Rapanui Proper and Place Names versus Rongorongo Texts

© Sergei V. Rjabchikov

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Part 10.

30. I have found a record on the Great Washington tablet (Sa 2/3) about the birth of the last Rapanui king Mau Rata in 1835 (Rjabchikov 1999b). I study a text (Sa 3/4) that is written down after it. This text is presented in figure 39.


Figure 39.

It reads as follows: [a segment is damaged] 19 6 14 5-15 6-4 6-15 44 49 29 28 65 49 17 6-24 17 24 35-35 37 4-4-4 6-4 44-30 (the decorative representing of two glyphs 30 is registered here) 56-7 33 8 6-4 44 4 21 6-4 44 6-4 45-46 65 49 65 46 65 69 4 22 68 4-4-4 6-4 6-15-6-15 6-4 19 49 6-21 29-28 29 4 60 80 3 44b-17 35 4-4-4 30-30 [Honui hari poki (?)] kia hau. Atua roa, a atua Hora. Taha (ariki) mau rua Nga (A)ra(a)ra [rangi], (ariki) mau tea, hari. Te ai: Papa nui atua, atua, atua (= Papa o pea); a atua Tane tuu, Patu Ua Matua (= the statue Hoa-hakananaia); a atua Taha atua, ko Hotu Taha (= Tahai < Taha hi); a atua Puna RANGI (ariki) mau, RANGI naa, RANGI Moko (= Vai poko). Atua, ao, honui atua, atua, atua. Hotu Horahora, hotu ki (ariki) mau. Hakarungaru atu Mata Ui, Hina, Tuatea. Pau atua, atua, atua anaana. ‘[A nobleman is carrying the child (?)] to the king. (It is) the great deity, the deity (month) Hora = Hora-iti (August/September). The old king Nga Ara is going, (this) proud (or grey-haired?) king is going. (He) has been carried (from one place to another). (It is) a place (called) ‘The flat rock of the growth of the great lord’ (= Papa o pea). (Then the king Nga Ara is coming to following places:) (the place) the deity ‘Tane is coming; (this is the god) ‘The appearance of leaves’ who was created by (the season of) rains’ (= the statue Hoa-hakananaia in Orongo), (the place) the deity ‘The Frigate Bird (= the sun)-the deity, the appearance of the Frigate Bird’ (= Tahai), (the place) the deity ‘The water reservoir THE SKY of the king, THE SKY of the hidden (water), THE SKY of the Lizard [the rain god Hiro]’ (= a deep source of the rain water located near the ceremonial platform Ahu te Peu and the ancient royal place Papa o pea). (They are significant:) the rule, the authority, the noble origin of the great lord. (The month) Horahora = Hora-nui (September/October) produces fruits, the fruits are for the king. Mars, the Moon, Venus appear (on the sky). A great deity, (the star) Pau (Halley’s Comet of 1835), shines.’

In this text the name of the king Nga Araara is written down as glyphs 28 65 Nga (A)ra(a)ra (sign 65 rangi looks like two signs 39 raa united together). It is well known that the king Mau Rata was kidnapped by the Peruvians in 1862 and died in the Chincha Islands (Métraux 1940: 91-92).

Old Rapanui pee means ‘ripening, growth’, cf. Tahitian pe ‘ripe (of a fruit)’, Maori pea ‘upper arm’, Rapanui peepee ‘tired, worn out’ (< ‘mature’). I translate Rapanui papa as ‘flat rock’, but cf. Tahitian pa ‘small enclosed place sacred to the young king or chief’, too. A brief information about the king’s important places Anakena, Papa-o-pea, Ahu-akapu, and Tahai is well known (Métraux 1937: 50-51). The form rungaru is the incomplete doubling of the form runga. I conclude that the appearance of the king near a spring occupied a highly important place in fertility cult. Old Rapanui Mata Ui ‘Mars’ is a variant of Old Rapanui Mata Ura, Rapanui Mata Mea ‘Mars’ (literally ‘Red Eye; Red Face’) (see Rjabchikov 1987: 361), cf. Rapanui mata ‘eye; eyes; face’, mata poreko ‘to look intently’ and ui ‘to look’.

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