The last event of the year in the Thursdays in the Museums programme will take us to one of the most famous, yet most remote places in the Pacific Ocean: Rapa Nui, or Easter Island.
The conference, scheduled for Thursday 30 November, is a joint initiative of the Vatican Museums and the Embassy of Chile to the Holy See, with the collaboration of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
The island of Rapa Nui, inhabited for centuries by the Polynesians, was reached by Europeans in the second half of the eighteenth century. They were joined, one hundred years later, by the missionaries of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, who worked in close contact with the local population. The first to land there was Eugène Eyraud, who arrived for the first time in 1864 and returned in 1866 with Hippolyte Roussel and three Polynesians from the island of Mangareva, who had converted to Christianity. It was Eyraud himself who first noticed the tablets with mysterious writing known as ‘rongorongo’. Shortly after Msgr. Florentin Etienne Jaussen, a bishop of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, who made the ‘rongorongo’ known around the world. And today, thanks to the mediation carried out in the past by the missionaries of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, as well as the contribution of Msgr. Jaussen himself, the Pope’s Museums are now able to include several works sent from Easter Island in the ethnological collection of the Museum Anima Mundi.
The meeting will be introduced jointly by the Director of the Vatican Museums, Barbara Jatta, the Chilean Ambassador to the Holy See, Patricia Araya Gutiérrez, and the Curator of the Ethnological Museum Anima Mundi, Father Nicola Mapelli.
This will be followed by interventions by Sonia Haoa Cardinali, a Chilean archaeologist and anthropologist originally from Rapa Nui, and Yves Chiaramella, President of the “Société d'Etudes des Hautes-Alpes” and biographer of Eugène Eyraud.