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of Yucatan, both male and female, to adorn themselves with red paint. According to Du Chaillu,' the Fans of equatorial Africa, who have so many customs strangely identical with those of the ancient Mayas-even that of filing their front teeth like a saw-paint themselves red, men and women.

Herodotus asserts that the Maxyes (Mayas ?), a people dwelling to the westward of Lake Triton, in Libya, daubed themselves with vermilion.

Molina, in his vocabulary of the Mexican tongue, at the word Tlapilli, explains that whilst its primary meaning is "to paint in red color," it also signifies "noble," "ancient," and that Tlapilli eztli implies, metaphorically, nobility of blood and family.

Garcilasso de la Vega,3 Cieza de Leon, Acosta, and other writers on Peruvian customs and manners, inform us that the fringe and tassel of the Llantu, royal headdress of the Yncas, were made of fine crimson wool.

Mr. William Ellis asserts that the Areois of Tahiti, in certain religious ceremonies, painted their faces red; that "the ceremony of inauguration, answering to coronation among other nations, consisted in girding the king with the Maro Úru, or sacred girdle of red feathers, which identified him with the gods.

The prophet Ezekiel mentions the figures of red men pictured Du Chaillu, Explorations and Adventures in Equatorial Africa, pp. 94, 104-107, et passim.

Herodotus, Hist., lib. iv. 19.

Garcilasso de la Vega, Commentarios Reales, part i., lib. i., cap. 22; lib. vi., cap. 28.

Cieza de Leon, Cronica, cap. 114.


Acosta, Historia de las Indias Occidentales, lib. iv.,

cap. 12.

William Ellis, Polynesian Researches, vol. i., p. 180.

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on the walls of the edifices at Babylon, similar to the human figures found on those of the tombs in Hindostan and Etruria. In Egypt, the god Atum, emblem of the setting sun, was painted red. The Egyptians regarded him as the creator of all things visible and invisible. Were we not told of it by the writers on Egyptian manners and customs, we would learn it from the meaning of the name in the Maya language—AhTum; literally, "he of the new things." Here again red is symbolical of power-might.


According to Sir Gardner Wilkinson, Egyptologists are not positive as to the manner in which the name written with the initial letters A and T should be read. It is sometimes interpreted T-Mu. The paintings in the tombs where he is represented in a boat in company with Athor, Thoth, and Ma, the goddess of truth,2 show that he filled an important office in the regions of Amenti.

If we accept T-Mu as the correct reading of the hieroglyphs that form his name, then that god must have been the personification of that continent which disappeared under the waves of the ocean, mentioned by Plato and other Greek writers as Atlantis. The Mayas also called it Ti-Mu, the country of Mu, a name that the Greeks knew equally well, as we will see later on. Do we find here the explanation of why the Egyptians figured Atum in a boat, holding an office in the West, and painted him red, the color of the inhabitants of the countries with which they were most familiar, and of which they kept the most perfect remembrance ?

The same motive may have influenced the Hindoo philosoSir Gardner Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, vol. iii., chap. xiii., p. 178.


These names are Maya words expressive of the attributes imputed to these gods by the Egyptians.

phers when they painted with red Ganesha, god of prudence, of letters and science. By this they perhaps wished to indicate that men of that color, coming from Pátâla, the antipodes, imported to India, with civilization, the knowledge of letters, arts, and sciences.

In Polynesia, red is still regarded by the natives of the islands as a favorite color with the gods. William Ellis says "that the ordinary means of communicating or extending supernatural powers was, and still is, the red feather of a small bird found in many of the islands, and the beautiful long feathers of the Tropic or man-of-war bird." 2

We are told that when kings, chiefs, and nobles died they were deified, became the minor gods, watching over the destinies of mankind, and the mediators between man and the Godhead. The red color seems to have continued to be symbolical of their new powers, as it had been of their authority on earth. This may possibly account for the custom, prevalent in Mayach, Polynesia, and India, of devotees stamping the impression of their hands, dipped in red liquid, on the walls of the temples, of the sacred caves, and other hallowed places, when imploring some benefaction from the Deity.

1 Mahabharata-Adiparva, Slokas 7788, 7789; also Bhagavata-Purána, ix., xx. 33. See Appendix, note xi.

2 William Ellis, Polynesian Researches, vol. ii., chap. ix., p. 260. Although there is much to be said in connection with this interesting fact, which is one of the many vestiges of the Mayas' presence among the Polynesians, I will simply remark, at present, that in Egypt the feather was the distinctive adornment of the gods and kings, as in Mayach it was of the kings, pontiffs, nobles, and warriors, differing in color according to their rank and their more or less exalted position; as is yet in China the button and the peacock feather; that the Maya name for feather is Kukum, the radical of which, Ku, is the word for the Supreme Intelligence; and that Khu in Egyptian means "Intelligence,' Light," "Manes."


Spirit," "

This most ancient and universal belief, that the inferior gods that is to say, the glorified spirits of eminent men and women-are mediators between the Divinity and earth's inhabitants, has survived to our day, and is still prevalent with millions of human beings. The Church of Rome teaches this doctrine to her followers. Her Fathers and Doctors received it from the Greek philosophers, several of whom held that “each demon is a mediator between God and man." Many festivals have therefore been instituted by the Church in honor of the saints, who, the faithful are taught to believe, convey their prayer to the Almighty.


True, these do not, as the devotees in some temples in India still do, stamp the red imprint of their hands on the walls, to remind the god of their vow and prayer; but they fasten votive offerings made of gold, silver, copper, or wax, according to the worshipper's means, to the image and to the altar of the saint invoked.

Such votive offerings, made of clay, are found scattered most abundantly round the altars in the temples of the ancient Mayas, or buried in the ground at the foot of the statues of their great men.

It is well known that no two individuals have hands of exactly the same size or shape; that the lines in the palms differ every person. The red impress of the hand, on that account,



1 Plato, Simpos, vol. iii., pp. 202-203 (edit. Serrain). St. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata, v., lib. c., p. 260 (edit. Potter), in admitting that the good demons were the angels, stated the opinion of many Christians of his time; and Dionysius Areopagite, in his Celestial Hierarchy, chap. x., § 11, says: "All the angels are interpreters and messengers of their superiors; the most advanced, of God who moves them, and the others as they are moved by God.”

'Account of General Grant's visit to the Maharajah of Jeypoor, New York Herald, edition of April 12, 1879.

came to be regarded as a private seal, a mark of ownership.1 As such it was used from time immemorial by the Mayas, in whose temples and palaces can yet be seen numerous red imprints of hands of various shapes and sizes. Such impressions being met with in all places in Polynesia and in India where other vestiges of the Mayas are found, may serve as compass to guide us in following their migrations over the vast expanse of land and sea, and to indicate the ancient roads of travel. In time the red color, used in thus recording invocations to the gods and registering the rights of ownership, came to be accepted as legal color for seals in public and private documents. The Egyptians made use of a red mixture to stamp the imprint of their personal seals on the doors of tombs, of houses, and of granaries, to secure them.2


Red seals are used by the Mongol kings on all official documents. This custom of using materials of a red color to seal all important and legal documents has reached our times; it still obtains among all civilized nations.

The foregoing facts tell us, it is true, of the adoption of the red color, among all civilized nations of antiquity, as symbol of nobility of race and of invocation-devotees using it in recording their vow or prayer when imploring the benison of the gods on themselves or their homes; also of its being employed in seals as mark of ownership, hence of dominion over the objects thus sealed; but nowhere is any mention made of the people among whom the custom originated, nor why it came to be the symbol

1 Henry R. Schoolcraft, "On the Red Hand," apud J. L. Stephens, Incidents of Travels in Yucatan, vol. ii., p. 476, Appendix.

2 Sir Gardner Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, vol. iii., chap. xvi., p. 437.


M. Huc, Recollections of a Journey through Tartary, Thibet, and China, vol. i., chap. viii., p. 182.

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