Rapa Nui (Easter Island) Moai Cast

Part of Hall of Pacific Peoples.

Moai statue in the center of the Hall of Pacific Peoples beside glass exhibit cases holding a Māori chief’s pātaka and other objects. Alvaro Keding/© AMNH

Rapa Nui (Easter Island) is famous for its rows of moai, towering figures of deified ancestors that were carved from volcanic tuff rock in quarries, then moved to a platform on the water's edge. This plaster cast was made from a mold secured during a 1934-1935 Museum expedition to Rapa Nui, 2,000 miles west of the Chilean coast.

There are 887 moai on Rapa Nui, where they are revered, even considered by some islanders to be sacred. Since the Museum's moai cast was featured in the movie Night at the Museum, it has become a popular exhibit.