Indiana University Bloomington IU Bloomington IUB

Chest Ornament (Rei Miro)

Our understanding of the rei miro is limited by only fragmentary information about pre-European Easter Island, 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.

Rapa Nui (Easter Island)
Chest Ornament (Rei Miro)
19th century
Wood, obsidian, bone
W. 15 in. (38.1 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 2010.23