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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.

Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
What is the significance of crocodiles in Egyptian art? Do they symbolize anything in particular?
Because they lived in the Nile river, crocodiles are a prevalent figure in Egyptian art (since they were a common animal).
Egyptians would worship the crocodile God Sobek which is associated with the Nile and the annual flood (and also with pharaonic power, fertility, and military prowess, but served additionally as a protective deity, invoked particularly for protection against the dangers presented by the Nile river). Crocodiles could also represent animals kept in the temple precinct, which were seen as manifestations of thebau, or powers, of the god. The image you are looking at, however, (the pregnant hippopotamus with a lion's mane, similar to the goddess Taweret, with a crocodile on her back and another nipping her paw) is often found in Egyptian astronomical texts and is connected with the northern constellations.
How long did this take to make?
We actually do not know. Many of these objects were made in the 19th century and when the collectors/anthropologists/ethnologists collected them, they did not record that kind of information (and since the artist is no longer living, there is no way to get that information).
Is the servant still inside?
No, Teti's body is now currently in Museum storage.
What I meant to say is: is Teti okay?
Yes, Teti is just fine - he is kept in storage because the temperature and light can be more controlled allowing for better preservation of his remains. It was his wish-as was the wish of many ancient Egyptians-to be mummified when he passed away. 
What can you tell me about these butter dishes?
These were created in the United States in 1880 and they are made of a material called "milk glass."
The dish at the center of your image shows the figure of Uncle Sam sitting atop the Battleship Maine and is a souvenir of the Spanish American War (Uncle Sam actually serves as the handle for removing the top). This may be representative of the push towards patriotism that was being felt in the United States during this time period. The other dish has a portrait bust of Admiral Dewey, Admiral of the US Navy during the Civil War and the only man to hold that title. He sits atop a US shop and it actually says his last name 'DEWEY,' below his bust.
What species of bird is shown on the top of this chest?
The species depicted there is a falcon. This bird was the animal representation of the Egyptian god Sokar, a form of the sun-god sometimes combined with Osiris, god of the dead.
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.

Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
What is the significance of crocodiles in Egyptian art? Do they symbolize anything in particular?
Because they lived in the Nile river, crocodiles are a prevalent figure in Egyptian art (since they were a common animal).
Egyptians would worship the crocodile God Sobek which is associated with the Nile and the annual flood (and also with pharaonic power, fertility, and military prowess, but served additionally as a protective deity, invoked particularly for protection against the dangers presented by the Nile river). Crocodiles could also represent animals kept in the temple precinct, which were seen as manifestations of thebau, or powers, of the god. The image you are looking at, however, (the pregnant hippopotamus with a lion's mane, similar to the goddess Taweret, with a crocodile on her back and another nipping her paw) is often found in Egyptian astronomical texts and is connected with the northern constellations.
How long did this take to make?
We actually do not know. Many of these objects were made in the 19th century and when the collectors/anthropologists/ethnologists collected them, they did not record that kind of information (and since the artist is no longer living, there is no way to get that information).
Is the servant still inside?
No, Teti's body is now currently in Museum storage.
What I meant to say is: is Teti okay?
Yes, Teti is just fine - he is kept in storage because the temperature and light can be more controlled allowing for better preservation of his remains. It was his wish-as was the wish of many ancient Egyptians-to be mummified when he passed away. 
What can you tell me about these butter dishes?
These were created in the United States in 1880 and they are made of a material called "milk glass."
The dish at the center of your image shows the figure of Uncle Sam sitting atop the Battleship Maine and is a souvenir of the Spanish American War (Uncle Sam actually serves as the handle for removing the top). This may be representative of the push towards patriotism that was being felt in the United States during this time period. The other dish has a portrait bust of Admiral Dewey, Admiral of the US Navy during the Civil War and the only man to hold that title. He sits atop a US shop and it actually says his last name 'DEWEY,' below his bust.
What species of bird is shown on the top of this chest?
The species depicted there is a falcon. This bird was the animal representation of the Egyptian god Sokar, a form of the sun-god sometimes combined with Osiris, god of the dead.
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.

Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
What is the significance of crocodiles in Egyptian art? Do they symbolize anything in particular?
Because they lived in the Nile river, crocodiles are a prevalent figure in Egyptian art (since they were a common animal).
Egyptians would worship the crocodile God Sobek which is associated with the Nile and the annual flood (and also with pharaonic power, fertility, and military prowess, but served additionally as a protective deity, invoked particularly for protection against the dangers presented by the Nile river). Crocodiles could also represent animals kept in the temple precinct, which were seen as manifestations of thebau, or powers, of the god. The image you are looking at, however, (the pregnant hippopotamus with a lion's mane, similar to the goddess Taweret, with a crocodile on her back and another nipping her paw) is often found in Egyptian astronomical texts and is connected with the northern constellations.
How long did this take to make?
We actually do not know. Many of these objects were made in the 19th century and when the collectors/anthropologists/ethnologists collected them, they did not record that kind of information (and since the artist is no longer living, there is no way to get that information).
Is the servant still inside?
No, Teti's body is now currently in Museum storage.
What I meant to say is: is Teti okay?
Yes, Teti is just fine - he is kept in storage because the temperature and light can be more controlled allowing for better preservation of his remains. It was his wish-as was the wish of many ancient Egyptians-to be mummified when he passed away. 
What can you tell me about these butter dishes?
These were created in the United States in 1880 and they are made of a material called "milk glass."
The dish at the center of your image shows the figure of Uncle Sam sitting atop the Battleship Maine and is a souvenir of the Spanish American War (Uncle Sam actually serves as the handle for removing the top). This may be representative of the push towards patriotism that was being felt in the United States during this time period. The other dish has a portrait bust of Admiral Dewey, Admiral of the US Navy during the Civil War and the only man to hold that title. He sits atop a US shop and it actually says his last name 'DEWEY,' below his bust.
What species of bird is shown on the top of this chest?
The species depicted there is a falcon. This bird was the animal representation of the Egyptian god Sokar, a form of the sun-god sometimes combined with Osiris, god of the dead.
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.

Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
What is the significance of crocodiles in Egyptian art? Do they symbolize anything in particular?
Because they lived in the Nile river, crocodiles are a prevalent figure in Egyptian art (since they were a common animal).
Egyptians would worship the crocodile God Sobek which is associated with the Nile and the annual flood (and also with pharaonic power, fertility, and military prowess, but served additionally as a protective deity, invoked particularly for protection against the dangers presented by the Nile river). Crocodiles could also represent animals kept in the temple precinct, which were seen as manifestations of thebau, or powers, of the god. The image you are looking at, however, (the pregnant hippopotamus with a lion's mane, similar to the goddess Taweret, with a crocodile on her back and another nipping her paw) is often found in Egyptian astronomical texts and is connected with the northern constellations.
How long did this take to make?
We actually do not know. Many of these objects were made in the 19th century and when the collectors/anthropologists/ethnologists collected them, they did not record that kind of information (and since the artist is no longer living, there is no way to get that information).
Is the servant still inside?
No, Teti's body is now currently in Museum storage.
What I meant to say is: is Teti okay?
Yes, Teti is just fine - he is kept in storage because the temperature and light can be more controlled allowing for better preservation of his remains. It was his wish-as was the wish of many ancient Egyptians-to be mummified when he passed away. 
What can you tell me about these butter dishes?
These were created in the United States in 1880 and they are made of a material called "milk glass."
The dish at the center of your image shows the figure of Uncle Sam sitting atop the Battleship Maine and is a souvenir of the Spanish American War (Uncle Sam actually serves as the handle for removing the top). This may be representative of the push towards patriotism that was being felt in the United States during this time period. The other dish has a portrait bust of Admiral Dewey, Admiral of the US Navy during the Civil War and the only man to hold that title. He sits atop a US shop and it actually says his last name 'DEWEY,' below his bust.
What species of bird is shown on the top of this chest?
The species depicted there is a falcon. This bird was the animal representation of the Egyptian god Sokar, a form of the sun-god sometimes combined with Osiris, god of the dead.
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.

Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
What is the significance of crocodiles in Egyptian art? Do they symbolize anything in particular?
Because they lived in the Nile river, crocodiles are a prevalent figure in Egyptian art (since they were a common animal).
Egyptians would worship the crocodile God Sobek which is associated with the Nile and the annual flood (and also with pharaonic power, fertility, and military prowess, but served additionally as a protective deity, invoked particularly for protection against the dangers presented by the Nile river). Crocodiles could also represent animals kept in the temple precinct, which were seen as manifestations of thebau, or powers, of the god. The image you are looking at, however, (the pregnant hippopotamus with a lion's mane, similar to the goddess Taweret, with a crocodile on her back and another nipping her paw) is often found in Egyptian astronomical texts and is connected with the northern constellations.
How long did this take to make?
We actually do not know. Many of these objects were made in the 19th century and when the collectors/anthropologists/ethnologists collected them, they did not record that kind of information (and since the artist is no longer living, there is no way to get that information).
Is the servant still inside?
No, Teti's body is now currently in Museum storage.
What I meant to say is: is Teti okay?
Yes, Teti is just fine - he is kept in storage because the temperature and light can be more controlled allowing for better preservation of his remains. It was his wish-as was the wish of many ancient Egyptians-to be mummified when he passed away. 
What can you tell me about these butter dishes?
These were created in the United States in 1880 and they are made of a material called "milk glass."
The dish at the center of your image shows the figure of Uncle Sam sitting atop the Battleship Maine and is a souvenir of the Spanish American War (Uncle Sam actually serves as the handle for removing the top). This may be representative of the push towards patriotism that was being felt in the United States during this time period. The other dish has a portrait bust of Admiral Dewey, Admiral of the US Navy during the Civil War and the only man to hold that title. He sits atop a US shop and it actually says his last name 'DEWEY,' below his bust.
What species of bird is shown on the top of this chest?
The species depicted there is a falcon. This bird was the animal representation of the Egyptian god Sokar, a form of the sun-god sometimes combined with Osiris, god of the dead.
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.

Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
What is the significance of crocodiles in Egyptian art? Do they symbolize anything in particular?
Because they lived in the Nile river, crocodiles are a prevalent figure in Egyptian art (since they were a common animal).
Egyptians would worship the crocodile God Sobek which is associated with the Nile and the annual flood (and also with pharaonic power, fertility, and military prowess, but served additionally as a protective deity, invoked particularly for protection against the dangers presented by the Nile river). Crocodiles could also represent animals kept in the temple precinct, which were seen as manifestations of thebau, or powers, of the god. The image you are looking at, however, (the pregnant hippopotamus with a lion's mane, similar to the goddess Taweret, with a crocodile on her back and another nipping her paw) is often found in Egyptian astronomical texts and is connected with the northern constellations.
How long did this take to make?
We actually do not know. Many of these objects were made in the 19th century and when the collectors/anthropologists/ethnologists collected them, they did not record that kind of information (and since the artist is no longer living, there is no way to get that information).
Is the servant still inside?
No, Teti's body is now currently in Museum storage.
What I meant to say is: is Teti okay?
Yes, Teti is just fine - he is kept in storage because the temperature and light can be more controlled allowing for better preservation of his remains. It was his wish-as was the wish of many ancient Egyptians-to be mummified when he passed away. 
What can you tell me about these butter dishes?
These were created in the United States in 1880 and they are made of a material called "milk glass."
The dish at the center of your image shows the figure of Uncle Sam sitting atop the Battleship Maine and is a souvenir of the Spanish American War (Uncle Sam actually serves as the handle for removing the top). This may be representative of the push towards patriotism that was being felt in the United States during this time period. The other dish has a portrait bust of Admiral Dewey, Admiral of the US Navy during the Civil War and the only man to hold that title. He sits atop a US shop and it actually says his last name 'DEWEY,' below his bust.
What species of bird is shown on the top of this chest?
The species depicted there is a falcon. This bird was the animal representation of the Egyptian god Sokar, a form of the sun-god sometimes combined with Osiris, god of the dead.
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.

Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
What is the significance of crocodiles in Egyptian art? Do they symbolize anything in particular?
Because they lived in the Nile river, crocodiles are a prevalent figure in Egyptian art (since they were a common animal).
Egyptians would worship the crocodile God Sobek which is associated with the Nile and the annual flood (and also with pharaonic power, fertility, and military prowess, but served additionally as a protective deity, invoked particularly for protection against the dangers presented by the Nile river). Crocodiles could also represent animals kept in the temple precinct, which were seen as manifestations of thebau, or powers, of the god. The image you are looking at, however, (the pregnant hippopotamus with a lion's mane, similar to the goddess Taweret, with a crocodile on her back and another nipping her paw) is often found in Egyptian astronomical texts and is connected with the northern constellations.
How long did this take to make?
We actually do not know. Many of these objects were made in the 19th century and when the collectors/anthropologists/ethnologists collected them, they did not record that kind of information (and since the artist is no longer living, there is no way to get that information).
Is the servant still inside?
No, Teti's body is now currently in Museum storage.
What I meant to say is: is Teti okay?
Yes, Teti is just fine - he is kept in storage because the temperature and light can be more controlled allowing for better preservation of his remains. It was his wish-as was the wish of many ancient Egyptians-to be mummified when he passed away. 
What can you tell me about these butter dishes?
These were created in the United States in 1880 and they are made of a material called "milk glass."
The dish at the center of your image shows the figure of Uncle Sam sitting atop the Battleship Maine and is a souvenir of the Spanish American War (Uncle Sam actually serves as the handle for removing the top). This may be representative of the push towards patriotism that was being felt in the United States during this time period. The other dish has a portrait bust of Admiral Dewey, Admiral of the US Navy during the Civil War and the only man to hold that title. He sits atop a US shop and it actually says his last name 'DEWEY,' below his bust.
What species of bird is shown on the top of this chest?
The species depicted there is a falcon. This bird was the animal representation of the Egyptian god Sokar, a form of the sun-god sometimes combined with Osiris, god of the dead.
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.

Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
What is the significance of crocodiles in Egyptian art? Do they symbolize anything in particular?
Because they lived in the Nile river, crocodiles are a prevalent figure in Egyptian art (since they were a common animal).
Egyptians would worship the crocodile God Sobek which is associated with the Nile and the annual flood (and also with pharaonic power, fertility, and military prowess, but served additionally as a protective deity, invoked particularly for protection against the dangers presented by the Nile river). Crocodiles could also represent animals kept in the temple precinct, which were seen as manifestations of thebau, or powers, of the god. The image you are looking at, however, (the pregnant hippopotamus with a lion's mane, similar to the goddess Taweret, with a crocodile on her back and another nipping her paw) is often found in Egyptian astronomical texts and is connected with the northern constellations.
How long did this take to make?
We actually do not know. Many of these objects were made in the 19th century and when the collectors/anthropologists/ethnologists collected them, they did not record that kind of information (and since the artist is no longer living, there is no way to get that information).
Is the servant still inside?
No, Teti's body is now currently in Museum storage.
What I meant to say is: is Teti okay?
Yes, Teti is just fine - he is kept in storage because the temperature and light can be more controlled allowing for better preservation of his remains. It was his wish-as was the wish of many ancient Egyptians-to be mummified when he passed away. 
What can you tell me about these butter dishes?
These were created in the United States in 1880 and they are made of a material called "milk glass."
The dish at the center of your image shows the figure of Uncle Sam sitting atop the Battleship Maine and is a souvenir of the Spanish American War (Uncle Sam actually serves as the handle for removing the top). This may be representative of the push towards patriotism that was being felt in the United States during this time period. The other dish has a portrait bust of Admiral Dewey, Admiral of the US Navy during the Civil War and the only man to hold that title. He sits atop a US shop and it actually says his last name 'DEWEY,' below his bust.
What species of bird is shown on the top of this chest?
The species depicted there is a falcon. This bird was the animal representation of the Egyptian god Sokar, a form of the sun-god sometimes combined with Osiris, god of the dead.
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.

Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
What is the significance of crocodiles in Egyptian art? Do they symbolize anything in particular?
Because they lived in the Nile river, crocodiles are a prevalent figure in Egyptian art (since they were a common animal).
Egyptians would worship the crocodile God Sobek which is associated with the Nile and the annual flood (and also with pharaonic power, fertility, and military prowess, but served additionally as a protective deity, invoked particularly for protection against the dangers presented by the Nile river). Crocodiles could also represent animals kept in the temple precinct, which were seen as manifestations of thebau, or powers, of the god. The image you are looking at, however, (the pregnant hippopotamus with a lion's mane, similar to the goddess Taweret, with a crocodile on her back and another nipping her paw) is often found in Egyptian astronomical texts and is connected with the northern constellations.
How long did this take to make?
We actually do not know. Many of these objects were made in the 19th century and when the collectors/anthropologists/ethnologists collected them, they did not record that kind of information (and since the artist is no longer living, there is no way to get that information).
Is the servant still inside?
No, Teti's body is now currently in Museum storage.
What I meant to say is: is Teti okay?
Yes, Teti is just fine - he is kept in storage because the temperature and light can be more controlled allowing for better preservation of his remains. It was his wish-as was the wish of many ancient Egyptians-to be mummified when he passed away. 
What can you tell me about these butter dishes?
These were created in the United States in 1880 and they are made of a material called "milk glass."
The dish at the center of your image shows the figure of Uncle Sam sitting atop the Battleship Maine and is a souvenir of the Spanish American War (Uncle Sam actually serves as the handle for removing the top). This may be representative of the push towards patriotism that was being felt in the United States during this time period. The other dish has a portrait bust of Admiral Dewey, Admiral of the US Navy during the Civil War and the only man to hold that title. He sits atop a US shop and it actually says his last name 'DEWEY,' below his bust.
What species of bird is shown on the top of this chest?
The species depicted there is a falcon. This bird was the animal representation of the Egyptian god Sokar, a form of the sun-god sometimes combined with Osiris, god of the dead.
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.

Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
What is the significance of crocodiles in Egyptian art? Do they symbolize anything in particular?
Because they lived in the Nile river, crocodiles are a prevalent figure in Egyptian art (since they were a common animal).
Egyptians would worship the crocodile God Sobek which is associated with the Nile and the annual flood (and also with pharaonic power, fertility, and military prowess, but served additionally as a protective deity, invoked particularly for protection against the dangers presented by the Nile river). Crocodiles could also represent animals kept in the temple precinct, which were seen as manifestations of thebau, or powers, of the god. The image you are looking at, however, (the pregnant hippopotamus with a lion's mane, similar to the goddess Taweret, with a crocodile on her back and another nipping her paw) is often found in Egyptian astronomical texts and is connected with the northern constellations.
How long did this take to make?
We actually do not know. Many of these objects were made in the 19th century and when the collectors/anthropologists/ethnologists collected them, they did not record that kind of information (and since the artist is no longer living, there is no way to get that information).
Is the servant still inside?
No, Teti's body is now currently in Museum storage.
What I meant to say is: is Teti okay?
Yes, Teti is just fine - he is kept in storage because the temperature and light can be more controlled allowing for better preservation of his remains. It was his wish-as was the wish of many ancient Egyptians-to be mummified when he passed away. 
What can you tell me about these butter dishes?
These were created in the United States in 1880 and they are made of a material called "milk glass."
The dish at the center of your image shows the figure of Uncle Sam sitting atop the Battleship Maine and is a souvenir of the Spanish American War (Uncle Sam actually serves as the handle for removing the top). This may be representative of the push towards patriotism that was being felt in the United States during this time period. The other dish has a portrait bust of Admiral Dewey, Admiral of the US Navy during the Civil War and the only man to hold that title. He sits atop a US shop and it actually says his last name 'DEWEY,' below his bust.
What species of bird is shown on the top of this chest?
The species depicted there is a falcon. This bird was the animal representation of the Egyptian god Sokar, a form of the sun-god sometimes combined with Osiris, god of the dead.
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.

Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
What is the significance of crocodiles in Egyptian art? Do they symbolize anything in particular?
Because they lived in the Nile river, crocodiles are a prevalent figure in Egyptian art (since they were a common animal).
Egyptians would worship the crocodile God Sobek which is associated with the Nile and the annual flood (and also with pharaonic power, fertility, and military prowess, but served additionally as a protective deity, invoked particularly for protection against the dangers presented by the Nile river). Crocodiles could also represent animals kept in the temple precinct, which were seen as manifestations of thebau, or powers, of the god. The image you are looking at, however, (the pregnant hippopotamus with a lion's mane, similar to the goddess Taweret, with a crocodile on her back and another nipping her paw) is often found in Egyptian astronomical texts and is connected with the northern constellations.
How long did this take to make?
We actually do not know. Many of these objects were made in the 19th century and when the collectors/anthropologists/ethnologists collected them, they did not record that kind of information (and since the artist is no longer living, there is no way to get that information).
Is the servant still inside?
No, Teti's body is now currently in Museum storage.
What I meant to say is: is Teti okay?
Yes, Teti is just fine - he is kept in storage because the temperature and light can be more controlled allowing for better preservation of his remains. It was his wish-as was the wish of many ancient Egyptians-to be mummified when he passed away. 
What can you tell me about these butter dishes?
These were created in the United States in 1880 and they are made of a material called "milk glass."
The dish at the center of your image shows the figure of Uncle Sam sitting atop the Battleship Maine and is a souvenir of the Spanish American War (Uncle Sam actually serves as the handle for removing the top). This may be representative of the push towards patriotism that was being felt in the United States during this time period. The other dish has a portrait bust of Admiral Dewey, Admiral of the US Navy during the Civil War and the only man to hold that title. He sits atop a US shop and it actually says his last name 'DEWEY,' below his bust.
What species of bird is shown on the top of this chest?
The species depicted there is a falcon. This bird was the animal representation of the Egyptian god Sokar, a form of the sun-god sometimes combined with Osiris, god of the dead.
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.

Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
What is the significance of crocodiles in Egyptian art? Do they symbolize anything in particular?
Because they lived in the Nile river, crocodiles are a prevalent figure in Egyptian art (since they were a common animal).
Egyptians would worship the crocodile God Sobek which is associated with the Nile and the annual flood (and also with pharaonic power, fertility, and military prowess, but served additionally as a protective deity, invoked particularly for protection against the dangers presented by the Nile river). Crocodiles could also represent animals kept in the temple precinct, which were seen as manifestations of thebau, or powers, of the god. The image you are looking at, however, (the pregnant hippopotamus with a lion's mane, similar to the goddess Taweret, with a crocodile on her back and another nipping her paw) is often found in Egyptian astronomical texts and is connected with the northern constellations.
How long did this take to make?
We actually do not know. Many of these objects were made in the 19th century and when the collectors/anthropologists/ethnologists collected them, they did not record that kind of information (and since the artist is no longer living, there is no way to get that information).
Is the servant still inside?
No, Teti's body is now currently in Museum storage.
What I meant to say is: is Teti okay?
Yes, Teti is just fine - he is kept in storage because the temperature and light can be more controlled allowing for better preservation of his remains. It was his wish-as was the wish of many ancient Egyptians-to be mummified when he passed away. 
What can you tell me about these butter dishes?
These were created in the United States in 1880 and they are made of a material called "milk glass."
The dish at the center of your image shows the figure of Uncle Sam sitting atop the Battleship Maine and is a souvenir of the Spanish American War (Uncle Sam actually serves as the handle for removing the top). This may be representative of the push towards patriotism that was being felt in the United States during this time period. The other dish has a portrait bust of Admiral Dewey, Admiral of the US Navy during the Civil War and the only man to hold that title. He sits atop a US shop and it actually says his last name 'DEWEY,' below his bust.
What species of bird is shown on the top of this chest?
The species depicted there is a falcon. This bird was the animal representation of the Egyptian god Sokar, a form of the sun-god sometimes combined with Osiris, god of the dead.
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.

Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
What is the significance of crocodiles in Egyptian art? Do they symbolize anything in particular?
Because they lived in the Nile river, crocodiles are a prevalent figure in Egyptian art (since they were a common animal).
Egyptians would worship the crocodile God Sobek which is associated with the Nile and the annual flood (and also with pharaonic power, fertility, and military prowess, but served additionally as a protective deity, invoked particularly for protection against the dangers presented by the Nile river). Crocodiles could also represent animals kept in the temple precinct, which were seen as manifestations of thebau, or powers, of the god. The image you are looking at, however, (the pregnant hippopotamus with a lion's mane, similar to the goddess Taweret, with a crocodile on her back and another nipping her paw) is often found in Egyptian astronomical texts and is connected with the northern constellations.
How long did this take to make?
We actually do not know. Many of these objects were made in the 19th century and when the collectors/anthropologists/ethnologists collected them, they did not record that kind of information (and since the artist is no longer living, there is no way to get that information).
Is the servant still inside?
No, Teti's body is now currently in Museum storage.
What I meant to say is: is Teti okay?
Yes, Teti is just fine - he is kept in storage because the temperature and light can be more controlled allowing for better preservation of his remains. It was his wish-as was the wish of many ancient Egyptians-to be mummified when he passed away. 
What can you tell me about these butter dishes?
These were created in the United States in 1880 and they are made of a material called "milk glass."
The dish at the center of your image shows the figure of Uncle Sam sitting atop the Battleship Maine and is a souvenir of the Spanish American War (Uncle Sam actually serves as the handle for removing the top). This may be representative of the push towards patriotism that was being felt in the United States during this time period. The other dish has a portrait bust of Admiral Dewey, Admiral of the US Navy during the Civil War and the only man to hold that title. He sits atop a US shop and it actually says his last name 'DEWEY,' below his bust.
What species of bird is shown on the top of this chest?
The species depicted there is a falcon. This bird was the animal representation of the Egyptian god Sokar, a form of the sun-god sometimes combined with Osiris, god of the dead.
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.

Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
What is the significance of crocodiles in Egyptian art? Do they symbolize anything in particular?
Because they lived in the Nile river, crocodiles are a prevalent figure in Egyptian art (since they were a common animal).
Egyptians would worship the crocodile God Sobek which is associated with the Nile and the annual flood (and also with pharaonic power, fertility, and military prowess, but served additionally as a protective deity, invoked particularly for protection against the dangers presented by the Nile river). Crocodiles could also represent animals kept in the temple precinct, which were seen as manifestations of thebau, or powers, of the god. The image you are looking at, however, (the pregnant hippopotamus with a lion's mane, similar to the goddess Taweret, with a crocodile on her back and another nipping her paw) is often found in Egyptian astronomical texts and is connected with the northern constellations.
How long did this take to make?
We actually do not know. Many of these objects were made in the 19th century and when the collectors/anthropologists/ethnologists collected them, they did not record that kind of information (and since the artist is no longer living, there is no way to get that information).
Is the servant still inside?
No, Teti's body is now currently in Museum storage.
What I meant to say is: is Teti okay?
Yes, Teti is just fine - he is kept in storage because the temperature and light can be more controlled allowing for better preservation of his remains. It was his wish-as was the wish of many ancient Egyptians-to be mummified when he passed away. 
What can you tell me about these butter dishes?
These were created in the United States in 1880 and they are made of a material called "milk glass."
The dish at the center of your image shows the figure of Uncle Sam sitting atop the Battleship Maine and is a souvenir of the Spanish American War (Uncle Sam actually serves as the handle for removing the top). This may be representative of the push towards patriotism that was being felt in the United States during this time period. The other dish has a portrait bust of Admiral Dewey, Admiral of the US Navy during the Civil War and the only man to hold that title. He sits atop a US shop and it actually says his last name 'DEWEY,' below his bust.
What species of bird is shown on the top of this chest?
The species depicted there is a falcon. This bird was the animal representation of the Egyptian god Sokar, a form of the sun-god sometimes combined with Osiris, god of the dead.
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.

Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
What is the significance of crocodiles in Egyptian art? Do they symbolize anything in particular?
Because they lived in the Nile river, crocodiles are a prevalent figure in Egyptian art (since they were a common animal).
Egyptians would worship the crocodile God Sobek which is associated with the Nile and the annual flood (and also with pharaonic power, fertility, and military prowess, but served additionally as a protective deity, invoked particularly for protection against the dangers presented by the Nile river). Crocodiles could also represent animals kept in the temple precinct, which were seen as manifestations of thebau, or powers, of the god. The image you are looking at, however, (the pregnant hippopotamus with a lion's mane, similar to the goddess Taweret, with a crocodile on her back and another nipping her paw) is often found in Egyptian astronomical texts and is connected with the northern constellations.
How long did this take to make?
We actually do not know. Many of these objects were made in the 19th century and when the collectors/anthropologists/ethnologists collected them, they did not record that kind of information (and since the artist is no longer living, there is no way to get that information).
Is the servant still inside?
No, Teti's body is now currently in Museum storage.
What I meant to say is: is Teti okay?
Yes, Teti is just fine - he is kept in storage because the temperature and light can be more controlled allowing for better preservation of his remains. It was his wish-as was the wish of many ancient Egyptians-to be mummified when he passed away. 
What can you tell me about these butter dishes?
These were created in the United States in 1880 and they are made of a material called "milk glass."
The dish at the center of your image shows the figure of Uncle Sam sitting atop the Battleship Maine and is a souvenir of the Spanish American War (Uncle Sam actually serves as the handle for removing the top). This may be representative of the push towards patriotism that was being felt in the United States during this time period. The other dish has a portrait bust of Admiral Dewey, Admiral of the US Navy during the Civil War and the only man to hold that title. He sits atop a US shop and it actually says his last name 'DEWEY,' below his bust.
What species of bird is shown on the top of this chest?
The species depicted there is a falcon. This bird was the animal representation of the Egyptian god Sokar, a form of the sun-god sometimes combined with Osiris, god of the dead.
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.

Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
What is the significance of crocodiles in Egyptian art? Do they symbolize anything in particular?
Because they lived in the Nile river, crocodiles are a prevalent figure in Egyptian art (since they were a common animal).
Egyptians would worship the crocodile God Sobek which is associated with the Nile and the annual flood (and also with pharaonic power, fertility, and military prowess, but served additionally as a protective deity, invoked particularly for protection against the dangers presented by the Nile river). Crocodiles could also represent animals kept in the temple precinct, which were seen as manifestations of thebau, or powers, of the god. The image you are looking at, however, (the pregnant hippopotamus with a lion's mane, similar to the goddess Taweret, with a crocodile on her back and another nipping her paw) is often found in Egyptian astronomical texts and is connected with the northern constellations.
How long did this take to make?
We actually do not know. Many of these objects were made in the 19th century and when the collectors/anthropologists/ethnologists collected them, they did not record that kind of information (and since the artist is no longer living, there is no way to get that information).
Is the servant still inside?
No, Teti's body is now currently in Museum storage.
What I meant to say is: is Teti okay?
Yes, Teti is just fine - he is kept in storage because the temperature and light can be more controlled allowing for better preservation of his remains. It was his wish-as was the wish of many ancient Egyptians-to be mummified when he passed away. 
What can you tell me about these butter dishes?
These were created in the United States in 1880 and they are made of a material called "milk glass."
The dish at the center of your image shows the figure of Uncle Sam sitting atop the Battleship Maine and is a souvenir of the Spanish American War (Uncle Sam actually serves as the handle for removing the top). This may be representative of the push towards patriotism that was being felt in the United States during this time period. The other dish has a portrait bust of Admiral Dewey, Admiral of the US Navy during the Civil War and the only man to hold that title. He sits atop a US shop and it actually says his last name 'DEWEY,' below his bust.
What species of bird is shown on the top of this chest?
The species depicted there is a falcon. This bird was the animal representation of the Egyptian god Sokar, a form of the sun-god sometimes combined with Osiris, god of the dead.
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.

Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
What is the significance of crocodiles in Egyptian art? Do they symbolize anything in particular?
Because they lived in the Nile river, crocodiles are a prevalent figure in Egyptian art (since they were a common animal).
Egyptians would worship the crocodile God Sobek which is associated with the Nile and the annual flood (and also with pharaonic power, fertility, and military prowess, but served additionally as a protective deity, invoked particularly for protection against the dangers presented by the Nile river). Crocodiles could also represent animals kept in the temple precinct, which were seen as manifestations of thebau, or powers, of the god. The image you are looking at, however, (the pregnant hippopotamus with a lion's mane, similar to the goddess Taweret, with a crocodile on her back and another nipping her paw) is often found in Egyptian astronomical texts and is connected with the northern constellations.
How long did this take to make?
We actually do not know. Many of these objects were made in the 19th century and when the collectors/anthropologists/ethnologists collected them, they did not record that kind of information (and since the artist is no longer living, there is no way to get that information).
Is the servant still inside?
No, Teti's body is now currently in Museum storage.
What I meant to say is: is Teti okay?
Yes, Teti is just fine - he is kept in storage because the temperature and light can be more controlled allowing for better preservation of his remains. It was his wish-as was the wish of many ancient Egyptians-to be mummified when he passed away. 
What can you tell me about these butter dishes?
These were created in the United States in 1880 and they are made of a material called "milk glass."
The dish at the center of your image shows the figure of Uncle Sam sitting atop the Battleship Maine and is a souvenir of the Spanish American War (Uncle Sam actually serves as the handle for removing the top). This may be representative of the push towards patriotism that was being felt in the United States during this time period. The other dish has a portrait bust of Admiral Dewey, Admiral of the US Navy during the Civil War and the only man to hold that title. He sits atop a US shop and it actually says his last name 'DEWEY,' below his bust.
What species of bird is shown on the top of this chest?
The species depicted there is a falcon. This bird was the animal representation of the Egyptian god Sokar, a form of the sun-god sometimes combined with Osiris, god of the dead.
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.

Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
What is the significance of crocodiles in Egyptian art? Do they symbolize anything in particular?
Because they lived in the Nile river, crocodiles are a prevalent figure in Egyptian art (since they were a common animal).
Egyptians would worship the crocodile God Sobek which is associated with the Nile and the annual flood (and also with pharaonic power, fertility, and military prowess, but served additionally as a protective deity, invoked particularly for protection against the dangers presented by the Nile river). Crocodiles could also represent animals kept in the temple precinct, which were seen as manifestations of thebau, or powers, of the god. The image you are looking at, however, (the pregnant hippopotamus with a lion's mane, similar to the goddess Taweret, with a crocodile on her back and another nipping her paw) is often found in Egyptian astronomical texts and is connected with the northern constellations.
How long did this take to make?
We actually do not know. Many of these objects were made in the 19th century and when the collectors/anthropologists/ethnologists collected them, they did not record that kind of information (and since the artist is no longer living, there is no way to get that information).
Is the servant still inside?
No, Teti's body is now currently in Museum storage.
What I meant to say is: is Teti okay?
Yes, Teti is just fine - he is kept in storage because the temperature and light can be more controlled allowing for better preservation of his remains. It was his wish-as was the wish of many ancient Egyptians-to be mummified when he passed away. 
What can you tell me about these butter dishes?
These were created in the United States in 1880 and they are made of a material called "milk glass."
The dish at the center of your image shows the figure of Uncle Sam sitting atop the Battleship Maine and is a souvenir of the Spanish American War (Uncle Sam actually serves as the handle for removing the top). This may be representative of the push towards patriotism that was being felt in the United States during this time period. The other dish has a portrait bust of Admiral Dewey, Admiral of the US Navy during the Civil War and the only man to hold that title. He sits atop a US shop and it actually says his last name 'DEWEY,' below his bust.
What species of bird is shown on the top of this chest?
The species depicted there is a falcon. This bird was the animal representation of the Egyptian god Sokar, a form of the sun-god sometimes combined with Osiris, god of the dead.
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.

Why are the nails in the figure different shapes?
The nails are different shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured and machine made, and others appear to be hand made. This actually reflects how the object was used, and that it was used by a community over time. The nails are also indicative of changes in the market, a larger sociopolitical environment of the time (the presence of Belgian colonials and access to manufactured goods). This was a figure that was used within the community by a diviner (ritual expert) as this figure embodied the power or spirit of an ancestor. It could be used to resolve conflicts within the community; an agreement would be made and the nail pounded into the power figure by the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) functioned as a way to invoke the spirit - like releasing the power of the spirit - to bind the agreement.
Specifically, the power figure was an object that was used within a community and each of the nails would have been placed in the body of the power figure by the nganga ( the person who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community). The nganga could recall which nail was associated with which invocation. The nails were placed in the body to release the power of the ancestor. It was believed that the object was imbued with the spirit and power of an ancestor.
Scholarship focused on the Power Figure are theories since it is longer used. Some scholars have suggested that long, iron, round, or square nails may have been used for more serious crimes such as murder or to seal an argument with a solemn vow. Rectangular blades may represent less serious crimes. Blades with flared heads may have been believed to have power to kill supernaturally, and other items like screws were used for other types of conflicts. Some nails have rags or hair wrapped around them so that the nganga (who was responsible for keeping the judicial harmony of the community) could recall which nail was associated with which invocation.
How did Mounir Fatmi come up with this piece, and how did the process of fabrication work (i.e. did he design the prayer rugs and affix them to the skateboard himself)?
Fatmi says that his work deals with the desecration of religious objects and the end of dogmas and ideologies...putting prayer rugs on skateboards definitely fits in this theme. (the fact that skateboarding culture is a counter-culture not normally associated with religious iconography and/or the fact that you would have to place your dirty shoe on the rug to properly "use" the board).
The prayer rugs are also a commodity, sold at the market. So an object normally associated with the 'sacred' comes at a price. By putting them slap-dab on top of another commodity (the skateboard), the sacred and commercial lose their differentiation from each other.
I am not quite sure if Fatmi designs the rug designs himself or if he himself affixes the rugs to the skate deck, but we do know they are commercially purchased. I'll leave you with a quote from a review of this installation by Blaire Dessent for Vitrine Projects: "In the case of Maximum Sensation, it’s a reminder that cultural codes have shifted. Identity cannot be defined by only one construct. Stereotypes need to be checked and assumptions reconsidered."
Was Vereshchagin a soldier ?
Vereshchagin wasn't a soldier, but he did volunteer as a staff member for the Russian army at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877 (He was assigned without salary or uniform to the staff of General Dmitry Skobelev in Bulgaria). He saw himself more as an artist and a documenter of the war. He often traveled with the military so he could witness combat and paint battle scenes, but was actually very critical of the war and the actions of the Russian military.
Horrified and deeply affected by what he had seen, Vereshchagin had created these paintings as open anti-war statements. He has said: "As an artist, what I am faced with is war, and I bash it with as much strength as I have; whether my blows are effective-that is another question, a question of my talent, but I bash it with all my might and without mercy."
Who made this and who is this a sculpture of?
This sculpture, "Standing Woman," was created by the American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. The woman depicted is probably his wife, Isabel Nagle.
- Do you have any information regarding the people depicted in this work?
No, we do not know exactly who the people depicted in this piece are, but this is part of the content of the work--that the people portrayed are anonymous (with their backs to us, wearing unassuming clothing). In passing in front of the work and/or contemplating it, we become part of it. It is part performance, part painting!
What is the significance of crocodiles in Egyptian art? Do they symbolize anything in particular?
Because they lived in the Nile river, crocodiles are a prevalent figure in Egyptian art (since they were a common animal).
Egyptians would worship the crocodile God Sobek which is associated with the Nile and the annual flood (and also with pharaonic power, fertility, and military prowess, but served additionally as a protective deity, invoked particularly for protection against the dangers presented by the Nile river). Crocodiles could also represent animals kept in the temple precinct, which were seen as manifestations of thebau, or powers, of the god. The image you are looking at, however, (the pregnant hippopotamus with a lion's mane, similar to the goddess Taweret, with a crocodile on her back and another nipping her paw) is often found in Egyptian astronomical texts and is connected with the northern constellations.
How long did this take to make?
We actually do not know. Many of these objects were made in the 19th century and when the collectors/anthropologists/ethnologists collected them, they did not record that kind of information (and since the artist is no longer living, there is no way to get that information).
Is the servant still inside?
No, Teti's body is now currently in Museum storage.
What I meant to say is: is Teti okay?
Yes, Teti is just fine - he is kept in storage because the temperature and light can be more controlled allowing for better preservation of his remains. It was his wish-as was the wish of many ancient Egyptians-to be mummified when he passed away. 
What can you tell me about these butter dishes?
These were created in the United States in 1880 and they are made of a material called "milk glass."
The dish at the center of your image shows the figure of Uncle Sam sitting atop the Battleship Maine and is a souvenir of the Spanish American War (Uncle Sam actually serves as the handle for removing the top). This may be representative of the push towards patriotism that was being felt in the United States during this time period. The other dish has a portrait bust of Admiral Dewey, Admiral of the US Navy during the Civil War and the only man to hold that title. He sits atop a US shop and it actually says his last name 'DEWEY,' below his bust.
What species of bird is shown on the top of this chest?
The species depicted there is a falcon. This bird was the animal representation of the Egyptian god Sokar, a form of the sun-god sometimes combined with Osiris, god of the dead.
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.