The Moai of Easter Island

Funny how some things you can see 1,000 times on a postcard, but when you see them in person they still impress you. This is how I’ve felt about Ayers Rock in Australia and Machu Picchu in Peru, and now the Moai statues of Easter Island.

First off there are just so many. Secondly, when you see the quarry where they were made, and actually see the process of carving them and moving them across the island (some are partly cut from the mountain but still attached, some are staying flat just a few hundred meters from the quarry as if they were being moved when for various theorized reasons they were stopped), you can’t help but be impressed by the amount of work that went into something personal and interesting. Each of the Moai was made to the likeness of a certain ancestor so that the family had a figure to represent them and to give thanks to.

Notice their long ear lobes, their curlicue nostrils, their long slender fingers wrapped around their bellies. Not all have all the same features, but just the general shape was consistent. Most all of them face the land rather than the ocean, so that they could face their families. The ones that are standing have been restored. All were toppled over by various forces – internal fighting, tsunamis – and some have been left in this state, face down amidst a sort of rubble.

We went to see the sunrise at Tongariki which was the most complete set of Moai (15 on a huge Ahu, the altar under the statues) and located in a beautiful setting with ocean and cliffs behind them. I took so many photos, not just of that sunrise but of the sites in general all over the island, so I’m putting theme into a slideshow below. Enjoy!