In 2012, archeologists discovered that the Easter Island's statues were tattooed, but the photos have only leaked recently.
Many people think that they are only giant heads, but in fact, they are 10m tall statues of volcanic rock with a full body. They are called Moai, and they have been covered to the shoulders by silt from a nearby volcano. Excavations revealed that they are carved with designs very similar as the Polynesian and ethnic tattoos we now know. Scientists think that the designs of these tattoos are related to the life of the Rapa Nui (the real name of the island and of its people), with canoe tattoos for example. The 887 statues have been erected in a period from AD 100 and AD 1800. The tattooed Moai are thus a precious testimony of the existence of tattoo art in the early times of humanity, even if Otzi, the tattooed mummy, is even older!
Rapa Nui was called the Easter Island because it was discover the day of Easter, in 1722, by Dutch Navigator Jacob Roggeveen. Since then, the statues and the inhabitants have fascinated the world, and especially their tattoos. Ta Kona, the name given to the traditional tattoo art of Rapa Nui, is indeed really close to the Polynesian tattoo art. The island has been colonized 3000 years ago by people coming from all the Pacific Ocean: Fiji, Tonga, Tahiti, New Zealand and Hawaii. The meaning of these tattoos were spiritual and social, but they were also aesthetic. All the human figures found in Rapa Nui were covered with tattoos, and the first explorers of the island have described people with body and facial ink. They were hand poked pieces done on warriors and noble women and men. Ta Kona art disappeared in the 1930s, and the population of Easter Island too, leaving a complex mystery for ethnologists, archeologists and scientists. But for tattoo lovers, the impressive discovery of the tattooed statues is an incredible link with the tattoo roots of humanity.