Archives for posts with tag: Kon-Tiki

Kon-Tiki Image

kon-tiki-imageObtained this in Oslo, Norway, May 13, 2015, at the Kon Tiki Museum. This pin shows the image of Kon Tiki

Location: 25-B2

Kon-Tiki 1947

kontiki-1947I got this pin in May, 2015 at the Kon-Tiki Museum in Oslo, Norway.

On August 7, 1947, Kon-Tiki, a balsa wood raft captained by Norwegian anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl, completes a 4,300-mile, 101-day journey from Peru to Raroia in the Tuamotu Archipelago, near Tahiti. Heyerdahl wanted to prove his theory that prehistoric South Americans could have colonized the Polynesian islands by drifting on ocean currents.

Heyerdahl and his five-person crew set sail from Callao, Peru, on the 40-square-foot Kon-Tiki on April 28, 1947. The Kon-Tiki, named for a mythical white chieftain, was made of indigenous materials and designed to resemble rafts of early South American Indians. While crossing the Pacific, the sailors encountered storms, sharks and whales, before finally washing ashore at Raroia. Heyerdahl, born in Larvik, Norway, on October 6, 1914, believed that Polynesia’s earliest inhabitants had come from South America, a theory that conflicted with popular scholarly opinion that the original settlers arrived from Asia. Even after his successful voyage, anthropologists and historians continued to discredit Heyerdahl’s belief. However, his journey captivated the public and he wrote a book about the experience that became an international bestseller and was translated into 65 languages. Heyerdahl also produced a documentary about the trip that won an Academy Award in 1951.

Heyerdahl made his first expedition to Polynesia in 1937. He and his first wife lived primitively on Fatu Hiva in the Marquesas Islands for a year and studied plant and animal life. The experience led him to believe that humans had first come to the islands aboard primitive vessels drifting on ocean currents from the east.

Following the Kon-Tiki expedition, Heyerdahl made archeological trips to such places as the Galapagos Islands, Easter Island and Peru and continued to test his theories about how travel across the seas played a major role in the migration patterns of ancient cultures. In 1970, he sailed across the Atlantic from Morocco to Barbados in a reed boat named Ra II (after Ra, the Egyptian sun god) to prove that Egyptians could have connected with pre-Columbian Americans. In 1977, he sailed the Indian Ocean in a primitive reed ship built in Iraq to learn how prehistoric civilizations in Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley and Egypt might have connected.

While Heyerdahl’s work was never embraced by most scholars, he remained a popular public figure and was voted “Norwegian of the Century” in his homeland. He died at age 87 on April 18, 2002, in Italy. The raft from his famous 1947 expedition is housed at the Kon-Tiki Museum in Oslo, Norway.

NOTE: Recently DNA evidence has proven that Polynesia was NOT settled by people from South America. It would have been possible, as proven by Heyerdahl, IF people had actually been in S. America. However, DNA shows it want the other way.

Location: 20-G3

Kon-Tiki Logo (2)

kon-tiki-representationI got this pin at the Kon-Tiki Museum in Oslo in May, 2015. It features the Kon-Tiki logo. The logo is from a Polynesian inspired mask.

The History of Tiki Masks

If you trace back the lines of history long enough, you will soon discover the actual origin of the Tiki mask. Although one can see the history of these masks at almost any Hawaiian or tropical restaurant, cafe, or music venue as a form of decoration and entertainment, the mask is rooted in an ancient and historical civilization. Furthermore, the mask is a depiction of ancient Polynesian culture that is used by this culture today to signify remembrance, worship and celebration.

These masks are significant because they pay homage to an ancient Polynesian god, Tiki, who was considered by many as the first man. Moreover, the symbolic nature of wearing these masks or erecting Tiki poles is designed to capture the power of Tiki. Tiki statues are designed to protect or secure the boundaries of a tribe and these masks were designed to capture the power of the ancient Polynesian god Tiki.

Modern Use

However, today many cafes, restaurants and clubs use these masks and other Polynesian signs and symbols for mere aesthetic decoration. Club and restaurant owners alike, use these masks and statues to create a vibe or ambience in their establishment. To be sure, this application of the masks and statues does not have the same laws and meaning attached to it as the Polynesian people do. Unfortunately, the Polynesian culture has been appropriated for capitalist and entertainment value, which is not unlike many Asian and foreign cultures when seen in a Western setting.

The Design

There are many different formations and characteristics of these masks. Unlike, the cross in Christianity, for example, this mask comes in many different forms, colors, sizes and shapes. Further, some hold meanings or interpretations for different events or times of worship. In addition, there are masks for women, men and children and some for holiday times and others for funeral processions and child birth ceremonies.

The history of Tiki masks has a rich history with many different meanings applied to each mask. Furthermore, each mask holds a sacred type of significance determined by the creator of the mask. You can see these types of sacred masks across the hundreds of museums in the world. There are many different spiritual beliefs attached to the Tiki mask, which holds a greater power than as a mere decorative item which is used on Halloween, for example in Western culture. To conclude, the history of the Tiki mask is a rich and complex one that has influenced and shaped the culture of Polynesian history.

Location: 20-G2