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Rapa Nui Birdman Bowl

a.k.a. Tangata Manu Bowl

View all 2 pictures
Physical Characteristics
Material Ceramic
Shape Bowl
Dimensions 6.75" x 8"
(17.1cm x 20.3cm)
Capacity ? fl. oz.
Optimal drink size ? fl. oz.
Decorative Characteristics
Coloring Beige mainly
Imagery Animal
There is one of this item in Ooga-Mooga:

From the Collection of
Trader Tom
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From ?
Manufactured by ?
Designed by Eric October
Produced in 2011
Edition of 2
This hand-built bowl features four birdmen holding a small bowl aloft. The larger bowl's outside is imprinted with petroglyph birdmen figures. Piece is finished with a light tan glaze that's very rustic and natural looking. One of the most famous motifs on Easter Island is that of the Birdman, a therianthropic figure, half man and half bird. Over time, Moai statue making appears to have ceased, and the birdman cult came into being, reflecting a change from ancestor worship to a religion based around a new warrior class. Those who won the birdman contest were imbued with status and spiritual authority able to act as intermediaries to the spirit realm. The most sacred area at Orongo is called Mata Ngarau, where priests chanted and prayed for success in the annual egg hunt. The purpose of the birdman contest was to obtain the first egg of the season from the offshore islet Motu Nui. Contestants descended the sheer cliffs of Orongo and swam to Motu Nui where they awaited the coming of the birds. Having procured an egg, the contestant swam back and presented it to his sponsor, who then was declared birdman for that year.
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