Atlantis Arisen

Ancient Mysteries => Easter Island => Topic started by: Deanna Witmer on October 19, 2010, 01:17:09 pm

Title: Moai
Post by: Deanna Witmer on October 19, 2010, 01:17:09 pm

Moai, or moai (pronounced /ˈmoʊ.aɪ/), are monolithic human figures carved from rock on the Polynesian island of Easter Island, Chile between the years 1250 and 1500.[1] Nearly half are still at Rano Raraku, the main moai quarry, but hundreds were transported from there and set on stone platforms called ahu around the island's perimeter. Almost all moai have overly large heads three-fifths the size of their bodies. The moai are chiefly the living faces (aringa ora) of deified ancestors (aringa ora ata tepuna).[2] The statues still gazed inland across their clan lands when Europeans first visited the island, but most would be cast down during later conflicts between clans.

The 887 statues'[3] production and transportation is considered a remarkable creative and physical feat.[4] The tallest moai erected, called Paro, was almost 10 metres (33 ft) high and weighed 75 tonnes;[5] the heaviest erected was a shorter but squatter moai at Ahu Tongariki, weighing 86 tons; and one unfinished sculpture, if completed, would have been approximately 21 metres (69 ft) tall with a weight of about 270 tons.

Title: Re: Moai
Post by: Deanna Witmer on October 19, 2010, 01:17:50 pm

Moai facing inland at Ahu Tongariki, restored by Chilean archaeologist Claudio Cristino in the 1990s

Title: Re: Moai
Post by: Deanna Witmer on October 19, 2010, 01:18:25 pm

Six of the fifteen moai at Ahu Tongariki

Title: Re: Moai
Post by: Deanna Witmer on October 19, 2010, 01:18:58 pm

Moai set in the hillside at Rano Raraku

Title: Re: Moai
Post by: Deanna Witmer on October 19, 2010, 01:19:23 pm
The moai are monolithic statues, their minimalist style related to forms found throughout Polynesia. Moai are carved in relatively flat planes, the faces bearing proud but enigmatic expressions. The over-large heads (a three-to-five ratio between the head and the body, 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. The jaw lines stand out against the truncated neck. The torsos are heavy, and, sometimes, the clavicles are subtly outlined in stone. The arms are carved in bas relief and rest against the body in various positions, hands and long slender fingers resting along the crests of the hips, meeting at the hami (loincloth), with the thumbs sometimes pointing towards the navel. Generally, the anatomical details of the backs are not detailed, but sometimes bear a ring and girdle motif on the buttocks and lower back. Except for one kneeling moai, the statues do not have legs.

Though moai are whole-body statues, they are commonly referred to as "Easter Island heads". This is partly because of the disproportionate size of most moai heads and partly because, from the invention of photography until the 1950s, the only moai standing on the island were the statues on the slopes of Rano Raraku, many of which are buried to their shoulders. Some of the "heads" at Rano Raraku have been excavated and their bodies seen, and observed to have markings that had been protected from erosion by their burial.

All but 53 of the 887 moai known to date were carved from tuff (a compressed volcanic ash). At the end of carving, the builders would rub the statue with pumice from Rano Raraku, where 394 moai and incomplete moai are still visible today (there are also 13 moai carved from basalt, 22 from trachyte and 17 from fragile red scoria).[6]