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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/20

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

b. c., and shortly after this date the ivory form was devised. Their use is one of great antiquity in Japan, as attested by references to it in the ancient records of that country. One may search in vain for the trace of any object in the nature of a chopstick in Central or South America. Knitting needles of wood are found in the work baskets associated with ancient Peruvian mummies, but the chopstick has not been found. Curious pottery rests for the chopsticks are exhumed in Japan, but even this enduring testimony of its early use is yet to be revealed in this country.

The plow in all its varieties has existed in China for countless centuries. Its ideograph is written in a score of ways. It was early introduced into Korea and Japan, and spread westward through the Old World to Scandinavia. There it has been found in the peat bogs. It is figured on ancient Egyptian monuments, yet it made its appearance in the New World only with the advent of the Spaniards. This indispensable implement of agriculture when once introduced was instantly adopted by the races who came in contact with the Spaniards. Even in Peru, with its wonderful agricultural development and irrigating canals, no trace of this device is anciently known, and to-day the tribes of Central and South America still follow the rude and primitive model first introduced by their conquerors.

If we study the musical instruments of the New World races we find various forms of whistles, flutes, rattles, split bells, and drums, but seek in vain for a stringed instrument of any kind. This is all the more surprising when we find evidences of the ancient use of the bow. If Dr. Tylor is right, we may well imagine that the lute of ancient Egypt was evolved from the musical bow with its gourd resonator (so common in various parts of Africa), and this in turn an outgrowth of the archer's bow, or, what at the moment seems quite as probable, the musical bow might have been the primitive form from which was evolved the archer's bow on the one hand and the lute on the other. Dr. Mason, in a brief study of the musical bow, finds it in various forms in Africa and sporadic cases of it in this country, and expresses the conviction that stringed musical instruments were not known to any of the aborigines of the western hemisphere before Columbus. Dr. Brinton is inclined to dispute this conclusion, though I am led to believe that Dr. Mason is right; for had this simple musical device been known anciently in this country, it would have spread so widely that its pre-Columbian use would have been beyond any contention. In Japan evidences of a stringed instrument run back to the third or fourth century of our era, and in China the kin (five strings) and seih (thirteen strings) were known a thousand years before Christ. These were played in temples of worship, at religious rites, times of offering, etc. It seems