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XI.

LET us revert to our inquiry concerning the customs observed at funerals by both Mayas and Egyptians. We will examine one or two so remarkable that they cannot be honestly attributed to mere coincidence.

We have seen that in Mayach, as in India, Chaldea, Egypt, and many other countries, a certain kind of ape was held sacred; its worship being, no doubt, closely related to that of ancestors. But how came the cynocephalus to be connected in Egypt with the rites of the dead? This species of monkey is not a native of Egypt, but is of Central America, where it is very abundant.

Thoth, the god of wisdom and letters, was the reputed preceptor of Isis and Osiris. He was supposed to hold the office of scribe in Amenti, where his business was to note down the actions of the dead, and present or read the record of them to Osiris while sitting as judge of the lower regions. Thoth, in that capacity, is represented as a cynocephalus monkey, in a sitting posture. He is thus frequently portrayed seated on the top of the balance in the judgment scenes, and

regarded as the second of the gods of the dead. In Mayach, also, Baaɔo, the cynocephalus, was the attendant of the "god of death," and always represented in a kneeling posture.

During our sojourn at Uxmal we surveyed a ruined edifice little known to visitors, although quite extensive. On the summit of the pyramid, forming the north side, is a shrine composed of two apartments, one smaller than the other. The smaller, the sanctum sanctorum, can only be reached by passing through the larger. Opposite the doorway of the front chamber, and at the head of the steep stairway leading to the yard, is a round stone altar where, Landa tells us, human victims were immolated, as offerings to the deity. At the foot of those stairs is a large rectangular platform, one metre high. The sides were once composed of slabs covered with inscriptions beautifully sculptured in intaglio to make them more lasting. Having been submitted to the action of fire, the characters have become well nigh obliterated. On several of the slabs that had happened to fall face downward, the writing is well preserved.

The centre of the platform was occupied by a huge statue of the Yum cimil, "god of death," represented by a skeleton in a squatting posture. His attendants were six cynocephali, kneeling as if in prayer (Plate XXIV.), placed on each side of him, one at each corner of the platform, one between these in the middle of the east and west sides. The god of death faced south, where his kingdom was supposed to be situated.

In the present state of our knowledge it is difficult to surmise why that species of ape came to be connected, in Mayach, with the rites of the dead. We might, perhaps, find the explanation by translating the inscriptions that adorned the platform, at least what remains of them. Is it a

That such

mere coincidence that in Egypt, as in Mayach, cynocephali were thus associated with the king of the dead? was the fact there is no doubt. But who can to-day tell what circumstances concurred to originate it? The cynocephalus is a native of Ethiopia, not of Egypt. It is also indigenous of Yucatan and other parts of Central America.

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Images of cynocephali, always in the attitude of prayer, are found in many places in Yucatan, as well as in Copan (Honduras) and Guatemala. Baao and Chuen, of whose metamorphosis into monkeys we read in the "Popol-vuh,' and which is said to have taken place in Xibalba, the lower regions, the kingdom of darkness, were worshipped in Mayach, particularly in Yucatan and Oaxaca.

Baaɔ and Chuen are the names of personages who lived in times anterior to those when King Canchi and his family reigned over Mayach. Their history has come to us, in the sacred book of the Quichés, in the form of a myth. Deified after their death, as all rulers were, the generations that followed them paid them divine homage. Baaɔ is the Maya word for "cynocephalus." The meaning of the name Chuen is now lost. We only find it as that of the eighth day of the

month.

Like the Mayas,5 the Egyptians regarded the West as the region of darkness, the place where the souls of the dead

'Plinius, Hist. Nat., viii. 54; vii. 2.

'Horapollo, Hierogly., lib. i., 14, 15. In astronomical subjects two cynocephali are frequently represented standing in a boat in attitude of prayer before the sun.

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Popol Vuh, part ii., chap. vii., et passim.

Fray Geronimo Roman, Republica de las Indias Occidentales, lib. ii., cap. xv.

Codex Cortesianus, plate viii.

returned to the bosom of their ancestors in the realms of Amenti. There King Osiris sat on a throne in the midst of the waters; there, also, it was that Thoth performed his office of scribe. Was, then, the worship of the cynocephalus, his totem, brought to Egypt from the Lands of the West?

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Another funeral custom among the Egyptians, mentioned by Champollion Figeac1 and Sir Gardner Wilkinson, was that of placing the right arm of the mummies of distinguished persons across the chest, so that the right hand rested on the left shoulder. We find that this same custom obtained in Mayach. We shall refer to it more at length, later on, when explaining the sculptures that ornamented Prince Coh's mausoleum.

If we examine the ornaments worn by the personages represented by the atlantes, those portrayed in the bas-reliefs on the jambs of the doorway and on the antæ that supported the entablature of the portico of Prince Coh's Memorial Hall, likenesses, probably, of individuals who lived when the structure was erected, who were, no doubt, friends and relatives of the deceased prince, we find that said ornaments consisted of ear-rings, nose-rings, nose-studs, armlets, bracelets, anklets, garters, necklaces, breastplates, and finger-rings. From times immemorial to our day, the same kind of jewelry has been used in India, Chaldea, Asia Minor, Egypt, and Greece. Nose rings and studs, however, seem to have been ornaments essentially belonging to the Western Continent. They are still as much the prevalent adornment among the tribes living on the banks of the upper Amazon River and its affluents, in the very

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p. 486.

Champollion Figeac, L'Univers, Egypte, p. 261.

Sir Gardner Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, vol. iii., chap. xvi.,

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heart of the southern American continent, and with the majority of the Mexican tribes, as they were among the Mayas even at the time of the Spanish Conquest. They are habitually worn by women of all classes in India; by Arab women of Mesopotamia,5 as they were by Jewish women in the time of Isaiah. He threatened the daughters of Zion, on account of their haughtiness, with the loss of their ornaments, among which were their rings and other nose jewels. So far as we know, nose-rings and nose-studs were not in vogue among the ancient Aryans. They, therefore, did not introduce the custom of wearing such ornaments in the countries they invaded. Said custom must have been brought to Asia, in very remote ages, by immigrants from America. It is a noticeable fact that it only obtained in countries where vestiges of the Mayas and their civilization are found.

Must we regard as a mere coincidence the use of these nose and lip ornaments that, to us, seem not only extremely inconvenient, but rather disfiguring than beautifying the face of the wearer, yet so prevalent among many peoples living thousands of miles apart, knowing nothing of each other's existence?

Perhaps those knowing professors who pretend to explain all these identical customs existing in so many diverse nations, by the tendency of the human mind, in its struggles to free Paul Marcoy (Lorenzo de Saint-Bricq), Travels in South America, vol. ii.

Bancroft, Native Races of America, vol. i.

Diego de Cogolludo, Hist. de Yucathan, lib. xii., chap. vii., p. 699.

Diego de Landa, Las Cosas de Yucatan, p. 182.

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C. F. Gordon Cumming, In the Himalayas and on the Indian Plains, chap. iv., p. 90. Bishop Heber, Narratives of a Journey through the Upper Provinces of India, vol. ii., pp. 179, 188.

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Henry Layard, Nineveh and Babylon, pp. 153-262.

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