Rapanui Proper and Place Names versus Rongorongo Texts

© Sergei V. Rjabchikov

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Part 9.

25. Two texts of the Santiago staff are presented in figure 33.


Figure 33.

In the manuscript E (Barthel 1978: 322; comments in 79) the following sentence is taken down: Hanga Kuokuo: a vave renga. It can be translated as follows: ‘(It is) the bay Hanga Kuakua (Kuokuo): the waves are good.’

In a text (I 3) this report is presented, see fragment 1. It reads as follows: 6 (102) 28 19 (a vertical line) 6 (102) 18 28 6 (102) Hanga Kua hate (= hati) nga(h)o. ‘(It is) the bay Hanga Kuakua (Kuokuo): the waves break.’ Old Rapanui nga(h)o ‘(little) waves’ is comparable with Mangarevan ngaongao ‘little waves of the sea’ and Hawaiian nao ‘slight ripple on the water’. The Rapanui expressions hati te vave and i hati era te vave are registered; they are associated with striking waves (Barthel 1962b: 853; 1978: 348).

In the manuscript E the sentence mentioned above precedes the following one (Barthel 1978: 322; comments in 80): Hanga Ohiro a pakipaki renga. It can be translated in such words: ‘(It is) the bay Hanga Ohio [near Anakena]: there are good seals/sharks.’ In compliance with to J.M. Brown (1996: 106), terrible sea animals, niuhi (sharks), appeared in this bay.

A text (I 8) is presented in fragment 2. It reads as follows: 6 6-29 19 156 (= 62) (102) 6 19-19 (a vertical line) 156 (= 62) (102) 6 6-17 (a vertical line) 156 (= 62) 4 (102) 33 6-29 (102) 69 11 A Hanga Kua, too, a Kuakua, too, a ati, too; Atua vai/ua, Hanga Moko Paki ‘(It is) the bay Hanga Kuakua (Kuokuo): the waves break; (it is) the deity of water/rain: the bay Hanga Moko (The bay of the Lizard = Hanga Hiro = Hanga Ohio) of seals/sharks.’

The bay Hanga Kuakua is located before the bay Hanga Otea if we go along the coast from the west to the east. However, the ceremonial platform Ahu Hanga Kuakua is related to the bay Hanga Otea (Englert 1974: 261). Hence, both bays were included in a common fishing zone in the past. An offshore fishing location called Ko hau ngutu is situated near the bays (Barthel 1978: 343; Ayres 1979: 69, figure 1).

Tails of fish, fishhooks and cupules are represented on a panel of this bay (see Lee 1992: 78, figure 4.56). A fish and cupules are represented on another panel of this bay (see Lee 1992: 48, figure 4.4). Clearly these signs demonstrate an important fishing zone. Due attention should be given to the study of the second plot. A number of cupules of the smaller size surround the fish. I have counted the 173 dots. Inside this area there is a row of cupules of the bigger size. I have counted the 8 dots, and the 7th dot has larger dimensions that the all others. The number 173 = 29*5 + 28, it is the designation of six lunar months. They correspond to the 6 big dots. The biggest dot which is presented higher than other 7 dots denotes the month Koro (December; the month of the austral summer solstice). It is possible that the fishermen counted days from the first day of the month Maro (June/July; the month of the austral winter solstice) to bring their catch to the king in the beginning of the month Koro.

The headdress design is registered at this bay (see Lee 1992: 103, figure 4.99). In my opinion, it corresponds to glyph 14 hau, cf. Rapanui hau ‘hat’. In the Old Rapanui language this term signifies ‘king’ as well. I conclude that a royal fishing area was connected with this bay. A man holding a headdress is depicted here, too (see Lee 1992: 52, figure 4.12). It is possible that here a king – Kai Makoi (I) or Nga Ara – is represented. He knew that Europeans painted portraits of several natives, and decided to repeat their experience.

Let us consider petroglyphs engraved on the top of a large boulder outcrop at this bay (see Lee 1992: 105, figure 4.103). One can distinguish the two figures of the eel and the sun sign (round). It is a hint of the sentence from the “Creation Chant” (Métraux 1940: 321) where the mythological character Riri-Tuna-Rai is mentioned (cf. Old Rapanui tuna ‘eel’, rai ‘the sun’). This archaic message is dedicated to the increasing of fertility.

A group of lines engraved on the same boulder may be read as petroglyphs (glyphs) 70 (= 45) 49 (or 14) Pu(a) (ariki) mau (or hau). One can offer the next lexical data: cf. Maori pu ‘heap; to lie in a heap’, puhanga ‘heap’, and Rapanui pua means ‘to put’. The record can be interpreted as follows: ‘The heap (of fish and other sea creatures) which belongs to the king.’ The fishermen brought the catch at this place to pass it to the king later. This rongorongo text inscribed on a stone is not unique, see another rongorongo text incised on a slab discovered in the sacral village Orongo (Rjabchikov 1995e; 2001b).

26. Let us examine a text (I 8) of the Santiago staff presented in figure 34.


Figure 34.

It reads as follows: 6-39 (102) 132 (= 13) 33 (a vertical line) 4-33 6 110 105 (102) 6 Ara koreu atua/ua a mari moeha. ‘(It is the ceremonial platform) Ara Kore u(a) ‘The path/ecliptic where the darkness (and) the rain are located’ – the deity/the dwelling – the sun appears.’ Perhaps, this place and its environs were an ancient religious centre where natives observed the sun during eclipses. Glyph 110 represents vulva and reads vie (woman) in some inscriptions. In this record it reads mari, cf. Rapanui komari ‘vulva’.(11) Since Maori komaru (< *ko maru) and mamaru signify ‘the sun’ (< *maru), Rapanui komari ‘vulva’ can be divided into the article ko and the root mari. On the other hand, the form *ma-ra of the language of the people of the Palaeolithic age means ‘to reproduce; to multiply’, cf., in particular, Kamilaroi mala, Rapanui komari (< *ko mari), Nivkhian malh ‘vulva’ (Rjabchikov 2007: 128). So, Old Rapanui mari means ‘vulva’ (cf. also Rapanui mamari ‘egg’). Let us consider a historic ship represented on a panel in the cave Ana Tuu Hata (see Lee 1992: 113, figure 4.111). Several petroglyphs (glyphs) 110 denote Rapanui women who once visited this vessel.

In the Maori language the vowel change m/p is possible (cf. Tongan pali ‘female genitalia’ and Rapanui komari ‘vulva’ < *ko mari). On this base, we can compare the hieroglyphic record with the following text of the manuscript E (Barthel 1978: 322; comments in 79): Ara koreu a pari maehaeha. Here the form ehaeha is the full doubling of the form eha.

It may be deduced that the some texts of the Santiago staff and the manuscript E had a common source.

27. Let us consider two texts of the Santiago staff, see figure 35.


Figure 35.

A text (I 2) is presented in fragment 1. It reads as follows: 6-25 39 27 (102) 20 110 6 (102) 4 Ahu Raa rau Ungu (Pikea) VIE Hotu. ‘(It is) the ceremonial platform Ahu Raai ‘The sun’; THE WOMAN (sorceress) [Nuahine] Pikea [Uri] of the Tupa-Hotu tribe produces (goods).’

The sorceress Nuahine Pikea Uri ‘The old woman – the Black Crab’ of the Tupa-Hotu tribe is known (Felbermayer 1965). This witch (goddess) was a symbol of solar eclipses. The platform Ahu Raai is located on the territory of this tribe. I believe that crabs and crayfish were the integral symbol of the Tupa-Hotu (cf. Rapanui tupa ‘land crab’).

A text (I 3) is presented in fragment 2. It reads as follows: 113 10 44b 110 (102) 30 6 27 19 6 68 Ve(a) Hitu VIE ana: “A rava ki(oe), a honu”. ‘(The sorceress or goddess) Hitu who is abundant shouts: “Take a rat, (it is) the water (it the symbolic description of the Ahu Tongariki)”.’

Old Rapanui ve(a) ‘to shout’ corresponds to Rapanui veavea ‘to shout’.

According to a Rapanui legend (Brown 1996: 99), the sorceress Hitu once was at the great platform Tongariki, and she watched the skull of the god Makemake.

In the manuscript E this platform is described as follows: Ko Tongariki a henga eha tunu kioe hakaputiti ai ka hakapunenenene henua mo opoopo o tau kioe (Barthel 1978: 322; comments in 82). It is clear that in this text the morning sacrifice of a rat (to the sun deity) on the fourth day (a henga eha) is described. On the other hand, a myth about the god Tangaroa who once landed at Tongariki is known. On the fourth day (i te ha o te raa) his brother, the god Teko, realised that the god Tangaroa was absent, and he went to Easter Island as well (Métraux 1940: 310-311; Englert 1980: 23). I believe that the myth about Tangaroa (= the sun) incarnated in the Seal tells of a solar eclipse (Rjabchikov 1998b). The fourth day is called Ari in the Rapanui calendar; the corresponding crescent is seen on the night and a solar eclipse is impossible on the day.

28. Let us examine a text (I 8) of the Santiago staff presented in figure 36.


Figure 36.

It reads as follows: 68 (102) 6 9 6 (102) 15 17 60 (102-123) 28 (102) (a vertical line) 47 (102) 46 68-68 Honu a Niu ara, te matanga ava, naa honuhonu. ‘The water (near the ceremonial platform) Te Niu (is located near) a way, (they are) the drops of rain (rains are the source of this spring); the water hides itself.’ According to local beliefs, the ghost Ko Vai poko a Ara Mata turu lived near Ahu Tepeu and Te Niu (Englert 1974: 137). If we translate the name of this spring and deity from Old Rapanui to Rapanui, it will read as follows: Vai a Niu ara mata turu, Vai poko ‘The water (near the ceremonial platform) Te Niu (is located near) a way, (its source is rains); it is the deep water’. Old Rapanui turu ‘to pour out; to drop’ corresponds to Rapanui turuturu ‘to pour out; to drop’. In the manuscript E the water source is described as follows: Vai poko a ara a mata turu (Barthel 1978: 322; comments in 78-79).

Two parallels are available. In accordance with a Rapanui legend (Métraux 1940: 388), two young men called a place Vai turu (Dripping water) because it was associated with rain. A Rapanui chant contains the following words (Barthel 1962b: 853): Ka hei para ange, te hei para uhi o Ati Puha, o Vaka tae mama, o Vai naa renga, o Renga rekoreko. This record can be re-written in such words: Ka hei para onge. Te hei para u(h)i o Ati Pu(h)a, o Vaka tae mama, o Vai naa renga, o Renga rekareka ‘(It is) a woman without children during the hunger time. This woman without children looks from (the place) Ati Pu(h)a ‘The Top goes boldly’ (= the statue Hoa-hakananaia), from (the place) Vaka tae mama ‘The heavy canoe = a historic ship?’ (= the bay Hanga roa), from (the place) Vai naa renga ‘The hidden (and) good water’ (= Vai poko), from (the place) Renga, rekareka ‘A nice (place)’.’ Here a wooden figurine moai paapaa (a personification of the dry soil) is described. A priest took it from a house in Orongo where the statue Hoa-hakananaia stood, and brought to the water source near Ahu Tepeu and Te Niu. I suppose that it was a rite to invoke rain from the god Hiro.

Let us examine signs engraved on the head of the moai-paapaa from the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkammer), St. Petersburg, Russia (No 402-1), see figure 37.


Figure 37.

The text reads as follows: 28-17 Ngotea. This name means ‘Absorption’, cf. Rarotongan ngotea ‘to absorb’ and Maori ngote ‘to suck’. The wordplay is quite possible: cf. Rapanui hakamiti ‘to absorb’, miti ‘to suck; to drink; to dry up’, paka ‘to absorb; dry; to dry up’ and unu ‘to drink; to absorb’. Rapanui ariki-paka ‘priest praying for rain’ signifies ‘chief of the absorption (of rain)’. In compliance with the Rapanui beliefs, the ghost Ko Unu lived near the ceremonial platform Ahu Te Peu (Englert 1974: 136).

29. In the manuscript E the following text is presented: E uta, e maunga Marengo. E kaa hohora toou kahu Ritorito. Ka romiromi mai (Barthel 1978: 323; comments in 87-88). It can be translated as follows: ‘(This is) the mountain Marengo (= Orito). Spread your group of people of [the Hanau Momoko = the Miru] at Ritorito (= Orito)! Hide yourself [cf. also Rapanui momoko ‘to hide’]!’

The place name Orito (O-Rito) is comparable with Rapanui rito ‘green leaves of bananas’ and ritorito ‘to clean; white; red’.

Let us consider two texts of the Santiago staff shown in figure 38.


Figure 38.

A text (I 4) is presented in fragment 1. It reads as follows: 6-25 (102) 15 62 30 6 (123) 18 (102) 32 155 27 24 (102) 69 Ahu Rito noho te UA mata ua, rau, ai, Moko ‘(It is) a ceremonial platform (near the mountain) Rito (= Orito) (where) the Drops of rain live, (here are) the growth – the place – the (chthonic god) Lizard.’

I believe that it is description of the Ahu Huri a Urenga that is located between the mountains Orito and Puna Pau

A parallel text (I 8) is presented in fragment 2. It reads as follows: 155 48-15 (a vertical line) 73 (102) 4-33 mata ua Uri he atua/ua ‘(Here are) the drops of rain – Uri (The black person; the person pouring the water) who is this deity.’

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