Moan Statues on Easter Island
By Savannah Truitt
National Geographic described it as "a stone legacy in an awe-inspiring state". The Moai statues on Easter lsland are a beautiful monument and well-known throughout the world. These amazing works of art are believed to have been built to honor the ancestors, chiefs, and other important people in the Rapa Nui culture. These breath-taking statues give us a tiny glimpse into the mysterious and long lost history of the Rapa Nui people.
The Moai Statues on Easter Island are very unique sculptures built by the Rapa Nui people. Giant blocks of volcanic rock were carved into head-and-torso figures which average at 14 ft 6in tall and weigh 14 tons. There are almost 900 moai on the island and some are as tall as 33ft and can weigh 80 tons or more! Archeologists think they represent spirits of ancestors, chiefs, and other high ranking males who held important roles in the history of Rapa Nui. They're believed to act as ceremonial conduits for communicating with the gods but no one knows for fact because there is no written and little oral history about the island.
It would have been extremely difficult for the Rapa Nui people to build the moai statues. The staues were believed to have been carved between 1400-1600 A.D. In that time period the mere feat of moving a 80 ton rock and doing so almost 900 times would've been a major struggle. It is estimated that it wouldve taken 50-150 people to drag the rock across the countryside on sleds and rollers made from the island's trees. The moai statues were carved from the hard stone of the Rano Raraku Volcano on Easter Island.
The Moai Statues of Easter Island are admired, honored, and well known throughout the world. The staues are a popular tourist attraction. National Geographic described it as "a stone legacy in an awe-inspiring state." We honor the Rapa Nui people by trying to protect their creations. Over time, the rock is eroding away and we are doing our best to preserve them.
The breath-taking statues give us a small look into the Rapa Nui people's lost and unknown history. Easter Island would not be the same without the moai. People today still marvel at these statues and wonder. José Antonio Tuki, a 30-year-old artist on Easter island says, “It’s something strange and energetic. This is something produced from my culture. It’s Rapanui. How did they do it?”