do appear in the art of ancient Egypt, you'll see quite a few hippopotami in the galleries, for example, but cats were especially popular!
Thanks!
Let us know if any other objects catch your eye as you move through the Egypt galleries.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

I'm curious if these statues have significance as religious objects or were just artistic objects created to sell (since kachinas are usually worn as costumes ceremonially).
Kachina dolls are used to teach children about religion in Zuni and Hopi Pueblo Native American culture. Kachinas are thought to embody the spirit of a living thing and when called upon, they will evoke the power of whatever spirit they represented, such as an eagle. They are also represented by men in costume during ceremonies and sacred dances, so that's another aspect of them. The dolls are not considered sacred and are given to children and young women during ceremonies so that they may learn about the religion.
Awesome, thank you!
No problem!
What is this?
This is the OLPC XO Laptop, which stands for One Laptop Per Child. This was a part of a project that intended to provide a laptop for every child for learning. It was a non-profit initiative taken to distribute technology to teaching and learning in the developing world.
The project faced strong criticism since many human rights groups argued that third world countries don't have the infrastructure needed to support such a technology. It was good in theory, but not entirely practical.
What does "provenance not known" mean? It's on the label for this statue.
Provenance means the history of how this object came from its original location to its current location. Very often, museums have a record of original location found, and what the history of ownership is for each object, but sometimes this information is missing from the record. That's a great observation and a great question!
Oh, I see. Do we know whether this was originally freestanding or carved into a rock wall? I was also wondering about that
Also, whether it originally had a head?
It was probably part of a larger group statue which was freestanding, but placed next to a wall in a tomb. And it would definitely originally have had a head, headless statues were not a deliberate style in Ancient Egyptian statues. Which is interesting though considering modern sculpture. Rodin made bodies deliberately missing certain body parts, sometimes limbs, sometimes head, to concentrate on the shape and figure of a specific element of the human body. You'll notice some of his casts on your way out of the museum in the lobby!
I'll look for those! Thanks.
What are the main embroidery techniques used on Paracas textiles?
Hi and thanks for using the ASK app today! What a great question, while I look into a specific answer, in the meantime I can tell you than Andean textiles (those made by peoples in the Andes regions) are known for their extraordinary designs and colors. We do know that the ninety figures around the border were created by "needle knitting." The interior fabric was woven on a loom with the colored designs of faces of the Occulate Being made by wrapping the colored thread around the beige warp threads.
So sorry about that! I can tell you also that the fibers are made of camelid fibers (alpaca or vicuna) and were dyed about 7 different colors to make up the work.
What is the blue dye in the Paracas textile? Indigo?
We don't have the specific dyes listed but we do know they were all dyed with natural pigments from plants, minerals, and animals, so it's possible. I am truthfully not sure what was common for dye use in Peru at the time!
Are the figures deities? Do these deities have names?
This piece is somewhat of a mystery because not much is known about these figures. Around the border, there is a combination of human, supernatural, and animal forms. If you look at the feet of the figures, you will see the more flat-footed ones are human, and those with the sort of back-toe are supernatural beings (also referred to as monkey feet). The animals look like animals - llamas, pampas cat, frogs, snakes, etc.- and the plants and trees are also realistically rendered and depict real plants and trees found on the south coast of Peru today. All of these figures together have been interpreted as a microcosm of life on Peru's South Coast during this time. There is a focus on agriculture as well as the practice of ritual sacrifice, symbolizing the cycles of birth and death.
What do the germinating heads look like? I can't seem to spot them.
They are the face-like elements with sprouting coming out of the top. I am trying to figure out how to point you to an example. It actually may be easier to find them on the line drawing on the wall first, and then go back to the textile to look.
Here is how the curators explain the germinating heads: Other border figures hold or display disembodied heads and small doll-like objects that scholars call "trophy heads" and "effigy figures."...Trophy heads on the border often appear to germinate like seeds, sprouting plants and animals, suggesting interconnected cycles of birth and death.
Why are these niched facades so important?
That niched facade is based on the palace because this is where the body of the (royal) deceased would live for eternity. You may know this but, in ancient Egypt, it was believed that the physical body was still of use to the person in the afterlife so it was very important that it be kept safe and secure.
I thought the facade was a reference to early funerary enclosures at places like Abydos?
The funerary enclosure of Khasekhemwy at Abydos definitely has the same kind of niching and it is likely also derived from the same palace-architecture concept.
How would someone make something like this in 1825?
That particular mirror is made of gilt wood meaning that someone would have carved that elaborate frame in which the mirror would be placed. The technique was likely similar to that used to carve actual frames for works of art. The mirror itself is made of curved, silvered glass, giving the convex shape. This came in handy in homes before electricity because a convex mirror would reflect candle light well throughout a room.
Oh wow, that's so interesting! Thanks!
You're very welcome! Feel free to send along more questions as you continue to explore the Museum today.
What is the least important object in this room?
Take a close look, what do you think the least important object is?
I'm going to guess the carpet?
Wow, that's actually a great idea! While I like to say that everything in the period rooms are important (they are my favorites in the Museum) that carpet is a replacement. The original carpet was patterned and the Museum hopes to replicate the original carpet eventually when funds and time are available!
This is so much fun. Thanks!
You're welcome, so glad you're enjoying it. You're asking great questions!
This is so opulent! I want it in my house. But I couldn't do my makeup in it.
Yes, it's definitely a "non-functional" mirror -- unlike the others on that wall! The artist, Fred Wilson, was inspired by the tradition of the Venetian glassmaking and by the fact that there was a significant black African presence in Venice during in the Renaissance. Much of his art addresses issues of identity and race. Does the title, "Iago's Mirror," suggest anything to you?
Wow! That's so interesting! Iago was the bad guy in Othello right? I'm thinking Shakespeare...
Yes indeed! He's the villain in Shakespeare's tragedy. Whereas Othello is the tragic hero and called "The Moor," referring to his blackness. Wilson has frequently used black glass to represent Africa and “blackness” in his work. Also it's just a remarkable object, like you said so ornate and well-constructed.
I think this quote from the artist is intriguing: "For Othello, largeness, beauty, and power together form a double-edged sword. People are afraid of power, but Iago’s jealousy was so huge that he got around his own fear and destroyed Othello from the inside out. That is what 'Iago's Mirror' is about: this is Iago looking at himself as Othello; love and hate mixed with his own jealous ego."
Which suggests jealousy still. You study your enemies and learn all of their ins and outs. All the things that disgust you but draw you to them at the same time.
Yes! Complicated but true.
I'll have to look him up when I get home tonight, thanks.
Definitely look into Fred Wilson if you're curious! Another fact about him: he worked as a museum educator earlier in his career, and he thinks a lot about the way we view art in museums and how the art "speaks" to us in museum settings -- and about who/what is represented in museums, and who/what is *not* represented. Oh! And we have another work by Wilson on display right now, on the 4th floor in "I See Myself in You."
Headed up there now, awesome!
Excellent! 
Can you tell me about his style of painting?
Hello! Thanks for using the ASK app this afternoon. That Albert Bierstadt landscape is almost as breathtaking as I feel like the view in person would be. Albert Bierstadt painted this upon his return to New York after a trip out West. He created dozens of drawings and plein-air oil studies (much smaller than this!) and the final work you see here took nearly a year to paint.
William Newton Byers, who traveled with Bierstadt on this expedition out West in 1863, wrote of Bierstadt: "Mr. Bierstadt was in raptures with the scenery, but restrained his inclination to try his pencils until within two or three miles of the upper limit of tree growth...Patience vanished, and in nervous haste, canvas, paints and brushes were unpacked and a couple of hours saw, under his skillful hands, some miles of mountain, hills, forests and valley"
Bierstadt was trained in Dusseldorf and artists trained in this style generally painted "wet-to-wet" meaning that layers of wet paint are applied to layers of wet paint or, the previous layers on the canvas are not set to dry before adding more paint. There are many ways to paint with oil, this being one, another is wet-to-dry, where the previous layers dry before adding more.
Thanks, that's great!
Why were felines often chosen to be represented in Ancient Egypt? I mean, I don't see many other animals.
One reason cats were so revered in ancient Egypt was that they were able to kill vermin (like mice and rats) that would get into food supplies. Of course, food was crucial to survival, so cats were seen as protectors in that way! The Goddess Bastet, usually shown in cat form or cat/human form, was the goddess of protection, fertility, and motherhood.
Other animals do appear in the art of ancient Egypt, you'll see quite a few hippopotami in the galleries, for example, but cats were especially popular!
Thanks!
Let us know if any other objects catch your eye as you move through the Egypt galleries.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.