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Page:History of Architecture in All Countries Vol 1.djvu/93

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Part II.
61
INTRODUCTION.

they have even invented them; but though they have thus got over the mechanical difficulties of the case, their intellectual condition remains the same, and they have never advanced beyond the merest rudiments of a literature, and have never mastered even the elements of any scientitic philosouliy.


Arts.

If so singularly deficient in the phonetic modes of literary expression, the Turanian races made up for it to a great extent in the excellence they attained in most of the branches of æsthetic art. As architects they were unsurpassed, and in Egypt alone have left monuments which are still the world's wonder. The Tamul race in Southern, the Moguls in Northern India, in Burmah, in China, and in Mexico, wherever these races are found, they have raised monuments of dimensions unsurpassed; and, considering the low state of civilization in which they often existed, displaying a degree of taste and skill as remarkable as it is unexpected.

In consequence of the circumstance above mentioned of their gods having been kings, and after death still only considered as watching over and influencing the destiny of mankind, their temples were only exaggerated palaces, containing halls, and chambers, and thrones, and all the appurtenances required by the living, but on a scale befitting the celestial character now acquired. So much is this the case in Egypt that we hardly know by which name to designate them, and the same remark applies to all.

Even more sacred, however, than their temples were their tombs. Wherever a Turanian race exists or existed, there their tombs remain; and from the Pyramids of Egypt to the mausoleum of Hyder Ali, the last Tartar king in India, they form the most remarkable series of monuments the world possesses, and all were built by people of Turanian race. No Semite and no Aryan ever built a tomb that could last a century or was worthy to remain so long.

The Buddhist reform altered the funereal tumulus into a relic shrine, modifying this, as it did most of the Turanian forms of utterance, from a literal to a somewhat more spiritual form of expression, but leaving the meaning the same,—the Tope being still essentially a Tomb.

Combined with that wonderful appreciation of form which characterizes all the architectural works of the Turanians, they possessed an extraordinary passion for colored decoration and an instinctive knowledge of the harmony of colors. They used throughout the primitive colors in all their elemental crudeness; and though always brilliant, are never vulgar, and are guiltless of any mistake in harmony. From the first dawn of painting in Egypt to the last