The moai of Hoa Hakananai'a

The moai of Hoa Hakananai'a
The moai of Hoa Hakananai'a

The emblem of the Easter Island belonging to Chile and in a distant area of ​​the South Pacificare its gigantic and enigmatic moais. These large stone sculptures with a human face are magnificent, but above all there are still many mysteries to be solved, both in terms of their meaning and the way they are made and transported. However, oddly enough, not all these huge figures are on the island. There are some outside of it, such as the famous Moai of Hoa Kakanani'a found inside the British Museum in London.


Moai Hoa Hakananai’a

This moai that reaches a height of 250 centimeters was made of bas alt, an extremely hard type of rock. And it is supposed to come from the village of Orongo, which is one of the ritual places of the ancient peoples of Rapa Nui, original name from Easter Island.

This village located almost on the edge of the crater of the Rano Kau volcano was a place of true ritual pilgrimage. In fact, today Orongo is a very outstanding archaeological site that keeps old houses, petroglyphs, cave paintings and even an ancient astronomical observatory.

And the place began to acquire more importance when the cults related to the moais began their gradual decline, which left a power vacuum that forced the generation of new rituals toelect the rulers of the island. That is why the Hoa Kakananai’a moai is very special.

Somehow it represents the union of old beliefs with new ones that emerged in which the birdman was honored. Hence, the usual face of the moai appears on its front. And unlike others, in this case not only the face is carved. The entire front is shaped like a human body. While in its posterior area, what would be the back, engravings are seen representing not only that bird man (tangata manu), but also the figure of a double-bladed oar that became a symbol of power. Just as it is easy to recognize the engraving of a vulva, a clear image of fertility.

In short, with all this, the experts in this type of artistic expression have dated the piece in a fairly wide range of time. Approximately between the year 1,000 and 1,600.

However, today in Orongo only the base of this moai remains, which was extracted in the second half of the 19th century by English sailors. That is why it is also popularly known as the "stolen friend".

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