The Rock Art of Easter Island
Despite unusual design motifs and the large sizes of many of the designs, the Easter Island rock art was overlooked until 1981 when an intensive documentation project began. It soon became apparent that the rock carvings and paintings represented a body of work that was both sophisticated and unique.
Some of the rock art appears to refer to status, some to clan identification; others were offerings or supplications; some marked the location of special rites and ceremonies, and some were related to the esoteric and religious aspects of the society.
Aside from the monolithic statues, the birdman image best represents Easter Island. This distinctive motif, with its huge eye and bird beak combined with a crouching human figure in profile, dominates the petroglyph site of Orongo. There are 1,274 documented petroglyphs nearly all of them the birdman motif, clear evidence of Orongo's association with the Rapa Nui birdman ceremony.
Some important 'ahu' have, as part of their structure, elegantly carved basalt stones - 'paenga' - with petroglyphs on them. Paintings can be found in several caves as well as in stone dwellings, such as at Orongo and the burial cave at Ana Mahina with its carved and painted long-nosed Makemake faces.
|Ana Mahina Cave||Ana Kai Tangata||Ana Kai Tangata|
|Makemake Face||Stone House at Orongo||Orongo Stone Houses|
→ Easter Island Introduction
→ Sentinels in Stone - Rise & Fall of Easter Island's Culture | Page | 1 | 2 | 3 |
→ The Rock Art of Easter Island
→ The Birdman Cult / Motif of Easter Island
→ Sea & Marine Creatures in Easter Island Rock Art
→ Designs & Motifs of Easter Island's Rock Petroglyph Carvings
→ Dr Georgia Lee - Publications on Easter Island
→ Moai Location Map & Islanders
→ Contemporary Easter Island Art
→ Easter Island Glossary
→ Easter Island Conclusion