Chile Wants the U.K to Return a Mysterious Moai Statue, Stolen 150 Years Ago

Chile revived an old dispute with the United Kingdom to recover a moai statue that was stolen from Easter Island (4,000 km west of Santiago de Chile) around 150 years ago.

And since social networks can move the world and achieve amazing things, Chile has recently launched a campaign under the hashtag #QueVuelvaElMoai.

The South American country wants the United Kingdom to return the moai Hoa Hakananai’a – which translates as “lost friend” – stolen by the English ship HMS Topaze and delivered as a gift to Queen Victoria in 1869, who would later donate it to the British Museum in London, where it is currently located.

The moai Hoa Hakananai’a is one of the oldest Moai ever carved.

Carved from basalt – a stone different from most moa made from volcanic tuff – the statue is special because of several characteristics.

Volcanic tuff is a pyroclastic, consolidated rock composed of compacted and cemented volcanic ash, from volcanic eruptions.

It has a height of 2 meters 42 centimeters and weighs 4 tons, it was also located in the ceremonial village of Orongo.

It features the carving of a series of symbols on the back and head that seem intact.

Easter Islands has only a few Moai carved from basalt.

And the few basalt moai that exist were found in deeper stratum levels, under other moáis and under platforms where in later times other statues were erected, or else they were (re) used for other structures.

In addition, the stone from which they were carved would have been extracted from quarries that today are under the sea which, according to geologists such as Robert Schoch, means they are much older than the rest of the statues of Rapa Nui.

According to the British Museum in the file dedicated to the moai, Hoa Hakananai’a would mean “friend hidden or stolen”, making reference to what happened to the Moai since it was stolen from Easter Island.

In hopes to recover this moai, Chile will send a delegation led by the Minister of National Assets, Felipe Ward, and Carlos Edmunds Paoa, to meet next Tuesday with the authorities of the British Museum in London, reported Reuters.

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