figure, called Moai-Kava-Kava; toromiro wood

Moai Kavakava, 18th century

Unknown artist, expand_more

Moai kavakava, which means "image with ribs," is the most common of the wood sculptures on Rapa Nui. These gaunt male figures, with their protruding bones and skull-like heads, probably represent the spirits of the dead. Little is known about their precise functions, but it is likely that they were worn around the neck during certain festivals. The extended earlobes, typical of this type of sculpture, are shown with cylindrical ear ornaments representing the actual shark vertebra earplugs once worn by the island's inhabitants.



Moiai Kava Kava (#511)
Moai Kavakava
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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figure, called Moai-Kava-Kava; toromiro wood