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Easter Island

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Author Topic: Easter Island  (Read 735 times)
Carolyn Silver
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Posts: 4611

« Reply #30 on: March 03, 2007, 03:03:21 am »

Statue carving

All Easter Island’s giant statues were supposedly made within the space of a few hundred years. Different phases are clearly discernible, and may be separated by far longer periods than orthodox opinion allows. It is significant that the statues do not bear the slightest resemblance to the Polynesians, and in terms of size, appearance, and number are unique in the Pacific.

In addition to the famous stone giants, there are smaller statues, between about 1 and 2 metres tall, with more rounded and naturalistically-shaped heads that were never designed to wear topknots. They have short faces and deep eye cavities, and none have long ears. They are made of red tuff, black basalt, or the yellowish-grey Rano Raraku stone. They have little in common with the giant statues except that they usually hold their hands on their stomachs with their fingers pointing towards one another. These are generally thought to be oldest carvings on the island, and to have preceded the Rano Raraku figures, as some have been found buried beneath thick layers of earth, and also built into later platforms. However, some of them appear to be recarved fragments of Rano Raraku tuff that used to be statues of the classical type. So some may be ‘early’ and others ‘late’.

The average height of the platform statues is 4 m (13 ft), whereas that of those not on platforms is 6 m (20 ft). It is usually argued that the tallest of the giant statues were the last to be made, as these are still found at the quarry. But some or all of these may date from another, earlier era altogether, and may not have been intended to be taken to the island’s platforms. There are in fact striking differences between the statues at Rano Raraku and those that once stood on the platforms around the coast. As several writers have remarked, the latter seem to be later: the general appearance remained the same but degeneration had set in: their features are less harsh, their arms and hands are atrophied, they no longer have the slender delicacy of the first statues, and they sometimes have no symbols on their backs.

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