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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/672

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

hand. After being baked some pieces were partially glazed, or varnisbed with a resinous gum, warmed over a bed of coals and gently rubbed over the vessels. The natives on the Amazon employed a similar method.

With clay the Chiriquians made a great variety of objects, including many shaped vessels, drums, whistles, rattles, stools, spindle whorls, needle cases, toys, and other small objects. The baking was effected with a low degree of temperature, and in a way that produced no discoloration. All the work was skillfully done and so neatly finished that the method by which it was accomplished can not be detected. The eye and the hand of the manipulator must have been exquisitely trained.

Complex pieces were made in parts that were cleverly put together, no portion being injured. The heads and other parts of animals, handles, legs, bases of vessels, were luted on with consummate skill, the thinnest walls and most complex delicate forms not being injured in the process. Before the surface wash was applied, the whole was carefully smoothed. After the application, and when the clay was somewhat indurated, smooth pebbles were used to polish the surface. This was sometimes done so thoroughly that the finish has been mistaken for glaze of a vitreous nature. Ornamental painting and intaglio devices were usually done after the polishing. The general colors of the paste were light yellow, gray, ochery yellow, and pale terra-cotta red. Dark brown, salmon, and orange hues are occasionally found. The paints used for decorating were reds, blacks, and purple grays. The red varied from a light vermilion to a deep maroon. The colors are indelible, and are believed to be of a mineral character.

Many jars were manufactured only to be placed with the dead. Tripods are supposed to have served for religious ceremonies as braziers. Most of the fine pieces were made expressly for religious or funeral purposes. The various forms were always symmetrical. Some jars had as many as four mouths.

Among the various ornamental devices are included fish, crabs, frogs, crocodiles, pumas, and monkeys, also a conventional serpent. Too much can not be said in praise of the beauty of outline of these vases, but in any case where the artist has attempted a human figure the result is a deplorable failure. There are a few double-headed vases and an approach to the modeling of jars in animal forms after the Peruvian style.

There are at least ten varieties of painted ware, apparently the work of different communities. Generally speaking, the vessels were not of large dimensions, some elaborately ornamented ones being only four inches high. Even cooking pots were what we should call decidedly small. It is evident that the Chiriquians