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The British Museum opens the dialogue with Chile for the return of a moái to the Easter Island

MORE INFORMATION Chile wants it back the moái of Easter Island that exhibits the British Museum When Chile wanted to sell the Island from Easter to the nazis T

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The British Museum opens the dialogue with Chile for the return of a moái to the Easter Island
MORE INFORMATION Chile wants it back the moái of Easter Island that exhibits the British Museum When Chile wanted to sell the Island from Easter to the nazis

The British Museum has opened the door to dialogue with Chile, which in August initiated negotiations for the return to Easter Island for a moái of 2.4 meters that the institution exhibits since 1869. Last Tuesday, an official delegation of 10 chilean –made up of representatives of the Rapa Nui and the Government of Sebastián Piñera– was received in the museum by the highest authorities of the institution, in the first contact of this negotiation process. The ambassador of Chile in the Uk, David Gallagher, points out that the encounter of three hours and attended by the director and deputy director of the museum, Hartwig Fischer, and Jonathan Williams, “he was extremely cordial and respectful”. Carlos Edmunds, president of the Council of Elders of Rapa Nui, declares that it is “excited”.

“None of us knew this moái. It was really awesome, made us stop the hairs: we feel your vibes, we cry. We did a ritual and sang to her”, says the representative of the island, located some 3,500 kilometers away from the american continent, in the middle of the Pacific ocean.

The chilean Government supports the demand of the islanders, so that at the meeting present was the ambassador and the minister of National Assets, Philip Ward, along with seven representatives of the people of Rapa Nui. Just starting the conversations and it is not certain that the British Museum go to return the moái –of immense significance for the inhabitants of Easter Island–, but the alternative is open. “Has not excluded any output,” says Gallagher. “In this case –explained the ambassador– is contradicted by two values. On the one hand, that a piece considered Heritage of the Humanity will be seen by millions of people, and that is in a place where its conservation will always be impeccable. On the other, the existence of a people which gives it an immense spiritual value”.

İllegal Bahis The dialogue will continue in Rapa Nui, coming soon. The islanders invited the authorities of the British Museum to learn about their land and the offer was accepted. Although we have not agreed a date, the meeting could occur next February, when the inhabitants of Easter Island celebrate one of their holidays of a longer tradition. There is tail wind of the petition to the chilean: “museums are interested in connecting with the living sources of its collections, especially of a village that has preserved its culture, which has not been mastered,” says the ambassador. Although constitutionally, the royal family can not refer to this type of issues, the islanders sent a letter to Elizabeth II to intercede in this matter.

Detail of the moái that Chile claims to the British Museum. Getty A unique piece

this Is an exceptional piece: this is the moái that represents the union of the inhabitants of the island. “The balance of political, religious, and spiritual,” reports the minister Ward. Unlike most of the nearly 900 statues that remain on Rapa Nui, the figure Hoa Hakananai'aa is not made of volcanic tuff, but basalt. Elegant carved symbols associated with the cult of Tangata Manu, the bird man. As a sample of how important is this piece to differences of other, in the same visit to London, the procession arrived until the Royal Academy, where it exhibits a second moái picked up by the british in the NINETEENTH century. In this case, however, Rapa Nui does not ask for its return.

The figure in dispute remained on Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, until 1868, when the frigate Topaze of the British Royal Navy ended up in the territory, in charge of commander Richard Powell. The crew English you extracted the moái the 4 of November of that year from the ceremonial village of Orongo to take him to Europe and give it as a present to queen Victoria. From the following year until the present day is on display at the British Museum in London, where it occupies a privileged place.

Along with the rigid statutes of the British Museum in respect of its permanent collection, the place where is installed the moái is part of the complexity of your return to Chile: it is the start of one of the wings of the enclosure and is one of the favorite works of the visitors, which tend to take selfies next to the piece. In the past had made efforts for the moái to return to Easter Island –which became part of Chile in 1888– but never officially, and with a decided boost from the Government, despite the fact that Rapa Nui was recognized by the Unesco as a world Heritage site.

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