Open main menu

Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 2.djvu/821

This page needs to be proofread.




factured at Cologne, and thence exported to all parts of Christendom; it is called laton, an alloy of copper, zinc, lead, and tin, beaten into thick plates of various sizes. England was the largest consumer, and in spite of the rapacious plunderers of the Reformation, Puritanic vio- lence, and neg- lect, between three and four thousand brass- es of the thir- teenth, four- teenth, fif- teenth, and sixteenth cen- turies have sur- 'la^ 1^^ vived. The

^Jh ISi^t' ^^^^SI^H persons c o m- "^^M I^HL -^t'^I^B memorated

J^B L^IBfi "^%^^B were as a rule ^|H i . ^- ^ ^^ represented

' ' upon the plates,

. t ,- ; .iciiN i D.iiiatpllo) usually life .-KA ui- ii. A;. uiuM, Paula size, by deeply

incised lines with very little attempt at shading, surrounded by architectural and heraldic accessories and in- scriptions. In some cases the incisions were em- phasized by black and red enamels, while in others the brasses were further embellished by the intro- duction of many-coloured Limoges enamels. These memorials attained their greatest artistic excellency in the fourteenth century, and then slowly deterio- rated, becoming very much debased during the reigns of Elizabeth and

aim i"^ Ji» i^>4-

UMip {• J fWUt <-^M(^ W<g

James I, reach- ing their lowest type in the eigh- teenth century, when they ceased to be employed, until the Gothic revival brought them again into use. A great deal of time has been given by archso- logical investiga- tors to the study of monumental bra.sses, and many finely illustrated works on the sub- ject have been published; almost every county in England has one or more books upon those with- in its borders. Haines's "Manu- al of Monumental Brasses", with its 200 illustrations, is invaluable to the student; while the magnificent folio volume of coloured plates issued in 1864 by J. O. and L. A. B. Waller covers the ground of English brasses, and that of W. F. Greeny (London, 1884), fully de- scribes those on the Continent. Military brasses can be studied in the transactions of the York- shire Architectural Society for 1885, and a history of the destruction of all kinds of brasses during the

Memorial to Sir Thomas de Crewe

a.nd his wife

(Time of Henry IV)

progress of the Reformation in Weever's '• Ancient Funeral Monuments" (London, 1731).

Caryl Colem.\n.

BrasseiiT de Bourbourg, Charles Etienne, Abbe, b. at Bourbourg (D^partement du Nord), France, 1814; d. at Nice in January, 1874. He left France for Canada in 1845 and was for a short time professor of ecclesiastical history at Quebec. In 1846 he was at Boston as vicar-general of that diocese, and then returned to Europe where he spent two winters at Rome, searching archives for docu- ments relative to Spanish America. In 1848 he went to Mexico and became chaplain of the French Legation at that city. In 1851 he returned to Paris until 1854, when he sailed for New York and from there to the Isthmus and Ontral America, visiting Nicaragua, San Salvador, and Guatemala. He arrived in the latter city 1 February, 1855, and was made ecclesiastical administrator of the district of Rabinal in Vera Paz which position he occupied for a year. In 1857 he was again in France. In the years 1859 and 1860 he visited the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and Chiapas, also parts of Guatemala. In 1864 he became attached to the French scientific mission to Mexico, but political events in that re-

Eublic drove him back to Guatemala in 1865, whence e returned to Europe. Exhausted by his long, arduous, and often dangerous labours, he died at Nice at the age of sixty. While an ecclesiastic worthy of high respect, and a teacher who has left a good record in the short period he devoted himself to instruction, Brasseur de Bourbourg was, above all, an indefatigable student of the American Indian, of his past and present. Hence the many and pro- tracted journeys in Mexico and Central America, his permanent stay among aboriginal tribes, and his frequent visits to Europe were often made for the purpose of delving into archives for ethnographic, linguistic, and historic material from the past. He collected a large number of manuscripts and prints dating from early times in Central America, and im- proved his apostolic labours among the Indians for ethnographic purposes. His publications embrace the period from 1857 to 1871, and the value of these publications, if not unimpeachable, is still great. His defects were, at the outset, too great an en- thusiasm and too vivid a fancy, and his intercourse with Prescott, whom he personally knew, was not calculated to lessen these failings. Later on, he was led to tread a very dangerous field, that of tracing relationships between American peoples and Eastern civilization and, as he advanced in years, the con- nection between the Old World and the New in pre-Columbian times, while not impossible, assumed in liis mind the form of a fact absolutely certain. His main works are: "Histoire des Nations civilis^es du Mexique et de I'Am^rique centrale" (Paris, 1857-59, 4 vols.); " Voyage sur I'lsthme de Tehuante- pec dans r^tat de Chiapas et la RdpubUque de Guatemala, 1859 et 1860" (Paris, 1861); " Popol Vuh, le Livre sacr^ des Quichfc. &c." (Paris, 1861); "Grammaire Quich^e et le drame de Rabinal Achi" (Paris, 1862); "Quatre Lettres sur le Mexique" (Paris, 1868); "Cartas para servir de Introduccifin i la Historia primitiva de las Naciones civilizadas de la America setentrional" (Mexico, 1851); "Rela- tion des choses du Yucatan" (Paris, 1864). In this work, whicli is a translation of the manuscript by Bishop Landa, tlie so-called Maya characters are given. Their value and significance are not yet fully estabUshed; "Monuments anciens du Mexique" (Palenque, etc., Paris, 1866); "Manuscrit Troano" (Paris, 1869-70); " Biblioth^que mexico-guat^ma- lienne" (Paris, 1871).

With exception of short notices in some encyclopedias, there exists, apparently, no printed record of the life of Brasseiir