Images de page

to have originated in the same personification of the earth as an old man, with a golden or fiery hand, a yellow hand. It is the same conception of the fire and the water allied to produce all things, that we see portrayed in the cosmogonic diagrams of the Mayas, the Hindoos, and the Chaldees.

NOTE VIII. (Page 82.)

[ocr errors]

(1) In his work "Lares and Penates," Mr. William Burckhardt Barker, in Chapter IV., " On Certain Portraits of Huns and their Identity with the Extinct Races in America," says: "Mr. Abington's observations on this piece (55), a head of most monstrous form, in a conical cap, are of so remarkable a nature that I must be permitted to publish them here. Mr. Abington says: "This is the most extraordinary thing in the whole collection. On the first view I was struck with the identity of its strange profile with the figures sculptured upon the monuments and edifices of an extinct people in Central America. Many of Stephens's engravings represent the same faces exactly.' Is it not a faithful and correct portrait of a Hun? Hitherto the sculptures of Central America have only been wondered at, but not explained. Does not this head identify them with the Huns, and thereby let light in upon a dark mystery? The following sketches of the sculptures in Central America, taken from Stephens's plates1 and the Quarterly Journal, will show that my notion of the matter is not a mere fancy. Heads so very unusual, not to say unnatural, though found in such distant places, must surely have come from the same stock. We have written descriptions of the inhuman appearance of the Huns who devastated the nation; but I

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

1 John L. Stephens, Incidents of Travels in Central America and Yucatan, (The author.)

never met with any representation of them either pictorial or sculptured. Perhaps you have the gratification of first bringing before the world a true and exact representation of that once terrible but now forgotten race, and that, too, by an illustration probably unique; also of removing the veil that has hitherto concealed the mysterious origin of the men who have left the memorial of their peculiar conformation upon the sculptured stones of America, but who have been long extinct." 1

Up to here Mr. Barker. It is certain that the peoples who left images of their strange and hideous visages sculptured on the temples and palaces of Copan, Palenque, Manché, and other places in the countries watered by the river Uzumacinta and its confluents, did not belong to the Maya race. But it is equally certain that it would be most difficult, not to say impossible, to prove that they did to that of the Huns; notwithstanding the fact that there exist abundant proofs of the presence in America, before and after the beginning of the Christian era, of Mongol or Tartar tribes, and that these have left their traces in many places of the Western Continent." These portraits sculptured on the temples of Palenque, Manché, etc., may very well be those of people from Tahiti and other islands of the Pacific, visited by the Mayas in the course of their voyages to India. It was customary with the inhabitants of certain of these islands to flatten the skulls of the infants of the warrior caste, in the shape of a wedge, to make them appear hideous when grown up, so that by their looks they might inspire terror in the hearts of their foes.

[blocks in formation]

2 John Ranking, Historical Researches on the Conquest of Peru, Mexico, etc., by the Mongols.

NOTE IX. (Page 87.)

(3) This same custom of making use of mercury for the preservation of corpses exists still in Thibet. C. F. Gordon Cumming (Mrs. Helen Hunt), in her interesting book "In the Himalayas and on the Indian Plains" (page 442), says: “We tried to exercise strong faith while recalling Huc's curious account of Tartar funerals, telling how, when a great chief dies, several of the finest young men and women of the tribe are made to swallow mercury till they suffocate, the supposition being that those who thus die continue to look fresh after death." In a note she adds: Quicksilver is believed to endow the body with power to resist death and avoid further transmigration. So Hindoo wizards prepare elixirs of mercury and powdered mica, which are supposed to contain the very essence of the god Siva and one of his wives."

We read in the "Travels of Marco Polo," published in Edinburgh by Hugh Murray (1844), that this ancient Italian traveller found this same custom, of using mercury for the preservation of corpses, existing in India and China when, in 1250, he visited those countries. Father Huc also makes mention of it in his work, "Recollections of a Journey through Tartary, Thibet, and China," and so does Bayard Taylor, Bishop Heber, and other modern travellers.

NOTE X. (Page 88.)

(1) Bishop Heber, in his "Narrative of a Journey through the Upper Provinces of India" (vol. i., p. 386; vol. ii., pp. 430, 525, 530; vol. iii., pp. 48, 49), says "that at the city of Cairah in Guzerat, as in Greece, the statues have the white of the eyes made of ivory and silver. The statues of the gods are still painted with colors emblematic of their attributes. The gods Vishnu and Krishna are painted blue; Thoth, the god of wisdom and letters, red, etc."

(2) Henry Layard, "Nineveh and its Remains" (vol. ii., part ii., chap. iii.), speaks of the painted sculptures discovered by him in Nineveh, Khorsabad, and other places; and in his work, "Nineveh and Babylon" (p. 276), he mentions the finding of statues with eyes made of ivory and glass. Diodorus Siculus (lib. ii., c. xx.) speaks of the figures of men and animals painted on the walls of the palace of Semiramis in Babylon, and so also does Ezekiel (chap. xxii., verses 14, 15) and Smith, "Five Monarchies" (vol. i., pp. 450, 451).

(3) Eusebius, "Præp. et Demons. Evang." (lib. iii., chap. xi.), says that the Egyptians painted the statues of their gods. Kneph, Amen, Ra, Nilus, were painted blue. Set and Atum were painted red. Sir Gardner Wilkinson, in "Manners and Customs of Ancient Egyptians" (vol. iii., chap. xiii., pp. 10, 207), also says that the Egyptians painted the statues of their gods and of their kings, and provided them with eyes made of ivory or glass.

(4) The Greeks colored their statues and provided them with eyes.

« PrécédentContinuer »