The mystery surrounding the Moai statues is what brings most visitors. It is still unknown today how they were carved or how they were transported around the island.
1. Why do the Moai statues on Easter Island all face inward?
Legend has it that the people who built the Moai believed that they were the only people in the whole world, and that any invaders would have to come from within the island, not by sea. So the Moai face inwards to protect the island. Another theory is that families of chiefs commissioned the moai, and positioned them to face their communities.
2. The eyes do not get added until they got to their final resting spot
Many broken down and fallen Moai are blind. In the quarry where they carve the Moai, there are many left there, either fallen over, waiting for transport to a site, or partially carved. The islanders believe when the coral eyes were inserted, their spirit was activated and they projected energy to their people.
Some say they were put on logs and rolled, some say they were brought by sea (the quarry is near the ocean but not that close), some say they were ‘walked’ by the rapunai people using ropes, and some even believe that they flew to the island (this is what Julian thinks happened)! In recent years, the most popular theory is that the builders used wooden sleds and log rollers to move the Moai.
4. The fallen Moai have fallen for a reason
There’s a superstition that the fallen Moai have fallen for a reason, so there should be no attempt to bring them back to their feet.
5. El Gigante
The largest moai ever carved is ‘El Gigante‘, which is still part of the cliff. If it were finished and erected, it would be the largest statue today, measuring over 21 meters and would weigh between 160-180 tons.
6. Why do some wear hats?
A number of the moai statues found on the island also have pukao, the name given to the hats or topknots placed on top of the heads, which may have represented dressed hair or headdresses of red feathers worn by chiefs throughout Polynesia. Some theories consider the hats to be an expression of power, and others think they represent hair.
7. Not all the moai have their eyes filled
Not all the moai have their eyes filled, it is believed that only the most prominent ones had them filled during special ceremonies.
8. They All have the same characteristics
They all feature the same characteristics of an oversized head, broad nose, and a mysterious, indecipherable facial expression
9. Do they have bodies?
At first it may appear that the statue heads make up the whole of the statues but archeologists decided to dig and found full bodies were attached to the heads. Most end at the top of the thigh, while some are complete kneeling figures.
10. Were they always standing?
None of the Moai statues were standing when scientists first arrived, those upright today have been re-erected.