Moai figure, Rapa Nui (Easter Island)

Rapa Nui (Easter Island) is well known for its moai sculptures. This is a smaller version called a 'moai maea', standing half a metre in height. It was found in a cave in 1914, and had probably been used as a boundary stone.

The quarry for nearly all the rock used for both the small figures and the monumental moai was Rano Raraku, an extinct volcano crater at the eastern end of the island. The compressed volcanic ash (called ‘tuff’) was relatively soft and easy to work, though one theory suggests that the huge number of wooden logs needed to mine and transport the stone led to the deforestation of the island. 

Collected by William Scoresby Routledge and Katherine Routledge in 1914.

Accession number: 1916.36.319