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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/503

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GREETING BY GESTURE.

A tribe of the Eskimos was described by Captain Ross as pulling their own noses for greeting, which he thought had reference to the application of snow as a cure for the frost-bite. It might occasionally have been a signal or warning to a friend that his nose required snow, but as a greeting it was merely symbolic of the rubbing or pressing of noses common both in high and low latitudes. This pressing itself is abbreviated or perhaps indicated in New Guinea by friends simply touching with the hand the tips of their respective noses. The Todas, in respectful address and on approach to sacred places, raise the thumb-edge of the right hand vertically to the nose and forehead. This probably is the gesture of an imprecation—the penalty being that the head may be split open—and has no connection with either smelling or with rubbing the nose, though easily mistaken for those actions. Another symbolic gesture of salutation which is given by the Aino women between themselves may be mentioned. They draw the forefinger of the right hand between the forefinger and thumb of the left, then raise both hands to the forehead, palms up, and then rub the upper lip under the nose with the forefinger of the right hand. This might be translated as expressing admiration for the good odor imputed to the other lady.

Taste.—After smelling, the gustatory employment of the lips comes in order of time and of culture planes. Regarded merely as a salutation, the kiss seems to have been used between men before it was applied between the sexes—e. g., Cyrus kissed his grandfather in formal reverence "because he wished to honor him." But perhaps this distinction was only because there was no public salutation adopted for men to women, on account of woman's greater seclusion. In the old days the women were regarded as inferiors, and the erect posture required for a mutual and ceremonial kiss in public was subversive of some regulations concerning superior and inferior to be discussed later. The practice of kissing between males, seeming to cultured peoples ludicrous if not disgusting, is still common in continental Europe and in other less-civilized regions, but it is seldom performed by the two pairs of lips. The lips of one or successively of both actors are generally applied to the cheek. But sometimes, when kissing the cheek has been reported, the action was in fact misunderstood. In addition to the instances mentioned elsewhere, this error would naturally attend the "blowing upon our ears," as narrated by Joutel of the natives of Louisiana in 1685. Also to-day in Arabia, indeed commonly in the Orient, the lips are applied to the flowing ends of the saluted man's beard. These appendages, to which veneration is always attached, are solemnly raised to the saluter's mouth and kissed. That was the treacherous salutation of Joab to Amasa.

The mutual kiss of affection or passion by the lips between