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Chest Ornament

Culture Rapa Nui (Easter Island)
Title Chest Ornament (Rei Miro)
Date 19th century
Medium Wood, obsidian, and and bone
Dimensions Object: 6 7/8 × 15 × 11/16 in. (17.5 × 38.1 × 1.7 cm)
Overall: 6 7/8 × 15 × 11/16 in. (17.5 × 38.1 × 1.7 cm)
Credit Line Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University
Accession Number 2010.23

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About this Work

Our understanding of the rei miro is limited by only fragmentary information about pre-European Rapa Nui, the result of a population being decimated before traditions were recorded. An indication of high rank, a rei miro was worn suspended on a cord, perhaps of braided human hair, by men and women at feasts and other important occasions. The ornament’s defining characteristic is its crescent form. Most are symmetrical, with the crescent’s points elaborated by carvings, usually in the form of human heads, with round obsidian and bone inlaid eyes, as in this example.

Provenance research is ongoing for this and many other items in the Eskenazi Museum of Art permanent collection. For more information about the provenance of this artwork, please contact the department curator with specific questions.

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"Chest Ornament | Collections Online." Collections Online. Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University, 2024.