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RAPA NUI - EASTER ISLAND



This moai measures, platform included, 14 meters. It has a pukao, a volcanic scoria cylinder, on his head.

 

 


 

MOAI, STONE GIANTS

838 moai have been recorded on the island.

These statues were the embodiment of the spirits of the gods or the ancestors.
Each clan of the island had its own, erected on a sacred platform. The majority of this platforms, called ahu, served as burial places and were built along the coast.

Looking towards the center of the island from the coast, the moai spread a protective cloak over a lineage and its members' territory.

 

 

DO YOU KNOW IT ?

South face of the Rano Raraku volcano, also called the moai's quarry.

 


A CHOICE MATERIAL

The megaliths have mostly been carved in the Rano Raraku's volcanic rock. This material was used for its extraordinary maleability.
Made of compact volcanic ash with incrustations of small pieces of basalt, this lapilli tuff had very good workability characteristics.

The carving was entirely realised in the quarry, before breaging the figure towards its final destination.


MOVED BY A SUPREME STRENGTH

The legend says that the moai were moved by a supreme strength, the mana.Thanks to it, they walked by themselves until their platform. But in reality, the operation required a great deal of strength and time.
It seems that the Rapa Nui didn't have enough wood to make the statues roll on trunks. They very likely moved the figures in standing position, pulling by ropes to perform small turns in an alterning fashion.

MOAI TE PARO : GIANT AMONG GIANTS

Moai Te Paro is the largest moai ever erected on the island. Today overturned, it measured 10 meters high, without counting the additional 2 meters of the pukao at the top, and weighed 80 tons. Its platform, Ahu Te Pito Kura, is located around six kilometers away from the quarry. According to scientifics calculations, this moai must have required one year for 30 men to carve it out, two months for 90 men to haul it from the quarry, and five months for 90 men to install it on the platform.

At the quarry of Rano Raraku, there is an image measuring 21.65 meters in length, known as Te Tokanga which, although not cut out and released from its niche, would have weighed more than 200 tons, something that is still unthinkable for even the most modern technology.

Moai's evolution from the 12th to the 18th century.

A VIOLENT DECAY

With the time, the realisations were more and more designed and huge. The drastic changes of the climate and the scarcity of the supplies drived the Rapa Nui in a megalomaniac circle : they tried to calm down the gods and the ancestors.

This crisis caused tribal wars at the end of the 18th century. The adversary's statues were overturned during the batles. The saved ones have been overturned or stolen by the Westerners in the 19th century. It's only in the course of the 20th century, that some statues have been erected again by scientifics or foreign benefactors.