in water. Several species of Sideroxylon (Sapotaceae) yield iron-wood, Sideroxylon cinereum or Bojerianum being the bois de fer blanc of Africa and Mauritius, and the name is also given to species of Metrosideros (Myrtaceae) and Diospyros (Ebenaceae).
West Indian iron-wood is the produce of Colubrina reclinata (and C. ferruginosa (Rhamnaceae), and of Aegiphila martinicensis Verbenacae). Ixora (Siderodendron) triflorum (Rubiaceae) is the bois de fer of Martinique, and Zanthoxylum Pterota (Rutaceae) is the iron-wood of Jamaica, while Robinia Ponacoco (Leguminosae) is described as the iron-wood of Guiana. The iron-wood of India and Ceylon is the produce of Mesua ferrea (Guttiferae). The iron-wood tree of Pegu and Arracan is Xylia dolabriformis (Leguminosae), described as the most important timber-tree of Burma after teak, and known as pyingado. The endemic bois de fer of Mauritius, once frequent in the primeval woods, but now becoming very scarce, is Stadtmannia Sideroxylon (Sapindaceae), while Cossignya pinnata is known as the bois de fer de Judas. In Australia species of Acacia, Casuarina, Eucalyptus, Melaleuca, Myrtus, and other genera are known more or less widely as iron-wood. Tasmanian iron-wood is the produce of Notelaea ligustrina (Oleaceae), and is chiefly used for making ships’ blocks. The iron-wood or lever-wood of North America is the timber of the American hop hornbeam, Ostrya virginica (Cupuliferae). In Brazil Apuleia ferrea and Caesalpinia ferrea yield a kind of iron-wood, called, however, the Pao ferro or false iron-wood.
IRON-WORK, as an ornament in medieval architecture, is chiefly confined to the hinges, &c., of doors and of church chests, &c. Specimens of Norman iron-work are very rare. Early English specimens are numerous and very elaborate. In some instances not only do the hinges become a mass of scroll work, but the surface of the doors is covered by similar ornaments. In both these periods the design evidently partakes of the feeling exhibited in the stone or wood carving. In the Decorated period the scroll work is more graceful, and, like the foliage of the time, more natural. As styles progressed, there was a greater desire that the framing of the doors should be richer, and the ledges were chamfered or raised, then panelled, and at last the doors became a mass of scroll panelling. This, of course, interfered with the design of the hinges, the ornamentation of which gradually became unusual. In almost all styles the smaller and less important doors had merely plain strap-hinges, terminating in a few bent scrolls, and latterly in fleurs-de-lis. Escutcheon and ring handles, and the other furniture, partook more or less of the character of the time. On the continent of Europe the knockers are very elaborate. At all periods doors have been ornamented with nails having projecting heads, sometimes square, sometimes polygonal, and sometimes ornamented with roses, &c. The iron work of windows is generally plain, and the ornament confined to simple fleur-de-lis heads to the stanchions. For the iron-work of screens enclosing tombs and chapels see Grille; and generally see Metal-Work.
IRONY (Gr. εἰρωνεία, from εἴρων, one who says less than he means, εἴρειν, to speak), a form of speech in which the real meaning is concealed or contradicted by the words used; it is particularly employed for the purpose of ridicule, mockery or contempt, frequently taking the form of sarcastic phrase. The word is frequently used figuratively, especially in such phrases as “the irony of fate,” of an issue or result that seems to contradict the previous state or condition. The Greek word was particularly used of an under-statement in the nature of dissimulation. It is especially exemplified in the assumed ignorance which Socrates adopted as a method of dialectic, the “Socratic irony” (see Socrates). In tragedy, what is called “tragic irony” is a device for heightening the intensity of a dramatic situation. Its use is particularly characteristic of the drama of ancient Greece, owing to the familiarity of the spectators with the legends on which so many of the plays were based. In this form of irony the words and actions of the characters belie the real situation, which the spectators fully realize. It may take several forms; the character speaking may be conscious of the irony of his words while the rest of the actors may not, or he may be unconscious and the actors share the knowledge with the spectators, or the spectators may alone realize irony. The Oedipus Tyrannus of Sophocles is the classic example of tragic irony at its fullest and finest.
IROQUOIS, or Six Nations, a celebrated confederation of North American Indians. The name is that given them by the French. It is suggested that it was formed of two ceremonial words constantly used by the tribesmen, meaning “real adders,” with the French addition of ois. The league was originally composed of five tribes or nations, viz. Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Senecas and Cayugas. The confederation probably took place towards the close of the 16th century and in 1722 the Tuscaroras were admitted, the league being then called that of “the Six Nations.” At that time their total number was estimated at 11,650, including 2150 warriors. They were unquestionably the most powerful confederation of Indians on the continent. Their home was the central and western parts of New York state. In the American War of Independence they fought on the English side, and in the repeated battles their power was nearly destroyed. They are now to the number of 17,000 or more scattered about on various reservations in New York state, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Canada. The Iroquoian stock, the larger group of kindred tribes, of which the five nations were the most powerful, had their early home in the St Lawrence region. Besides the five nations, the Neutral nation, Huron, Erie, Conestoga, Nottoway, Meherrin, Tuscarora and Cherokee were the most important tribes of the stock. The hostility of the Algonquian tribes seems to have been the cause of the southward migration of the Iroquoian peoples. In 1535 Jacques Cartier found an Iroquoian tribe in possession of the land upon which now stand Montreal and Quebec; but seventy years later it was in the hands of Algonquians.
See L. H. Morgan, League of the Hodeno Swanee or Iroquois (Rochester, N.Y., 1854); Handbook of American Indians (Washington, 1907). Also Indians, North American.
IRRAWADDY, or Irawadi, the principal river in the province of Burma, traversing the centre of the country, and practically running throughout its entire course in British territory. It is formed by the confluence of the Mali and N’mai rivers (usually called Mali-kha and N’mai-kha, the kha being the Kachin word for river) in 25° 45′ N. The N’mai is the eastern branch. The definite position of its source is still uncertain, and it seems to be made up of a number of considerable streams, all rising within a short distance of each other in about 28° 30′ N. It is shown on some maps as the Lu river of Tibet; but it is now quite certain that the Tibetan Lu river is the Salween, and that the N’mai has its source or sources near the southern boundary of Tibet, to the north-east or east of the source of the Mali. At the confluence the N’mai is larger than the Mali. The general width of its channel seems to be 350 or 400 yds. during this part of its course. In the rains this channel is filled up, but in the cold weather the average breadth is from 150 to 200 yds. The N’mai is practically unnavigable. The Mali is the western branch. Like the main river, it is called Nam Kiu by the Shans. It rises in the hills to the north of the Hkamti country, probably in about 28° 30′ N. Between Hkamti and the country comparatively close to the confluence little or nothing is known of it, but it seems to run in a narrow channel through continuous hills. The highest point on the Mali reached from the south by Major Hobday in 1891 was Ting Sa, a village a little off the river, in 26° 15′ N. About 1 m. above the confluence it is 150 yds. wide in January and 17 ft. deep, with a current of 33 m. an hour. Steam launches can only ascend from Myitkyina to the confluence in the height of the rains. Native boats ascend to Laikaw or Sawan 26° 2′ N., all the year around, but can get no farther at any season. From the confluence the river flows in a southerly direction as far as Bhamo, then turns west as far as the confluence of the Kaukkwe stream, a little above Katha, where it again turns in a southerly direction, and maintains this in its general course through Upper and