Today we looked around the Rapa Nui temporary exhibition. It was interesting to find out more about the mysterious Easter Island statues, and how they were created by the Rapanui. The large faces were carved out of volcanic rock and are supposedly a way of honouring ancestors. There was a reconstruction of the quarry which demonstrated how the Rapanui carved the stone, and even saw the red coloured rock as spiritual. The two large reconstructions gave a good sense of scale, however some of the originals were even bigger.
There is still debate as to how the Polynesians came to settle on Easter island, and the methods of transporting the heads around the island are unknown. Although there are currently no trees on the island, the exhibition suggested that at the time of the Rapanui there were, and they may have used the timber to roll the statues around.
Having seen the Easter Island gallery at the British Museum, it would have been nice to see a few more original objects from Rapa Nui to really bring to life the exhibition considering all the information we could find out about these head statues.
Overall an informative and enjoyable exhibition, however we did feel it lacked some of the human aspect of the island, and it would be interesting to discover more about the people and culture of the Rapanui both then and now.
– Izzy and Michael