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Moai, who represent? are ancestral deities? The Moai statues found on Easter Island. In most cases, it is monolithic statues, that is drawn and carved from a single block of Volcanic tuff; some hold on the head a squat cylinder made from another type of reddish tufa interpreted as a hat or as the hairstyle once widespread among males.
The Moai are high by 2.5 meters to 10 meters. Often, only the heads of the statues are visible, but the 2016 excavations have found evidence of a body of them. On the back of the statues are engraved symbols in Rongorongo, in particular the ‘sickle’ said Vaka, which could represent a canoe. Probably these symbols carved on the statues indicate the identity of the artist, or group, owner of the work. Those high about 10 meters have a weight that can vary from 75 to 86 tons. Today the orbits of the eyes are blank, but once had an obsidian pupil surrounded by a white coral sclera, as can be seen in the only moai remained blind. There are 1000 known moai on the island’s surface. Almost all of these were derived from a basaltic tuff crater Rano Raraku, where there are nearly 400 incomplete statues. This rock heterogeneous grain is relatively soft, unlike the basalt, which is derived from the solidification of magma. The hats are all set in a reddish tuff from the small crater of Puna Pau, about 10 km from Rano Raraku. The Rano Raraku quarry seems to have been abandoned abruptly, with some still incomplete statues left in the rock. Among them is the largest statue, 21 meters long. Virtually all completed moai were probably killed by natives sometime after the construction period, but also earthquakes may have contributed to the reversal of the statues. Although they are often identified with their heads, many of the moai have shoulders, arms, torsos, which have been slowly, over the years, buried by the surrounding earth.
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