All material on this site is (c) copyright to the respective authors.  ISSN - 1481-3440 

Several Rongorongo Records

(Symbolism of Archaic Beliefs)

Sergei V. Rjabchikov

Krasnodar, Russia



Copyright © Sergei V. Rjabchikov, 1998-1999. All rights reserved.

Published 5 December 1998  Revised 6 February 1999  Last posted 23 December 2004 23 September 2005


A new portion of the rongorongo records (the famous script of Easter Island, or Rapa Nui) is examined. I use my own personal classification and translation scheme for reading the glyphs (Rjabchikov 1987: 362-3; 1993a: 23; 1995a; <>). The rules of gradual phonetic evolution of the Polynesian languages are noteworthy to read some words successfully.

1. I have distinguished a sentence structure, PREDICATE - (article 17) - SUBJECT(S), in the rongorongo texts. The predicate 6-4 hotu (6-6-4 hohotu, 6-4-6-4 hotuhotu) < Tahitian hotu 'to produce fruit', Samoan fotu 'to appear; to blossom out, to come into blossom' is presented in some sentences (Rjabchikov 1993b: 128-9). Figure 1 contains two additional sentences with this verb:








1 (Aa 5): 6-6-4 26 6 15 39 23 17 44-44 17 65 17 1 72 [with the head of glyph 44] 44 2 ... Hohotu Maha roa Ra'a Ura te Tata, te Rangi, te Tiki MANU Taha, Hina ... 'The Great Shark-Sun-Fire/Dawn (1) produces the Nearness [the Initial Condition Rumia], (then the god) Rangi [the Sky], (then the god) Tiki-Frigate Bird, (then the goddess) Hina...'

2 (Ab 7): 6-4 68 65 23 17 44-44 17 65 17 1 72 44 17 2 ... Hotu Honu (2) RANGI Ura te Tata, te Rangi, te Tiki MANU Taha, te Hina... 'The Pleiades-Fire/Dawn produce the Nearness [the Initial Condition Rumia], (then the god) Rangi [the Sky], (then the god) Tiki-Frigate Bird, (then the goddess) Hina...'

These texts describe the creation of the Universe (Buck 1938: 69-71, 149-50, 263-4). The ancient Easter Islanders believed that there was the sun god whose names were Tangaroa/Tane/Tiki/Makemake; on the other hand, according to the Aruku-Kurenga record (Bv 10), Tiki was a son of Makemake (Tangaroa/Tane) (3). In my opinion, the name of the sun god is presented in the Rapanui place name Kanapu (Barthel 1962a: 105) which consists of the words kana (cf. Tahitian, Tuamotuan kana 'to shine') and pu (Rapanui pu 'to produce').

The form maha is a variant of the Rapanui mango 'shark' (Rjabchikov 1988a: 319). The Rapanui place name Hua mahomea (Barthel 1962a: 105) is connected with the read texts, and means 'The Red Shark produces' (4). Besides, the word maha was preserved in the name of the Hawaiian chief Kawelo-mahamahaia who was himself worshipped as a shark at death (Beckwith 1970: 410). Fragment 2 informs about the Pleiades. This constellation was a mark for new year in the Maori calendar (Best 1955). The Hawaiians celebrated Makahiki [Matahiti 'The Face (the sun god) is appearing'], the festival of new year (Beckwith 1970: 33-5). The Rapanui place name Maru matariki (Barthel 1962a: 106) means 'The solstice - the Pleiades', therefore the Old Rapanui calendar could be similar to the Maori and Hawaiian ones. The term Tata can be related to the phrase Tangaroa i te Tata (Buck 1938: 99). Furthermore, tata is mentioned in the Rapanui place name Papa tata ika (Barthel 1962a: 106).

The hieroglyphic texts are connected with the following words of a Rapanui chant (Barthel 1962b: 848; the text is translated in Rjabchikov 1995b: 39): E Poie Nuinui a Tuki e imua ia Koe taau taau ... Hatupaki, Hatupaki ... 'The Great Dawn - the Copulation (was) in the Darkness Kore in the beginning for countless ages ... The Creator - the Shark (Seal), The Creator - the Shark (Seal)...' The Rapanui place name Hatupaki (Barthel 1962a: 105) repeats the formula of this chant.

I have already interpreted a part of fragment 2 in Rjabchikov 1987: 361, 364-5.

2. Figure 2 contains two almost equal sentences. The words 49-50 (Maui, the sun god in the Maori mythology) and 6-50 (ahi 'fire') are interchangeable segments only. The texts read:








1 (Er 4): 25 5 7 25 8 4 3 6-73 49-50 8 6-50 11 44-44 25 Hua atua Tuu Hua Matua atua Hina Hoe Maui Matua Ahi Mango/Pakia Tata Hua. 'The god Creator-Father/Canoe-comes produces the goddess Hina Hoe, (the daughter) of Maui-Father/Canoe-Fire-Shark/Seal-Nearness-Creator'.

2 (Bv 11): 25 5 7 25 8 4 3 6-73 6-50 8 49-50 11 44-44 25 Hua atua Tuu Hua Matua atua Hina Hoe Ahi Matua Maui Mango/Pakia Tata Hua. 'The god Creator-Father/Canoe-comes produces the goddess Hina Hoe, (the daughter) of the Fire-Father/Canoe-Maui-Shark/Seal-Nearness-Creator'.

I think that these texts reflect a sentence of the Creation Chant (Métraux 1940: 321): Tiki te Hatu ki ai ki roto Hina Popoia, ka pu te Hina Kauhara 'Tiki te Hatu by copulating with Hina Popoia produced Hina Kauhara'.

Interestingly, some terms of the rongorongo texts are registered in the Rapanui place names, too. The place names Ahu ahirai and Huareva (Barthel 1962a: 102, 105) mean 'The ceremonial platform of the Fire-Sun' and 'The sun (5) produces' respectively.

The moon goddess has epithet Hoe in both records. The wordplay is quite possible: hoe means 'paddle; to wheeze with fatigue; to breathe rough', and Haua, another epithet of Hina, means 'hoarse'. According to a Rapanui myth (Felbermayer 1973: 84), the moon goddess Nuahine (Hina) (6) tears a thread which is breath of a person.

I have proved that the names of the heroes Hotu Matua 'The Stone/Creator-Canoe/Father' and Tuu ko Iho 'The Stone comes' of the initial settlement of Easter Island originated from the common source (Rjabchikov 1997b: 3-4). So the correct name of the first Rapanui king may be Tuu Hotu (Hua) Matua. The petroglyphs at Mata Ngarau (Orongo, Rapa Nui) are, in particular, the face (Makemake) together with rei-miro pendant (Lee 1992: 71, fig. 4.45). Taking into consideration Mangarevan hotuhotu 'large eyes' (7) and Maori rei 'canoe', matua 'hull of canoe', I conclude that both petroglyphs are a code for the name Hotu Matua. By the way, I.K. Fedorova (1978: 342) believes that the name of Hotu Matua correlates with the name of the god Tiki te Hatu. In a like manner, the name of the character Ava Rei Pua (Métraux 1940: 64), the wife of Hotu Matua or Tuu ko Ihu (Iho), denotes 'The Full Moon, (the daughter) of the Canoe-Creator, otherwise of Tiki' (8).

The words 44-44 Tata and 11 Mango/Pakia are also included in Tangaroa's name inscribed on the Chicago Fish Tablet housed in the Field Museum, Chicago, USA (Rjabchikov 1999).

3. Figure 3 contains two records about the rain deity:








1 (Bv 7): 6-24-9-6 6-73 29 6-73 33 Hari Niva Ha - hoe rua, hoe vai/ua ... '(the rain deity Hiva Kara Rere) - a paddle of the sunset, a paddle of the water/rain ...'.

2 (Cb 8): 62-21 5 69 22 ... Toko atua Moko - rapa ... 'A staff of the god Lizard - a paddle rapa ...'.

The name Hari Niva Ha 'The Darkness is carried - the prayer' is a version of the name Hiva Kara Rere 'The Darkness - the prayer flies' (9). The other versions of this name are included in the place names Te tuke hiva hakataha and Puna rere hiva (Barthel 1962a: 107). In the first case the verb rere 'to fly' is replaced by the verb hakataha 'to divert, to turn away, to go aside'.

A paddle rapa is a symbol of the rain god Hiro (Fedorova 1981: 268-9). Besides, the Lizard is an incarnation of the same god (Barthel 1978: 251). The parallel segment - no nga ore, nono nga tokotoko rua papa - is presented in the Creation Chant (Métraux 1940: 322) (10).

The name Hari Niva Ha is concerned with taniwha 'monster; guardian monster', a Maori mythical creature. Taniwha is often depicted as a lizard in the Maori folklore and rock art (Downes 1937: 207; Andersen 1969: 146; Best 1988: 242, 243). I split this term into Maori ta 'to dash' (cf. also the Maori expression he ua ta whakarere 'a very heavy rain') and niwa (cf. Maori niwaniwa 'dark; deep black'). The name of a taniwha, O-Tara-huru (Best 1988: 243), contains the term tara associated with solar eclipses (11). The Maori carvings representing taniwha (Best 1988: 242) are, in my opinion, the images of guardian monsters which are connected with the Rapanui wooden lizards (Routledge 1998: 238, 243, 268).

The names Hiva Kara Rere and Hiro belong to the common Rapanui deity of the rain and underworld. A Rapanui legend (Felbermayer 1948: 83-7) tells of the character Mata ko Iro, otherwise atua Hiva 'the god Hiva (the Darkness)'. This character was a thief, and his name meant 'A drop of (the rain god) Hiro'. This is consistent with A. Métraux' (1940: 310) hypothesis that the rain god Hiro was a patron of thieves on Easter Island.

4. Figure 4 contains the key term taniva:








1 (Bv 10): 19-44 44-9 12 29 99 12 26 Kita taniva; Ika Rumia; Ika Maa 'The Lizard taniva incurs death; the Fish (Tangaroa) is situated in the Initial Shell Rumia; (then) the Fish (Tangaroa) shines'.

2 (Ab 4): 4-32 44-9 44-9 44-9 atua ua taniva, taniva, taniva 'the deity/place taniva, taniva, taniva (tanivas)'.

In the first case the creation of the Universe is described. The word kita corresponds to Tongan kita 'to incur death', and this specific term is registered in the texts about solar eclipses (Rjabchikov 1998a; 1998b: 67, 73). The second fragment correlates with the Rapanui place name Ngaa moko (Barthel 1962: 106) 'Lizards'.

5. Figure 5 includes the following fragments:











1 (I 5): 22 6-6 (102) 22 48-48 Rapa Haha, Rapa - uu 'A paddle rapa of the underworld, a paddle rapa - the sleep (eternal rest)'.

2 (I 2): 62-21 6-6 Toko Haha 'A staff of the underworld'.

3 (Aa 6): 69 22  Moko - Rapa 'The Lizard - a paddle rapa'.

4 (Sa 4): 69 4 22 68 Moko atua - Rapa - Honu 'The god Lizard - a paddle rapa - the fresh water (12)'.

5 (I 4): 18 4 22 69 Te atua Rapa - Moko 'The god Rapahango - the Lizard'.

6 (Kv 3): 6-4-24 26 9 6-4-24 68 4 22 A atua ai Maniva (Mahiva), a atua ai Honu atua Rapa 'The deity/place Mahiva, the deity/place Rapahango'.

7 (Gr 6): 6-4-24 26 9 6-4-24 68 4 9 a atua ai Maniva (Mahiva), a atua ai Honu atua Niva (Hiva) 'The deity/place Mahiva, the deity/place 'The Water - Darkness''.

The term Haha (Samoan Fafa) denotes the underworld (Rjabchikov 1995c: 31; 1996a: 16; 1997b: 6; 1998a). Besides, Rapanui po haha means 'dark; dark night'. The expression Toko Haha and Maori rua 'place of the sunset' correlate with the Japanese Tokoyo-no kuni 'the eternal land'; tokoyo 'the land of the dead; the eternal night' (Pinus 1994: 160); Haha-no kuni 'the land of the dead' (Pinus 1994: 204); yo, yoru 'night'; ryu 'stream'; furu 'to rain'; Ryu 'Dragon', the rain god (Pinus 1994: 237). Furthermore, Rapanui niu 'coco palm' and Maori niwaniwa 'dark; deep black' correlate respectively with Japanese niwa 'garden' and niwakaame 'rain shower'.

Rapa may signify not only 'paddle', but also the name of the ghost Rapahango. The latter was linked with the ghost Tare (Métraux 1940: 317) who was responsible for the arrival of rain-laden clouds (Felbermayer 1963; Barhel 1978: 224). A Rapanui chant (Campbell 1971: 193) informs the names of the three deities (13) Rapahango, Taretare and (the girl) Araniu. I suppose that the latter ghost could be associated with another Rapanui ghost, Vie Moko 'The Lizard Woman' (Métraux 1940: 316).

The name Araniu reads Araniva 'The ecliptic and the Darkness (are united)' indeed. A variant of this name, Aarapotu (cf. Rapanui ara 'road', here 'ecliptic', and potu 'end', here 'the end of a month'), is presented in the Rapanui folklore. A legend (Métraux 1937: 47) tells of the king (the sun deity) Tuki Hakahe Vari (14) who once arrived at the solar place Pare (cf. Maori para 'to shine clearly'). He shouted to the two bad-looking girls (the dark crescents near the new moon), Aarapotu: "Turn back you bad-looking people, you are making dust for the eyes of Tuki Hakahe Vari, the king". The Eyes/Face is a symbol of the sun god (Rjabchikov 1997d). In a Rapanui legend, "Hiva Kara Rere, the rain god", a priest prayed for the rain and shouted: "Oh Tiki, hide your face" (Felbermayer 1963). Hence it is fair to say that Tiki is the sun deity. On the other hand, the King could symbolise the sun, too. One can compare Tongan maafu 'chief' and maafu 'to burn; burning' (Polinskaya 1986: 319). In the Rapanui manuscript E the term ariki maahu (Barthel 1978: 182) is written down. I believe that the Tongan term maafu 'chief; to burn; burning' was transformed into Rapanui ariki maahu, then into ariki mau 'supreme chief; king'. Really, glyph 49 (ariki) mau means 'the sun' in the record on the New York bird-man figurine (Rjabchikov 1996b: 27) (15).

The name of a Maori taniwha shaped like a flying lizard, Huarau (Downes 1937: 213, 223), consists of the words hua and rau (cf. Maori hua 'abundance; to bear fruit or flowers; fruit; fruitful', Rapanui hua 'to bloom; to sprout; flower; fruit; son', Maori whakarau 'to multiply', Samoan malaulau 'to grow vigorously', Rapanui raua 'to form', and Tahitian rahu 'to create'). This name can be compared with the expression tokotoko nato rau (Thomson 1891: 517) 'a staff to grow vigorously' (16) taken down in the folklore text "Apai", the oral version of a rongorongo record. 

Interestingly, the Santiago staff (text I according to T.S. Barthel's (1958) nomenclature) contains plenty glyphs 102 'phallus' and 27 rau 'to multiply; to grow vigorously; to form; to create'. I think that these glyphs were inserted in the original texts during the copyings, as special "magic" symbols. Perhaps the expression tokotoko nato rau describes the Santiago staff, on which a variant of the text "Apai" has been discovered (Rjabchikov 1995b: 11-3).

The name of the deity Maniva presented in fragments 6 and 7 reads Mahiva, as the words niva and hiva are interchangeable in the text of figure 3 discussed hereabove. Indeed, the name of the ghost Mahiva 'The Darkness' was registered by J.M. Brown (1996: 111). Moreover, the ghosts of the region of the Tupa-hotu tribe were Hiva and Rapahango (Métraux 1940: 318), so it is natural to find their names written down together in fragment 6. I think that the segment a atua ai Honu atua Niva 'the deity/place 'The Water - Darkness'' in fragment 7 corresponds to the place name Hanga-o-honu in the Tupa-hotu region associated with solar eclipses (Rjabchikov 1997e: 89-90).

The term ai 'place' can be incorporated in the specific Rapanui term moai 'anthropomorphic figure'.

6. A new report about the creation of the Universe is presented in figure 6:














1 (Pv 1/2): 6-6 12 56 99 27 99 3 17 2 21-15-21-15 11-24 11-24 44 6-73 44 8 Haha Ika. Po mi rau, mi hina tea, Hina. Korokoro, Pakia ari, Pakia ari. Taha Hoe, taha Matua ... 'The Darkness and the Fish (Tangaroa, the sun) (are united). The night grows, (then) the white moon, the moon goddess Hina. The Father/December, the White Shark (Seal), the White Shark (Seal). The moon goddess Hoe dashes, the sun god Matua dashes ...'

2 (Hr 11/12): 6-6 12 2 56 99 (?) 27 (?) 3 (?) ... 21-15-21-15 12 11-24 11-24 6 44 6-73 44 8 Haha Ika. Hina Po mi (?) rau (?) hina (?) ... Korokoro, Ika, Pakia ari, Pakia ari. A taha Hoe, taha Matua ... 'The Darkness and the Fish (Tangaroa, the sun) (are united). The moon goddess/night grows, (then) the [white] moon ... The Father, the Fish, the White Shark (Seal), the White Shark (Seal). The moon goddess Hoe dashes, the sun god Matua dashes ...'

3 (Qv 2): 6-6 12 2 56 99 27 3 17 4-33 4 21-15-21-15 12 11-24 Haha Ika. Hina Po mi rau, hina tea - atua ua. Atua Korokoro, Ika, Pakia ari... 'The Darkness and the Fish (Tangaroa, the sun) (are united). The moon goddess/night grows, (then) the white moon - the goddess/place ... The god Father, the Fish, the White Shark (Seal) ... '

4 (O 7): ... 56 6 27 26 3 8 4 ... ... Po a rau. Maa hina,  Matua atua ... '... The night grows. The moon and the god Father/Canoe are shining...'

The sun deity has epithets Ika (the Fish), Korokoro, Matua (the Father), Pakia ari (the White Shark/Seal; the sun is shining), and the moon goddess has epithets Po (the Night), hina tea (the white moon), Hoe (Hoarse [Haua]/the Paddle).

In all likelihood, fragments 1 - 3 contain a story about a solar eclipse known as the myth about Hine-Nui-te-Po 'the Great Mother of Night' and Maui, the sun god (Andersen 1969: 212-4).

The word mi compares with Japanese mi 'spirit; sacred', yami 'dark; darkness', Maori mio 'prayer after death', Mangarevan mio 'to die away; to die down', and Samoan miga 'respect, reverence'. Besides, glyph 99 mi associated with the death/deities and glyph 4 atua 'deity' (17) correspond to a Marquesan rock drawing containing, in particular, a headless being and a stick (Millerstrom 1990: 96, fig. 33b; this figure is decoded in Rjabchikov 1998d: 9).

It is quite possible that the sentence 'The moon goddess/night grows, (then) the white moon - the goddess/place.' denotes the place name Vinapu 'The moon goddess Hina produces' (Rjabchikov 1990: 22; 1997b: 6).

7. Figure 7 contains a report about two solar eclipses:

















1 (Bv 5): 6 6-24-9-6 6-15 6-6 84 15 A Hari Niva Ha - Hora. Haha, Ivi Roa. '(The chthonic god) - the month Hora. The Darkness and the Great Ancestor (are united)'.

2 (Bv 5/6): 6 6-24-9-6 17 56 6 33 25 15-28 4 68 25 6 99 9 24 61 4-35 19-(102)-4 22 19-(102)-4-4 22 A Hari Niva Ha - te Po a ua hua. Rongo atua. Honu hua a mi Niva. Ai Hina Tupa. Kuti - rapa, kutiti - rapa. '(The chthonic god) - the Night of the rain/fruit. The god (of fertility) Rongo. The water/fruit of the Darkness. The place of Hina Tupa (Pikea Uri) (18). The solar eclipse - a paddle rapa, the solar eclipse - a paddle rapa.

3 (Bv 6): 17 6-24-9-6 17 32 62-32 62-32 4 74-74 38 4-6 3 53 6-73 6-7 6-44 44 61 15 12 4 6-6-25 61 44-17 22 Te Hari Niva Ha - te ua, too ua, too ua. Atua Tinitini ra'a tuha hina Maru - hoe Hatu. Hata, taha Hina Roa, Ika atua. Aahu Hina, Tua-tea - rapa (19)  '(The chthonic god) - (the first) year, (the second) year, (the third) year. The god Zenith of the month Maru (the Solstice). A paddle of Hatu [a paddle ao]'. The great moon and the god Fish (the sun) are rising and dashing. The moon and the Venus are moving in a certain direction - a paddle rapa'.

4 (Bv 6): 6 6-24-9-6 131-131 [or 132-132] 17 44-101 44-101 ... A Hari Niva Ha - Korekore (Korehakoreha, Tunatuna) - te ta(h)ota(h)o ... '(The chthonic god) - the initial Darkness Kore (the Eel Tuna) - a pendant tahonga ...

5 (Bv 7): 6 6-24-9-6 53 29 ... A Hari Niva Ha - Maru Rua '(The chthonic god) - the month Maru (the Solstice) and the Sunset (are united)'.

On the same Aruku-Kurenga tablet (but on the recto side) there are reports about a partial solar eclipse of September 10, A.D. 1531 and about the Halley's Comet of A.D. 1531 (Rjabchikov 1994a: 4). The report about the same eclipse is presented in fragments 1 and 2. Actually, the term Hora signifies either Hora-iti 'August/September' or Hora-nui 'September/October'. The next solar eclipse was on December 24, A.D. 1535. This event is described in fragments 3 - 5. The use of the terms 'Zenith', 'Solstice' and 'paddle ao' (head/day) confirms this interpretation. The moon, the sun and the Venus are mentioned in fragment 3. Really, the natives conducted astronomical observations and could predict eclipses (Rjabchikov 1998e; 1998f; 1998g).

In fragment 4 the text tells of the killed Eel Tuna from which head the Coco Palm has grown up. Indeed, a pendant tahonga resembles a coconut (Fedorova 1981: 269).

In fragment 5 the term rua (cf. Maori rua 'setting-place of the sun') denotes 'solar eclipse; darkness'. The similar example is registered in a Rapanui chant: ... Nanaia. E Tama te Ra'a, Hiro Rangi Pakupaku. Ru, Ahi e. (Englert 1948: 297). Here the sun (Nanaia 'Spider', E Tama te Ra'a 'The Human Being - the Sun (Tiki)', Ahi 'Fire') is connected with the god Hiro/day Hiro when a solar eclipse could occur (20).

8. Figure 8 contains several parallel records:












1 (Bv 7): 6 6-24-9-6 50-17 4-35 reversed 2 27 56 A Hari Niva Ha - Ite. Tupa Hina Rau Po.

2 (Aa 8): 50-17 4 56 reversed 2 67-75 69 28-17 19-44 Ite. Atua Po Hina Pikea, Moko Ngotea Kita ...

3 (Ab 8): 50-17 4-4 67-75 2 108 5 45 14 3 5-15 26 Ite. Atuaatua Pikea Hina. Hiri, tupu Haua Hina atua roa maa.

4 (St. Petersburg moai pa'apa'a figurine): 28-17 Ngotea

These records are associated with rain. Fragment 1 precedes fragment 1 of figure 3 (see above). So the rain deity Hiva Kara Rere is connected with the new moon (Tupa 'Land Crab', Hina Rau Po is Hine-Nui-te-Po 'the Great Mother of Night'). Furthermore, the reversed glyph 2 depicts the new moon (Rjabchikov 1994b: 26). In fragments 2 and 3 there are the following names of the new moon: Po Hina Pikea 'The Night - the Moon/Crab [the deity Pikea Uri]', Pikea Hina 'The Crab/Moon', and Moko Ngotea Kita 'The Lizard - Absorption/Death' (21). A sentence of fragment 3 - Hiri, tupu Haua Hina atua roa maa. - means 'The great bright goddess Haua Hina is appearing'. I think that this text describes the transformation of the new moon to the full moon Haua (Rjabchikov 1987: 365; 1990: 23; 1997a: 31, 43).

The word ite of fragments 1 - 3 corresponds to Mangarevan ite 'to stretch oneself out; to reach out; to extend'. In accordance with the legend "Hiva Kara Rere, the rain god" (Felbermayer 1963), a priest raised the arms (rima haro) for the arrival of rain-laden clouds (rangi ua). The term haro 'to raise the arm; to stretch out the hand' was replaced by more ancient term ite in this rongorongo inscription. 

By comparison, the name of Maori taniwha (lizard) Peke-haua lived in a deep water-hole (Andersen 1969: 143) means 'The hidden full moon Haua, otherwise the new moon' (22). This character correlates with Hina-uri 'Dark Hina', personification of the moon in its dark phases (Andersen 1969: 234).

The word 28-17 Ngotea 'Absorption' is inscribed on the St. Petersburg moai pa'apa'a figurine (Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, St. Petersburg, Russia, MAE No 402-1). I suppose that it is an image of the Rapanui rain ghost Pa'apa'a Hiro or Pa'apa'a ki Rangi (Métraux 1940: 261; Rjabchikov 1995b: 43) to invoke rain. Therefore one can agree that such figurines symbolize a cultivated land (Heyerdahl 1976; Orliac, Orliac 1995: 66).




1. Cf. also Rapanui uraura 'bright red'.

2. The name Honu 'Turtle' is a symbol of the Pleiades in the Tuamotuan and Easter Island beliefs (Lee 1992: 80; Rjabchikov 1993c: 23; 1993d: 5).

3. The names of Tangaroa and Tane denote a man (Fedorova 1978: 18, 339). Besides, Tangaroa and Tane are the sun gods; moreover, they change each other in different Polynesian myths. In some Maori myths Tiki is regarded as a personification of the procreative powers of Tane (Buck 1938: 265). The name of the Maori sun god Maui-tikitiki includes the name of the god Tiki.

4. In addition, Rapanui mea signifies 'dawn' (Métraux 1940: 356).

5. Cf. Rapanui reva 'to hang'. A Rapanui chant (Blixen 1979: 74-8) informs: Ka rereva ra. He unga e te Mango. 'The sun is in zenith. The Shark (Tangaroa) is carried' (Rjabchikov 1997a: 45).

6. See Rjabchikov 1988b: 807.

7. The Rapanui place name Te mata o hotu (Barthel 1962a: 106) contains Rapanui mata 'eyes; face'.

8. The name of Hotu Matua's wife, Vakai (Métraux 1940: 64), means 'The Canoe of the Sun': cf. Rapanui vaka 'canoe', Maori hi 'to dawn', hihi 'ray of the sun'.

9. Cf. Maori niwaniwa 'dark; deep black', Tahitian ha 'prayer', Maori hiwa 'dark', Rapanui vere hiva 'fine rain', Tahitian 'ara 'to importune the gods by presents; to call', Maori kara 'to call', Rapanui kara 'wing'.

10. Cf. Samoan no, nono 'to borrow', ole 'to request, to beg for', Maori rua 'setting-place of the sun'. The word papa corresponds to the name of the rain ghost Pa'apa'a Hiro or Pa'apa'a ki Rangi (Rjabchikov 1995b: 43).

11. Cf. Rarotongan tara-marama 'the two points or horns of the new moon'. Additionally, the name of the Maori string figure Totara i kutia ai a Maru includes the words tara and kutia (cf. Maori kuti 'to eclipse', ra kutia 'solar eclipse') (Rjabchikov 1997a: 50). The Rapanui place name Tarakiu (Barthel 1962a: 107) contains the words tara and u < ua 'rain'.

12. Cf. Maori honu 'fresh water'.

13. Cf. the expressions e toru na nga varua 'the three hidden (creatures) - deities', e atua, e atua 'the deities'.

14. See (Rjabchikov 1997c: 209).

15. See also (Rjabchikov 1998c: 278-9).

16. Cf. Mangarevan nato 'to have strong desire; to be greatly in want of something'.

17. Glyph 99 represents a headless person and glyph 4 - a stick. The name of the Initial Shell, Rumia, can be divided into ru and mia, so it means 'The Darkness'. It should be recognised that glyph 4 atua 'god' is engraved on the St. Petersburg moai tangata-manu (bird-man figurine) (Its 1989: plate 2).

18. Pikea Uri 'The Black Crab' is a symbol of a solar eclipse (Rjabchikov 1997a: 37). The term tupa can signify 'tower for astronomical observations' as well; perhaps this is a message about Tupa Hiramoko, lit. 'Tower of the (god) Hiro, the Lizard'.

19. Cf. Rapanui oua 'leap-year', Maori uanga 'time of raining', wa 'time; season', whata 'to elevate', ahu 'to move in a certain direction'.

20. The Spider is a sign of the sun in the Rapanui text "Apai" and in a hieroglyphic record (Rjabchikov 1995a). Hiro Rangi Pakupaku means 'The chthonic (deity) Hiro', and Rua - 'Setting-place of the sun': cf. Rapanui papaku 'corpse; dead; to die', pakupaku 'shallow water'.

21. Cf. Maori ngote, ngotea 'to absorb'.

22. Cf. Maori whakapeke 'to hide oneself'; Hawaiian pe'e 'to hide; hiding'.




Andersen, J.C., 1969. Myths & Legends of the Polynesians. Rutland, Vermont and Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle Company.

Barthel, T.S., 1958. Grundlagen zur Entzifferung der Osterinselschrift. Hamburg: Cram, de Gruyter.

Barthel, T.S., 1962a. Easter Island Place-Names. Journal de la Société des Océanistes, 18: 100-7.

Barthel, T.S., 1962b. Rezitationen von der Osterinsel. Anthropos, 55: 841-59.

Barthel, T.S., 1978. The Eighth Land. The Polynesian Discovery and Settlement of Easter Island. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.

Beckwith, M., 1970. Hawaiian Mythology. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.

Best, E., 1955. The Astronomical Knowledge of the Maori. Dominion Museum Monograph 3. Wellington: R.E. Owen, Government Printer.

Best, S., 1988. Here be Dragons. Journal of the Polynesian Society, 97: 239-59.

Blixen, O., 1979. Figuras de hilo tradicionales de las Isla de Pascua. Moana: Estudios de Antropología Oceánia, 2(1): 1-106.

Brown, J.M., 1996. The Riddle of the Pacific. Kempton: Adventures Unlimited Press.

Buck, P.H. (Te Rangi Hiroa), 1938. Vikings of the Sunrise. Philadelphia - New York: J.B. Lippincott Company.

Campbell, R., 1971. La herencia musical de Rapanui. Santiago: Editorial Andres Bello.

Downes, T.W., 1937. Maori Mentality Regarding the Lizard and Taniwha in the Whanganui River Area. Journal of the Polynesian Society, 46: 206-24.

Englert, S., 1948. La tierra de Hotu Matu'a: historia, etnologia y lengua de la isla de Pascua. Padre Las Casas (Chile): "San Francisco".

Fedorova, I.K., 1978. Mify, predaniya i legendy ostrova Paskhi. Moscow: Nauka.

Fedorova, I.K., 1981. Atributy vlasti i kul'tovye predmety ostrova Paskhi v svete mifologii i etnografii. In: K.V. Malakhovsky (ed.) Puti razvitiya Avstralii i Okeanii. Moscow: Nauka, pp. 263-80.

Felbermayer, F., 1948. Historia y leyendas de la Isla de Pascua. Valparaiso: Victoria.

Felbermayer, F., 1963.  Hiva Kara Rere, der Gott des Regens. Tribus, 12: 215-8.

Felbermayer, F., 1973. Zwei Erzählungen der Osterinsulaner. Tribus, 22: 79-90.

Heyerdahl, T., 1976. The Art of Easter Island. London: George Allen & Unwin.

Its, R., 1989. Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, Leningrad. Leningrad: Aurora Art Publishers.

Lee, G., 1992. The Rock Art of Easter Island. Symbols of Power, Prayers to the Gods. Los Angeles: The Institute of Archaeology Publications (UCLA).

Métraux, A., 1937. The Kings of Easter Island. Journal of the Polynesian Society, 46: 41-62.

Métraux, A., 1940. Ethnology of Easter Island. Bernice P. Bishop Museum Bulletin 160. Honolulu: Bernice P. Bishop Museum Press.

Millerstrom, S., 1990. Rock Art of Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia: A Case Study of Hatiheu Valley, Nuku Hiva. Unpublished M.A. Thesis, San Francisco State University.

Orliac, C., and M. Orliac, 1995. Bois sculptés de l'île de Pâques. Marseille: Editions Parenthèses, Editions Louise Leiris.

Pinus,  E.M., 1994. Kojiki - Zapisi o deyaniyakh drevnosti. Svitok 1-y. Mify. St. Petersburg: Shar.

Polinskaya, M.S., 1986. Mify, predaniya i skazki Zapadnoy Polinezii: ostrova Samoa, Tonga, Niue i Rotuma. Moscow: Nauka.

Rjabchikov, S.V., 1987. Progress Report on the Decipherment of the Easter Island Writing System. Journal of the Polynesian Society, 96: 361-7.

Rjabchikov, S.V., 1988a. Allographic Variations of Easter Island Glyphs. Journal of the Polynesian Society, 97: 313-20.

Rjabchikov, S.V., 1988b. Interpretatsiya toponima ostrova Paskhi. Zeitschrift für Phonetik, Sprachwissenschaft und Kommunikationsforschung, 44: 807-8.

Rjabchikov, S.V., 1990. Tayny ostrova Paskhi. Vol. 1. Krasnodar: RIO.

Rjabchikov, S.V., 1993a. Notes on the Easter Island Script. L'Écho de Rapa Nui, 6(24): 22-3.

Rjabchikov, S.V., 1993b. Rapanuyskie texty (k probleme rasshifrovki). Etnograficheskoe obozrenie, 4: 124-41.

Rjabchikov, S.V., 1993c. Notes on the Easter Island Script. L'Écho de Rapa Nui, 6(24): 22-3.

Rjabchikov, S.V., 1993d. Tayny ostrova Paskhi. Vol. 2. Krasnodar: Severny Kavkaz.

Rjabchikov, S.V., 1994a. Khronologiya rapanuyskoy istorii. Krasnodar: DENOS.

Rjabchikov, S.V., 1994b. Tayny ostrova Paskhi. Vol. 3. Krasnodar: Ecoinvest.

Rjabchikov, S.V., 1995a. Notes on the Easter Island Script (part III). L'Écho de Rapa Nui, 8(29): 4.

Rjabchikov, S.V., 1995b. Tayny ostrova Paskhi. Vol. 4. Krasnodar: Ecoinvest.

Rjabchikov, S.V., 1995c. Peruanskie, mayaskie, yaponskie i melaneziyskie istochniki dlya izucheniya rapanuyskoy kul'tury. In: S.V. Rjabchikov (ed.) Ostrov Paskhi: peresechenie kul'tur. Krasnodar: Ecoinvest, pp. 23-45.

Rjabchikov, S.V., 1996a. Rongorongo versus Kai-kai: A Look at Parallel Themes in Easter Island's Mysterious Script and String Figure Repertoire. Bulletin of the International String Figure Association, 3: 14-20.

Rjabchikov, S.V., 1996b. Tayny ostrova Paskhi. Vol. 5. Krasnodar: Torgovo-promyshlennaya palata Krasnodarskogo kraya.

Rjabchikov, S.V., 1997a. Rongorongo versus Kai-kai: A Second Look at Themes Linking Easter Island's Mysterious Script with its String Figure Repertoire. Bulletin of the International String Figure Association, 4: 30-55.

Rjabchikov, S.V., 1997b. Rapanui Studies. Krasnodar: Torgovo-promyshlennaya palata Krasnodarskogo kraya.

Rjabchikov, S.V., 1997c. A Key to Mysterious Easter Island Place-Names. Beiträge zur Namenforschung. Neue Folge, 32: 207-10.

Rjabchikov, S.V., 1997d. [A Letter to the Editor]. Rapa Nui Journal, 11: 165-6.

Rjabchikov, S.V., 1997e. Solntse i zatmeniya (k simvolike rapanuyskogo fol'klora). In: V.P. Nikolaev (ed.) Strany Yuzhnykh morey: proshloe i sovremennost'. Tezisy dokladov XXIII nauchnoy konferentsii po izucheniyu Avstralii i Okeanii. Moscow: Institut Vostokovedeniya RAN, pp. 88-92.

Rjabchikov, S.V., 1998a. Some Remarks on Rongorongo. RONGORONGO web site:


Rjabchikov, S.V., 1998b. Polynesian String Figures and Rongorongo: Additional Remarks. Bulletin of the International String Figure Association, 5: 63-76.

Rjabchikov, S.V., 1998c. Rapanui Placenames: Keys to the Mysteries. NAMES: A Journal of Onomastics, 46(4): 277-81.

Rjabchikov, S.V., 1998d. Tayny ostrova Paskhi. Vol. 7. Krasnodar: Stil.

Rjabchikov, S.V., 1998e. Rongorongo Script: Reading of Some Records. "RONGORONGO, Easter Island Writing" web site:


Rjabchikov, S.V., 1998f. Rongorongo: The Milky Way and Antares. "RONGORONGO, Easter Island Writing" web site:


Rjabchikov, S.V., 1998g. "The Numerals" in the Easter Island Vocabulary: An Astronomical Report. "RONGORONGO, Easter Island Writing" web site:


Rjabchikov, S.V., 1999. Tangaroa in the Inscription of the Chicago Fish Tablet. Rapa Nui Journal, 13: 14-5.

Routledge, K., 1998. The Mystery of Easter Island. Kempton: Adventures Unlimited Press.

Thomson, W.J., 1891. Te Pito te Henua, or Easter Island. Report of the United States National Museum for the Year Ending June 30, 1889. Annual Reports of the Smithsonian Institution for 1889. Washington: Smithsonian Institution, pp. 447-552.