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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/19

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WAS MIDDLE AMERICA PEOPLED FROM ASIA?

rapidly spread through South America and along the west coast north, as may be seen in the old mission buildings in California.

In China, Korea, and Japan the sandal has a bifurcated toe cord, the base of which, springing from the front of the sandal, passes between the first and second toes. It belongs to the Old World through its entire extent. It is the only form represented in ancient Egyptian, Assyrian, and Greek sculpture. One would have expected that with any close contact with Asian people this method of holding the sandal to the foot would have been established in Central America, yet one may seek in vain for the evidences of even a sporadic introduction of this method. Where representations are given in the sculptured stone pottery, or codex, the sandal is represented with two cords, one passing between the first and second and the other between the third and fourth toes. Dr. Otis T. Mason, who has given us an exhaustive monograph of the foot gear of the world, says that every authority on Mexico and Central America pictures the sandal with two cords, and he further says, in a general article on the same subject, "An examination of any collection of pottery of middle America reveals the fact at once, if the human foot is portrayed, that the single toe string was not anciently known."

The Thibetans, Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese have used the serviceable carrying stick from time immemorial. The nearest approach to this method in this country is seen in Guadalajara, where a shoulder piece is used to carry jars. The representation of this method shows that the pole rests across the back in such a manner that the load is steadied by both the right and left hand simultaneously—identical, in fact, with methods in vogue to-day through western Europe. We find, however, the northern races, as the Ainu and Kamchadels, use the head band in carrying loads, and this method has been depicted in ancient American sculpture. The carrying stick, so peculiarly Asiatic, according to Dr. Mason, is not met with on this continent.

With the evidences of Asiatic contact supposed to be so strong in Central America, one might have imagined that so useful a device as the simple chopsticks would have secured a footing. These two sticks, held in one hand and known in China as "hasteners or nimble lads," are certainly the most useful, the most economical, and the most efficient device for their purposes ever invented by man. Throughout that vast Asian region, embracing a population of five hundred million, the chopstick is used as a substitute for fork, tongs, and certain forms of tweezers. Even fish, omelet, and cake are separated with the chopsticks, and the cook, the street scavenger, and the watch repairer use this device in the form of iron, long bamboo, and delicate ivory. The bamboo chopstick was known in China 1000