Everything you need to know about Moai Tukuturi | The mysterious statue of Easter Island

When the first Europeans arrived on Easter Island , it was not only inhabited but also full of enormous megalithic sculptures, the Moais While this is already the subject of fascination, the statues of Easter Island are truly intriguing, especially the so-called Moai Tukuturi or kneeling moai . At Supercurioso we tell you what is known about this curious and controversial statue, which is also the result of a great enigma . You want to know more? Join us to discover it.

Moai Tukuturi, the enigmatic statue of Easter Islandeaster island statues

To increase the mystery of the Moai on Easter Island , we must tell you that the small population that inhabited it did not know metals, there were no pack animals and the lack of wood on the island made the carving and erection of the statues apparently inexplicable . If this whole thing still doesn't seem enigmatic to you, the most curious thing about the Moai statues is that in the quarry of the Rano Raraku volcano there were hundreds of sculptures in different stages of development , from those almost finished to those that were only a sketch. Something made them suddenly stop their production and it has remained that way to this day... So, what happened? And why is the Moai Tukuturi so different from the rest?

The Moai are monolithic human figures carved by the Rapa Nui people of Easter Island in eastern Polynesia between the years 1250 and 1500 AD. Almost half are still in Rano Raraku, the main quarry of the statues on the Island Easter, but hundreds were transported from there and placed on stone platforms called ahu" around the perimeter of the island. These sculptures carved from huge stones have oversized heads that are three-eighths the size of the entire statue. The Moai are mainly the faces of the deified ancestors of the Rapa Nui.

They are fascinating because being so huge and heavy, the production and transportation of the more than 900 statues is a great feat, both creative and physical. The tallest Moai, called Paro, is almost 10 meters high and weighs 82 tons, a true giant, hence his nickname: "the giant."

However, there is one that stands out among the others for being completely different. This is the statue known as Moai Tukuturi; His name originally translates as Crouching Moai, the Tuturi term being for the word kneeling . This statue was found in 1956 when a team of archaeologists led by Thor Heyerdahl made an expedition to the statues on Easter Island. When Heyerdahl arrived at the Rano Raraku quarry he was able to observe thousands of stone peaks scattered throughout the area, he attributed the fruit of the Moai statues to the work and effort of the population that lived there . If you're wondering what happened on Easter Island , Thor Heyerdahl said: "No mysterious technology, nor any arcane knowledge, produced the Moais, only the work of their inhabitants."

Features of the Moai TukuturiMoai Tukuturi

The Tukuturi Moai is a very realistic piece compared to traditional Moai, in addition to being different, it is very particular due to its typology. Unlike the rest of the statues on Easter Island, including the submerged Moai , the Tukuturi Moai is the only one on the entire island that presents its entire body . They are all sculpted from the head to the lower torso, which does not include the legs, which does not happen with the Moai Tukuturi, which also has bent legs, which implies a very different meaning from being upright and standing. .

Other things that differentiate the Moai Tukuturi from the rest of the statues on Easter Island is the shape of its face and its position. On the one hand, the face seems much more realistic in both the features and the shape of the skull . Although the Moai Tukuturi has deteriorated due to the passage of time and inclement weather, you can still see the details of a nose and a mouth similar to ours. As for the position, the Moai are normally facing the sea and with their back to the Rano Raraku volcano. However, the Moai Tukuturi is located facing the volcano and with its back to the sea . Curious, don't you think? As a result of these particularities, many researchers have disclosed their hypotheses. Let's get to know some of them!

The mystery of the kneeling Moaithor heyerdahl

The Moai Tukuturi has caused speculation throughout the scientific community due to its strange peculiarity. Some claim that it may be one of the early representations of the Moai , but others argue that it may be a later representation and a change in sculptural style. However, it is complex to know the dating of the Moai Tukuturi, since the material of the statue is different from that of the rest of the statues on Pasca Island. The Tukuturi Moai was made from the reddish stone of Puna Pua and was then taken to the Rano Raraku quarry where it now stands . The reason for its material is still a mystery...

Other researchers (a little more daring) dare to affirm that the Moai Tukuturi is a representation of the artisans of Tahiti , who came to Easter Island to work in the mid-19th century. This is deduced from its formal similarity with the  Taki,  a type of totem typical of Polynesia. There are also speculations about its origin; For example, a legend says that this is the representation of a famous Rapa Nui carver, erected to watch over future generations of artisans.

What do you think of the Moai Tukuturi? Are you one of those who believe that it was made by another society? Tell us, we read you . 


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