Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 72.djvu/310

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
306
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

Ainos had been absorbed into the Japanese race, and its physical features were therefore, on historical evidence, more strongly continental. The face, in the second place, is that of a drowned man: it is horridly infiltrated, the nose swollen and the mouth widely opened. In such a case the complicated nature of the meaningless resemblance can hardly be overestimated. For we have in it, as will be seen, a series of resemblances which are added one to the other, from the general to the specific, in somewhat the following way: human face (in itself, of course, a very complicated structure): male: young: oriental: primitive Japanese: drowned.

A second meaningless resemblance is shown, Fig. 2, in a whale's "earbone" which was found on a beach in Norway: it portrays in half relief a Scandinavian face of low caste, and with almost absurd accuracy—with rounded cheek-bones, flattened nose-bridge, small upper lip and receding jaw.

In both of these cases there is an extraordinary meaningless correspondence between the resembling objects and the especial locality in which they occur. And this condition occurs with amusing frequency.

A case in point occurs in the skull of a goat, Fig. 3, picked up in Agra, which shows on its supra-occiput the face of the common monkey of the locality, the Hanuman (Presbytes entellus), for it shows (with a slight tax on the imagination) the front view of this monkey's forwardly directed beard, cheek-tufts and brow-hair, and these, too, in light tone against the dark-colored face.

Another possible case is that of the squash seeds, Fig. 4, which in drying acquire irregular depressions on their surface, and thus produce

PSM V72 D310 Squash seeds picturing ideographs.png

Fig 4. Squash Seeds picturing Ideographs.

the effect of idiographs. They are said to have come originally from Japan, but in any event so perfect are the "characters" that I have known a Japanese scholar to puzzle over them for several minutes in his effort to read them!

A somewhat analogous instance, Japanese (noted by my friend, Dr. Yatsu), is that of the "Tokugawa fish," a small species of Salanx, which is said to have appeared in Yedo (Tokyo) shortly after the last dynasty of regents made their seat there. This fish is curious in that its head bears the badge of the Tokugawa family, the three Asarum