Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/767

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THE FESTAL DEVELOPMENT OF ART.

trace. The most ancient architectural remains are huge monoliths, undoubtedly intended as monuments of the dead. Perhaps hardly less old are the dolmens, or flat stones laid horizontally upon several tall upright pillars; and the cromlechs, or circles of rude stones, indicating a place of assembly or the marking off of a sacred inclosure. All these are probably early tombs. The tomb is, among primitive people, a place of religious festival. It becomes a shrine of the deified hero. Around it the living gather to celebrate the deeds of the dead and to invoke his blessing. The tomb-shrine gradually becomes a temple. The whole history of the development of architecture shows the shrine as the constant center about which are arranged the pillared halls, the colonnades, the ornate portals, the ornamental courts, and the sculpture-lined avenues of the most elaborate temples. Prof. G. Baldwin Brown says, in his recent manual on the fine arts: "Through a fortunate circumstance we are able to get behind these elaborate constructions, and learn the arrangements which preceded them in respect to the shrine and its furnishing forth. The pictures in the Egyptian hieroglyphic writing supply us with minute but extremely spirited delineations of structures and objects which may have been familiar to the inhabitants countless generations earlier than the erection of the tombs and temples that remain to us. Among these pictures are one or two representing small huts or arbors of rustic work. These, we learn, are shrines of the gods, and they represent the original shape of the sacred chamber, which remained to all time as the heart and kernel of the vast temples of a Seti or a Rameses. . . . Religious worship, it need not be said, is infinitely older than the permanent temple, and for its performance all that was needed was a gathering of the pious at a sacred spot about a rustic altar, to which might be added a movable ark, or a fixed hut or canopy for the safe keeping of any totem or apparatus of secret mummery belonging to the local divinity. Given such a permanent structure, the approach to it would be specially hallowed ground and fenced off from profane tread. Any simple device, such as a lofty flagstaff, would be adopted to give it importance from afar, and on the occasion of the festival every kind of decoration in the form of fluttering streamers, branches of green trees, and garlands of flowers, would be lavished on the building and its approaches. Here, in the little Egyptian shrine, we see at the entrance two lofty flagstaffs, and in front the indication of a palisade, evidently marking off the sacred precinct, or temenos. . . . Now it will be recognized that we have here, reduced to their simplest terms, just the same elements that went to make up the vast complexus of the monumental temples of Thebes or Abydos. The shrine remained as it had been, though now wrought in stone. The chambers round about it in