In this paper the varied explanations, both local and academic, of Rapanui woodcarvings are discussed and some possible interpretations presented. First, it is suggested that some figures can be understood as representing processes of mediation between different cosmological spheres. Second, it is proposed that particular figures can be considered as having protective qualities similar to those of carvings elsewhere in Polynesia. Finally, the argument is made that certain carved figures should be understood as portraits of particular people.
|Number of pages
|Journal of the Polynesian Society
|Published - Jun 2011