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WOOD CARVING, BIRDMAN
PACIFIC ETHNOGRAPHIC COLLECTION
 
Catalog No: ST/ 5309
Locale: EASTER ISLAND
Country: CHILE
Date: Late 19th Century A.D.
Material: WOOD (THESPISEA POPULNEA?)
Dimensions: H:41 W:17 D:8.5 (in CM)
Technique: CARVED
Subject: BIRD WITH LONG BILL, BIRDMAN
Acquisition Year: 1891-1893 [PURCHASE]
Donor: STURGIS, APPLETON
Keywords: FIGURINE, WOOD CARVING
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This late 19th century moai tangata manu figure combines the features of a bird and a man, and represents the creator deity Makemake. The figure is emblematic of an annual ritual wherein young men competed to be the first to retrieve a sooty tern egg from a rookery on a rocky islet off Rapa Nui's coast. Barely detectable glyphs, carved into the figure's torso, have not been deciphered, but probably served as mnemonic devices for chanting ceremonies.
Exhibition History:
EASTER ISLAND - AN EPIC VOYAGE. POINTE-A-CALLIERE/MONTREAL MUSEUM OF ARCHAEOLOGY AND HISTORY, OLD-MONTREAL (QUEBEC), CANADA. June 2010 - November 2010
SPLENDID ISOLATION: ART OF EASTER ISLAND. THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, NEW YORK, NY. November 2001 - August 2002
DIE OSTERINSEL UND IHRE KULTUR. SENCKENBERG MUSEUM, WEST GERMANY, 6000 FRANKFURT 1, WEST GERMANY. March 1989 - June 1990
Publication History:
EASTER ISLAND: AN EPIC VOYAGE. POINTE-A-CALLIERE. EXHIBITION CATALOG. 2010
1500 JAHRE KULTUR DER OSTERINSEL. ESEN-BAUR, HEIDE-MARGARET. EXHIBITION CATALOG. 1989
L'ILE DE PAQUES:L UNE ENIGME?. ESEN-BAUR, HEIDE-MARGARET. EXHIBITION CATALOG. 1989
ARTS OF THE SOUTH SEAS. LINTON, RALPH AND PAUL S WINGERT. Publisher: THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART. 1946


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