Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 6.djvu/280

This page has been validated.

to ruin if the props of our conventional theology are not maintained. When I see an able, and in many respects courageous man, running to and fro upon the earth, and wringing his hands over the threatened loss of his ideals, I feel disposed to exhort him to cast out this skepticism, and to believe undoubtingly that in the mind of man we have the substratum of all ideals. We have there capacity which will as surely and infallibly respond to the utterances of a really living soul as string responds to string when the proper note is sounded. It is the function of the teacher of humanity to call forth this resonance of the human heart, and the possibility of doing so depends wholly and solely upon the fact that the conditions for its production are already there.



ON the two Morgan Expeditions to the Amazonas, in 1870 and 1871, there was obtained from a burial-mound on the island of Marajó, or Johannes, a lot of ancient pottery, consisting of burial-urns, idols, utensils of various kinds, personal ornaments, etc., many of which were richly ornamented with grecques, and scrolled borders of a very high order of evelopment. The resemblance borne by some of these ornaments to Old-World classic forms was very striking, and certain borders were, even in their accessories, identical with similar ornaments in Etruscan art. It has already been pointed out by Owen Jones that the so-called Greek fret has a very wide distribution, occurring not only in Egyptian and Greek art, but in that of India and China, while, in the New World, it was cultivated widely in both Americas. The distribution of these simple ornamental forms among widely-separated savage tribes renders it extremely unlikely that they should have all been derived from a common source, and their independent origin is all the more probable, since it has been conclusively shown that identical myths, religious ideas, manners and customs, found in different parts of the earth, have often originated independently of one another. Yet, while it is quite easy to understand how pottery might be invented by two different tribes, how is it possible that the same series of ornamental forms should arise among several independent and disconnected peoples? To the solution of this question I have addressed myself, and in this paper I propose to give, in a very condensed form, some of the more important results of my studies.[1]

  1. In my volume on the "Antiquities of Brazil," now nearly ready for the press, I shall, in connection with an analysis of the ornaments of the Marajó pottery, treat of this subject much more thoroughly.