State and Perspectives of Scientific Research in Easter Island Culture

Ed.: Heide-Margaret Esen-Baur

1990. 237 pages, 58 figures, 6 tables, 21x30cm, 760 g
Language: English

(Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, Band 125)

ISBN 978-3-510-61140-9, paperback, price: 33.00 €

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Foreword top ↑

The sciences of Natural History and Ethnology are tightly connected to one another. Pursuing research on natural history throughout the world, as the Senckenbergische Naturforschende Gesellschaft has done since the 1820ies, also means to develop an alert interest in the ethnology of the region concerned. History, national characteristic and culture of peoples are closely tied to the natural-historic development of their environment. For this reason the Senckenbergische Naturforschende Gesellschaft has entertained an ethnological-anthropological exhibit in the last century, which was in 1878 handed over to the ethnological museum of the city of Frankfurt/Main.

The tight connection of Natural History and Ethnology is particularly distinct in the case of Easter Island, its position within the Pacific archipelago and its outstanding colonisation and the development of its culture. The Senckenbergische Naturforschende Gesellschaft has therefore, closely cooperating with the German-Ibero-American Society, assembled for the first time in an extensive exhibition features of the natural history and of 1500 years of cultural development of the Easter Island. Numerous objects of art and culture as well as specimens of natural history that had been dispersed throughout the world by discovers and explorers were hereby united for 5 months in the Senckenberg Museum in 1989.

In addition, Dr. HEIDE-MARGARET ESEN-BAUR, progenitor of this Easter Island exhibit, had brought together a number of outstanding scholars of Easter Island research in August 1989 in order to further comprise and comprehend scientificially the heritage of the actors who created this fascinating culture. In a four days Symposion in the Senckenberg Museum many aspects, often contradictory, were discussed, the results of which are to enlighten this enigmatic and strange culture beyond the inventory and to finally reveal their basic ideas and motivations.

The Volkswagen Foundation has supported the Symposion by providing financial aid. The Senckenbergische Naturforschende Gesellschaft has made available this volume of its "Courier" series, thus demonstrating its vivid interest in important anthropological features.

Dr. HEIDE-MARGARET ESEN-BAUR, untiring in her efforts and continuously in contact with the authors, has assembled and edited the manuscripts. Mrs. MICHELINE MIDDEKE has provided the computersetting and VOLKMAR THIER has produced the excellent lithographs of the often complex illustrations.

I am grateful to all of them for their respective contributions. May this volume contribute to further unravelling the fascinating and at the same time still enigmatic cultural history of the Easter Island.

Contents top ↑

List of participants and invited guests 4
Foreword TV. ZIEGLER) 7
Introduction (H.-M. EsEN-BAuR) 9
Religious Terminology of Easter Island and Polynesia (H. CAIN) 11
Ethnological and Folklore Data in the Symbolic Interpretation of
Easter Island Art Objects (I. K. FEDOROVA) 23
The First Figures to be Collected from Easter Island (D. ATTENBOROUGH) 41
The Mystery of the Rapanui Language (W. W. SCHUHMACHER) 51
La Profecía de Renga Varevare a Te Niu (O. BLIXEN) 63
Wege durch die Nacht (Rongorongo-Studien auf dem Santiagostab)
(T. S. BARTHEL) 73
Problems of Methods in Interpreting Easter Island Data (J. GUIART) 113
Is a New Approach to the Decipherment of Rongorongo Writing Necessary?
(J. VIGNES) 115
The Katherine Routledge Notes and Photos, Their Importance for Easter
Island (C. M. LOVE) 121
Cartograffa Histbrica de la Isla de Pascua en el Siglo XVIII,
Acompanada de Algunos Datos Etnol6gicos y Arqueol6gicos (F. MELLEN
How to Make and Move an Easter Island Statue (C. M. LOVE) 139
Reconstruction of the Transport of Moai (P. PAVEL) 141
The Lost Observatories of Rapa Nui (W. LILLER) 145
Aim and Concept of the Easter Island Exhibit in Frankfurt
(H.-M. EsEN-BAuR) 161
Aim and Concept of the Easter Island Exhibit in Brussels (F. FORMENT) 171
Acciones de Conservacidn en Isla de Pascua (M. BAHAMONDEZ PRIETO) 179
The Conservation of the Moai "Hange Kio'e" - Methods and Consequences
of the Restoration (M. ROTH) 183
Changes in the Easter Island Flora - Comments on Selected Families
(G. ZIZKA) 189
Wild and Introduced Plants on Easter Island - A Report on Some
Species Noted in February 1988 (B. ALDEN) 209
Donnees Nouvelles sur la Disparition du Palmier (cf. Jubaea) de l'Ile
de Paques (M. ARNOLD, M. ORLIAC & H. VALLADAS) 217
Sophora toromiro, One of the Raw Materials Used by Pascuan Carvers:
Some Examples in the Collections of Musee de l'Homme (C. ORLIAC) 221
Sophora toromiro in the Botanical Garden University Bonn JVV. LOBIN)
229 Modern Plant Biotechnology as a Tool for the Reestablishment of
Genetic Variability in Sophora toromiro (H.-J. JACOBSEN & G. DOHMEN)