Stephen Tapply Photography
Easter Island

The Moai

When you think of Easter Island... you probably think of heads. But that's because the most famous photos are from the quarry where they were carved... And when they were abandoned... the earth slipped down over the centuries...
and buried the torsos. They're called Moai. There are nearly 1000 on the island.
The one laying on the ground behind the buried head has broken. And this is a late Moai - it has a carving of a sailing ship on its stomach. They were dragged from the quarry and placed on ceremonial platforms called 'Ahu'. Each one represents a specific ancestor...
Sunset on the Moai near my hostel. And on a different evening. Originally they all had eyes of coral and obsidian. Now, this is the only original moai on the island with eyes. At sunset.
Yet another sunset. The one on the right was the first moai to be restored, by Thor Heyerdahl... Almost all of the moai on the island face inland, watching over the Rapa Nui. On the back of many, there are detailed carvings. These face the equinox - and supposedly represent the seven Polynesian warriors sent to originally find the island.
A solitary moai facing away from the harbour. This one's probably brain damaged... Tongariki has fifteen moai, restored by the Japanese... in a beautiful location on the north of the island... From behind, just before sunrise...
At sunrise... Of course, I managed to get a reflection ;) And here they are at midnight. During a period of tribal warfare, all the moai were toppled. Some of the moai have red cylinders on their heads. It probably represents a top knot. Here, they've fallen off and rolled away. Some experts believe that the extraterrestrials showed the Rapa Nui how to work with concrete - there are lots of imitation moais in different sizes on the island!
Previous: Argentina 2 Next: Chile 3

Copyright © Stephen Tapply