“Mysterious & Beautiful Land of Moai Statues”
History has given so much to the world that it is still the matter of pride for the coming generations. History has shown us such masterpieces of art and human craftsmanship that wisdom remains surprised that how these masterpieces were built with the limited resources. Sometimes the objective of building such great structures is not understandable or mysterious. The statues of Easter Island (Rapa Nui) are one of these historical masterpieces of the world. Island is a low populated area with total population of 3791. This has been declared a world heritage site by UNESCO.
Geography and History
Easter Island is a small island. Basically it is a volcanic island. This Island is the territory of Chile. The island is in triangular shape which is because of three volcanoes called Terevaka, Poike and Rano Kau. This island is very rich with the wealth of both, natural beauty and human made beauty. The island is about 2000 miles far away from the nearest population. This is the reason that it is the most isolated place on the earth. The name of the place was suggested by a Dutch explorer, Jacob Roggeveen, who visited the place on Easter Sunday in 1722. The shape of the island is like a triangle. The total area of the island is about 163 square kilometers. Island has no streams and rivers.
This place is famous for its human made statues which are called Moai. This island was formed by continuous eruptions of volcanoes. You can still find volcanic cones everywhere in the island. Some of the cones are even visible from the space like Rano Kau. This beautiful island although has a rich history but it is controversial. Some people are of the view that these statues were built by the Peruvian. Others believe that the island is the ruin of a lost continent. But the most of the archeologists believe that the first settlement was in 400 AD (300 to 400 AD) by the Polynesians. The discovery of the island was done by these Polynesians. This place and the residents or inhabitants of it have endured different kinds of conditions, diseases, settlements and human behaviors which have made it controversial and complex. A time came when the island became overpopulated and the resources were not enough. This civil war resulted in the torn of the statues by the islanders themselves. This situation lead to a civil war. It has faced different conditions like civil wars, deforestation, colonialism and slave raids etc. which have reduced its population potentially.
In the making of these statues for which island is famous, the artistic skills of the people are shown. But it is still not clear that why the people of island made such giant statues. They were so much involved in this work that they didn’t even think of their downfall. Deforestation was the result of using trees at massive scale for moving giant Moai statues. These statues were made of soft volcanic material which was ideal for this work. At first, statues were sketched outline in the rock wall then carried to their place. People of the area were great craftsman. They used the soft material stuff and selection of colour was so attractive which proved them true artists. The construction process was cherished with different ceremonies. The peak time of carving the Moai statues was between 1100 to 1680 CE. There are about 887 such statues. There are platforms for such statues which are called Ahu. There are 313 ahu of which 125 carry moai statues. One ahu named Ahu Tongariki carried 15 statues. This was because of the carrying problems of these giant structures.
Wood carving has also been the specialty of the Islanders. Other amazing structures like stone walls, stone houses etc show the great masonry skills the people. To promote the tourism in the island, a festival is held every year. A football team has been established. To entertain the people discos and other musical events are arranged.