Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/705

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paintings of the palace of Mitla, in red and white, containing many remarkable mythological figures and symbols, which he had copied on the spot, and photographed the pictures.

Desiré Charnay read a long paper on resemblances between the Central American structures and those of eastern Asia, China, and Cambodia, as indicating a derivation of the American race from Asia.

Dr. Seler followed him with remarks on ancient Mexican goldsmith's, lapidary's, and feather work, all of which reached a high condition in that country. We know as yet but little of their methods. The gold was melted up by the Spaniards; most of the feather work—great quantities of which were sent to Europe in the early days of the conquest—has perished by moth-eating, neglect, and dirt. Handicrafts were probably still more extensively carried on in the earlier days of the conquest; but the old chroniclers seldom took pains to give any details on this subject. Exact descriptions can be found only in the Aztec text of P. Sahagun's history. The speaker had copied a large part of two originals in Madrid during the last spring. The ancient Mexican goldsmiths applied gold chiefly—silver only in inlaying—to a kind of linen-lawn fabric. They made cast and hammered ornaments. For casting, a model of the article was carved out of a mixture of fine sun-dried earth and powdered charcoal and covered with a thin wash; or the form was made of clay and coarsely broken coal. Luster was given to the cast object by heating it in an alum bath, and then in a bath of clay mixed with salt. There was a double technic, too, with feather work. In one kind, whole feathers were used. They were stiffened with bamboo and woven together with threads. In this way were many devices fashioned, which the Mexican war chiefs wore strapped to their backs in the dance and in battle. In the other style the feathers were cut up and glued to paper. The feather mosaics, constituting a kind of painting in feathers, were made thus: A ground was formed of the more common, cheaper feathers, and upon it were overlaid brilliant feathers from the tierra caliente.

Señor de la Rada y Delgado exhibited a number of ancient Peruvian pieces preserved in the Madrid Museum, that were obtained in the expedition of Ruiz y Paron. He pointed out as particularly characteristic the identity in the form of the utensils of stone and of bronze, and showed a fine bronze axe, which was almost an exact reproduction of the stone hatchet with its stringfastened wooden handle. The handle of this axe is remarkable for its beautiful ornamentation of silver inlayings in the bronze.

The afternoon session of this day was opened by Dr. Brinton with an address in English. M. Eugène Beauvois brought for-