THE association between architecture, sculpture, and painting is so close that the description of their origins, considered as distinct from one another, is not easy; and those who judge only from the relations under which they are found in the remains of early civilizations are apt to be misled. Thus Rawlinson remarks that—
"Sculpture in Egypt was almost entirely 'architectonic,' and was intended simply, or at any rate mainly, for architectural embellishment. . . . The statues of the gods had their proper place in shrines prepared for them. . . . Even the private statues of individuals were intended for ornaments of tombs."
Here the implication appears to be that as, in historic Egypt, sculpture existed in subordination to architecture, it thus existed from the beginning. This is a mistake. There is abundant reason to conclude that everywhere sculpture, under the form of carving in wood, preceded architecture, and that the tomb and the temple were subsequent to the image.
In the first volume of this work (§§ 154-158) evidence of various kinds, supplied by various peoples, was given proving that in its initial form an idol is a representation of a dead man, conceived as constantly or occasionally inhabited by his ghost, to whom are made offerings, prayers for aid, and propitiatory ceremonies. Confusion arising in the uncritical mind of the savage between the qualities of the original and the like qualities supposed to accompany a likeness of the original, long survived. Its survival was shown among the Egyptians by their seemingly strange practice of placing, in a compartment of the tomb, a wooden figure (or more than one) intended as an alternative body for the spirit of the departed on his return, in case his mummied body should have been destroyed. Still more strange is the fact referred to in the sections named above, that among ourselves and other Europeans but a few centuries ago, the effigies of kings and princes, gorgeously appareled, were duly presented with meals for some time after death: such effigies being, some of them, still preserved in Westminster Abbey. Merely recognizing this long persistence of the primitive idea, it here concerns us only to note that the making of a carved or modeled figure of a dead man begins in low stages of culture, along with other elements of primitive religion; and that thus sculpture has its root in ghost-worship,
- Principles of Sociology, vol. i.