Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/173

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EVOLUTION OF CEREMONIAL GOVERNMENT.

on observing that it becomes also an act of religious subordination as is shown when Isaiah, himself setting the example, exhorts the rebellious Israelites to make their peace with Jahveh in the words—"Strip you, and make you bare, and gird sackcloth upon your loins;" and as when the fourscore men who came from Shechem, Shiloh, and Samaria, to propitiate Jahveh, besides cutting their hair and gashing themselves also tore their clothes. Nor does the parallelism fail with baring the feet. This, which we have seen is one of those unclothings signifying humiliation before a ruler, was one among the signs of mourning among the Hebrews; as is shown by the command in Ezekiel (xxiv. 17), "Forbear to cry, make no mourning for the dead, bind the tire of thine head upon thee, and put on thy shoes upon thy feet," and among the Hebrews putting off the shoes was also an act of worship. Elsewhere, too, it occurred as in common a mark of political subordination and of religious subordination. Of the Peruvians, who went barefoot into the presence of the Ynca, we read that "all took off their shoes, except the king, at two hundred paces before reaching the doors" (of the temple of the Sun); "but the king remained with his shoes on until he came to the doors." Once more the like holds with the uncovering of the head. Used along with other ceremonial acts to propitiate the living superior, it is used also to propitiate the spirit of the ordinary dead, and also the spirit of the extraordinary dead, which, becoming apotheosized, is permanently worshiped. We have the uncovering round the grave which continues even among ourselves; and we have, on the Continent, the uncovering by those who meet a funeral-procession. We have the taking off the hat to images of Christ and the Madonna, out-of-doors and in-doors, as enjoined in old books of manners; the unhatting on the knees when the host is carried by in Catholic countries; and the baring the head on entering places of worship everywhere.

Nor must we omit the fact that obeisances of this class, too, made first to supreme persons most feared and presently to less powerful persons, extend gradually until they become general. Quotations above given have shown incidentally that in Africa partial uncovering of the shoulder is used as a salute between equals, and that a kindred removal of the cloak in Spain serves a like purpose. So, too, the going barefoot into a king's presence, and into a temple, originates an ordinary civility: the Damaras take off their sandals before entering a stranger's house; a Japanese leaves his shoes at the door even when he enters a shop; "upon entering a Turkish house, it is the invariable rule to leave the outer slipper or galosh at the foot of the stairs." And then in Europe, from having been a ceremony of feudal homage and of religious worship,

    ing animals to any considerable extent, textile fabrics of hair are relatively expensive; and of the textile fabrics made of silk and cotton, those of cotton must obviously be much the cheaper. Hence, for mourning dresses cotton sackcloth is used: and the unbleached cotton being of a dirty white, this has by association established itself as the mourning color.