Hoa Hakananai’a, Moai from Easter Island

My ARCHAEO-Crush for the month of June is a statue you will seldom see in a museum…

A boy sketches Hoa Hakananai'a, the moai at the British Museum.

A boy sketches Hoa Hakananai’a, the moai at the British Museum.














Type: artefact (stone statue)
Civilisation: Polynesia, Easter Island (Rapa Nui)
Date: circa 1000 CE.
ARCHAEO-Crush: The moai (statues) on Easter Island are rather mysterious and I find them interesting. However, I can’t say that I know much about them. I like their imposing presence on the island landscape and their minimalist aesthetics. The statue on the photo is called Hoa Hakananai’a (which apparently means ‘hidden or stolen friend’) and is one of the smaller statues: it measures 2.42m tall and weighs about 4 tons. Imagine the size and weight of the larger moai! Hoa Hakananai’a was brought back from Rapa Nui on the HMS Topaze and was offered to the British Admiralty, who in turn offered it to Queen Victoria, who gave it to the British Museum in 1869…
Bucket list status: I saw Hoa Hakananai’a at the British Museum a few years ago. I had no idea there was a moai at the BM and I spent a long while staring at it, thinking I might never have the chance to see a moai again.  I go say hello each time I visit the BM; he used to be in the corner of the Millennium Court, but now he’s in the Wellcome Gallery, looking more majestic than ever.  If I have the opportunity of going to Rapa Nui, I shall go see the moai…
Additional information: Hoa Hakananai’a is one of the rare moai outside of Easter Island. Rapa Nui National Park is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, number 715.