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. 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.