A Story About Rongorongo -
The Language on Easter Island
Throughout the 19th century, scholars tried to decipher rongorongo. They were convinced it must be a system of writing or proto-writing.
But it remains a mystery. No one knows how or where rongorongo was developed. Its inscrutable glyphs work like Rorschach blots, encouraging would-be interpreters to project their fantasies onto it.
What was rongorongo?
While Easter Island is best known for its massive stone statues, rongorongo, a system of writing, also existed there. It is the only known system of written language in remote Polynesia and one of the world’s first independent script inventions.
Scholars believe that rongorongo was not copied from another script and must have come from Rapa Nui’s own imagination. Its glyphs appear on wood tablets and other artifacts such as reimiro ornaments. They also show up in rock art as petroglyphs.
Rongorongo inscriptions depict many different creatures including sea-lions, sharks, birds and humans. They also include a variation on the classic birdman design that appears in petroglyphs and reimiro.
When British archaeologist Katherine Routledge visited Easter Island in 1914, she was able to interview two elderly residents who could read rongorongo. They were unable to describe the meanings of all the glyphs, but they were able to identify some. They also agreed that rongorongo was not an alphabet and only a small number of people knew how to read it.
What is rongorongo?
Rongorongo is a system of glyphs that was used on Easter Island, also known as Rapa Nui. It has never been deciphered and is one of the few unsolved writing systems in the world.
Rongoronongo consists of symbols shaped like humans, animals, plants, and geometric forms. The letters are usually arranged in lines that read from left to right. Some of the glyphs are carved into wooden tablets, while others appear on items such as statuettes and ornaments.
It is likely that rongorongo was used by the upper classes of Rapa Nui society, such as the royals and chiefs. The Rapa Nui believed that the inscriptions contained mana, or spiritual power.
During the cult of literacy, the Rapa Nui elevated reading and recitation to a level comparable to religion. They would often hold contests to see who could read the most tablets correctly in a given day. To reward participants, the king would give each man a chicken.
How was rongorongo invented?
In the 19th century, Europeans discovered a set of glyphs on Easter Island that seem to be writing (or proto-writing) in Rapanui language. Numerous attempts have been made to decipher these symbols, but none has succeeded. It is largely thought that these symbols did not represent letters or sounds like they do in most written languages, but rather they were meant as idiosyncratic mnemonic devices, designed to communicate through metaphorical representation.
The last Easter Islanders who knew the secrets of rongorongo died out or moved away from the island in the nineteenth century. It is possible that they wanted to keep this part of their culture a secret, or perhaps the meaning of these mysterious signs simply faded from memory.
Initially, these glyphs were carved on banana leaves or obsidian flakes, but later scribes opted to use wood, such as the native toromiro tree and Oceania rosewood. These inscriptions decorated a number of items, including oars and beams.
How was rongorongo deciphered?
Researchers have created a three-dimensional model of a tablet covered in the mysterious Rongorongo handwriting from Easter Island, revealing lost symbols. The results support the theory that the Rapanui could not have invented their writing system on their own. They must have received it in a process anthropologists call trans-cultural diffusion.
In 1864, the Catholic missionary Eugene Eyraud noticed that many houses on Easter Island had tablets and staffs inscribed with an unknown script. He never managed to learn what it said, but he was convinced the Rapanui must have received it from another culture.
For decades, scholars speculated that the Rongorongo glyphs were a form of writing similar to the Latin alphabet or some other foreign text. More recently, some linguists have suggested that it was a type of proto-writing or even a failed attempt to create a complete writing system. Despite its mystery, rongorongo is still a fascinating topic of study. Some scholars have made some progress in interpreting the glyphs, finding calendrical and genealogical information.
Adopting an Afghan Hound
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If you are considering adopting an Afghan Hound, make sure that you have enough space to provide them with plenty of room for exercise and play. They are not suited to apartments and should have a secure fenced yard for exercise.
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As with any dog, socialization is essential when you adopt an Afghan Hound. This will ensure that they get along well with other pets and people in your home.