Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/675

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EVOLUTION OF CEREMONIAL GOVERNMENT.

become recognized as binding to the dead those who bear them, and do develop in the way alleged, we have tolerably good evidence. The command in Leviticus, "Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you," shows us the usage in that stage at which the scar left by sacrifice of blood is still a sign partly of family subordination and partly of other subordination. And the traditions of the Scandinavians show us a stage at which it betokens allegiance either to an unspecified supernatural being, or to a deceased ruler who has become a god. Odin, "when he was near his death, made himself be marked with the point of a spear;" and Niort "before he died made himself be marked for Odin with the spear-point."

That scars on the surface of the body, thus coming to express loyalty to a deceased father or a deceased ruler, or a god derived from him, initiate, among other disfigurements, those we class as tattooing, is a probable inference. Lacerations, and the traces they leave, are certain to take different forms in different places. The Andaman-Islanders "tattoo by incising the skin with small pieces of glass, without inserting coloring-matter, the cicatrix being whiter than the sound skin." Some natives of Australia have ridges raised on this or that part of the body, while others brand themselves. In Tanna the people make elevated scars on their arms and chests. And Barton, in his "Abeokuta," says: "The skin-patterns were of every variety, from the diminutive prick to the great gash and the large, boil-like lumps. . . . In this country every tribe, sub-tribe, and even family, has its blazon, whose infinite diversifications may be compared with the lines and ordinaries of European heraldry—a volume would not suffice to explain all the marks in detail." Naturally, among the various skin mutilations originating in the way alleged, many will, under the promptings of vanity, take on a character more or less ornamental; and the use of them for decoration will often survive when their meaning has been lost.

Hypothesis apart, we have proof that these marks made by cutting gashes, or puncturing lines, or raising welts, or otherwise, are in many cases tribal marks—as they would, of course become if they were originally made when binding themselves by blood to the dead founder of the tribe. A clear exhibition of the feeling implied by the bearing of marks is contained in a statement Bancroft makes respecting the Cuebas of Central America: "If the son of a chief declined to use the distinctive badge of his house, he could, when he became chief, choose any new device he might fancy. A son who did not adopt his father's totem was always hateful to him during his lifetime." And if the refusal to adopt the family-mark where it is painted on the body is thus regarded as a kind of disloyalty, equally will it be so when the mark is one that has arisen from modified lacerations and such refusal will be tantamount to rebellion where the mark sig-