Moai - The Easter Island Tiki

When most people imagine Easter Island, they immediately think of the Moai. Moai are immense human figures carved from rock between the years of 1250 and 1500 on Easter Island, a Polynesian island several hundred miles off the coast of Chile.

Many myths and legends are attached to ancient Polynesian cultures, including the Easter Island Moai culture as well as the tiki gods found elsewhere in Polynesia. Many apply the term 'Tiki' to any carved human figures originating in Polynesia. In fact, the Moai are often referred to as the “Easter Island Tikis” because of the stylistic similarities between these figures and the tiki found elsewhere in Polynesia.

As found in America, popular Tiki culture combines elements that are actually found in distinct cultures, including Hawaiian, Polynesian, Maori from New Zealand, and the culture of Easter Islande. Many do not realize that tiki culture has such varied roots. In the United States, these distinct cultures have been blended into popular tiki culture. However, upon visiting the islands themselves, the differences become apparent.

The oversized heads of the Moai are often confused with the tiki gods from elsewhere in Polynesia due to their minimalist style. Both Moai and Tiki carvings portray human faces or humanoid forms, often with a very small body if one is carved at all. Like the tiki figures, the Moai have relatively flat faces and very large and elongated heads when compared to their bodies. Similarly to popular tiki imagery, the Moai on Easter Island have large, broad noses.

Carved wooden and stone statues were created all over Polynesia as far back as 1500 BC. Over time, the style became varied between the different islands of the region. This, perhaps, accounts for the minor stylistic differences between the Moai figures of New Zealand and tiki carvings found on other islands.

There are certainly many superficial similarities between the two types of carvings, but what about the symbolism? On many islands, the Tiki myth is connected to a legend about the first man. Later, tiki statues became representations not only of this first man, but also other spiritual symbols, such as tiki gods. Moai statues represent the living faces of powerful former chiefs, ancestral spirits, and mythological beings. It has been argued that Moai statues, carved in the shape of gods, served to house the gods' spirits. Many find similarities between the legends behind the creation of Moai monolithic heads and that of Tiki statues.

This popular tourist attractions are considered a remarkable feat, similar to the pyramids in Egypt. The tallest moai on the island, known as Paro, measures over 30 feet tall and weighs 75 tons. It is believed that there were once over 900 of these large statues. Today, groups of the Moai still exist in several locations around the island. Many are found on Polynesian ceremonial sites known as Marae. Throughout the Polynesian world, both moai and tiki traditions evolved at these Marae sites. Both tiki and Moai statues were used to mark the boundaries of sacred sites. One such place on Easter Island, known as Rapa Nui, is the location of a famous example of Moai stone figures set in a ring.

Tiki sculptures hold significant value in Polynesian culture. A Tiki statue is a large wood carving that represents a Polynesian god or a specific “mana”. The gods or the “mana” were conveyed through the face of the sculpture or through the other symbols included in the sculpture. Although Tiki sculptures are not evaluated on the same level as other arts, they are still considered valuable for what they represent.

The Tiki is one of the most defining symbols of the Polynesian culture. It has been used for many centuries for a number of purposes including worship and marking boundaries of sacred sites. Today, Tiki sculptures remain popular among the Central Eastern Polynesian cultures. They are also growing in popularity outside of the aforementioned culture, as art and also as functional sculptures.

As art, Tiki sculptures are used to decorate living spaces and other areas. Good Tiki artists really put a lot of thought into the design and the process of creating wonderful Tiki Sculptures so the sculptures add both texture and warmth to the home. Tiki Sculptures can also be used for Luau parties, Hawaiian restaurants and Tiki Bars to enhance the ambiance of the place and to provide an authentic Polynesian experience.

There are also people who value Tiki Scupltures for the good fortune and blessings they provide. These sculptures are said to bring good fortune, long life, fertility, health, or safety depending on the Polynesian god depicted on the carving. Some Tiki sculptures may not depict a specific mana or good fortune but simply depict a Polynesian god.

There are different kinds of Tiki sculptures available for collectors from Tiki Statues to Tiki Masks. One of the most popular Tiki art is the Tiki statue. Tiki statues can be used to decorate indoor spaces and also gardens, patios and other outdoor areas. The sizes of the Tiki statues range from 26 inches to over 60 inches. With the range of designs and sizes, it is easy to find the right Tiki statue to meet your needs.

When choosing a Tiki statue for your home or any other place, make sure to get authentic Tiki statues. Authentic Tiki statues are made of Acacia and other hard woods. This makes them durable; standing the test of time even when they are placed outdoors exposed to various elements such as rain and sun light. They are also carved by real artists who understand the meanings of the facial expressions and symbols used in the Tiki culture. These artists are able combine aesthetic value with symbolism and functionality. These authentic Tiki statues require a lot of hard work to create because they are carved and not created using a mold. The whole process takes a lot of knowledge, patience and dedication.

Another thing you must remember when choosing Tiki statues is to make sure you understand the meanings of the designs so that you get the kind of statue that has a relevance in your life, this will make the statue even more important for you.

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