Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/738

This page has been validated.
718
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

mal sacrifices are offered, and the heads of the slaughtered creatures are eagerly scrambled for. Women walk naked to the temple in fulfillment of vows, under the shelter of leaves and boughs of trees. If, Mr. Gomme argues, there is a strong line of parallel between these Indian ceremonies, which are demonstrably non-Aryan, and ceremonies formerly and even still observed in Europe, must not such ceremonies have been in their origin non-Aryan in Europe?

 

Buddhistic Carved Figures.—At a recent meeting of the English Anthropological Institute, Major R. C. Temple illustrated a paper on the Developments of Buddhist Symbolism and Architecture as revealed in Cave Explorations, by exhibiting photographs of life-size figures in wood carved by an artist of Maulmain, of the "four sights" shown to Buddha as Prince Siddhartha on his first visits to the outer world—viz., the old man, the sick man, the dead man, and the priest; and some wooden representations from Rangoon, of Buddha in his standing and recumbent postures, with his begging bowl, and seated as King Jambopati, surrounded by priests and other worshipers. He next showed a set of gilt wooden images from the platform of the great Shnedagon pagoda at Rangoon, of various spirits believed in by the Burmese, seated on the steps of a lofty post, on the top of which is always perched the figure of the sacred goose, which apparently protects pagodas in some way. Some large glazed bricks or tiles from Pegu, at least five hundred years old, which formed the ornamentation of the procession paths round a ruined pagoda, represent the march, battle, and flight of a foreign army, depicted with elephants', monkeys', and other animal faces, with some of the figures clad in the Siamese or Cambodian fashion. A huge figure of a recumbent Buddha, of the fifteenth century, is a hundred and eighty-one feet long and forty-six feet high at the shoulder. Its history is lost, and so was the image itself, till it was accidentally discovered in the jungle by a railway contractor in 1881. Views of the Kawgun Cave were shown, exhibiting the wonderful extent of its decoration by a vast number of terra cotta tablets and images in wood, alabaster, and stone, and the extraordinary variety and multitude of objects of Buddhistic worship found in it. This cave is the richest of those which Major Temple visited; but he had examined half a dozen others in the district, and had gathered information of the existence of about forty. Many of these are hardly inferior to Kawgun in richness of Buddhistic remains, and several are said to contain besides ancient manuscripts which must now be of inestimable value. A few such manuscripts have been found.

 

NOTES.

White bread and fine flour are named by Sir James Crichton Browne as one of the causes of the increase of dental caries. Failing to eat as large proportions of bran as our ancestors did, we are deprived to a large degree of the fluorine which they contain. The enamel of the teeth has more fluorine, in the form of fluoride of calcium, than any other part of the body. Fluorine might, indeed, be regarded as the characteristic chemical constituent of this structure, the hardest of all animal tissue; hence a supply of fluorine, while the development of the teeth is proceeding, is essential to the proper formation of the enamel, and any deficiency in this respect must result in thin and inferior enamel.

On the reopening of an old mine at Bangor, Cal., a few months ago, flies were found in a dry slope connecting two shafts, all white except the eyes, which were red, and a white rattlesnake was killed. The animals had lived in the dry passages, where they had been supplied with air but not with light. A few of the flies, exposed to light in a glass case, recovered their proper color within a week.

A large dirigible balloon, intended to make headway against air currents of twenty-eight miles an hour, is being made in France. It will be similar in form to the La France of 1884-'85, but larger—two hundred and thirty feet in length and forty-three feet in its greatest diameter. It will weigh sixty-six pounds per horse power, and will be propelled by a screw in front with a rudder behind.

From various experiments respecting a connection between thunderstorms and the souring of milk, Prof. H. W. Conn draws the conclusion that electricity is not of itself capable of souring milk or even of materially hastening the process; nor can the ozone developed during the thunderstorm be looked upon as of any great importance. It seems probable that the connection between the thunderstorm and the souring of milk is one of a different character. Bacteria grow most rapidly in the warm, sultry conditions which usually precede a thunder-