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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/676

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654
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

beak. This effect is produced by a small pebble cleverly placed in her throat.

Among figures of all shapes and sizes several had holes that did not enhance their appearance and were not in accordance with Nature. A dog, for instance, may be allowed a mouth and two eyes, but why an extra pair of orbs on each side of its small body? Simply that the impertinent-looking pup was a musical instrument, the six eyes corresponding to six sweet and clear flutelike tones—C, D, E, F, G, A. On these clay instruments the native melodies can be played, their compass not exceeding six notes.

In the deep sand at Progreso, port of Yucatan, objects of clay have frequently been found. One in our possession is interesting PSM V49 D676 Pottery from palenque.jpgFig. 8. because of what it represents. The double mouthpiece gives the notes C and D. Blue paint remains on the clay (blue was emblematic of sanctity), indicative of the veneration which was attributed to the creature, roughly suggested by the uplifted proboscis. The mastodon, whose visage is depicted everywhere on the walls of Yucatan's ancient cities, was taken by the Mayas as one symbol of the Creator. They made it their god of the ocean, life being first generated in water. Beneath the upturned proboscis there is a mutilated human face surrounded by a broad collar or necklace.

The persons who in ages gone by had used the little dog-flute and the double whistle just described were not unfamiliar with the seductive weed, for in applying our lips to them the flavor and odor of tobacco were quite unmistakable. The late General Bogran, when President of Honduras, personally found the clay pup and gave it to us, so that the tobacco was not imparted to it after its discovery.

In the National Museum of Mexico's capital are some ornamental vases, three feet high, which might perhaps justly be regarded as the culmination, the perfection of the ceramic art—they are so very handsome, fine and intricate in form and decoration. But to which of the Mexican tribes the work should be ascribed is a question. In the State of Oaxaca funeral urns have been found inscribed with Maya hieroglyphics which have been interpreted