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become more daring and bloodthirsty in consequence." 1 And a Canton letter in a recent issue of the North China Mail says, that "no Chinese soldier in Tonquin during the late war lost an opportunity to eat the flesh of a fallen French foe, believing that human flesh, especially that of foreign warriors, is the best possible stimulant for a man's courage;" this being clearly a vestige of the primitive belief that the transference of the material life by absorption, is a transference of spiritual identity.
Additional testimony to the vestiges of the blood-covenant as a primitive rite in China, is given in the following letter on the subject from the Rev. Dr. A. P. Happer, who was for many years a missionary in that country :—
"In reference to the form of solemn covenant as it was made anciently among the Chinese. It is expressed as a Mêng Yeuh. The last word is a covenant-agreement treaty. It is the word used in designating the treaties between nations. Mêng' is the word which has the use of blood in giving sanctity to the agreement. It is composed of the characters for sun, moon, and a basin. Whether the sun and moon were the objects before which the oath was taken, and the basin was that in which the blood was held, I will not affirm. It is defined: 'An oath anciently taken by smearing one's self with the blood of the victim;' then, secondarily, 'a contract, an agreement, alliance compact.' Here is almost precisely the form of covenant, as to the mode of ratifying it, as was used by Abraham.
"As to the oath which is taken by those who enter the Triad Society in China I would remark: The name 'Triad' is given because the society is bound by solemn covenant to the great powers in the world as held by the Chinese: namely, heaven, earth, and man; the literal translation of the Chinese name San hop wei,'- Three United Association.' "This society was organized soon after the present dynasty obtained, which was in 1644. The society is said to have been formed about
1 Thomson's The Straits of Malacca, Indo-China, and China, p. 259.
1670, for the purpose of driving out the Tatars and restoring the previous dynasty, which was a Chinese dynasty. As the founder of the previous dynasty had been a Buddhist priest, this society was composed, at first, largely of priests, and had their meetings in Buddhist temples. Hence it has always been regarded as a traitorous association and proscribed by the laws. The Taiping rebellion in 1850 to 1865 was an outcome of it. The chief of that rebellion was the head of the Triad Society, and proclaimed himself the emperor of the Great Peace Heavenly Kingdom. One of their vagaries was this, in order to conceal their Triad connection: The chief, in reading Christian books, found that the Christian God is regarded as a Trinity. Taking the word used by part of the missionary body to designate God, namely, Shangti, they designated themselves as the Shangti Association; that is, The Triune God Association.
"The initiation into this society is with the most solemn rites and binding oath. It is done in secret meeting, in a secret place, generally at night. Swords are crossed so as to form an arch, under which the new member passes, to imply that a sword is over the neck of any one who violates the covenant. Blood is drawn from his finger, and mixed with water, which he drinks. The members are called brethren, and the relation is more sacred and inviolable than that of brothers by birth. Any one who violates this covenant of brotherhood made with blood must be killed by the brotherhood. No one may protect, screen, or assist, in any way, such a delinquent, or, rather, false brother, one who had falsified such a solemn oath.
"From this narrative we see that this manner of adding sanctity to an oath in making an agreement or covenant by blood comes down from the earliest history of the Chinese people. The Triad Society adopted this manner of taking an oath to fulfil all the agreements and obligations of their covenant, written in thirty-six clauses, because it was the most solemn and obligatory of any known to them."
This blood-drinking as a means of courage inspiring is also linked
with the idea of blood-covenanting, in an illustration given by Herodotus1 out of the times of the Persian invasion of Egypt under Cambyses. One Phanes was blamed by the Greek and Carian allies of the Egyptians "for having [treacherously] led a foreign army into Egypt." His sons were taken by the allies, and in the sight of both armies their throats were cut, one by one, the blood being received into goblets and mingled with wine and water; "all the allies drinking of the blood" as preliminary to a united onset against the enemy thus vicariously absorbed into the being of the allied forces.
“There is no doubt," says President Washburn, of Robert College, Constantinople," that among the Sclavic races the blood-covenant [as described in this volume] still exists; especially in Montenegro and Servia." A recent German writer3 cites a Sclavic song which gives an illustration of this custom; the full meaning of which song he quite fails to comprehend, through his unfamiliarity with the rite itself. The song describes the slaughter on a battle-field at Mohaas, in Hungary, where the outpoured blood of the combatants was intercommingled in their death:
"There as well as here was lamentation;
Flooded o'er with blood the field of slaughter.
Dark alike was blood of Turk and Christian
Turk and Christian here by blood made brothers."
This tender reference to blood-brotherhood in death is supposed by the German writer to be made in keen irony, although he cites it from a people who are, in his opinion, less bigoted and fanatical than Muhammadans generally.
It has been already shown that Poseidonios tells of the custom,
1 Hist. III., 11.
2 In a private letter to the author.
Dr. Friedrich S. Krauss, in a paper read before the American Philosophical Society, Oct. 2, 1885; in Proceedings of the Am. Phil. Soc., for January, 1886, PP. 87-94.
4 Page 320, supra.
among the primitive German peoples, of opening "the veins upon their foreheads, and mixing the flowing blood with their drink," as their method of entering into the blood-covenant. A trace of this primitive custom would seem to be found in a still extant method of making brotherhood among the students in German universities. Bayard Taylor describes this ceremony as he observed it at Heidelberg, in 1846.1 When new students are to be made “ Burschen” (or fellows), while at the same time the bands of brotherhood are to be kept fresh and sacred among those who are already banded together in their student life, the "consecration song" of the Landesvater is sung with mutual beer-drink. ing and cap-piercing. The ceremony includes the striking of glasses together, as held in the right hand-before drinking; the crossing of swords, as held in the left hand; the piercing of each one's cap with a sword (the caps of all who take part in the ceremony being successively strung upon the two swords of those who conduct it); the exchanging of the cap-laden swords between those leaders; the return of each pierced cap to its owner; the resting of the ends of the crossed swords on the heads, covered by the pierced caps, of each pair participating in turn in the ceremony; with the singing in concert of the song of consecration, of which these two verses are an illustration:
"Take the beaker, pleasure seeker,
With thy country's drink brimmed o'er !
In thy left the sword is blinking,
Pierce it through the cap, while drinking
"In left hand gleaming, thou art beaming,
Thus I pierce the cap, while swearing,
It in honor ever wearing,
I a valiant Bursch will be!"
In this rite the cap instead of the head is punctured, and the beer
1 In Views Afoot, cited in Chambers's Cyclo. of Eng. Lit.
alone (beer as the popular substitute for wine) instead of the old-time draught of blood and wine is shared, in symbol of the cutting of the covenant of blood.
This cutting of the head, or of some other portion of the body, in order to let the blood flow out toward another as a symbol of life-giving, is a primitive custom which shows itself in many parts of the world. Bruce says: "As soon as a near relation dies in Abyssinia, a brother or parent, cousin-german or lover, every woman in that relation, with the nail of her little finger, which she leaves long on purpose, cuts the skin of both her temples, about the size of a sixpence; and therefore you see either a wound or a scar in every fair face in Abyssinia." Pitts tells 2 of a practice in Algiers of cutting the arms in testimony of love showing toward the living, somewhat like that already referred to as prevalent in Turkey, Letting the blood flow over the dead, or for the dead, from gashes on the head or the breast or the limbs, is a custom among various tribes of North American Indians, and in different islands of the sea.5 This would seem to be one of the primitive customs forbidden in the Mosaic law: "Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead." 6
The primitive rite of blood-covenanting by the inter-transfusion of blood through the cutting of the clasped hands of the parties to the covenant, would seem to impart a new meaning to a divine assurance, in the words of the Evangelical Prophet, which has been deemed of peculiar tenderness and force-without its symbolism being fairly
1 Travels, III., 680.
2 A Faithful Account of the Religions and Manners of the Mahometans, Chap. 3. 3 See p. 85, supra. See also La Roque, cited in Harmer's Observations, V., 435. 4 See article on "Mortuary Customs of North American Indians," in First Ann. Rep. of Bureau of Ethnol., pp. 112, 159, 164, 183, 190.
5 See Angas's Sav. Scenes, I., 96, 315, 331; II., 84, 89 f., 212.
6 Lev. 19: 28; 21: 5; Deut. 14: 1.