Easter Island head, New York City, USA

Easter Island head, New York City, USA

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Credit: GEORGE HOLTON /SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Easter Island head, measuring 2.5 metres tall and weighing 4.5 tonnes, being placed in position in front of the Seagram Building in New York City, USA. The head was brought to New York in 1968 as part of an effort to stop the destruction of these monolithic statues by airline companies, who wanted to make Easter Island a refuelling station for transoceanic flights. To oppose this, UNESCO and the International Fund for Monuments had one statue (whose head had broken off during a tidal wave) temporarily displayed in a prominent location in New York City, drawing attention to the issue and helping raise funds for the island's cultural preservation. This head was placed on a pedestal designed by the American architect Philip Johnson in front of the Seagram Building on Park Avenue. The Polynesian Easter Island statues (called Moai) are monolithic human stone figures with oversized heads that were carved between 1250 and 1500.

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