The stone gaze of this massive figure has a profound spiritual power.Moai
Near the middle of the 15th century, exploitation of the Rano Raraku tuff stone quarry began on Easter Island. For nearly 200 years, it was the place where more than 95% of the island’s 887 statues were created. Today, these statues, the moai, remain one of the best-known elements of Rapa Nui material culture. The moai were likely associated with a form of ancestor worship, which was a widespread practice in the Polynesian world. Carved from tuff stone using basalt tools, the moai were usually transported to the coast and installed upright on stone platforms known as the ahu. These huge statues, some of which stand up to ten meters tall and weigh more than 80 tons, were all designed in the same way: the Rapa Nui would first carve the head of the statue, sculpting its nose, eyes, and mouth, then detail its ears, chin, and neck, before moving on to the rest of the body. Some were topped with a hat made from red scoria stone, known as the pukao.