INSCRIBED WOODEN TABLET OBTAINED BY W. J. THOMSON, PAYMASTER OF THE U.S. NAVY SHIP 'MOHICAN' IN EASTER ISLAND, DECEMBER 1886. TABLET WAS PURCHASED FROM MR. A. A. SALMON [a.k.a. Tati Salmon], A EUROPEAN SETTLER AND LONG-TIME RESIDENT OF EASTER ISLAND. THOMSON STATES TABLET IS MADE OF NATIVE TOROMIRO WOOD. TABLET IS DISCUSSED AND ILLUSTRATED IN THE USNM ANNUAL REPORT FOR 1889 (PP. 514, 520, 537). TRANSFERRED FROM ETHNOLOGY TO ARCHEOLOGY ON MAY 2, 1933. FORMERLY ON EXHIBIT NMNH HALL 8, UNIT 4. 3 PLASTER CASTS [A129773-1] MADE OF BOTH REVERSE AND OBVERSE SIDES.
This rongorongo tablet or board is sometimes referred to as the Atua Mata Riri tablet. It is also known as the Small Washington tablet. It is illus. Fig. 48, p. 76, in "Splendid Isolation: Art of Easter Island" by Eric Kjellgren, Metropolitan Museum of Art/Yale University Press, 2001, and identified there as an inscribed tablet (kohau rongorongo).
From card for 129773-4: "Engraved with shark's tooth. Transferred to Div. Archeology May 2, 1933." From second card formerly in Ethnology card file: "No. 129,773: Illus. in USNM AR, 1889; Pl. 38 and 39 [after p. 520]. Translation on p. 520; note on p. 537. Description of acquisition on Easter Island p. 514. Cast made and sent to Musee d' Ethnographic, May, 1933. Loaned to Museum of Modern Art 8-1-84. Returned from Museum of Modern Art 10-4-1985."
See Kaeppler, Adrienne. 2001. "A Photograph is Worth A Thousand Words" in Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Easter Island and the Pacific. Christopher M. Stevenson, et. al, eds.