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Easter Island Moai

Easter Island

Easter Island Moai

Easter Island

Ahu Togariki, the largest moai on Easter Island, stares out at the Pacific Ocean. Moai are ancient statues of men carved out of huge pieces of rock. Easter Island, also called Rapa Nui. Is the southernmost point of the Polynesian Triangle, and had a flourishing Polynesian culture until the 1700s. By that time. The Rapa Nui civilization had overexploited, or used up, too many of the island’s resources, including fresh water, vegetation such as nuts and palms, and animals such as fish. By the time European explorers arrived in the 1700s, the culture was dwindling and many of the moai broken.

The moai are monolithic statues, and their minimalist style reflects forms found throughout Polynesia.

He over-large heads (a three-to-five ratio between the head and the trunk, a sculptural trait that demonstrates the Polynesian belief in the sanctity of the chiefly head) have heavy brows and elongated noses with a distinctive fish-hook-shaped curl of the nostrils. The lips protrude in a thin pout. Like the nose, the ears are elongated and oblong in form.

Easter Island statues are known for their large, broad noses and big chins.

Along with rectangle-shaped ears and deep eye slits. Their bodies are normally squatting, with their arms resting in different positions and are without legs. The majority of the ahu are found along the coast and face inland towards the community. There are some inland ahu such as Ahu Akivi. These moai face the community but given the small size of the island, also appear to face the coast.

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The more recent moai had pukao on their heads, which represent the topknot of the chieftains. According to local tradition, the mana was preserved in the hair. The pukao were carved out of red scoria. A very light rock from a quarry at Puna Pau. Red itself is considered a sacred color in Polynesia. The added pukao suggest a further status to the moai.

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There are some inland ahu such as Ahu Akivi. These moai face the community but given the small size of the island, also appear to face the coast.

There are some inland ahu such as Ahu Akivi. These moai face the community but given the small size of the island, also appear to face the coast.

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