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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/364

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348
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

convexity of outline. In fact, it often renders a nose concave in profile, immediately recognizable as Jewish. Jacobs[1] has ingeniously described this "nostrility," as he calls it, by the following diagrams: Write, he says, a figure 6 with a long tail (Fig. 1); now remove the turn of the twist, and much of the Jewishness PSM V54 D364 Nose types.pngFig. 1.Fig. 2.Fig. 3. disappears; and it vanishes entirely when we draw the lower continuation horizontally, as in Fig. 3. Behold the transformation! The Jew has turned Roman beyond a doubt. What have we proved, then? That there is in reality such a phenomenon as a Jewish nose, even though it be differently constituted from our first assumption. A moment's inspection of our series of portraits will convince the skeptic that this trait, next to the prevalent dark hair and eyes and the swarthy skin, is the most distinctive among the chosen people.

Another characteristic of the Jewish physiognomy is the eyes. The eyebrows, seemingly thick because of their darkness, appear to be nearer together than usual, arching smoothly into the lines of the nose. The lids are rather full, the eyes large, dark, and brilliant. A general impression of heaviness is apt to be given. In favorable cases this imparts a dreamy, melancholy, or thoughtful expression to the countenance; in others it degenerates into a blinking, drowsy type; or, again, with eyes half closed, it may suggest suppressed cunning. The particular adjective to be applied to this expression varies greatly according to the personal equation of the observer. Quite persistent also is a fullness of the lips, often amounting in the lower one almost to a pout. The chin in many cases is certainly rather pointed and receding, Jacobs to the contrary notwithstanding. A feature of my own observation, perhaps not fully justified, is a peculiar separation of the teeth, which seem to stand well apart from one another. But a truce to speculations. Entering into greater detail, the flat contradictions of different observers show that they are vainly generalizing from an all too narrow base of observations. Even the fancied differences in feature between the two great branches of the Hebrew people seem to us to be of doubtful existence. Our portraits do not bear it out. It seems rather that the two descriptions of the Ashkenazim and Sephardim types which we have quoted denote rather the distinction between the faces of those of the upper and the lower classes. Enough for us to know that there is a something Jewish in these faces which we instantly detect. We recognize it in Rembrandt's Hermitage, or in Munkaczy's Christ before Pilate. Not invariable


  1. 1886 a, p. xxxii.