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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 8, 1897.djvu/371

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The Binding of a God. 335

is made, his soul is summoned to enter it, and it is then buried by his family with all the usual obsequies, as if it were his body." ^ I have elsewhere illustrated a series of similar practices of the Hindus in connection with the formation of a new body for the soul by the performance of the Sraddha rites.- A modihcation of the method of infusing life into an idol appears in China. When the idols are ready the rite of " lighting the eyes " is done ; expression is given to the eyes of the freshly painted idols, which have been pur- posely left blank by the painter. Up to that time they are not supposed to be animated by the presence of the deity ; so a dab of ink is made on the ancestral tablet which gives the spirit power to remain close at hand.^

As a corollary to this method of infusing the deity into an image, it naturally follows that it can be removed by the same means. Thus, Sir R. Burton, shortly after his arrival at Dahome, tells how when he entered his quarters, "two fetish youths made their appearance in the evening, knelt down before the domestic altar, prayed, broke some of the images, and went away declaring that they had called out the fetish, and that I might after the evocatio deorum do my worst.""*

It also follows that the image, having been thus imbued with the godhead, has the powers of volition and movement. Thus, to quote Mr. Grote in connection with Greek worship:^ " A Grecian temple was not simply a place of worship, but the actual dwelling-place of a god, who was believed to be introduced by the solemn dedicatory ceremony, and whom the imagination of the people identified in the most intimate manner with his statue. The presence or removal of the statue was considered as identical with that of the being re- presented, and while the statue was solemnly washed, dressed,

' Gray, China, vol. i. p. 295.

  • Popular Religion and Folklore of Northern htdia, vol. ii. p. 58.

' Giles, Strange Stories from a Chinese Sttidio, vol. ii. p. 224.

  • Mission to Gelele, vol. i. p. 299.
  • History of Greece, vol. i. p. 443, sq.