Indiana University Indiana University IU

Browse the collection

Male Figure

Culture Rapa Nui (Easter Island)
Title Male Figure (Moai Kavakava)
Date Early to mid-19th century
Medium Wood, obsidian, and and bone
Dimensions Object: 15 1/8 × 3 1/4 × 3 5/8 in. (38.4 × 8.3 × 9.2 cm)
Overall (includes mount): 15 7/8 × 3 1/4 × 3 5/8 in. (40.3 × 8.3 × 9.2 cm)
Credit Line Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University
Accession Number 80.5.1

Share this artwork!

About this Work

Though the monumental stone figures of Rapa Nui have for years captured the public imagination, another type of sculpture carved of wood, the moai kavakava, “statue with ribs,” also leaves a remarkable impression. Always male, moai kavakava have prominent rib cages, clavicles, and spines, and sunken eye sockets that evoke skeletons, leading most scholars to believe that moai kavakava represent ancestors or their spirits; but their beards, glinting bone-and-obsidian eyes, and elongated fleshy earlobes place the images within the realm of the living.

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.

Viewing Information
This artwork is currently on view.


Request this Image
The Eskenazi Museum of Art provides images of its collection, free of charge, upon request. This artwork is under copyright protection. You can request the image and it will be emailed to you when the request is complete.

Cite this Page
"Male Figure | Collections Online." Collections Online. Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University, 2024.