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Te Pito Te Henua, Or Easter Island

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Author Topic: Te Pito Te Henua, Or Easter Island  (Read 1460 times)
Jennifer Murdoch
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« Reply #540 on: March 10, 2010, 11:27:43 am »

Incised tablets.--Called Hokau Rongo Rongo. Two specimens in excellent state of preservation, showing the hieroglyphics used in the written language (Plates XXXVIII-XLI.)

Double paddle.--Called Mata Kao-kao. Made of heavy wood, balanced

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Jennifer Murdoch
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« Reply #541 on: March 10, 2010, 11:27:53 am »

by wide blades ornamented with outlined faces. Used in the ancient canoes in a similar manner to that practiced by the Indians of America. (Plate LII, fig. 3.)

Ancient scull oars.--Called Mata Kao. Angular float of peculiar shape and unique design attached to a long handle. Used for steering and sculling very large canoes. Very old and highly prized by the islanders as the only specimen of the scull-oar used by their ancestors. (Plate LIX)

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« Reply #542 on: March 10, 2010, 11:28:21 am »

Human skulls.--Called Puoko Iri. Art examination of these skulls shows very little difference between the crania of the present people and those found in the most ancient tombs. Three specimens obtained from the King's platform have hieroglyphics engraved upon them, which signify the clan to which they belonged. (Plate L.)

Native cloth.--Called Hami Nua. Made of the inner bark of the hibiscus and paper-mulberry trees. The manufacture of the "tappa" has now ceased altogether. (Plate LI, fig. 7.)

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Jennifer Murdoch
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« Reply #543 on: March 10, 2010, 11:28:41 am »

Tattooing implements.--Called Ta Kona. Tools used for puncturing the skin. Made of bird bones.

Needles.--Called Iri. Both bone and wooden needles used for sewing tappa cloth, and other varieties for knitting meshes of nets. (Plate LX, fig. 1.)

Fetish stones.--Called Atua Mangaro. A collection obtained by digging beneath the door-posts of the ancient dwellings. The majority are simply beach pebbles; others have been formed by rubbing; and one is a triangular-shaped stone with a face outlined upon it. These were placed beneath the houses, with much ceremony, and were supposed to ward off evil influences. (Plate LX, fig. 2.)

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Jennifer Murdoch
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« Reply #544 on: March 10, 2010, 11:28:47 am »

Neck ornaments.--Called Hoko Ngao. Carved wood in fanciful designs worn during the dance.

Pigments.--Called Penetuli. Natural paints used by being ground down in the heated juice of the sugar cane.

Frescoed slabs.--Taken from the inner walls and ceilings of the stone houses at Orongo. (Plate XXIII.)

Fetish stones.--Buried under the corner-stones of the houses.


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Jennifer Murdoch
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« Reply #545 on: March 10, 2010, 11:29:04 am »

Footnotes
534:1 Mahuta Ariiki had a son who made the first stone image on the Island. This son died before his father.

534:2 These two kings reigned at the same time. The son rebelled against his father, and finally killed him.



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Jennifer Murdoch
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« Reply #546 on: March 22, 2010, 11:18:33 am »

POLYNESIAN ARCHÆOLOGY.
The most ancient monuments of Polynesia are the lithic and megalithic remains, coincident in style and character with the Druidical circles of Europe, and the exact counterpart of those of Stonehenge and Carnac in Brittany. These earlier efforts of the human art are invariably the remains of temples, places of worship, or of edifices dedicated in some way to the religion and superstitions of extinct generations, whose graves cover every island and reef. The most numerous, and perhaps the most ancient structures, are quadrangular in shape, and are composed of loose lava stones, forming a wall of great firmness and strength. These temples frequently exceed 100 feet in length, with a

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Jennifer Murdoch
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« Reply #547 on: March 22, 2010, 11:18:41 am »

proportionate width, and were designed to be roofless. They contain remains of altars composed of the same materials as the wall of the main inclosure, generally located at one end, and in shape resembling parallelograms. In many cases, these edifices are in as perfect a state of preservation as when countless numbers of human victims were immolated upon their altars, though time has obliterated all traces of everything perishable.

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« Reply #548 on: March 22, 2010, 11:18:55 am »

In the search for prehistoric remains, the diversified character of the many islands that dot the South Sea should be borne in mind. Coral groups and atolls, these wonderful formations produced by the ceaseless work of zoöphytic animals, being of comparatively recent creation, were perhaps merely tide-water reefs, when the islands of purely volcanic character were peopled by lawless and turbulent tribes, constantly engaged in warfare and in making depredations upon each other. Even where there is sufficient evidence of antiquity to warrant the search, the absence of monuments upon the low-lying islands of coral formation, may be accounted for by the lack of suitable material for their construction, or to the destroying hurricanes that occasionally sweep across this part of the Pacific, which are accompanied by a furious sea that breaks completely over the narrow atolls, carrying death and devastation to all things animate and inanimate.

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« Reply #549 on: March 22, 2010, 11:19:13 am »

The height of the atolls, in many cases, does not exceed 5 or 6 feet above the normal level of the sea surrounding them, and instances are unfortunately abundant, of islands that have been transformed in a few hours, from a scene of tropical luxuriance and with a contented people surrounded by nature's most bountiful gifts, to one of titter barrenness and desolation. The largest and most important islands of Polynesia are of volcanic character, and bear evidences of having been inhabited from a remote period. Here may be duplicated the Teocallis of Palenque, Copan, and Uxmal. In some islands these ancient monuments were searched out with great difficulty, having been so completely overgrown with dense tropical vegetation that their existence was not suspected by the indifferent people of to-day.

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« Reply #550 on: March 22, 2010, 11:19:16 am »

The height of the atolls, in many cases, does not exceed 5 or 6 feet above the normal level of the sea surrounding them, and instances are unfortunately abundant, of islands that have been transformed in a few hours, from a scene of tropical luxuriance and with a contented people surrounded by nature's most bountiful gifts, to one of titter barrenness and desolation. The largest and most important islands of Polynesia are of volcanic character, and bear evidences of having been inhabited from a remote period. Here may be duplicated the Teocallis of Palenque, Copan, and Uxmal. In some islands these ancient monuments were searched out with great difficulty, having been so completely overgrown with dense tropical vegetation that their existence was not suspected by the indifferent people of to-day.

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« Reply #551 on: March 22, 2010, 11:19:41 am »

While the islanders never advanced to a high civilization, and their best efforts consist in cromlechs, dolmens, and elevated platforms or truncated pyramids, their handiwork is still preserved, and points with abundant interest to the history of a rude and early age.

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« Reply #552 on: March 22, 2010, 11:19:46 am »

The primitive Polynesians, like their contemporaries, the Incas of Peru, may be judged in regard to their condition and history, by the monuments, they have left, for with the exception of Easter Island, there is no trace of their having possessed a written language. Tribes flourished, were conquered and passed out of existence, without leaving a trace behind them except perhaps, a shadowy tradition. The natives in this genial climate have always dwelt in rude structures of thatch and cane, which after a few years of abandonment would decay and leave no sign behind, unless it be a few broken implements lying about. Among

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« Reply #553 on: March 22, 2010, 11:19:58 am »

them, traditions have always been preserved with care, and it is wonderful to find how the history of a people call be followed in this way for hundreds of years. The Samoans claim a complete chronicle dating through twenty-two generations of the reigning family of Malietoa, and extending over a period of eight hundred years, while the Tongans can chronicle a fairly accurate history of their priesthood through twelve centuries. 1

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Jennifer Murdoch
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« Reply #554 on: March 22, 2010, 11:20:07 am »

The priests have usually been the custodians of the national traditions, and there is sufficient evidence to show that every precaution was taken to have them handed down front one generation to another, pure and unchanged, for oral record was their only means of committing to posterity the deeds of their ancestors.

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