Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 22 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Easter Island is known for its giant, stereotyped stone statues, distributed along the coasts and originally visible from out at sea. Most are associated with cult monuments and the unique sanctuary where they were carved. More discreetly, the islanders’ houses were inhabited by a host of wooden figurines, in a variety of forms, carved in sacred types of wood: toromiro, makoi, driftwood. These depictions of men (moai tangata, moai kavakava), women (moai papa), animals, and real chimeras (moko, bird-man) were the subject of domestic cults and used in activities linked to protective or aggressive magic. Displayed during public ceremonies, they were associated with the insignia of power (ao, ua) and with dance accessories (rapa, tahonga). The production of figurines, introduced to the island by its first inhabitants a little less than 1,000 years ago, ceased with the disappearance of the priest-sculptors after 1863 and the conversion to Catholicism in 1868.

Keywords: Easter Island, moai tangata, moai papa, moai kavakava, moko, bird-man, ua, ao, rapa, tahonga, toromiro

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.