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To-day all the distinct peculiarities of these various peoples are, to the eye of the careful observer, quite as noticeable, among their descendants, as of yore, notwithstanding the intermarriages that have inevitably occurred between the different races, particularly since the Spanish conquest.
Again, the atlantes and the bas-reliefs on the pillars show the mode of dress in vogue among the higher classes of the
Mode of carrying shield among the Mayas.
FIGURES FROM FRESCOS IN PRINCE COH'S MEMORIAL HALL.1
Mayas in remote ages, the ornaments they wore, and many of their customs, whose identity with those of far-distant nations cannot be ascribed to mere coincidence. These may also guide the ethnologist.
For the present purpose, it will suffice to mention various practices observed at funerals both by the Mayas and the Egyptians. Among the figures that supported the table of the
1 See the various plates from the fresco paintings in Prince Coh's Memorial Hall at Chichen (Plates XXXIX.-LI.).
altar, there were some intended to represent women. From these we learn that Maya matrons, to betoken grief, covered the right side of their face with their hair. Sir Gardner Wilkinson,' speaking of the funeral customs of the Egyptians, says: "Married women alone were permitted to wear the magasies, or ringlets, at the side of the face. The hair was bound at the end with a string, like the plaits at the back of the head, so as to cover part of their ear-ring."
Macrobius, trying to explain this custom of Egyptian matrons, says it was in imitation of the images of the sun, in which that luminary was represented as a human head having a lock of hair on the right side of the face. This lock, he assumes, was emblematic of its reappearance after being concealed from our sight at its setting, or of its return to the solstice.
What explanation would he have given of the same custom being observed among the Mayas, had he known of it? That it existed there can be no doubt; the portraits of the two Maya matrons found among the atlantes of the altar are the best proof of it. (See Plates XXXI.-XXXII., which are photographs of them.)
The practice of tying their dress round their waist and of uncovering their breast when a friend died was common both to the Mayas and the Egyptians. The dead in Egypt were made to carry round their neck the vase, placed on the scale of
'Sir Gardner Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, etc., vol. iii., chap. xvi., p. 452; also vol. i., chap. xii.
Macrobius, Saturnaliorum, etc., lib. i., 26.
'Sir Gardner Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, vol. iii., chap. xvi., p.
See picture of Prince Coh being prepared for cremation; also in Sacred Mysteries, p. 80.