The rei miro (also spelled reimiro) was a breastplate worn by the men and women of the Rapa Nui people of Easter Island.
Flag of Rapa Nui flag, Easter Island, depicting the Reimiro
It served as an insignia of high rank, and the paramount chief of the island was said to have worn two of them as pectorals and two others on his shoulders on special occasions.
The crescent shape may refer to the moon, an association found throughout Polynesia. The significance of the heads is unknown, though they may relate to ancestors.
Each side of the crescent reimiro ended in a human head. The outer, display side had two small pierced bumps through which a cord was strung for hanging it. The inner side contained a cavity that was filled with chalk made from powdered seashells.
A red reimiro provides the image of the flag of Rapa Nui, better known as Easter Island.
“It amazes me that there are Christians against the death penalty. If it wasn’t for capital punishment, there’d be no Easter.” – Bill Hicks
Rapa Nui, the indigenous name of Easter Island, bears witness to a unique cultural phenomenon. A society of Polynesian origin that settled there c. A.D. 300 established a powerful, imaginative and original tradition of monumental sculpture and architecture, free from any external influence.
Ahu Tongariki, the largest platform and collection of Moai ever erected on Rapa Nui.
From the 10th to the 16th century this society built shrines and erected enormous stone figures known as moai , which created an unrivalled cultural landscape that continues to fascinate people throughout the world.
The moai known for their large, broad noses and strong chins, along with rectangle-shaped ears and deep eye slits. In reference to their bodies, they are normally squatting with their arms resting in different positions and are without legs.
They range in height from 2 metres to 20 metres and are for the most part carved from the scoria, using simple picks made from hard basalt and then lowered down the slopes into previously dug holes. The statues were carved by the Polynesian colonizers of the island, mostly between circa 1250 CE and 1500 CE.
In addition to representing deceased ancestors, the moai, once they were erected, may also have been regarded as the embodiment of powerful living or former chiefs and important lineage status symbols. Nevertheless, perhaps ironically, these giant monuments are still shrouded in quite some mystery.