Wednesday , April 21 2021

Chile's fight to recover a moai stolen by the UK 150 years ago

Chile revived an old dispute with the United Kingdom to recover a moai statue that was stolen from Easter Island (4,000 km west of Santiago de Chile) 150 years ago.

Through a campaign under the hashtag #QueVuelvaElMoai, the South American country wants the United Kingdom to return the moai Hoa Hakananai – which translates as "lost friend" – stolen by the English ship HMS Topaze to be delivered as gift to the queen. Victory of England in 1869, which he would later donate to the British Museum in London, where he is currently located.

For the Rapa Nui ethnic group, which inhabits the Chilean territory of Easter Island, Moai Hoa Hakananai is not a simple statue but represents a very valuable ancestor containing "mana" as they refer to supernatural energy.

"It's not a museum piece, it's a very valuable ancestor for us and it should return to the place we should never have left," said Carlos Edmunds Paoa, Rapa Nui's Elders Council president, on the property page. moai

In order to recover this carved moai in four tons of basalt, Chile will send a delegation led by the Minister of National Assets, Felipe Ward, and Carlos Edmunds Paoa, to meet next Tuesday with the British Museum authorities in London. Reuters.

The proposal of the Chilean delegation to recover the moai is to offer in return a moai carved in stone by the sculptor of Easter Island, Bene Tuki, in an attempt to return the archaeological pieces that were taken by hundreds of researchers, navigators and anthropologists who arrived to the island during the second half of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century.

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