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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/534

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

described by Spencer and Gillen, the chief performer is elaborately decorated with patterns in eagle-hawk down stuck to his body with blood drawn from some member of the tribe. It was estimated that one man alone, on one of these occasions, allowed five half-pints to be taken from him during a single day; at the same time the blood is not regarded as sufficient pigment and the down is also colored red and yellow with ochre. Red ochre, Spencer and Gillen remark, is frequently a substitute for blood or is used with it. Blood is a medicine, and when any one is ill he is first rubbed over with red ochre, it being obvious to the primitive mind that the ochre will share the remedial properties of blood; in the same way ceremonial objects may sometimes be rubbed over with ochre instead of blood. They associate this red ochre especially with women's blood; and it is said that once some women after long walking were so exhausted that hemorrhage came on and this gave rise to deposits of red ochre. Other red ochre pits, also, they attribute to blood which flowed from women. It appears also that the blood with which sacred implements used in the ritual ceremonies of these Central Australians were smeared must be drawn from women.

Far from Australia, among the hill tribes of the Central Indian hills, we find the same blood ritual and the same tendency to substitute pigments for blood. Among some of the Bengal tribes, says Crooke, blood is drawn from the husband's little finger, mixed with betel and eaten by the bride. A further stage is seen among the allied Kurmis who mix the blood with lac dye. Lastly come the rites, common to all these tribes, in which the bridegroom, often in secrecy, covered by a sheet, rubs vermilion on the parting of the girl's hair, while the women relations smear their toes with lac dye. It is a sacramental rite, and after the husband's death the widow solemnly washes off the red from her hair, or flings the little box in which she keeps the coloring matter into running water.

Some of the foregoing facts, both in Australia and India, suggest the transition to another factor in the emotional potency possessed by red. Red is not only the color of fire and of war and of ritual pigment; it is the color of love. This is certainly an ancient and powerful factor in the emotional attitude towards red. Secondary sexual characters, even among birds, are often red; many fishes, also, at the epoch of the oviposit show a red tint on the orifice of the sexual apparatus; patches of red, sometimes very brilliant, but only appearing when the animal is mature, are perhaps the commonest adornments of monkeys. In man the color of the hair and beard, the most conspicuous of the secondary sexual characters, is most usually brown, or some other variety of red. The lips are crimson, the mucous membrane generally a dark red; the scarlet of the blush, among all fair races, whatever