RONGO DE URE VAE IKO
La Smithsonian Institution de Washington possède
différentes tablettes rongorongo. En 1886, l'Institution mandate William
Thomson dans le Pacifique avec, entre autres tâches, celle de recueillir un
maximum d'informations sur l'ÎLE DE
PÂQUES. William Thomson se rend à RAPA NUI après avoir visité Monseigneur
Tepano Jaussen à Tahtiti qui lui apprend qu’il a en mains la preuve que ce peuple possède
l’écriture. Thomson fait alors des
photos des moulages et des tablettes. A Rapanui, il recherchera un ancien, un initié capable de
lire ces tablettes d'après des
agrandissements photographiques. Il convient de rappeler qu'en 1886, le nombre de natifs est resté très faible
puisque l'ÎLE DE PÂQUES avait subi, à partir de 1862, les razzias des
esclavagistes chiliens et péruviens.
On lui désigne un ancien nommé Ure Vae Iko. Il
s’appelle Daniel car il fut baptisé avant la mort du frère Eugène Eyrayd. Ce
dernier avait eu le rôle de Maître des Cérémonies de l'Ariki (Roi) de l'ÎLE
DE PÂQUES déporté par les navires recruteurs au travail forcé. Ure avait
souvent entendu les chants sacrés des chamanes (tohuka ou taua) et les récits
de l'Ariki. Il savait que les tablettes contenaient l'écriture sacrée et
qu'elle était tabou. Les missionnaires lui avaient appris qu’elles mettaient
son âme en danger…
En raison de cet interdit, il commença par refuser de
coopérer et se cacha à plusieurs reprises. Thomson retrouva sa cachette, le
sollicita avec insistance et lui fit boire de l'alcool. Ure Vae Iko devint
plus hardi et accepta de chanter des rongo (des chants, des récits selon la
tradition orale) tout en décrivant parfois les pictogrammes qu'il voyait sur
les photographies des tablettes. Il vit que Thomson en avait acheté deux,
trouvées dans un ahu de Tahai.
LA PRODUCTION THOMSON
Les textes des chants notés en syllabes ou mots parfois
abrégés, mots-clés ou sous forme phonétique par Salmon (Tahitien accompagnant
Thomson) puis traduits de manière on ne peut plus fantaisiste par Salmon
lui-même peuvent se trouver sur la page Thomson et Ure-Vae-Iko (en
Cela donne ceci : Timo te kakaha piki apai te roria
aruki e tangata Mohonâkuta mohonga matangi eiri apai e ra....
Des lectures transversales sont possibles grâce au vocabulaire relevé dans tous les chants de URE VAE IKO - pour peu que l'on connaisse le langage de la tradition orale, celui des chants anciens et des légendes de l'ÎLE DE PÂQUES... Cela fait partie de mes outils depuis seize ans. Nous sommes plusieurs spécialistes des notes de Tati Salmon.
Les textes d'Ure Vae Iko, ceux de la Smithsonian
Institution ont donné lieu à des tentatives de décryptage des tablettes, du
grand rongorongo par certains linguistes qui ont développés leurs thèses
durant des symposiums internationaux. Le rongo ATUA MATA RIRI et les exposés
de Sir Stephen Fischer ont fait couler beaucoup d'encre.
C'est pourquoi au C.E.I.P.P. nous avons voulu vérifier
ces hypothèses et rechercher une forme de vérité. Le C.E.I.P.P. a la grande
chance d'avoir un Prix Nobel en tant que Président d'Honneur. Ce n'est pas
dans notre éthique de produire des travaux invraisemblables. Les
vérifications de la commission APAI restent incomplètes à ce jour et ne sont
Mais je peux d'ores et déjà avancer que l'ancien Ure
Vae Iko n'a fourni aucun élément de "lecture globale" des tablettes
rongorongo, bien qu'il fasse des descriptions de pictogrammes lors de ses
chants. Ure Vae Iko nous a récité des rongo anciens (ponctués de
commentaires) et des chants de la renommée - l'histoire de son peuple selon
la tradition orale rapa nui. Il expliqua que les signification selon les
anciens étaient perdues et que les tablettes étaient un livre fermé, mais on
en connaissait le contenu.
livre et ceci est très important,
Le glossaire que j'ai édité et que vous trouverez ci-après
est un outil indispensable à la compréhension de ces chants et à fortiori à
la compréhension de la structure du kohau rongorongo.
Le travail en sémantique est donc, je l'ai énoncé plus
haut, l'aboutissement de différents travaux effectués au cours d'une séquence
de recherche au CENTRE D'ETUDES DE L'ÎLE DE PÂQUES ET DE LA POLYNESIE
(C.E.I.P.P.) atelier initié par Hélène et Roland LEFEBVRE membres du
Sur le texte APAI brut, un découpage syllabique fut fait et des statistiques rythmiques furent établies par Mr Raymond Duranton informaticien. Pour l'heure, la commission a travaillé très partiellement. A mon sens l'atelier est en début de phase et il est trop tôt pour être considéré comme efficace.
Ainsi, si des statisticiens veulent s'essayer à nouveau
sur la langue ancienne de l'ÎLE DE PÂQUES et le langage de URE VAE IKO, voici
différentes études lexicales qui pourront leur fournir de sérieux outils.
Pour ma part, j'ai eu une joie profonde à découvrir ces premiers
témoignages de la tradition orale et j'espère être fidèle au Peuple
Polynésien en général et aux Rapa Nui en particulier qui retrouveront sur mon
site un peu de la mémoire des anciens.
Le rongo ATUA MATA RIRI est répété par une traduction
de Métraux ; les notes prises par THOMSON sont plus proches de la réalité. Je
n'ai pas trouvé de copulations cosmogoniques avec des Atua n'existant pas à
RAPA NUI mais un appel des chamanes RAPA NUI aux ATUA, c'est-à-dire aux
esprits tutélaires (les RAPA NUI ne croyaient pas en des Dieux mais à des
Esprits Protecteurs) pour leur indulgence et la fécondation de la TERRE MERE.
A la fin de son chant, Ure Vae Iko décrit ce qu'il voit sur la face
"A" de la tablette....
ATUA MATA RIRI n'est peut-être pas un titre mais une
phrase précédent le rongo et demandant aux ESPRITS DE NE POINT SE METTRE EN
COLERE car les RAPA NUI ont besoin d'eux et de leur protection sur tous les
biens de la nature sans laquelle ils ne vivraient pas. Il est fort possible
également que URE VAE IKO, connaissant les règles des chamanes ait imploré
l'indulgence des esprits avant de commencer sont récit. Il enfreignait un
tabou en effet, puisqu'il n'était que 'titiro' (maître des cérémonies) et non
taua ou tohuka (chamane initié). N’oublions pas que Kaitae, lui aussi tout
comme Ure Vae Iko né au début du 19e siècle, récita de la même
manière que Ure Vae Iko.
Voyez mes propositions après un travail en sémantique identique à celui opéré sur tous les autres chants d'Ure Vae Iko. Dans la page www.rongorongo.org/rosetta/matariri.html Jacques Guy signalait en juillet 1999 qu'aucune tentative de traduction n'a été faite. C'est bien dommage en effet que l'on se base alors sur l'unique traduction de Métraux ou de Fisher pour interpréter l'écriture polynésienne, le rongorongo, la grande étude !
Voici ce qu’écrivit Thomson dans son rapport :
The principal feature of interest, connected with Easter Island, is the written language by which the ancient traditions and legends were perpetuated. The existence of the incised tablets was not known until the missionaries settled upon the island. Numerous specimens were found in the possession of the natives, but no special attention appears to have been directed towards them. Several persons, belonging to vessels that were wrecked at Easter Island, report having seen these tablets, but they were so highly prized by the natives, that they could not be induced to part with them. The three hundred islanders who emigrated to Tahiti had in their possession a number of these tablets; they created some attention on account of the remarkable skill with which the figures were executed, but they were highly prized by the owners and no effort was made to secure them because their real value was not discovered. The Chilean corvette O'Higgins visited Easter Island in January, 1870, and Captain Gana secured three tablets, two of which are on deposit in the national museum at Santiago de Chili and the third was sent to France, but does not appeared to have reached its destination. Paper impressions and casts were taken from the, Chilean tablets for the various museums of Europe. Those sent to the English Ethnological Society created some interest after a time, but others sent to Berlin were regarded as stamps for marking native cloth ("Mittheilungen, July, 1871). Seven of these tablets are now in the possession of Tepano Jansser, bishop of Axieri, all in excellent state of preservation.
While the Mohican were at Tahiti, the bishop kindly permitted us to examine these tablets and take photographs of them. These tablets were obtained from the missionaries who had been stationed on Easter Island, and they ranged in size from 5½ inches in length by 4 inches broad, to 5½ feet in length and 7 inches wide. Diligent search was made for specimens of these tablets during our visit to Easter Island. At first the natives denied having any, but Mr. Salmon knew of the existence of two, and these were finally purchased after a great deal of trouble and at considerable expense. The tablets obtained are in a fair state of preservation. The large one is a piece of drift-wood that from its peculiar shape is supposed to have been used as a portion of a canoe. The other is made of the toromiro wood indigenous to the island. In explanation of the disappearance of these tablets, the natives stated that the missionaries had ordered all that could be found to be burned, with a view to destroying the ancient records, and getting rid of everything that would have a tendency to attach them to their heathenism, and prevent their thorough conversion to Christianity. The loss to the science of philology by this destruction of valuable relies is too great to be estimated. The native traditions in regard to the incised tablets simply assert that Hotu-Matua, the first king, possessed the knowledge of this written language, and brought with him to the island sixty-seven tablets containing allegories, traditions, genealogical tables, and proverbs relating to the land from which he had migrated. A knowledge of the written characters was confined to the royal family, the chiefs of the six districts into which the island was divided, sons of those, chiefs, and certain priests or teachers, but the people were assembled at Anekena Bay once each year to hear all of the tablets read. The feast of the tablets was regarded as their most important fête day, and not even war was allowed to interfere with it.
The combination of circumstances that caused the sudden arrest of image-making, and resulted in the abandonment of all such work on the island, never to be again revived, may have had its effect upon the art of writing. The tablets that have been found in the best stage of preservation would correspond very nearly with the age of the unfinished images in the workshops. The ability to read the characters may have continued until 1864, when the Peruvian slavers captured a large number of the inhabitants, and among those kidnapped, were all of the officials and persons in authority. After this outrage, the traditions, etc., embraced by the tablets, seem to have been repeated on particular occasions, but the value of the characters was not understood and was lost to the natives. A man called Ure Vaeiko, one of the patriarchs of the island, professes to have been under instructions in the art of hieroglyphic reading at the time of the Peruvian visit, and claims to understand most of the characters. Negotiations were opened with him for a translation of the two tablets purchased; but he declined to furnish any information, on the ground that it had been forbidden by the priests. Presents of money and valuables were sent him from time to time, but he invariably replied to all overtures that he was now old and feeble and had but a short time to live, and declined most positively to ruin his chances for salvation by doing what his Christian instructors had forbidden. Finally the old fellow, to avoid temptation, took to the hills with the determination to remain in hiding until after the departure of the Mohican. It was a matter of the utmost importance that the subject should be thoroughly investigated before leaving the island, and unscrupulous strategy was the only resource after fair means had failed. Just before sundown one evening, shortly before the day appointed for our sailing, heavy clouds rolled up from the southwest and indications pointed to bad weather. In a heavy down-pour of rain we crossed the island from Vinapu to Mateveri with Mr. Salmon, and found, as had been expected, that old Ure Vaeiko had sought the shelter of his own home on this rough night. He was asleep when we entered and took charge of the establishment. When he found escape impossible he became sullen, and refused to look at or touch a tablet. As a compromise it was proposed that he should relate some of the ancient traditions. This was readily acceded to, because the opportunity of relating the legends to an interested audience did not often occur, and the positive pleasure to be derived from such an occasion could not be neglected. During the recital certain stimulants that had been provided for such an emergency were produced, and though not pressed upon our ancient friend, were kept prominently before him until, as the night grew old and the narrator weary, he was included as the "cup that cheers" made its occasional rounds. A judicious indulgence in present comforts dispelled all fears in regard to the future state, and at an auspicious moment the photographs of the tablets owned by the bishop were produced for inspection. Old Ure Vaeiko had never seen a photograph before, and was surprised to find how faithfully they reproduced the tablets which he had known in his young days. A tablet would have met with opposition, but no objection could be urged against a photograph, especially something possessed by the good bishop, whom he had been instructed to reverence. The photographs were recognized immediately, and the appropriate legend related with fluency and without hesitation from beginning to end. The story of all the tablets of which we had knowledge was finally obtained, the words of the native being written down by Mr. Salmon as they were uttered, and afterwards translated into English.
A casual glance it the Easter Island tablets is sufficient to note the fact that they differ materially from other kyriologic writings. The pictorial symbols are engraved in regular lines on depressed channels, separated by slight ridges intended to protect the hieroglyphics from injury by rubbing. In some cases the characters are smaller, and the tablets contain a greater number of lines, but in all cases the hieroglyphics are incised and cover both sides as well as the beveled edge and hollows of the board upon which they are engraved. The symbols on each line are alternately reversed; those on the first stand upright, and those on file next line are upside down, and so on by regular alternation.
This unique plan makes it necessary for the reader to turn the tablet, and change its position at the end of every line; by this means the characters will be found to follow in regular procession. The reading should commence at the lower left-hand corner, on the particular side that will bring the figures erect, and followed as the characters face in the procession, turning the tablet at the end of each line, as indicated. Arriving at the top of the first face, the reading is continued over the edge to the nearest line, at the top of the other side, and the descent continues in the same manner until the end is reached. The Boustrophedon method is supposed to have been adopted in order to avoid the possibility of missing a line of hieroglyphics.
Ure Vaeiko's fluent interpretation of the tablet was not interrupted, though it became evident that he was not actually reading the characters. It was noticed that the shifting of position did not accord with the number of symbols on the lines, and afterwards when the photograph of another tablet was substituted, the same story was continued without the change being discovered. The old fellow was quite discomposed when charged with fraud at the close of an all-night session, and at first maintained that the characters were all understood, but he could not give the signification of hieroglyphics copied indiscriminately from tablets already marked. He explained at great length that the actual value and significance of the symbols had been forgotten, but the tablets were recognized by unmistakable features and the interpretation of them was beyond question; just as a person might recognize a book in a foreign language and be perfectly sure of the contents without being able to actually read it.
Beyond doubt certain legends are ascribed to particular tablets, all of which are named, and a reference to those names will recall the appropriate story from those who do not profess to understand the hieroglyphics. An old man called Kaitae, who claims relationship to the last king, Maurata, afterwards recognized several of the tablets from the photographs and related the same story exactly as that given previously by Ure Vaeiko.
The writing is composed of pictorial symbols carrying their signification in the image they represent. The execution would be a creditable production with the assistance of the best etching tools, and is a truly wonderful result of patience and industry to be accomplished by means of obsidian points. The minute size of the hieroglyphics made it impossible to convey anything more than the general appearance of the objects delineated, but the figures may be recognized by their form in the outline drawing after the manner of some of the Egyptian hieroglyphics. The study of the tablets is chiefly difficult on account of the way in which actual objects are conventionally treated, and in order to preserve symmetry and effect, men, canoes, fish, etc., are represented of the same size throughout the lilies.
A careful study of the hieroglyphics of Easter Island is being made, with the hope that valuable information may be obtained in regard to the early history a ad origin of the people. Results of an extremely interesting nature are barely outlined at present and not in shape to be presented herewith. It is not considered expedient to attempt an explanation of the symbols until the subject can be treated exhaustively. As an example of the ideographic character of the signs, the tablet containing the genealogical tables shows a frequent repetition of the symbol of the great spirit Meke-Meke in connection with that of the female vulva. The signification is the birth of a person. The position of the figures shows whether the child was the result of marriage, or intrigue, and the following figures indicate the date of the birth, the seasons and the approximate time. An important feature, in connection with the tablets, is the fact that forms have been discovered which have no types on Easter Island, and which may lead to an identification of the locality from whence the first settlers migrated. The hieroglyphics include, besides the representation of actual objects, figures used by the chiefs, and each clan had its distinctive mark. Samples are given in different treaties made with the islanders of the sign-manual of some of the chiefs.
CHANTS DE URE VAE IKO
Enfin faire une comparaison entre la théorie de Fischer et la mienne sur le texte Atua mata riri qui a nommé ainsi la petite tablette de Washington et cela lui est resté… Tablette « Dieu se mettra en colère » … Quelle sottise générée par l’incompréhension entre les hommes !!!
Les chants de Ure Vae Iko en sémantique par