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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 46.djvu/152

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The section of Asia and General Ethnology was formed in January, 1894, and has been enriched with a collection of Oriental games, an important series from the Sultan of Johore, Chinese porcelain images; masks, weapons, etc., from Ceylon; games of all countries, military banners from Corea, and Indo-Greek sculpture, from Afghanistan. The archæological library has grown in one year from a collection of four hundred to one of eighteen hundred volumes.


Oriental Silver Work.—Silver, according to our consul at Amoy, is to the Eastern Asiatics as gold to us, and is worked up by them into innumerable articles of curio and bric-a-brac. One class of designs consists of miniature reproductions of features of daily life, including articles of household and personal use, the goddess of mercy, the Celestial Porole, the King of the Fishes, the sitting Buddha, the dragon, the flying serpent, the begging priest, and animals of all sorts. The largest of these articles do not exceed two inches in length, and they diminish to dainty little objects no larger than a grain of corn. The work and finish are admirable, and the features and hair of the human beings and the scales of the fishes and crocodiles are reproduced with the highest care and skill. Another class of these objects consists of miniature cordage. The metal is solid, but the surface is so cleverly wrought out that at first sight each piece seems a rope, cord, or braid. Some of them are as fine as sewing silk, while others are as thick as clotheslines. These silver cords are used for bracelets, anklets, necklaces, belts, sword hangings, and horses' harness. Though stiff, they are not rigid, and can be bent in any direction. A third class of articles includes household ornaments, such as match boxes, ash cups, joss sticks, bowls, sandalwood urns, plates for opium pipes, button boxes, and so on without end. A fourth class includes filigree work and tissues made from fine silver ware, all marked by the highest skill and beauty. Articles of this class, brought by Marco Polo to Venice, are supposed to have suggested the Italian filigree industry. A design from Fuchan is a bouquet, over which is loosely wrapped a silken veil. It was so perfectly made that the veil looked as though it might blow away at any moment. Through its flimsy folds the flowers and leaves were all visible. Another artistic gem is a little bouquet in which ferns, lilies of the valley, and other plants are completely represented in metals.



Mr. Gerard Fowke calls attention to the fact that, while Ohio has furnished prehistoric articles and relics for hundreds of collections at home and in Europe, and still possesses material to furnish specimens exceeding in number those of all collections combined of American archæology, the State has no adequate collection of its own accessible to all the public. The opportunity to form such a collection is now afforded through the new geological building of the State University, where should be established "the nucleus of a museum of Ohio archæology that would properly represent the great wealth of prehistoric remains within her borders." These remains should be gathered up industriously, "for they are being as slowly but as surely blotted out as are the aboriginal conditions of life which gave them existence."

Prof. Riley read a paper in the British Association on Social Insects and Evolution. He gave an account of the different kinds of individuals in the communities of bees and ants, and pointed out differences which indicated a gradation in the degree of their development. In the colonies of white ants the production of different kinds of individuals was even more under the control of the community. There were also many variations in different species: some had no soldiers; others, supplementary and complementary kings and queens, which were capable of reproduction in their pupal and larval stages. They fed, among other things, on their dead companions, and hence might be destroyed by poisoning a few, who in their turn poisoned their cannibal fellows. In these and other cases which were adduced the competition was between colonies, not between individuals, and, on the whole, the evidence drawn from these insects is in favor of the transmission of acquired characters.

The name Mashona (in Mashonaland) was explained by a Mr. Drule in the British Association as an English corruption of the nickname Amashuina (baboons) given by the Matabele to the Makalanga.

Great interest was awakened in the British Association by the communication of Lord Rayleigh and Prof. Ramsay on a new gas occurring in the atmosphere. Attention was first called to this substance by the fact that the density of nitrogen obtained from atmospheric air differed by about one