The recto side of tablet Keiti contains a tightly structured text which is divided in 22 segments by similar looking phrases consisting of two bird-
Furthermore, this first part of the text is interspersed at fixed intervals by the exclamation e tangata e tae tangata tangata riva, "o people, these healthy people (are/will become) inhuman!" and hehe tangata tae-
The verso side of Keiti continues with an independent text until halfway through line 2 another structured sequence begins that ends in the last part of line 5. This has 23 segments that are introduced by the "sitting man with staff'"-
Fig. 1 Drawing of the verso side of tablet Keiti (Thomson,1891:Plate 37)
The transcription of the tablet has been compiled primarily from drawings by Paul Horley published in Horley (2010a; 2010b), Pozdniakov (2011), and Davletshin (2014). This diversity of sources accounts for some variation in size and resolution. For the parts where these very accurate transcriptions were not available to the present writer, Barthel's have been used (indicated by a green line). When these proved to be faulty or incomplete, details of Pinart's rubbing as published by Horley (2010a:49) (fig. 3) have been inserted. These have been underlined in orange.
Tablet Keiti belonged to the set of rongorongo artifacts that was collected for bishop Jaussen by Roussel in 1868. It measured about 39 x 13 cm and contained 9 and 8 lines, respectively. These consist of some 441 signs or 972 elements (Horley 2005:112). The tablet perished during the German siege of Louvain in August 1914 when the Catholic University and its famous library were destroyed. Fortunately, most of the inscription has been preserved in photographs taken by Hoare around 1873 and Weisser around 1882, paper rubbings made by Pinart in 1877, and drawings (after photographs) published by Thomson in 1891 (fig. 1) (1).
Fig. 3 Detail of Pinart's rubbing (verso side) (from Horley, 2010a:49, fig. 4)
Tablet Keiti (Text E)
(1) Hoare's photographs – for which the glyphs were enhanced with white filling resulting in some blurring – were first published by Lavachery (1933: fig. 2-
(2) While writing Words out of wood (De Laat 2009a), I was still under the impression that the transcription of Keiti in Barthel's Grundlagen was accurate in general, although comparison to Barthel's own numerical transcription and the photographs published by Stéphen-
(3) For an exhaustive structural analysis of Keiti and a comparison with other texts, see Pozdniakov 2011. Sequences which (appear to) consist of segments beginning with the same sign such as the "sitting man with stick" are frequently taken to be lists of some kind, even though there are many (Polynesian as well as Rapanui) examples of repetitious narrative, chants with refrains, etc., which display the same patterns but have nothing to do with lists. Text segments with a specific structure or with a repetition of certain glyphs also run the risk of being labeled as a separate text or as belonging to a different genres. For Keiti, it has, for example, been suggested that the recto and verso sides contain different texts or textual sub-
(4) This density of the pu-
(5) The presence of structured sequences of "crescent"-
Fig. 2 Examples of errors in the transcriptions of Barthel (1958) and Fischer (1997)
Although Barthel (1958:20) and Fischer (1997:435) have reported the presence of casts of the tablet in the Smithsonian Museum and the Museé de l'Homme, Horley (2010a:47) has argued convincingly that both must have been mistaken and that casts of this tablet probably never existed.
Barthel does not mention which sources were at his disposal, but his transcription is marred by numerous omissions and mistakes (e.g., fig. 2b, f, j) (2). A few of these have been corrected by Fischer (1997:433-