The large ao were reserved for dignitaries. Shorter and thinner, rapa were used in pairs by virtuoso dancers who twirled them, one in each hand. They have no equivalent in other tribal cultures. The largest rapa are 1.20 m long.
The rapa is a thin cylinder used as a handle with a flat blade at each end. The upper part has the outline of a head with protuberances for the ear ornaments. The facial features drawn identically on both sides consist only of the geometrically perfect double arch of nose and eyebrows. The pear shaped lower part is the abdomen. It is extended by a phallus. Limbs are absent.
A 82 cm rapa was sold for € 1.9M including premium by Sotheby's in Paris on December 10, 2014 over a lower estimate of € 300K.
In the same auction room on December 12 a set of two rapa 78 and 71 cm overall that were probably already a pair before their collection is estimated € 1M, lot 7. Only one of them has the phallus.
SOLD for € 3.9M including premium