Moai statues - Mystery behind their location revealed

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Moai Statues are monolithic human figures carved from rock on the Polynesian island of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) between 1250 and 1500 CE. 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 perimetre. Almost all Moai statues facts have overly large heads three-fifths the size of their bodies.

The Moai are chiefly the 'living faces' (aringa ora) of deified ancestors. 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 Moai Statues is one of the seven forgotten wonders of the medieval mind and one of the wonders of the world.

The statues' production and transportation is considered a remarkable intellectual, creative, and physical feat. The tallest Moai erected, called Paro, was almost 10 metres (33 ft) high and weighed 75 tonnes; the heaviest erected was a shorter but squatter Moai at Ahu Tonganki, 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.

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 have heavy brows, 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 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.

All but 53 of the 887 Moai known to date were carved from tuff(a compressed volcanic ash). At the end of carving they 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).

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