Easter Island CarvingsCarvings on Easter Island
Cavallo Rano Raraku- Carving of Easter Island Moai
On a volcanic hillside several hundred rocky faces are strewn over the sparse Easter Island area. They are worshipped by the pristine Rana Nui civilization and constructed here in Rano Raraku, one of the most intriguing places on Easter Island. The Rano Raraku mine is the place where all the famous Easter Island figures were made.
It is a kind of plant, each sculpture was sculpted from tempered volcano fly-ashes before it was gently sliced away and taken to its intended last place of rest on the island, often many kilometres away. There are 397 mai in the stone pit today. A few are almost finished sculptures waiting to be transported, others are still in the making and not yet taken out of the ground.
In Rano Raraku, all the mai are still the same as they were when they were given up in the quarries. Between 1000-1600 AD, the Rapanui began to carve mai as a way of worshiping ancestors, which was then customary throughout Polynesia. As an important member of a clan on Easter Island passed away, a sculpture was made in Rano Raraku and brought back to her town.
They were erected on a plateau with a view of the town to protect their heirs. It could take a large mai up to 2 years to be cut by a crew of people. With the help of carvings, the smooth vulcanic rock (lapilli tuff) was removed from the volcano. The rock was made of strong and strong bass.
They have been cut on the back and all the detail except the orbits ( "eye sockets" were made as soon as the mai arrived at their platforms) has been made. Then the back of the mai was cut off from the side of the vulcano and pushed gently with cables over a mudramp.
They were then placed in prefabricated cavities and standing erect so that the mai could be cut on the back. After the rear carvings were finished, the sculptures could be carried over the island. Difficult to see in this image, but the mai on the right has a carvings of a western boat on its belly.
Archeologists are still discussing the precise way in which the mai are moved out of the stone pit. Theoretically, the sculptures were placed on a pedestal and then drawn over rolls along the island's "moai roads". A different theorem is that the sculptures "went" to their platform in a light twist and were swung side by side by those who pull on them.
In the end, the manufacture and transport of moisture took a tribute on Easter Island. Finally, there were not enough ressources to make cables and wood sledges to move the sculptures, leaving several hundred mai in the mire. It was Rano Raraku that we were most looking forward to during our 4 Easter Island sabbaths.
Years of listening to tales and theory about the Easter Island statue, we could see first hands where they were made. I was speeding up even more as the first mai came into sight, suggesting that we had reached the quarry's break. There were no boardwalks on this island like elsewhere.
They' were partly bury in the soil, their body hid under the mud to remove them from their point of intersection. A number of the moais had detail characteristics, such as a pointed nostril and a definite line of jaws, while others were still roughened around the corners and had not yet been completely engraved. When we looked at the cliff we could see square recesses, empty cavities in which once mai were cut.
It must have been amazing how much work it took to sculpt these huge sculptures and then not only to move them down from the cliff face, but to carry them across the island for miles. When the road came nearer to the cliff wall, we saw some mai still laying in their coves.
To see these sculptures during the carving has taken much of the secret of the mai. It was most impressing to see the biggest mai ever made. It is difficult to really feel the proportion of this sculpture when it is still standing and not yet separate from the hills. It is 21 meters long and would probably have weighted 250 tons after its completion.
Further along the way we came to two mai, which were cut next to each other. On closer inspection we even saw a third mai and possibly a forth, which had been cut on the right and right side. Let's go, we came to a very different looking mai. Her name was Tukuturi or "kneeling Moai" and she was much short and rounder than the others in Rano Raraku.
While I didn't find it as appealing as the other Moyais because of his odd traits, I did like the unique nature of his feet, which were hidden under his skull. Behind the on the knees we have a great look at Ahu Tongariki and the cliffs. We were not yet prepared to go after we had run the whole distance around Rano Raraku.
Again we went to see some of our favorite mai, took some pictures of each other and talked about how unbelievable Rano Raraku was when we were enjoying the panorama view. As we left the pit, our speed was much more slow, almost as if we were reluctant to abandon such a noteworthy place. Again we walked past figures of stones in various states - some stand upright, some almost dead, some on their backs and some face down.
Although this was our third time on Easter Island, we were still as fascinated by Easter as on the first one. It was Rano Raraku who gave us a deep understanding of the formation of these splendid boulders and permitted us to see Moyaia in a state that cannot be found anywhere else on the island.
There is no doubt that Rano Raraku is an interesting site! This is a small sample of the mad crowd of images I've taken of the mai. The Rano Raraku is open from 9:00 - 18:00 (April - November) and 21:00 - 19:00 (December - March). It is only a 5-10 minutes walking from the stone pit. You can even see some mai from afar.