Moai, definition and study. A-Z index of Cognitio.
The Moai are statues found on Easter Island. In most cases these are monolithic statues, that is, carved out of a single block of volcanic tuff; some have on their heads a squat cylinder (pukao) made from another type of reddish-colored Tufa, interpreted as a headdress or as the hairstyle once common among males.
The Moai are tall from 2.5 meters up to 10 meters (there is one, however incomplete, of 21 meters). Often only the heads of the statues are visible, but below it is almost always present a buried body. On the backs of the statues are engraved symbols in Rongorongo that could represent a canoe. Probably these symbols engraved on the statues indicate the identity of the artist, or of the group, owner of the work. Those tall about 10 meters have a weight that can vary from 70 to 80 tons. They were carved directly into the quarries, lying face up. Later they were detached and transported to the coast where other workers finished them. The journey could last a year and it is not clear how this happened. The hypothesis that receives the most favor is also the most suggestive: the Moai would be transported in an upright position and this idea reflects the oral tradition that wants the Moai to reach their destination by walking. The Moai have all look alike: the lips tightened with the chin on top; the attitude is hieratic and severe enough to arouse respect. Today the eye sockets are empty, but once they had an obsidian pupil surrounded by a white coral sclera, as can be seen in the only surviving Moai. There are 1000 Moai known on the surface of the island. Almost all of these have been obtained from a basaltic tuff of the Rano Raraku crater, where there are almost 400 incomplete statues. This heterogeneous grained rock is relatively soft, unlike basalt, which derives from the solidification of a magma. The hats were instead made from a reddish tuff from the small crater of Puna Pau, about 10 kilometers from Rano Raraku. The quarry of Rano Raraku seems to have been suddenly abandoned, with some statues still left incomplete in the rock.
Among these is the largest statue, 21 meters long. Practically all the completed Moai were probably shot down by the natives some time after the construction period, but even the earthquakes may have contributed to the overturning of the statues. Although often identified with the heads, many of the Moai have shoulders, arms, torsos, which have been slowly over the years, buried by the surrounding earth. The islanders believed that these statues would have captured the “Mana” (supernatural powers) of the head, as well as favoring the protection of the gods. They believed that by keeping the Mana of the chiefs on the island, favorable events would occur, rain would fall and the crops would grow. This legend may have changed from the original, since it has been handed down orally for a long time. Anything could have been added to this legend to make it more interesting. Particularly around the Moai were found wooden tablets engraved with the mysterious signs of the writing then called Rongorongo, writing that until now nobody has been able to completely decipher.
Quote by Alessandro Brizzi
A civilization and technological progress of which the few survivors in the world, including the Easter Islanders, have almost completely lost their memory, preserving sporadic evidence in artifacts and ancient buildings far more advanced than the level of knowledge currently in them possession. it is undoubted that the MOAI remember a lot the Inca art, both in the structure and in the workmanship;
There is no doubt that the islanders have white skin and somatic characteristics of both Europeans and Polynesians, although they are lost in the Pacific Ocean. it is certain that for the construction and installation of these great statues a strong religious motivation and an organized social structure were necessary to put many people to work.
it is equally certain that it was necessary to have a good technical skill to cut the stone in the quarry, sculpt it according to a precise project, transport it to the installation site, then hoist it and orient it in the desired position. Something must necessarily have happened in the history of the island and following this event, the islanders must have lost their historical – cultural memory. This original culture of Easter Island also included the knowledge of writing, also lost and forgotten, given that the natives are no longer able to decipher the ancient inscriptions rongo – rongo on the sacred tablets. Perhaps, however, local priests are still able to decipher them, but they prefer to keep it secret, given the absolute prohibition for foreigners to enter some sacred caves where inscriptions are imprinted. Precisely on this writing lies the most fascinating of the mysteries of Rapa Nui. Its hieroglyphics are practically identical to those of the ancient city of Mohenjo-daro, in the far-flung India. The similarity is such as to exclude a simple coincidence and India is literally on the other side of the world compared to Easter Island. To reach it by sea it is necessary to circumnavigate half of South America, pass under Africa, and then go back up to destination: a naval enterprise absolutely inconceivable for a raft or a canoe! It is a matter of traveling by sea half the world. The two inscriptions remained indeciphered, although in 1996 an American scholar, Steven Fisher, announced in the New Scientist magazine that he had deciphered 22 Easter Island tablets. According to Fisher these are sacred writings that describe the creation of the world through a series of myths markedly erotic.”
Moai, definition and study. A-Z index of Cognitio.
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