Sunday, March 4, 2018

Easter Island Moai

This is a real Eastern Island Moai. It is from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. Here is a description of the statue:
The Smithsonian’s two monumental Easter Island stone figures, or moai, represent some of the most popular and intriguing exhibits at the National Museum of Natural History. Since their arrival in 1887, one or both has always been on exhibit. Exceedingly rare, the statues—one a complete statue, the other a head—remain today the only such figures in a public museum in the United States.

These distinctive stone figures are a quintessential feature of Easter Island, or Rapa Nui. Most of them were made between the years 1100 and 1680, and are carved primarily out of volcanic tuff (solidified ash) from the extinct volcano, Rano Raraku. To date, a total of 887 are known to have been made, though many never made it out of the volcanic quarry. Each statue likely represented the deceased head of a lineage, and many were positioned on stone temple platforms facing inland to keep watch over their respective communities. 
These icons of the Pacific have been well known to outsiders since the time of Captain Cook’s visit in 1774. The British collected a very significant statue, known as Hoa Hakananai’a, in 1868, the first statue to be removed from the island. A few years later, Britain’s great rival, the French, also came and carried away a stone figure. Both figures have always been prominently displayed, and are today at the British Museum in London and the Musée du quai Branly in Paris.

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