Moai are monolithic human figures carved by the Rapa Nui people from rock on the Chilean Easter Island between the years 1250 and 1500. They are undoubtedly the most famous sculptures of Chile and perfect for this weeks’ Travel Theme of Sculptures.
Almost all the moai statues have overly large heads that are three-eighths the size of the whole statue. It is said that they are chiefly the living faces of deified ancestors.
The production and transportation of the 887 statues are considered a remarkable and physical feat. The tallest moai erected, called Paro, was almost 10 metres high and weighed 82 tons and the heaviest erected was a shorter but squatter moai at Ahu Tongariki, weighing 86 tons.
Though moai are whole-body statues, they are commonly referred to as “Easter Island heads”. This is partly because of the disproportionate size of most moai heads and partly because many are buried to their shoulders.
Eleven or more moai have been removed from the island and transported to locations around the world. I would have loved to travel to Easter Island to see these majestic statues but unfortunately I didn’t have that opportunity during this visit of Chile.
I got to see my first moai statue at the Fonck Museum, located in Vina Del Mar. This museum exhibits an impressive Moai brought from Easter Island in which stands majestically in the garden by the museum’s entrance.
My second sighting of a Moai statue was on one of the main streets of Santiago. I don’t know if this is one of the Eleven real Moai statues or a replica but it was still very striking.