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WHEN the first edition of Ratzel's Völkerkunde was published in 1885-88 it at 
once took its position as a guide-book to the study of Man and Civilization. To 
those beginning anthropological work it offered the indispensable outline sketches 
of the races of mankind, especially of the savage and barbaric peoples who display 
culture in its earlier stages, thus aiding the great modern nations to understand 
themselves, to weigh in a just balance their own merits and defects, and even in 
some measure to forecast from their own development the possibilities of the 
future. So good a judge as Professor Virchow wrote of the work on its first 
appearance, that since the time of Prichard and Waitz no such extensive attempt 
had been made to represent our knowledge of the lower races of mankind, 
immensely augmented as this has been by the researches of travellers, the 
exhibition of savages in Europe, and the information opened to the public by the 
great museums. The present English translation is from the second German 
edition of 1894-95, revised, and condensed from three to two volumes. Special 
mention must be made of the illustrations, 1 1 60 in number, which in excellence 
surpass those which had hitherto come within the range of any work on Man 
intended for general circulation. These, be it observed, are no mere book- 
decorations, but a most important part of the apparatus for realising civilization 
in its successive stages. They offer, in a way which no verbal description can 
attain to, an introduction and guide to the use of the museum collections on 
which the Science of Man comes more and more to depend in working out the 
theory of human development. Works which combine this material presentation 
of culture with the best descriptions by observant travellers, promote most the 
great object of displaying mankind as related together in Nature through its very 
variation. The Rev. J. G. Wood's Natural History of Man and Dr. Robert 
Brown's Races of Mankind have in this way done much to promote anthropology. 
The bodily differences between races can only, it is true, be represented by 
descriptions and well-chosen portraits, minute physical classification belonging to 
a region only accessible to anatomists. The classification of peoples by their 
languages can only be illustrated by examples chosen from the grammar and 
dictionary, so as to make plain the conclusions of comparative philology without 
the elaborate detail of a linguistic treatise. But a fuller though less technical 
treatment of the culture-side of human life lies more readily open. The material 


arts of war, subsistence, pleasure, the stages of knowledge, morals, religion, may 
be so brought to view that a compendium of them, as found among the ruder 
peoples, may serve not only as a lesson-book for the learner, but as a reference- 
book for the learned. 

In our time there has come to the front a special study of human life through such 
object-lessons as are furnished by the specimens in museums. These things used to 
be little more than curiosities belonging to the life of barbarous tribes, itself begin- 
ning to be recognised as curious and never suspected of being instructive. Nowa- 
days, it is better understood that they are material for the student " looking before 
and after." In the collections which enshrine them for perpetual knowledge, they 
fulfil in two different ways their illustration of the course of culture. In the way 
which is, and probably always must be, the more usual, all the objects which go 
to furnish the life of a people are grouped together, each group finding its proper 
level. Thus in the Ethnographic Galleries of the British Museum, the general 
condition or " altogether " (to use the useful old-fashioned term) of Australians, 
Polynesians, Negroes, Tartars, presents more or less definite groups of objects in 
which art and habit have fixed themselves at a consistent level. Where the 
rooting-stick appears among the Bushmen as a savage implement, we find in 
Africa an iron hoe (vol. i. pp. 88, 89). The South Sea Islander can sketch a rough 
map, and ingeniously ties together a little framework of sticks (see vol. i. p. 165) 
to serve as sailing directions on his voyages across the ocean ; this bears 
no discreditable comparison to the compass and measured chart of civilized 
navigation. The group-pictures, which show not only the bodies but the 
conditions of a rude race, illustrate this stratification of culture in a suggestive if 
rough educational way. Here in the frontispiece of the first volume the Bushman 
leans against a rock, which also conveniently supports his knobkerry ; in his hand 
is the pipe of antelope-horn for smoking hemp ; one child is splitting a bone for 
marrow with a stone implement (which, however, does not belong to modern 
times), while another child carries a bull-roarer, as the Berlin street-boys did lately 
till the police stopped the whirling of this mystic toy ; the wife carries ostrich- 
eggs in a net, and round her neck are teeth strung as charms, while her glass 
beads, made probably at Murano, show the beginnings of contact with the civilized 
world ; the small bow with its quiver of poisoned arrows, and the water-skin which 
makes life possible in the thirsty desert, fills up the foreground of the picture. 
Among such rude tribes the simplicity of life is such that from a group like this, 
or the picture of a farm among the Igorotes of the Philippine Islands (Plate at 
p. 393), which shows these rude negritos engaged in their various occupations, 
something like a real representation of their life as a whole is possible. More 
advanced states of civilization become too complex for this to be any longer possible. 
Among barbaric and much more among civilized peoples, a mere trophy of 
ordinary weapons and utensils {e.g. Plate at p. 232) is enough to fill the picture, 
and life has to be divided into many departments to give even an idea of what 
useful and artistic objects belong to each. In ethnographic collections, where the 


productions of a tribe or nation arc grouped locally or nationally together, the 
student of culture has before him the record of similar human nature and 
circumstance working so uniformly as to present in each class of objects evident 
formative principles, developed in various degrees. He finds, or hopes by further 
research to find, in every such class courses of gradual invention resembling 
growth. Thus among the implements of different regions, the withe-bound stone 
hatchet of the Australian takes an early place in the series among whose later 
members are the bronze hatchet of Egypt and the steel axe of modern Europe. 
So among means of literary record, the picture-writing of the American Indian 
presents a lower form than the mingled pictures and phonetic symbols of ancient 
Egypt, which again lead on to alphabetic writing. At Oxford, the Pitt-Rivers 
Collection in the University Museum is devoted to the material evidence of the 
laws of development of art, custom, and belief, to investigate which by means of 
specimens brought together from all accessible regions and ages, and arranged in 
series according to their form and purpose, has been one of the lifelong labours of 
the founder. The working of such a method may in some degree be shown from 
the illustrations of the present work. The Damara bow, though no longer carried 
as a weapon, retains the purpose of a musical instrument which is gripped by the 
teeth and the tense bowstring struck with a stick ; other tribes improve this 
primitive stringed instrument by fastening to the wood a hollow gourd or similar 
resonator to increase the sound, and from some such stage, by making the bow and 
resonator in one piece and stretching a series of strings across the bow, there arises 
the African harp, a typical form representing the primitive harp and lute forms of 
the world (illustrations of this will be given in the next volume). Not indeed that 
such progressive improvement is the sole rule, for degeneration is active also, 
as when low culture leads to inferior adaptation of a known type. It has been 
thought that the rude wooden crossbow of the Fans of the Gaboon (see vol. i. 
p. 86) represents an early rude stage in the development of the weapon, but it is 
on the contrary a feeble copy of the arbalest carried by the Portuguese of the 
sixteenth century, and thus interesting as an example of degeneration. 

In a work whose value depends so largely on its illustrative pictures, decorative 
art must be conspicuous. It is well that it should be so, opening out, as it does, 
an important problem which we are obliged in great measure to deal with empiri- 
cally from imperfect knowledge of its principles. Even practically, the civilized world 
has no exclusive possession of the secret of decorative art. There abound in our 
shops costly things made and sold for little other purpose than to be pretty, 
which are nevertheless unsatisfactory to the educated eye. On the other hand, 
savages or barbarians, though looked down upon as of low intelligence, produce 
objects which all must admit to show artistic taste. The reader will find proof 
sufficient of this in the pictures of carvings and mats from Papua and Polynesia 
(pp. 241, 244, 247, 249, 262). Now what is it that makes some lines beautiful, 
and one more beautiful than another ? It will be said in answer that beauty of out- 
line depends on boldness, firmness, and evident intention in drawing, which no doubt 


is partly true, but some lines are stiff and ugly, some flowing and elegant, and again 
much stiff ornament is admirable, and flowing patterns may flow clumsily. We may 
respect Hogarth for attempting the problem of the line of beauty, for with fuller 
knowledge the moderns may succeed where he failed. The more types of tasteful 
ornamentation in varied styles can be stored in our minds the nearer will be the 
approach to its understanding. It is encouraging to consider what progress has 
been made of late toward solving not so much indeed the direct problem of 
decorative beauty, as the intermediate problem of the origin and meaning of 
ornament. The researches of General Pitt-Rivers on the gradual transformation 
of human figures into ornamental designs, and the derivation of coil, wave, and 
step patterns of cultured art from realistic representations of cords and plaitings, 
gave an impulse to this interesting study which has continued to be worked out 
in the museum bearing his name, with added series such as Mr. Everard im 
Thurn's pegals or baskets made by the natives of British Guiana, where the 
plaited pictures of birds and monkeys dwindle into graceful patterns, unmeaning 
unless their derivation is known. The Evolution of Decorative Art by Mr. Henry 
Balfour, the curator of the Pitt-Rivers Museum, should be known to all students 
taking up this attractive line of research. Dr. Ratzel, whose feeling for orna- 
mental design is very definite, has reproduced many instructive objects, among 
which mention shall only be made here of the Sandwich Island calabash slung in 
a carrying-net, placed close by two other calabashes without nets, but appropriately 
decorated with patterns which, according to the island habit, are conventionalised 
pictures of the absent network (vol. i. p. 243). Such evidence goes far to abolish 
the old-fashioned idea that the patterns which have been the pleasure of ages 
were devised by ingenious artists out of their inner consciousness. Looking at 
them as originally derived from real objects, we see none the less how they 
develop into variety, so that, notwithstanding unity of principle, each tribe or 
district tends to form patterns of its own, which again being characteristic, 
are patriotically encouraged as local badges. Thus every Melanesian and Poly- 
nesian knows which island a mat or carving comes from, just as in Switzerland 
outlying villages are still known by their special embroidery. When one of 
these populations, savage or civilized, is destroyed or reformed into uniformity 
with the general fashion of the country, a local school vanishes, and even the 
examples of its productions disappear. So natural is this that it is a pleasant 
surprise when they come back sometimes from a hiding-place. It brought back 
to me such a memory when, in this book (vol. i. p. 256), I opened on the cut of 
the "covered vessel in shape of a bird, from the Pelew Islands." About 1880 
I had chanced to go to the county parish of Holcombe Rogus in Devonshire to 
pay an afternoon visit to the vicar, Mr. Wills. A remark of mine as to a stone 
implement on the mantelpiece led to the unexpected remark that there were 
things upstairs from the Pelew Islands. When I protested that nothing from 
thence had come to England since the time when Captain Wilson brought over 
" Prince Lee Boo," whose sad story is told in the once familiar poem, it was 


answered that the late Mrs. Wills was of Captain Wilson's family, and had in- 
herited his curiosities. Before that, two generations of children had played havoc 
with them, but in the attic there were still the great bird-bowl and the inlaid 
wooden sword, and the rupak or bone bracelet, that prized ornament of chiefs, 
with other familiar objects figured in Keate's book. I represented that they ought 
to be in the national collection, and not long after, Mr. Wills, on his death-bed 
ordered that they should be sent to me. They duly took their deserved places 
in the ethnographic department of the British Museum, where no doubt they will 
long outlast the amiable but hopelessly degenerate islanders, the picture of whose 
social decay has been drawn with such minute faithfulness by Kubary. 

In understanding the likeness which pervades the culture of all mankind, the 
great difficulty is to disentangle the small part of art and custom which any 
people may have invented or adapted for themselves, from the large part which 
has been acquired by adopting from foreigners whatever was seen to suit their own 
circumstances. Original invention and modification of culture must take place 
somewhere, but to localise it in geography and chronology is so perplexing that 
anthropologists are fain to fall back, especially as to the more simple and primitive 
developments, on the view that they arose each in some one centre, or possibly 
more than one, thence propagating themselves over the world. Who shall say, 
for instance, where and by whom were begun the use of the club and spear which 
are found everywhere, and of the bow, which is found almost everywhere ? The 
problem becomes more manageable as it passes to special varieties of these 
simple weapons, and to appliances which are more complex and elaborate. For 
though as yet no definite rule has been ascertained for distinguishing similar in- 
ventions which may have arisen separately, from the travelling of one invention 
from place to place, yet at any rate experience and history lead us to judge that 
the more complex, elaborate, and unfamiliar an art or institution is, the more 
right we have to consider that it was only devised once, and travelled from this 
its first home to wherever else it is found. History often helps us to follow 
these lines of movement which have spread civilization over the world, while 
on the other hand the tracing of the arts through the regions of the world is 
among the most important aids to early history. Thus in the case of the 
Bushmen already mentioned, mere inspection suggests that the glass beads which 
reach them through the traders are to be traced through an art history leading 
back through Phoenicia to Egypt, while the dakka-pipe is a record not of native 
African invention, but of the migration of the deleterious habit of hemp-smoking 
westward and southward probably from Central Asia. It is well for the student 
to cultivate the habit, of which this book will give many opportunities, of 
endeavouring to separate, in the inventory of life among any people, the pro- 
ducts of native invention from the borrowed appliances of the foreigner. Thus 
in the war-dance of the Sioux, the guns and iron-headed tomahawks bartered 
from the white trader figure beside the more genuine drum and stone-headed 
club ; and the swords and daggers of the African countries show at a glance 


the influence of Asia which has spread with and beyond the range of the 
Moslem religion. 

For the study of earlier stages of social life, and even of morals and religion, 
with their manifold bearing on the practical problems of modern life, there is 
no more useful preparation than familiarity with the modes in which material 
art and representation are developed and propagated. The same underlying 
human instinct, the same constancy of human faculty through low and high 
stages, the same pliability of life to the needs of outtvard circumstances, which 
precedes the cultured state where circumstances have to yield to the needs of 
man, the same adaptation of artificial means suggested by nature, the same 
copying by the whole tribe of the devices which individuals have started, and 
then their wider diffusion by one tribe copying from another — these actions go on 
throughout the human race, and the principles we learn from mere things may 
guide us in the study of men. The habit of constant recourse to actual objects is 
of inestimable use to us in the more abstract investigation of ideas. Its scope is 
limited ; yet as we have to depend briefly on verbal description for our knowledge 
of the habits of distant and outlandish peoples, their social condition, their rules 
of right and wrong, their modes of government, and their ideas of religion, the 
sight of the material things among which such institutions are worked out gives 
a reality and sharpness of appreciation which add much to the meaning of words. 
The rude hut of Tierra del Fuego, inhabited by the natives occupied among their 
scanty appliances, brings the race before us in a framing to which we adjust, 
almost as travellers among them may do, our ideas of the life, morals, and 
religion of the isolated savage family. So the models or pictures of the huge 
village-houses of Malays or the higher American Indians enable the spectator to 
understand the social condition of the communities of grouped families, patriarchal 
or matriarchal, to which brotherhood and vengeance, communal agriculture and 
tribal war, naturally belong. Thus in every direction the material furniture of 
life, taken in its largest sense, gives clues to the understanding of institutions as 
tools do of the arts they belong to. The paraphernalia of birth, marriage, and 
death among the American Indians, the backboard of the papoose, the whip of 
the initiation ceremony, the beads and paint of the bride, the weapons and orna- 
ments sacrificed for the use of the dead man's soul, tell in outline the story of their 
rude life. The great totem-system, which binds together in bonds of amity the tribes 
of the barbaric world, takes material shape in the pictured and sculptured animals 
which decorate the mats and the roof-posts of British Columbia with commemoration 
of the myths of divine ancestors. In half the countries of the world the concep- 
tion of the soul and of deity is best to be learnt from the rude human figures or 
idols in which these spirits take their embodiment (see pp. 301 sgq!). To learn what 
the worshippers say and do to the idols, and what the indwelling spirits of the idols 
are considered to do to the worshippers, is to obtain a more positive knowledge 
of the native theology than is to be had from attempts to extract scholastic defini- 
tions from the vague though not unmeaning language of the savage priest. 


It is especially because the present work comes under the class of popular 
illustrated books that it is desirable to point out that this does not detract from 
its educational value, but on the contrary makes it good for providing a solid 
foundation in anthropological study. To discuss the theoretical part, attacking 
or defending Professor Ratzel's views on the diffusion of the human species over 
the globe, the classification of mankind by race and language, and the geography 
of civilization, would be to go outside the purpose of this introduction. Still less 
is it the duty of the introducer to seek out errors. He has simply to recommend 
a foreign book, pointing out to what classes of readers, and for what purposes, it 
is likely to be useful. It should, however, be clearly understood that great as the 
progress of anthropology has been during the last half-century, yet, as in other 
subjects modern as to their scientific form and rank, the collection of the evidence 
has not yet approached completion, nor has the theory consolidated into dogmatic 
form. In the next century, to judge from its advance in the present, it will have 
largely attained to the realm of positive law, and its full use will then be acknow- 
ledged not only as interpreting the past history of mankind, but as even laying 
down the first stages of curves of movement which will describe and affect the 
courses of future opinions and institutions. This will be a gain to the systema- 
tising of human life and the arrangement of conduct on reasonable and scientific 
principles. It is true that such results may be accompanied by some dwindling 
of the adventurous interest which belongs to the early periods of a science, and 
possibly the anthropologists of the next century, rich in theoretical and practical 
knowledge shaped into law and rule, may look back to our days of laborious 
acquisition of evidence and enjoyment of new results with something of the regret 
felt by the denizen of a colonial town in looking back to the time when settled 
occupation was only beginning to encroach on the hunters' life in the wild land. 



Mr. James PAYN has recently compared the translator's functions to those of the 
typewriter, and in many respects the comparison holds good. Both are expected, 
like little boys in the nursery code of etiquette, to be " seen and not heard " ; that 
is to say, each is expected to reproduce, in his own medium, what is laid before 
him in another, and say nothing about it. However, the present translator, with 
some diffidence, craves leave for a moment to depart from this rule. One fault 
leads to another, and having on a few occasions in the body of the work ventured, 
as the merest outsider, to append an illustration drawn from his own reading or 
experience, in confirmation or otherwise of Professor Ratzel's views and statements, 
he is almost compelled to make himself " heard " once more, if only to deprecate 
reproof for what, now that he looks back on it, seems to have been an impudent 
intrusion into other people's domain. It appears to be held in many quarters at 
the present day that a man cannot know anything about a subject unless he 
knows nothing about any other ; and the " expert " is perhaps justly intolerant 
of Margites. 

On one other point a word of apologia must be said. A fashion has sprung 
up among the learned of spelling barbarous names according to a system of their 
own, made it would seem in Germany, but so far as can be judged from the 
present work, intended chiefly for English use. In this matter a distinction has 
to be made. In names " transliterated " from a language with old-established 
written symbols differing from our symbols, it may be necessary on philological 
grounds to adopt a conventional system of equating letter with letter, even at the 
risk of suggesting to the English reader a sound quite unlike that of the original 
word, or of breaking through an old tradition. It may be all right, for instance, 
to spell the name of a well-known cricketer so as at once to make the ordinary 
newspaper -reader pronounce his first syllable as if it rhymed to "man," and 
disguise the fact that he is namesake to the Lion of the Punjab. But in the 
case of names which till Europeans heard them never had occasion to be spelt, 
surely in a popular work it is best, whenever possible without great violation of 
custom, to give the form which most nearly conveys the sound from an English eye 
to an English ear. It would be pleasant indeed to write Otaheite and Owhyhee, 
stamped as they are with the seal of literature ; but here we have surrendered to 
France, and it is hopeless to revive the old forms. In some cases, however, we 


are still at liberty to consider our own countrymen. Why, for instance, write 
Tunguses, which nine Englishmen out of ten will rhyme to " funguses " ; when by 
following our fathers and writing Tungooses we at least give some approximation 
to the right sound ? Again, why write Shilluks for the people whom Gordon 
reasonably called Shillooks ? Other nations would not hesitate. A German 
writes Schilluk ; a Frenchman doubtless Chilouques ; an Italian, Scilucchi ; a 
Spaniard, if he ever needs to mention them, Xiluques. Why are Englishmen 
alone not to keep within their own " sphere of influence " in this matter ? Forms 
like tapn and tahi may be all very well in scientific periodicals, but taboo and 
tattoo are the English words, and should be used in English books. 

In conclusion, the translator has to express his best thanks to two experts, who 
have very kindly revised the proofs. Mr. Henry Balfour performed this most neces- 
sary office for the first two or three parts, and when he was incapacitated by illness 
for continuing the work, Mr. H. Ling Roth was good enough to come to the 
rescue. Thanks to his careful superintendence, it may be hoped that few errors 
remain in the text. He is not responsible for the spelling of names, nor for 
mistakes in the descriptions of the cuts — -about some of which Professor Ratzel 
appears to have been misinformed. These will mostly be found corrected in the 



Principles of Ethnography 



The Task of Ethnography . 

2. Situation, Aspect, and Numbers of the Human Race 

3. The Position of Natural Races among Mankind 

4. Nature, Rise, and Spread of Civilization 

5. Language 

6. Religion 

7. Science and Art 
S. Invention and Discovery 
9. Agriculture and Cattle-breeding 

10. Clothing and Ornament 

11. Habitations . . ' \ . 

12. Family and Social Customs . 
H. The State 












The American-Pacific Group of Races 

A. — The Races of Oceania 

1. General Survey of the Group 

2. The Races of the Pacific and their Migrations 

3. Physical Qualities and Intellectual Life of the Polynesians and Micronesians 

4. Dress, Weapons, and Implements of Polynesians and Micronesians 

5. The Negroid Races of the Pacific and Indian Oceans 

6. Dress and Weapons of the Melanesians 

7. Labour, Dwellings, and Food in Oceania 

8. The Family and the State in Oceania 

9. Religion in Oceania ..... 

B. — The Australians 

10. Australia ...... 

11. Physical and Mental Character of the Australians 

12. Dress, Weapons, and other belongings of the Australians 

13. The Family and Society in Australia . 

14. The Tasmanians ..... 

15. Religion of the Australians .... 

C. — Malays and Malagasies 

16. The Malay Archipelago .... 

17. Bodily Conformation and Intellectual Life of the Malays 

18. Dress, Weapons, and other Property of the Malays . 

19. The Malay Family, Community, State 

20. The Malagasies ... 

21. The Religion of the Malays . 





Xote. — In some cases the descriptions of Figures given in the following List will be found to 
differ from those which occur in the text. Where this is so the List may be taken as 
embodying corrections which will ultimately be made in the text. 



Map of the Races of Oceania and Australasia 

To face page 145 

A Bosjesman Family . . . . . . . 

Weapons, Utensils, and Ornaments of American Indians . ... To 

Polynesian Weapons and Costume ....... 

Pattern of Polynesian Tapa. (From Cook's Collection in the Ethnographical Museum, 
Vienna) ... ...... 

Weapons and Utensils from Melanesia and Micronesia 

An Australian Family-Party from New South Wales 

Sowek ; a Pile-Village on the North Coast of New Guinea. (After Raffray) 

Igorrote Farm in Luzon (Philippines). (From a water-colour drawing by Dr. Hans Meyer) 

Malay Fabrics and Weapons ....... 




page 65 
















Eskimo bow- made of bones. (British Museum) ....... 

Fijian double canoe. (From a model in the Godeffroy Collection, Leipzig) 

Sandili, king of the Gaikas ; showing the Semitic type of the Kaffirs. (From a photograph by G 

Fritsch) ........... 

A Galla monk : Hamitic or Semitic blend. (From a photograph in the collection of Pruner Bey) 
Voung girl of the Mountain Damara tribe. (From a photograph belonging to the Barmen Mission) 
Steel Axe of European make with old bone handle, from New Zealand. (Christy Collection) . 
Ainu beside one of their store-huts. (From a photograph in the possession of Freiherr von Siebold 

Vienna) ....... 

Ambuella Drum. (After Serpa Pinto) .... 

Igorrote Drum from Luzon. (From the collection of Dr. Hans Meyer) 
Queensland Aborigines. (From a photograph) . 
Indian Mirror from Texas. (Stockholm Ethnographical Museum) 
Owner's marks : the upright column from the Ainu (after Von Siebold) ; 

from the Negroes of Lunda (after M. Büchner) 
Melanesian sea spirit, from San Christoval. (After Codrington) 
Fetish in Lunda : purpose unknown, perhaps to avert lightning. (After 
Entrance to a fetish hut in Lunda. (After Büchner) 

Wooden idol from the Niger. (Museum of the Church Missionary Society) 
A mummy wrapped in clothing, from Ancon. (After Reiss and Stubel) 
Idols from Hermit Island. (Ethnological Museum, Berlin) 
Supposed idols representing souls, from Ubudjwa. (After Cameron) 
Grave of a Zulu chief. (After G. Fritsch) .... 


the others, rudimentary writing 










Fish-headed idols from Kaster Island. (Christy Collection) . . ... 

Magicians of the Loango Coast. (From a photograph by Dr. Falkenstein) 

Dice and amulets of a Bamangwato magician. (Ethnographical Museum at Munich) 

Masks from New Ireland — one-eighth of real size. (Berlin Museum of Ethnology) 

Cemetery and sacred tree in Milinda. (After Stanley) ....... 

Boat-coffin from Timorlaut. (From a model in the Ethnographical Museum, Dresden) 

Ornament on coco-nut shell, from Isabel in the Solomon Islands. (After Codrington) . 

Piece of bamboo with carvings, from the New Hebrides. (After Codrington) 

Plaited hat of the Nootka Indians, showing eye-ornament. (Stockholm Ethnographical Museum) 

Carved clubs from Lunda. (Büchner collection in the Munich Ethnographical Museum) 

Tobacco-pipe carved out of slate, from Queen Charlotte Islands, British Colombia. (Berlin Museum of 

Ethnology) ........... 

New Zealand tobacco-pipe. (Christy Collection) ....... 

Ornamental goblet from West Africa. (British Museum) ...... 

Chains made of walrus-teeth, from Aleutia. (City Museum, Frankfort O. M.) . . . . 

Kaffir fire-sticks, for producing fire by friction — one-fourth real size. (Museum of the Berlin Mission) 
Wooden shield with picture-writing, perhaps a chief's breast-plate, from Easter Island. (Christy Col- 
lection) ............ 

Human figure and medusa in walrus-ivory, from (?) Tahiti. (Vienna Ethnographical Museum) . 

Shell and bone fish-hooks from Oceania. The larger one on the right from the north-west coast of 

America. (Vienna Ethnographical Museum) ....... 

Weapons set with sharks' teeth, from the Gilbert Islands. (Munich Ethnographical Museum) . 
Monbuttu tobacco-pipe carved in wood and ornamented with copper wire — one-tenth real size. (Christy 

Collection) ............ 

Carved and painted figure from Dahomey. (Berlin Ethnographical Museum) .... 

Zanza, a musical instrument used over a great part of Central and South Africa .... 

Fan warrior with crossbow. (After Du Chaillu) ........ 

Stick used by Bushmen in digging roots, and stone weights for the same. (Berlin Museum of Ethnology) 
Loango negress at field-work. (From a photograph by Dr. Falkenstein) .... 

Iron hoe from Kordofan. The blade is also used as currency — one-eighth real size. (Christy Collection) 
Axe of turtle-bone. A label pasted on this, in writing of the time of Captain Cook, describes it as from 

the Friendly Islands. (British Museum) ....... 

Woman of the Azandeh, or Nyam-Nyams. (From a photograph by Richard Buchta) . 

Princess of Unyoro, dressed in bark-cloth. From a photograph by Richard Buchta) 

Village chief of the Loango, with wife and dignitary. (From a photograph by Dr. Falkenstein) 

Cap made of a palm-spathe, from Brazil. (Munich Ethnographical Museum) 

Bawenda children belonging to a mission school. (From a photograph in the possession of Dr. Wange 

mann, Berlin) .......... 

Fur and bird-skin clothing of the Ainu. (Collection of Baron von Siebold, Vienna) 
Woman of New South Wales. (From a photograph in the possession of Lieutenant von Bulow, Berlin 
Leg ornaments of dogs' teeth, and shell armlet, from Hawaii. (Vienna Ethnographical Museum) 
Sandal from Unyoro. (After Baker) ........ 

I, 2, Stone lip-plugs; 3, 6, necklaces; 4, armlet, worn by the Jur tribes; 5, armlet; 7, head-dress of 

the Shulis. (Vienna Ethnographical Museum) ...... 

Ircnga arm-ring, with sheath — one-fourth real size. (Vienna Ethnographical Museum) . 

1. Paddle-shaped clubs, probably from Fiji ; and carved adzes, as carried by chiefs, from the Hervey 

Islands (Munich Ethnographical Museum). 2. Dagger for attaching to the upper arm, from 

Lagos (Christy Collection, London) ....... 

Modes of hairdressing, Lovale. (After Cameron) ..... 

West African body-tattooing. (From a drawing by Pechuel-Loesche) .... 

West African mode of filing the teeth. (From a drawing by the same) . ■ 

1. Tortoise-shell combs from Pelew — one-half real size (Kubary Collection, Berlin). 2. Azandeh or 

Nyam-Nyam shield — one-tenth real size (Vienna Ethnographical Museum) 
Caves of the Bushmen. (After Fritsch) ........ 

Tree-dwellings in South India. (After Jagor) ....... 

Fishing village on the Mekong. (From a photograph) ...... 

The so-called 4i Dwarf's House" at Chichen-Itza. (After Charnay) .... 

House in Central Sumatra. (After Veth) .... . 

Village on a tongue of land, Lake Tanganyika. (After Cameron) 

A Zulu family. (From a photograph in the possession of Dr. Wangemann) 

Interior of a house in Korido, New Guinea. (After Raffray) ..... 

Ashantee drinking cups of human skulls. (British Museum) ..... 


















and 2 probably 


Human bone in the fork of a branch ; a cannibal memento from Fiji. (Leipzig Museum of Ethnology) 
Zulu chief in full war-dress. (From a photograph in the possession of Dr. Wangemann) 
The Basuto chief Secocoeni with his court. (From a photograph in the possession of Dr. Wangemann) 
A Dakota chief. (From a photograph) ...... 

Articles belonging to Dyak head-hunters : — i. Shield ornamented with human hair; 2. Sword and knife; 

3. Skull with engraved ornament and metal plate ; 4. Casket to hold a skull 

from Kutei ; 3 and 4 from W. Borneo. (Munich Museum) 
Kingsmill Islander in full armour. (Berlin Museum of Ethnology) 
Lango chief and magician. (From a photograph by Richard Buchta) 
Insignia, ornamental weapons, and drums from the Southern Congo territory 
Polynesian clubs and insignia of rank ...... 

Araucanian man and woman. (From a photograph) .... 

Bakairi girl from the Kulishu river. (After Dr. R. von den Steinen) 
Maori girl. (From photograph in the possession of Dr. Max Büchner) . 
Men of Ponape in the Carolines. (From a photograph in the Godeffroy Album) 
Boy of New Ireland. (From a photograph) ..... 

Man of New South Wales. (From a photograph) .... 

Dyak woman of Borneo. (From a photograph in the Damann Album) . 

Bread-fruit true {Artocarpus hicisus) : (a) inflorescence, (!>) fruit . 

Taro (Caladium esculentum) — one-half natural size .... 

Sepulchral monument in Ponape, Caroline Islands. (From a photograph in the Godeffroy Album) 
Outrigged boat, New Britain. (From a model in the Godeffroy Collection, Leipzig) 
Boat of the Mortlock Islands, with outrigger and sail of rush-matting. (After a model 

Collection) . 
Boat of Niue, Savage Islands. 
Boat of the Hermit Islands. 
Wooden baler, New Zealand- 
Wooden baler, New Zealand- 

( After a model in the Godeffroy Collection) 
(From the same) .... 
-one-sixth real size. (British Museum) 
-one- fifth real size. (British Museum) 

n the Godeffroy 

Wooden baler, New Guinea — one-fifth real size. (British Museum) 

Stick chart from the Marshall Islands. (Godeffroy Collection) . 

Boat of the Luzon Tagals. (From a model in Dr. Hans Meyer's Collection, Leipzig) 

Sumatran praku. (From a model in the Munich Ethnographical Museum) 

Carved boat from New Zealand : actual length 8 ft. 2 in. (Berlin Museum of Ethnology) 

1. God of dances, in the form of a double paddle, Easter Island; 2. Toothed club from Tutuila ; 3 
Ancient club from Tonga ; 4, 5. Short clubs from Easter Island. (Berlin Museum of Eth 
nology) ........... 

Thakombau, the last king of Fiji. (From a photograph in the possession of Herr Max Büchner) 

Rattan cuirass, throwing-sticks of dark wood, and bark belt, from Kaiser Wilhelm's Land. (Berlin 
Museum) . . . . . . . 

Axes from the D'Entrecasteaux Islands — one-eighth real size. (Christy Collection) 

Carved wooden plaques, used as stamps, from the Fiji Islands. (Godeffroy Collection) 

Jade battle-axes and jade hatchet, insignia of chiefs, from New Caledonia. (Christy Collection 

Samoan woman. (From a photograph in the Godeffroy Album) 

Women of the Gilbert Islands and Marshall Islands. (Godeffroy Album) 

A Tongan. (Godeffroy Album) ....... 

A man of Rotuma. (Godeffroy Album) ...... 

A man of Pelew, and a man of Yap in the Carolines. (Godeffroy Album) 

Dressed skull, from the Marshall Islands. (Godeffroy Collection) 

Bamboo flutes from Tahiti and Hawaii. (British Museum) 

Dancing stilts, from the Marquesas. (Munich Ethnographical Museum) 

1. Paddles used at dances, from Easter Island — one-thirteenth real size (Berlin Museum of Ethnology) 

2. Wooden dancing-stilts, from the Marquesas — one-tenth real size (Christy Collection) . 
Tattooed Maoris. (From a photograph in the possession of Herr Max Büchner) 

Tattooing instruments from the Friendly Islands — one-third real size. (British Museum) 

A man of Ponape in the Carolines. (From a photograph in the Godeffroy Album) 

Breastplate of shell with sling of human hair — one-fourth real size. (Christy Collection) 

1. Woman of Ponape. 2. Woman of the Paumotu Islands. (From photograph in the Godeffroy Album 

3. Women of the Society Islands. (From photograph in the Damann Album) 
Samoan lady with hair dressed high. (From the Godeffroy Album) 
Man of the Ruk Islands. (From the Godeffroy Album) .... 
Combs from Tonga — one-fourth real size. (British Museum) 
Bone comb from New Zealand — one-third real size. ("British Museum) . 



1 48 








1 89 





Man of the Ruk Islands. (From the Godeffroy Album) . ...... 

Coco and Sago Palms ........... 

Obsidian axes from Easter Island — one-third real size. (British Museum) .... 

Polynesian implements : I. Axe from Hawaii — one-sixth real size. 2. Adze with carved helve, probably 
from II ervey Group or Paumotu Islands. 3, 4. Hatchets from the Marquesas and Society Islands 
— one-sixth real size. 5. Obsidian spear-head from Easter Island — one-third real size. 6. Weapon 
or implement from Hawaii — one-fourth real size. (1, 3, 4, 6, Christy Collection; 2, 5, British 
Museum) ............ 

Maori chief s staff and walking-sticks — one-eighth real size. (Christy Collection) 

1. Quiver and arrow, said to be from the Society Islands— one-eighth real size (Christy Collection.) 
2. Pin used in weaving, from New Zealand — two-sevenths real size (British Museum). 3. Spear 
set with sharks' teeth, from the Gilbert Islands — one-fifteenth real size (Munich Ethnographical 
Museum). 4. Saw, said to be used also as dagger, of ray-spine, from Pelew — one-third real 
size (Berlin Museum) .......... 

1. Wooden swords from Pelew Islands — one- fifth real size (British Museum). 2. Bow and arrow 
from the Friendly Islands — one-third real size (Christy Collection). 3. Saw of ray-spine, said to 
be from Pelew — one-third real size (British Museum.) 4. Bone arrow-head — real size (Christy 
Collection) ......... 

Hawaiian wicker-work helmet — one-fourth real size. (Berlin Museum) . 

Small weapons with sharks' teeth from Tonga, dagger and baler from Hawaii, and gourd bottle from 
New Caledonia. (Vienna Museum.) ....... 

(1-3) Necklaces of shell and beans, with limpet-shells. (4 and 5) Ear-pendants, with dolphin's teeth 
(6 and 7) Ear-buttons of whale's tooth. (8) Necklace of tortoise-shell. (9) Neck ornament 
(10) Necklace. (11) Wooden fillet for the head. (12) Ear-button made of a ray's vertebra 
(13, 14) Armlets of black wood and whale's tooth. (15) Neck ornament. (16) Necklace o 
shell-disks and whale's tooth. (1-7, Marquesas ; 8 and 15, Friendly Islands ; 9, Hervey Islands 
10, 11, Society Islands ; 12, Easter Island; 13, 14, Hawaii; 16, Nukuor.) 

New Guinea girl. (From a photograph in the possession of Herr W. Joost, Berlin) 

Man of New Ireland. (From the Godeffroy Album) ..... 

Fijian lady. (From Godeffroy Album) ....... 

Fijian gentleman. (From Godeffroy Album) ...... 

Woman of the Anchorites Islands. (From the Godeffroy Album) 

Woman of the Anchorites Islands. (From the Godeffroy Album) 

Musical instrument from New Ireland — one-third real size. (Godeffroy Collection, Leipzig) 

I. Spatula for betel-lime from New Guinea — one-half real size. 2. Drum from Pigville in New Guinea 
— one-eighth real size (Christy Collection). 3. Drums from Ambrym in the New Hebrides 
(after Codrington) ......... 

Carved coco-nut from New Guinea — one-half real size. (Christy Collection) 

New Hebridean ornament (enlarged) ....... 

Bit of etched design on a coco-nut, from Isabel Island in the Solomons. (After Codrington) 

Wigs of human hair worn in battle, from Vanna Levu. (Frankfort City Museum) 

Head-dress like an eye-shade from New Guinea — one-fifth real size. (British Museum) 

Fiji warrior in a wig. (From the Godeffroy Album) ..... 

Nose-ornament, breastplate, and arm-ring of boar's tusks, from New Guinea — one-eighth real size. 
(Christy Collection) ........ 

Shell plaques for adorning the breast and forehead. (Christy Collection) 

Weapons from the Admiralty Islands. (Christy Collection) .... 

New Caledonian clubs and a painted dance club from the New Hebrides. (Vienna Museum) 

1. Bow from the Solomon Islands (Berlin Museum). 2. Bow and arrows from North-west New Guinea 
— one-tenth real size (Christy Collection). 3. Arrow-heads from the Solomon Islands (Godeffroy 
Collection, Leipzig) .......... 

Dagger of cassowary bone, from North-west New Guinea — one-fourth real size. (Christy Collection) . 

1. Carved dance-shield from East New Guinea — one- fifth real size. 2. Shield from Teste in New Guinea 
— one-tenth real size. (Christy Collection) ....... 

1. Wooden shield, bound with plaited rattan, with black and white pattern, from Friedrich-Wilhelm's 
Harbour. 2. Carved shield from Hatzfeld Harbour. 3. Wooden battle-shield from Astrolabe 
Bay. 4. Wooden battle-shield from Trobriand. 5. Motu-motu shield from Freshwater Bay — 
one-twelfth real size. (Berlin Museum of Ethnology) .... 

Wooden dish from Hawaii. (British Museum) ... . . 

Mats from Tongatabu. (Vienna Ethnographical Museum) .... 

Stone pestles from Hawaii — one-fourth real size. (Cook Collection, Vienna Museum) . 

Earthenware vessels from the Fiji Islands. (Godeffroy Collection, Leipzig) 
















Carved spatulas for betel-lime from Eastern New Guinea— two-sevenths real size. (Christy Collection) 
Utensils from Hawaii (Arning Collection, Berlin Museum) : i. Calabash-carrier of coco-nut fibre 

2, 3. Calabashes with pattern burnt in, stoppered with conus shells. 4. Beaters of kauila wood 

5. Stamping sticks for tapa. 6. Oil lamps of lava. 7. Decoration for chiefs, a sling f human 

hair with carved cachalot's tooth. S. Necklace of similar teeth from Fiji. 9-12. Straw plaiting 

probably a modem importation. i-S, one-fifth to one-sixth ; 9-12, one-half real size 
Wickerwork (basket, pouches, and fly-whisk), from Tongatabu. (Cook Collection, Vienna Ethno 

graphic Museum) .......... 

Polynesian fan and fly-whisks, insignia of chiefs, probably from Tongatabu. (Cook Collection) 
Wicker fans probably from Samoa. (British Museum) ...... 

Wooden bowl for food, from the Admiralty Islands — one-eighth real size. (Christy Collection) 

1. Bamboo water-vessels from New Guinea — one-third real size. 2. Carved gourd used for betel-box 

from the Trobriand Islands — one-third real size. (Christy Collection) 
Carved bamboo box from Western New Guinea — three-fourths real size. (Christy Collection) . 
Chisel and shell auger, from New Britain. (Berlin Museum) ..... 
1. Fishing trimmer from the Solomon Islands — one-eighth real size (Christy Collection). 2. Floats 

sinkers, baler, and war-spears, from New Caledonia (Vienna Museum) . 
A New Zealand trawl-net. (Munich Ethnographical Museum) ..... 
Shark-trap with wooden float from Fiji. (Berlin Museum) ..... 

Smoked fish from Massilia in East New Guinea — one-sixth real size. (Berlin Museum) 
Cuttle-fish baits from the Society Islands — two-fifths real size. (Christy Collection and Berlin Museum) 
Pots and implements (the two calabashes for betel-lime) from the Admiralty Islands, also a shell horn — 

one-fifth real size. (Christy Collection) ....... 

Covered vessel in shape of a bird, inlaid with shell, from the Pelew Islands. (British Museum) 
Another vessel of the same material. (British Museum) ...... 

New Caledonian hut (Qu. sacred) after a model ; doorposts and roof-ornament supplied from originals 

in the Berlin Museum ......... 

Roof-ornaments and shoring-props from New Caledonia. (Vienna Museum) 

Mats from Tongatabu. (Cook Collection, Vienna) ...... 

House in the Arfak village of Memiwa, New Guinea. (After Raffray) .... 

Stool from Dorey in New Guinea — one-seventh real size. (Christy Collection) . 

New Caledonian head-stools. (Vienna Museum) ...... 

Carved and painted rafters from common halls {bais) in Ruk. (Godeffroy Collection, Leipzig) . 

1. Gourd bottle from the D'Entrecasteaux Islands — one-third real size. 2. Head-stool from Yap — one 

fourth real size. (Finsch Collection, Berlin) ...... 

Chiefs wife of Puapua, Samoa. (From a photograph in the Godeffroy Album) . 

Tongan ladies. (From the Godeffroy Album) ....... 

Old Tongan woman. (From the Godeffroy Album) ...... 

Princess Ruth of Hawaii. (From a photograph belonging to Professor Büchner, Munich) 
Women of Ponape in the Carolines. (From the Godeffroy Album) .... 

A Tagal village : Luzon in the Philippines. (From a photograph) .... 

Fly-whisk, from the Society Islands — one-sixth real size. (Christy Collection) . 

Fly-whisks (chief's insignia), from the Society Islands — one-fifth real size. (Christy Collection) 

Fly-whisk (insignia of a chief), from Samoa — one-eighth real size. (British Museum) . 

Toy paddles, from New Zealand — one-sixth real size. (Christy Collection) 

Chief of Tae in the Mortlocks. (Godeffroy Album) ...... 

'•' Kahile" or fly-flap, carried by the attendants of men of rank, from Hawaii. (Christy Collection) 
King Lunalilo of Hawaii. (From a photograph) ...... 

Samoan warrior in tapa-clothmg. (From the Godeffroy Album) .... 

Ear-button from the Marquesas and amulet from Tahiti — two-thirds real size. (Christy Collection) 
Warrior of the Solomon Islands. (From the Godeffroy Album) ..... 

Fijian warrior. (From the Godeffroy Album) ....... 

Coco-palm leaf, as a token of peace, from Venus Hook in New Guinea ; and paddle-shaped spoon, 

eight feet in length, for stirring food at feasts, carved with a Maori design, from the Normanby 

Islands. (Finsch Collection, Berlin) ....... 

Sacrificial knife, available also as an instrument of torture, from Easter Island — one-half real size 

(Berlin Museum) .......... 

Human lower jaw set as an arm-ring, from New Guinea. (Christy Collection) . 

Ancestral image {Korvar) from New Guinea — one-fourth real size. (British Museum) . 

A Fiji Islander. (From a photograph in the Godeffroy Album) ..... 

1. Sacred drum with carving from High Island, Austral Group — one-fourth real size (Christy Collection) 

2. Stick calendar of the Ngati Ranki tribe in New Zealand (British Museum) 



Charms made of human bone, votive bunches of hair, and turtle skull, from a temple in the Admiralty 

Islands — one-fifth real size. (Christy Collection) ....•• 
Ancestral images from Easter Island — one-tenth real size. (Munich Museum) . 
Carved post from a house from New Zealand. (Christy Collection) .... 
Idols carved in wood — one-tenth real size. (London Missionary Society's Collection, now British Museum) 

I. From Rarotonga, Hervey Croup. 2. Rurutu, Austral Group. 3. From Aitutaki, Hervey 

Group ........ 

Sacred place in Dorey, New Guinea. (After Raffray) 

Love charm from New Guinea — one-fifth real size. (Christy Collection) 

Article employed in Melanesian rites, for holding objects of use in magic — one-half real size. (Berlin 

Museum) .......... 

Human figure of shells and hermit-crabs, used as a temple-ornament in New Ireland — one-eighth real 

size. (Berlin Museum) ......... 

Child-mummy on the bier used for burial, from Torres Straits — one-sixth real size. (Berlin Museum) 
South Australian native women. (From a photograph) ...... 

Eucalyptus Forest in South Australia. (From the account of the voyage of the " Novara") 
Marsilia Drummondi .......... 

Queensland girl. (From a photograph by C. Günther) ...... 

Young Queensland man. (From a photograph by C. Günther) ..... 

Native of New South Wales. (From a photograph) ...... 

Billy Bull and Emma Dugal, natives of South Australia. (From a photograph) 

Message-sticks with picture-writing, from West Australia — one-third real size. (Berlin Museum) 

Woman's apron of emu feathers. (Berlin Museum) ...... 

Wooden belt, said to be Australian, but perhaps from the New Hebrides — one-fourth real size. (Berlin 

Museum) ........... 

Necklace of kangaroo teeth, probably from West Victoria — one-sixth real size. (Berlin Museum) 
Wommeras or throwing-sticks of the Australians — one-fifth real size. (Berlin Museum and British 

Museum) ........... 

Wooden spears, mostly from North Australia ; the second and third from the right are fish-spears — one 

fifth real size. (British Museum and Berlin Museum) 
New South Wales men, showing breast scars. (From a photograph) 
Bamboo bow, from Torres Straits Islands — one-thirteenth real size. (British Museum) 
Arrow-head from New Guinea, Torres Straits — fourth - fifths real size. (Dresden Ethnog 

Museum) ........ 

Stone axes ; the three above from North Australia, the lower from Queensland or Victoria — one-sixth 

real size. (Berlin Museum) .... 

Boomerangs and boomerang-shaped clubs. The stick in the middle is of uncertain use — one-tenth real 

size. (British Museum and Berlin Museum) ..... 

Axes of stone or horse-shoe iron from Queensland — one-fifth real size. (British Museum) 

Stone club, said to be Australian, possibly from New Britain. (British Museum) 

North Australian with spears, axe, and club. (From a photograph) 

Queensland canoe. (Godeffroy Collection, Leipzig) 

Striking and throwing clubs — one-eighth real size. (Berlin Museum) 

New South Wales men, showing breast-scars. (From a photograph) 

Australian bags of woven grass — one-sixth real size. (British Museum) 

Opossum rug ; one-eighth real size. (Berlin Museum) . 

New South Wales women and child. (From a photograph) 

Queensland girls, one showing " scar- tattooing." (From a photograph) 

Young Queensland man with "scar-tattooing." (From a photograph) 

Melanesian axes, clubs, and hammers. (British Museum) 

New South Wales woman with " scar-tattooing." (From a photograph 

Australian magic-sticks. (Vienna Museum) 

William Lanney, the last Tasmanian. (From a photograph) 

Truganina, the last Tasmanian woman. (From a photograph) . 

Australian shields ....... 

Australian "bull-roarers " — one-fourth real size. (Berlin Museum) 

A Battak of Sumatra. (From a photograph) 

A Dyak cf Borneo. (From a photograph in the Damann Album) 

Weapon used by watchmen in Java to catch persons running amok. (Stockholm Ethnographical 

Collection) . 
A Calinga of Luzon in the Philippines. (From a photograph in the Damann Album) . 
Tabongs, with Rejang characters, from Sumatra — four-fifths real size. (Munich Museum 



Magic staves of the Battaks, used especially for weather-magic, and also borne in war — one-eighth real 

size. (Leipzig and Dresden Museum) ........ 403 

A Calinga woman of Luzon. (From a photograph in the Damann Album) .... 406 

Toangos of Northern Sumatra. (From a photograph) ....... 407 

Tangoi or South- East Bornean head-dress — one-third and one-seventeenth real size. (Frankfort 

City Museum) ........... 408 

Hats worn by chiefs of Kutei tribes in Borneo. (Munich Museum) ..... 409 

Igorrote tattooing : a, />, designs on the calves ot the legs ; c, d, on the stomach ; e, front view ; f, back 

view of a Burik ; g, a woman's arm. (From drawings by Dr. Hans Meyer) . . . 410 

Igorrote necklaces, with (a) tweezers for pulling out hair ; (b) pendants of crocodile teeth — one-third 

real size. (From Dr. Meyer's Collection) . . . . . . .411 

Ring worn by the Igorrotes on the upper arm when dancing — one-third real size. (From the same) . 411 
Malay weapons : I, 2. Hat and shield from Mindanao, in the Philippines. 3. Quiver with poisoned 
arrows from Celebes. 4. A champion's shield from Solor. 5. Sword from Gorontalo in 
Celebes. 6. Mandate of the Kahayan River Dyaks. 7. Outfit from Ombai. 8. Spears from 
Java. (Dresden Collection) . . . . . . . . .412 

Bows and arrows of the Negritos in Luzon — one-twelfth real size. (Dr. Meyer's Collection) . . 413 

Bow from Sulu of Asiatic origin, and Negrito harpoon— one-twelfth real size. (Dresden Collection) . 414 
Blow-gun, arrows, and quiver, from Borneo — one-fourth real size. (Stockholm Museum) . . 414 

Blow-gun, small quiver, and spears of the Kahayan Dyaks of South Borneo ; bow, arrows, and quiver 

from Poggi. (Munich Museum) . . . . . . . . .415 

Mandates ox swords, krisses, and knives: 1, from South Celebes; 2, from the Batang-lupar Dyaks; 
3, from Java ; 4, from Gilolo ; 5, from Java ; 6, from the Kahayan Dyaks ; 7, from Mentawei ; 
8, from the Rejangs of Sumatra — one-sixth real size. (Munich Museum) . . . 416 

Krisses : 1, from Celebes ; 2, said to be from Bali — one-fourth real size. (Munich Museum) . .418 

Dagger from Borneo — one-fifth real size. (Royal Museum, Leyden) ..... 419 

1, Sling and sheath of, 2, Igorrote chopping-knife. 3. Guinan hatchet, from Luzon — one-sixth real 

size. (From Dr. Hans Meyer's Collection) '. . . . . . . 419 

Igorrote and Guinan spears and shields — one-tenth real size. (From Dr. Hans Meyer's Collection) . 420 
Spears and shields — 1 and 7, from Nias ; 2, from Mentawei ; 3, 4, 6, from West Borneo ; 5, from 

Gorontalo; 8, from Borneo. (Munich Museum) . . . . . . .421 

Shield, blow-gun, spear, and swords of the Torabjas in Central Celebes — one-sixth real size. 

(Frankfort City Museum) .......... 422 

Mail-coats worn by the Dyaks of South-East Borneo ....... 423 

Malay utensils : 1. Comb from Timor. 2. Knife from the Philippines. 3. Sickle from Java. 4. Cow- 
bells from Sumatra. 5. Brasier and rice-pot from Java. 6. Basket from Celebes. 7. Rice basket 
from Java, for cooling steamed rice in the cover. 8. Brass pipe of the Battaks. (Dresden 
Ethnographical Museum) .......... 424 

A house in Sumatra. (From a model in the Dresden Museum) ...... 425 

Plough used by the Triamans of Bencoolen. (Dresden Museum) . . . . . 425 

Agricultural implements used by the Igorrotes : 1. Rice-knife. 2. Digging-stick (i, one-half ; 2, one- 
tenth real size). (From Dr. Meyer's Collection) ....... 426 

Hoes from — 1, Singapore ; 2, Sumatra — one-fourth real size. (Munich Museum) . . . 428 

Battak hoes from Sumatra — one-seventh real size. (Leipzig Museum of Ethnology) . . . 429 

Javanese buffalo-cart. (From a photograph) ........ 430 

1. Wooden tureen and spoon from Luzon — one-third real size (from Dr. Meyer's Collection). 2. 

Sumatran saddle (Dresden Museum) ........ 431 

Dish-cover of armadillo scales from Sumatra — one-tenth real size. (Stockholm Museum) . . 432 

Dish-cover from South-East Borneo. (Stockholm Museum) ...... 432 

1. Bamboo betel and tobacco boxes from West Sumatra — one-third real size (Munich Museum). 

2. Igorrote spindle — one-third real size (from Dr. Meyer's Collection) .... 433 

Tobacco pipes used by the Igorrotes and Guinans of Luzon — two -thirds real size. (Dr. Meyer's 

Collection). ........... 434 

Carved wooden sirih box from Deli, East Sumatra — one-fourth real size. (From a drawing) . . 434 

1. Malay loom (from a photograph). 2. Sack carried by the Igorrotes of Luzon — one-eighth real size. 

(Dr. Meyer's Collection) .......... 435 

Basket of a Dyak head-hunter, with half a skull hanging on it. (Munich Museum) . . . 448 

Small head-basket used by Guinans of Luzon — one-third real size. (Dr. Meyer's Collection) . . 449 

Chief and dignitary of Nias. (From a photograph) ....... 450 

Malagasy of Negroid type. (From a photograph in Pruner Bey's Collection) .... 454 

Malagasy of Negroid type. (Same source) ... . . . . . • 455 

Sakalava musical instrument — one-third real size. (Berlin Museum) ..... 456 


Hova guitar and powder-horn. (Dresden Museum) ...... 

Malagasy necklace of carved horn. (Missionary Society's Museum) .... 

House of a Hova chief. (From the Globus) ....... 

Fenced farm-house in Imerina, Madagascar. (After Ellis) ..... 

Rice-mortar and paddle from Madagascar. (Stockholm Ethnographical Collection) 

Madagascar hubble-bubble, in the African style — one-fifth real size. (Berlin Museum) . 

Drawing of a herd of cattle, on the bamboo drinking-cup represented on opposite page. (Berlin Museum 

Woven pouch from Madagascar — one-half real size. (Berlin Museum) .... 

Hova drinking-cups of bamboo, used also for tobacco-boxes — one-half real size. (Berlin Museum) 
Antananarivo, the Hova capital. (From a photograph) ...... 

Rainitnalavona and Rainilaiarivona, two Prime Ministers of Radama II. (After Ellis) . 
Igorrote ancestral image — one-twelfth real size. (From Dr. Meyer's Collection) 
Sacred jar, probably from Borneo — one-sixth real size. (Leyden Museum) 

Wax figure of Buffalo; perhaps an amulet of the Guinans — one-half real size. (From Dr. Meyer: 
Collection) .......... 

Talisman from North Borneo and ancestral image from Nias. (Dresden Museum) 

Rosary with amulet from Madagascar — one-half real size. (Berlin Museum) 

Rainitsontsoraka — a Christian martyr in Madagascar. (After Ellis) .... 










Geographical conceptions and historical considerations of which account has to be taken in dealing with our 
subject — Mankind a whole — The task of ethnography is to demonstrate the cohesion of the human race. 

OUR business in this work is to impart a knowledge of mankind as we find it 
to-day throughout the earth. Owing to the long-established practice of con- 
sidering with any attention no races save the most progressive and most highly 
civilized, until it is from these almost exclusively that we form our notion of man- 
kind, and of their doings that make up the history of the world, it becomes the 
duty of ethnography to apply itself all the more faithfully to the neglected 
lower strata of humanity. Besides that, its aim must also be to take up. this 
conception of humanity not in a merely superficial way, just so far as the races 
have grown up in the shade of the dominant civilized peoples, but to trace 
actually among these lower strata the processes which have rendered possible the 
transition to the higher developments of to-day. Ethnography must acquaint 
us not only with what man is, but with the means by which he has become 
what he is, so far as the process has left any traces of its manifold inner 
workings. It is only so that we shall get a firm grasp of the unity and com- 
pleteness of the human race. With regard to the course that our investigation 
must follow, we have especially to remember that the difference of civilization 
which divides two groups of mankind may bear no kind of relation to the 
difference of their endowments. This will be the last difference which we shall 
have to think of; the first points to consider will be differences in development 
and surroundings. We shall therefore bestow a thorough consideration upon 
the external surroundings of the various races, and endeavour pari passu to 
trace the historical development of the circumstances in which we find them 
to-day. The geographical conception of their surroundings, and the historical 
consideration of their development, will thus go hand in hand. It is only from 
the combination of the two that a just estimate can be formed. 

Our growth in intelligence and culture, all that we call the progress of 
civilization, may better be compared with the upward shoot of a plant than with 
the unconfined flight of a bird ; we remain ever bound to the earth, and the twig 
can only grow on the stem. Human nature may raise its head aloft in the pure 
ether, but its feet must ever rest on the ground, and the dust must return to the 
dust. Hence the necessity of attention to the geographical point of view. As 
for historical considerations, we can point to races which have remained the same 
for thousands of years, and have changed their place, their speech, their physical 
appearance, their mode of life not at all, their religion and their knowledge only 



superficially. Herodotus tells us about a race of Troglodytes, who dwelt near the 
Garamantes, the inhabitants of the modern Fezzan. They were active and swift- 
footed, and spoke a language almost unknown beyond their own boundaries. 
Here we have Nachtigal's Tebus or Tedas, who to this day inhabit the natural 
caverns in their rocks, arc renowned far and wide for activity and fieetness of foot, 
and speak a language which has hardly extended itself beyond the walls of their 
rocky fortress. Thus for 2000 years at least, and for all we know much longer, 
they have lived in just the same way. They are to-day no poorer, no richer, no 
wiser, no more ignorant, than they have been these thousands of years. They 
have acquired nothing in addition to what they possessed then. Each generation 
has repeated the history of the one before it, and that repeated its predecessors ; 
as we say, they have made no progress. They have always been men with certain 
gifts — strong, active, having virtues and defects of their own. There they stand, a 
fragment of bygone ages. In the same space of time we have emerged from the 
darkness of our forests on to the stage of history ; we have made our name, alike 
in peace and war, honoured and dreaded by all nations. But have we as individuals 
undergone any so great change ? Are we in physical or intellectual power, in 
virtue, in capacity, any further ahead of our generations of ancestors than the 
Tubus of theirs ? It may be doubted. The main difference lies in the fact that 
we have laboured more, acquired more, lived more rapidly, and above all, have 
kept what we have acquired and known how to use it. Our inheritance is larger, 
fuller of young life ; and therefore a comparison of national positions gives us a 
higher standing among mankind, and indicates too how and why we have become 
what we are, and what road we must take in order to advance a stage farther. 

Throughout all national judgments we find unmistakably as a fundamental 
fact the feeling of individual self-esteem causing us to take by preference the 
unfavourable view of our neighbours. We must at least try to be just ; and the 
study of mankind may aid in that direction, impressing upon us as it does the 
important principle that in all dealings with men and nations we ought, before 
forming a judgment, to consider that all their thoughts, feelings, and actions bear 
an essentially graded character. In one stage or another anything may happen, 
and mankind is divided not by gaps, but by steps. The task of ethnography is 
therefore to indicate, not in the first instances the distinctions, but the points of 
transition, and the intimate affinities which exist ; for mankind is one whole, 
though very variously cultured. And if it cannot be too often proclaimed that 
a nation consists of individuals, which are and remain in all its operations its 
ultimate elements, there is yet so great a conformity of disposition among these 
individuals that the thoughts which go forth from one man are as certain to find 
an echo in others, if they can succeed in reaching them, as the same seed is certain 
to produce like fruits in like soils. 

But the tracing of the road above mentioned is of great importance. 
Elementary ideas have an irresistible power of expansion, and there is no reason 
in the nature of things why they should come to a stop at the hut of a Kaffir or 
the fireplace of a Botocudo. But the obstacles which hinder or delay their travels 
are endless ; and besides, as they arise from life and accompany life, they are, like 
all life, changeable. Herein is a main cause of the differences among races and of 
a mass of ethnological problems. One may even say that in the geographical dis- 
tribution of mankind to begin with, and then in the manner in which they have 


acquired culture and the means of culture from the production of fire up to the 
loftiest ideas of the historical nations, lies the key to the history of primitive man. 
We can conceive a universal history of civilization, which should assume 
a point of view commanding the whole earth, in the sense of surveying the history 
of the extension of civilization throughout mankind ; it would penetrate deep and 
far into what is usually called ethnography, the study of the human race. For 
the further inquiry reaches into the depths of prehistoric peoples and those that 
are outside of history, the more will it meet in every sphere and on every level of 
civilization with essentially the same single form, which long ago, before the 
conditions existed for the development of numerous separate centres of civilization, 
was imparted by one race to another over the earth ; and this it will regard as 
in close connection with mankind of to-day, with the race which has raised all 
its great new creations upon that common foundation, of which many a fragment 
still remains unaltered in its hands. At no distant future, no one will write a 
history of the world without touching upon those peoples which have not hitherto 
been regarded as possessing a history because they have left no records written 
or graven in stone. History consists of action ; and how unimportant beside 
this is the question of writing or not writing, how wholly immaterial, beside the 
facts of doing and making, is the word that describes them. Here also ethno- 
graphy will show the way to juster notions. 


The inhabited world — The races of the fringe — East and West — Old and New Worlds — North and South — 
The Ethiopian region — Mutual influence of Northern and Southern races — Insular character of lands — 
Importance of seafaring — Water on the face of the globe — Unity of the human race — The number and 
iaws of mankind — Movements of races — Extinction of native races through contact with cultivation, and 
by themselves — Racial distinctions — Half-breeds. 

The human race inhabits countries and islands in the temperate and torrid 
regions of the earth ; some part are found in the frigid zone of the northern 
hemisphere. Its place of abode forms a zone of varying breadth, lying between 
the extreme latitudes of 8o° north and 55 south. As regards the two great 
oceans, the northern shores of the Pacific (where Asia and America come within 
fifty miles of each other) form part of the inhabited region, as also a broad band 
in the middle, remarkable for the abundance of its habitable islands. On the 
other hand, the Atlantic, until the Scandinavian colonisation of the Faroes and 
Iceland, formed a broad gap in the belt of human habitation. We can thus 
distinguish in the inhabited world, the surface of which, not counting seas, may 
be taken at about fourteen millions of square miles, northern and southern borders 
formed by the uninhabitable ice-deserts of the polar regions, eastern and western 
borders, between which lies the Atlantic Ocean. The races dwelling in these 
confines look out into emptiness, and have not neighbours on every side, but 
when their settlements have been pushed far forwards, find themselves in an isolated 
position ; whence a lack in their case of ethnographical interest. On the other 
hand, some groups of races are so situated as to have enjoyed the important 
advantages of an intermediate position ; such are some of the races that we meet 


with in the Pacific, especially toward its northern border, in the districts bordering 
on the Mediterranean, in Central America. From the position and form of the 
inhabited world, it is clear that the northern hemisphere contains a larger number 
of persons than the southern ; that it offers wider districts to open up, with more 
sides of contact, of more various endowments, and therewith richer possibilities ; 
in short, that in position, form, and dimensions, it has from early time had all 
the advantages as regards the development of humanity. 

The distribution of man, and equally that of plants and animals, is based, in 
the northern hemisphere, on interdependence ; in the southern on separation. If 
we look at mankind as a whole, we can see that its northern members lie in a 
widespread mutually operative connection ; its southern in remote separation. If 
we look at the races, we find the Negroids belonging to the south, the Mongoloids 
and Whites to the north. Civilization has reached its highest developments north 
of the equator. We shall find similar contrasts in ethnography ; for example, the 
bowless races belong to the southern groups, whereas in the north we find bows 
and arrows, not only all over a broad zone, but on fundamentally the same model, 
from Lapland to East Greenland and Mexico. 

Eskimo bow made of bones (British Museum). 

The wide gap which the Atlantic Ocean opens in the zone of habitation has 
the effect of producing " fringe "-lands. Although a brisk intercourse from north 
to south, together with thickly-peopled regions at the back, and more favourable 
climates, have rendered these far less ethnographically destitute than the regions 
towards the poles, we still find that in Africa the highest development has been 
reached on the east coast, in America on the west, that is on the inner sides or 
those farthest from the Atlantic. The population of Africa has undoubted affini- 
ties with that of Asia, but shows no trace of any relations with America. But 
this connection extends farther, beyond the limits of the mainland of Asia to the 
great Asiatic islands ; it forms a great region of civilization between the northern 
and southern borders, which may be regarded as the western counterpart of that 
more easterly region extending across the Pacific into America. The great mark 
of distinction between the two portions lies in the use or non-use of iron. In the 
north, indeed, the western region encroaches upon the eastern ; but the contrast 
between north and south, ever-increasing, remains persistent past the point where it 
crosses the boundary between East and West. In their intersection we find the ex- 
pression of a great difference in antiquity between the former classification which is 
mainly anthropological, and the latter which is ethnographical. In the later develop- 
ment of races iron has unquestionably played an important part. The boundary 
between countries which do and do not use iron corresponds with those of other 
important regions of ethnographic distribution. Where there is no iron, cattle- 
breeding, the staple of which is oxen, buffaloes, sheep, goats, horses, camels, and 
elephants, is also unknown ; pigs and poultry also are seldom bred in lands 
without iron. The distinction in political and social relations goes far deeper. In 


America, Oceania, and Australia we have a much older stage of development : 
group -marriage, exogamy, mother -right, and clan -division ; in Europe, Africa, 
and Asia, the patriarchal system of the family, monogamy, states in the modern 
sense. Thus among mankind also east and west stand over against each other. 
America is the extreme east of the human race, and thus we may expect to find 
there older stages of development than in Africa and Europe, the extreme west. 

The distribution of races affords a far less simple picture. The Negroid is 
indeed essentially a southern race. Its northern limit is in Africa formed by the 
desert ; continued iu-Asia by lofty mountains ; reaches its only important extension 
beyond the northern tropic in the angle of the Indus, and retreats in Oceania to 
the south side of the equator. Thus we have a southern domain, belonging 
essentially to the geographical eastern hemisphere, of which the largest territories 
lie compact and altogether between the tropics and in the south temperate zone. 
In addition to their southern situation they are affected by the peculiar features 
of outline and surface which here prevail. The geographical opposition between 
north and south exists of course all the earth over ; but as a factor in ethno- 
graphical or anthropological distinctions it concerns only the so-called Old World 
and the parts adjacent, a fact which has a large share in producing the great 
variety in the appearance and form of men as we find them on this side, 
embracing every stage of development from the highest to the lowest. In 
America, on the contrary, we find one race both north and south, and no ethno- 
graphic distinctions of the magnitude which North and South Africa, North and 
South Asia, or Australia have to show. Anthropologically throughout, ethno- 
graphically in many portions, America belongs to the northern regions. 

On the other hand, in Africa and Asia the most important question bears 
upon the relations between north and south. A sharp distinction is here made 
by the different nature of the boundaries towards the north. Between the negroes 
and North Africa lies the desert, a large and substantial barrier. South Asia 
consists only of loosely connected parts, not sharply marked off from the north 
and middle regions. Above all, India has been subject to influences which 
distinguish it from Africa ; but both in customs and physical characteristics we 
^nd in Africa earlier, that is less modified, conditions of a development proceeding 
from the same origin as in India. Lastly, Malaysia shares with Madagascar and 
India in the invasion of offsets from northern races. 

Wherever dark and light races have been in contact, from the north-west point 
of Africa to Fiji, crossing has taken place between them. Such half-bred races, 
of most various degrees of intermixture, inhabit the Soudan, the Sahara, Southern 
and Central East Africa, Southern Arabia, Madagascar, southern India on both 
sides of the Bay of Bengal, and Australia. In southern Europe and the extreme 
of Polynesia we find isolated traces of negroid admixture. Only one well-defined 
race, thanks to its secluded position, has been able fully to develop itself. We 
refer to the Australians, who with their dark skins, stiff or curly hair, and long 
(dolichocephalic) heads appear to spring from a cross of Papuan with Malayo- 
Polynesian ancestors. The peculiarities (of which we do not know the origin) 
belonging to the Papuan type are also noticeable here ; and we have besides 
the tendency to degradation in the traces of a low stage of culture and a life of 

The water surface of the earth extends in the sea alone to almost three- 


quarters of the whole, so that all the land is an island in a sea nearly three times 
its size. The most widely separated portion of mankind must, even in the course of 
their movements in historical times, have been brought to the sea ; and before the 
invention of seafaring there must have been a time when the sea confined them 
to those regions which had been the cradle of the race. That invention, the 
earliest indications of which have long disappeared — for in all parts of the earth we 
find high development of the art side by side with ignorance of it — was the first 
thing that rendered possible the spread of mankind over almost all the habitable 

Fijian double canoe. (From a model in the Godeffroy Collection, Leipzig.) 

portions of the globe. In the most various parts of the earth we meet with the 
arts of shipbuilding and navigation in an advanced stage. This is most conspicuous 
in the Pacific, least so in the Atlantic. This irregular distribution is a sign of the 
ease with which the art is forgotten ; so that we must not from its absence in 
places, and the absence even of any memory of it, infer a continued or complete 
non-activity in regard to the sea. Even if we did not meet, in Hawaii and else- 
where, with traditions of larger and better vessels in former times, the close 
connection which subsists between a high social and political organisation and 
proficiency in seafaring would presume the possibility of a rapid retrogression 
in the latter. The Northmen sailed to Iceland, Greenland, America, in little boats 
which, perhaps, were not so good as those used by the Polynesians ; afterwards 
they lost sight of the land which had been their goal, and forgot the way to it. 
The very extent of the inhabited world at the present day, embracing as it does 


all habitable lands with the exception of a few remote and small islands, is in 
itself evidence for the antiquity of man. 

The broad expanse of waters opened to men a copious source of food, and for 
that reason caused the maritime regions to be most thickly peopled ; it also facili- 
tated intercourse between distant countries, which might have been impossible 
across lands inhabited by hostile races, and accordingly the higher civilization 
spread inland from the coasts. For this reason it has always exercised the 
remarkable influence upon men's thoughts which we see in the part played by 
the sea or lake-horizon in all images of the world that have ever been conceived. 
Most of these picture the earth as an island in a broad sea, and the future world 
as lying far off in the sea. Whether this be a land with a stream round it or an 
island in the evening glow, whether it be in a lake or in a river, or copious 
springs gush from it, or beardless youths constantly hold the water back from 
it, or whether, lastly, it is only that the way to it lies over the sea, it is not 
waterless land. The soul has to take its way across water ; hence the frequent 
occurrence of boat-formed coffins or even grave-stones, the burial in boats, or the 
little canoe used by the Dyaks as a sepulchral monument. 

Thus wherever the earth is habitable by man, we find peoples who are members 
of one and the same human race. The unity of the human genus is as it were 
the work of the planet Earth, stamped on the highest step of creation therein. 
There is only one species of man ; the variations are numerous, but do not go 
deep. Man is in the widest sense a citizen of the earth. Even to parts of the 
earth where he cannot remain he makes his way. He knows nearly the entire 
globe. Of all the beings attached to the ground he is one of the most locomotive. 
Individual movements are linked together, and one great movement, the substratum 
of which is all humanity, goes forward with time. As the linking is necessary 
and continuous, it raises individual movement to a position of higher significance. 
The ultimate result is not only a wider distribution, but also the increasing 
permeation of the portions that dwell within the habitable limits until a general 
agreement in essentials is attained. This affects the whole ; peculiarities adhere 
to localities. Thus we are entitled, in a scientific sense, to speak of the unity of 
the human race, if by unity we understand not uniformity but the community, 
shown by testimonies from every domain, of the life of different peoples, in a 
history embracing many thousands of years, as presupposed by the common basis 
Avhich nature has given. If there has been in the later historical period so rapid 
an acceleration in the pace at which culture has progressed, that certain groups 
seem to have advanced far beyond the remaining mass, there yet remains much 
of the common inheritance to be found among the highest as well as the lowest 
strata. And if it be inquired, what is the origin of this common inheritance, we 
can again point to the fact that restless movement is the stamp of mankind. In 
comparison with its strength and duration the earth is small ; a thousand 
generations of our ancestors, from the moment that ships were invented for the 
crossing of rivers and seas, were enabled, whether voluntarily or not, to wander 
round it. But that moment lies far behind us. Only a short-sighted conceit can 
regard the fact that, in the four centuries since the discovery of America, Europeans 
have spread far and wide over that continent their domestic animals and plants, 
their weapons and implements, above all their religion, as an unapproached 
phenomenon in the history of the world. Others besides Northmen discovered 


America before Columbus. The world that we pretentiously style " the New " 
must have been discovered from the westward many a time before the Pale Faces 
came from the east as the latest and definitive discoverers. If the Malays have 
spread over the 200° of longitude that separate Madagascar from Easter Island 
in a period which, as language and else shows, has not been going on for many 
centuries ; if, since the European discovery of America, individual tribes in that 
continent have changed their locality by over 2000 miles ; if over half Africa, 
within a belt 40 of latitude in width, a language is spoken with only differences 
of dialect equivalent to that between high and low German, we must grant that 
European civilization was not the first to set a girdle round the earth. The great 
and only distinction is that to-day that takes place deliberately which in former 
ages was the result of a dim impulse, such as in historic times acted on Alexander 
and Columbus, in prehistoric times on thousands of their predecessors. 

If we regard mankind as a body ever in movement, we cannot, as once was 
usual, look upon it as a union of species, sub-species, groups, races, tribes, rigidly 
separate from each other. As soon as ever a portion of mankind had learnt to 
plough the dissociating ocean, the mark was set for ever-progressing fusion. If 
we assume, with the majority of anthropologists at the present day, a single origin 
for man, the reunion, into one real whole, of the parts which have diverged after 
the fashion of " sports," must be regarded as the unconscious ultimate aim of 
these movements of mankind. This, in the limited space of the habitable world, 
must lead to permeation, and, as a consequence, to mingling, crossing, levelling. 
But again, as a similar organisation has spread among men, the possibility has 
increased of migration to places the most remote from the original abode ; and in 
the whole world there is hardly a frontier left which has not been crossed. In 
applying the comprehensive term " Wandering of the Nations," people are apt to 
overlook the individual, whose movements we must expressly declare are no less 

The numbers of mankind are closely dependent on their territory, since this 
exercises a great influence on their interior development, their distribution, their 
relations. The total figure, as now estimated, of 1,500,000,000 must be regarded 
as the result of a development never attained before. The development of 
modern conditions is in a higher measure than is usually believed connected with 
the increased replenishment of the earth. The organisation of races outside of 
the European and Asiatic sphere of civilization does not permit any density of 
population to exist. Small communities cultivating their narrow patches of 
ground are separated from each other by wide empty spaces which either serve 
for hunting-grounds or lie useless and vacant. These limit the possibilities of 
intercourse, and render large permanent assemblies of men impossible. Hunting 
races, among whom agriculture does not exist or tends to vanish, often dwell so 
thinly scattered that there will be only one man, frequently less, to 24 square miles. 
Where there is some agriculture, as among many Indian tribes, "among Dyaks, in 
Papua, we find from 1 o to 40 in the same area ; as it develops further, in Central 
Africa for instance, or the Malay Archipelago, from 100 to 300. In the north- 
west of America the fishing-races who live on the coast run to 100 in 20 square 
miles, and the cattle-keeping nomads to about the same. Where fishing and 
agriculture are combined, as in Oceania, we find as many as 500. The same 
figure is reached in the steppes of Western Asia by the partly settled, partly 


nomad population. Here we cross the threshold of another form of civilization. 
Where trade and industry combine to operate there is sustenance for 1 0,000 
persons (as in India and East Asia), or 15,000 (as in Europe) to 24 square miles. 

This enumeration shows at the lowest round of the ladder peoples belonging 
to the most different zones and countries. All races in a state of nature live 
thinly scattered ; civilized populations are marked by greater density. The 
former are more dependent on the soil than the latter ; in districts similarly 
endowed their distribution is as a rule similarly proportioned. The difference 
which we see between the well-cultivated but thinly-peopled corn-bearing areas 
and the thickly-inhabited districts of spade-cultivation are results of civilization. 

In density of population lies not only steadiness of and security for vigorous 
growth, but also the immediate means of promoting civilization. The closer men 
are in contact, the more they can impart to each other, the less does what is 
acquired by civilization go to waste, the higher does competition raise the activity 
of all their powers. The increase and maintenance of the numbers are intimately 
connected with the development of culture ; a population thinly scattered over a 
large district means low civilization, while in old or new centres of civilization we 
find the people in dense masses. China and India reckon their inhabitants at 
600,000,000, but an equivalent area of the intervening region of Central Asiatic 
nomads, Mongolia, Tibet, East Turkestan, cannot show a sixtieth of the number. 
Six-sevenths of the earth's inhabitants belong to civilized countries. 

While the history of the European nations for centuries past shows the same 
decided tendency to increase which we observe even in ancient times, the uncivilized 
races offer examples of shrinkage and retrogression such as we find in the case of the 
others, if at all, only lasting over a short period, and then as the result of casualties 
such as war and pestilence. The very thinness of the population is a cause of 
their decay ; their smaller numbers are more readily brought to the point of 
dwindling or vanishing. Rapid using-up of the vital powers is a characteristic of 
all the races in the lower stages of civilization. Their economical basis is narrow 
and incomplete, frugality only too often verges on poverty, scarcity is a frequent 
visitor, and all those measures of precaution with which sanitary science surrounds 
our life are lacking. In the struggle with the too powerful forces of nature, as in 
the Arctic regions or the steppe-districts of the southern hemisphere, on the confines 
of the inhabited world, they often succumb till they are completely wiped out, and 
a whole race perishes. It is quite a mistake to refer, as is often done, the extinc- 
tion of barbarous races, of which we hear so much, solely to contact with superior 
civilization. But closer consideration enables us to recognise self-destruction as a 
no less frequent case. The two work as a rule together ; neither would attain its 
end so quickly without the co-operation of the other. The basis of a healthy 
increase in population is an approximate balance of the sexes ; this among 
uncivilized people is generally disturbed, and the number of children small. War, 
murder, and kidnapping all contribute to reduce the population. Human life is 
of small value, as human sacrifices and cannibalism sufficiently indicate. Lastly, 
man in a state of nature is far from possessing that ideal health of which so many 
have fabled ; the negroes of Africa can alone be described as a robust race. 
Australians, Polynesians, Americans, on the other hand, are far more subject to 
diseases than civilized men are, and adapt themselves to new climates with difficulty. 
There is no question but that these peoples were in many districts slowly dying 


out by sickness before the appearance of Europeans. But no doubt the arrival of 
civilization disturbs society down to its roots. It contracts the available space, thus 
altering one of the conditions upon which, as we shall hereafter see, the peculiar 
social and political arrangements of races in a natural state were framed. It 
introduces wants and enjoyments which are not in harmony with the mode of 
living usual among these people, or their capacity for labour. It brings upon 
them diseases previously unknown, which on a new soil commit frightful ravages ; 
and inevitable quarrels and fighting besides. Over the larger territories, such as 
North America, Australia, New Zealand, the progress of civilization led to the 
crowding of the aboriginal races into the least favourable districts, and therewith 
to the diminution of their numbers. In the smaller, such as oceanic islands (but 
also in Cuba and Haiti), they have nearly died out, in some cases been absorbed 
by the stronger race, in any case they have disappeared. Where the greater 
toughness of the inferior race, or more favourable natural conditions, has delayed 
the process, as in any part of Africa, in North America, in Mexico, an intermixture, 
which will ultimately end no less in the abolition of the natives as an individual 
and independent race, is in progress. Great shiftings have already taken place, 
others are going on, and over wide districts, owing to these passive movements, 
it is impossible to think of the people as in a state of stability. As far as 95 ° of 
west longitude, North America can show only the debris of Indian tribes ; x in 
Victoria and New South Wales there are hardly a thousand aborigines left ; and 
it is only a question of time when Northern Asia, North America, Australia, and 
Oceania will be Europeanised. 

A thousand examples show that in all this change and movement the races 
cannot remain unaltered, and that even the most numerous, counting their hundreds 
of millions, cannot keep their footing in the tumult that surges around them. 
Inter-breeding is making rapid strides in all parts of the earth. From North and 
East Africa, Arabs and peoples of the Berber stock are pressing upon the Negroes, 
of whom the most remote tribes to the southern extremity of the continent show 
in their Semitic features how long these influences have been at work. In the 
place of the Hottentots we find the Bastaards, European half-breeds. In Canada 
nearly all the French settlements show traces of Indian blood ; in Central and 
South America the Mestizos and Mulattos are already stronger than the full- 
blooded Indians ; in Oceania, Malays and Polynesians are crossed with the Negro 
of the Pacific ; throughout Central Asia there is a mixture of Mongol, Chinese, and 
European blood, reaching far in the direction of Europe and affecting the whole 
north and east of one quarter of the globe. The greater bulk, quicker growth, and 
superiority in all conquering arts, which mark the more highly civilized races, give 
them, wherever climate is not unfavourable, the advantage in this process, and we 
can speak of an absorption of the lower by the higher even where the latter for 
the present are not in the majority. If there is any consolation in the universal 
disappearance of native races, it is the knowledge that a great part of them is 
being slowly raised by the process of intermixture. No doubt people like to 
repeat a statement, professedly based on old experience, that in half-breeds the 
vices of both parents predominate, but a glance at the national life of the present 
day is enough to show that Mulattos, Mestizos, Negro and Arab half-breeds 

1 [There is some doubt whether the actual number of North American Indians has much diminished. 
Rather the natural multiplication of the race has been checked.] 


Sandili, king of the Gaikas ; showing the Semitic type of the 
Kaffirs. (From a photograph by G. Fritsch. ) 

stand in America and in Africa at the head of Indians and Negroes. The 
mixture once begun continues to progress, and each fresh infusion of higher 
blood tends to reduce the interval by levelling up. We need only consider how 
nearly the Indians of Mexico and 
Peru have risen to the level of the 
people of European descent, from 
whom they seemed at the time of 
the Conquest to be separated by a 
bottomless chasm. 

If the history of the world 
shows a spread, interrupted indeed 
but ever progressing, of civilization 
throughout the earth, the natural 
numerical preponderance existing 
among civilized folk is an im- 
portant factor therein. The people 
who increase the more quickly pour 
out their surplus upon the others, 
and thus the influence of the higher 
culture, which itself was the cause 
or condition of the more rapid 
multiplication, gets spontaneously 
the upper hand. Thus the spread 
of civilization appears as a self- 
accelerating outgrowth over the 
world of civilizing races, ever striv- 
ing more completely to effect that 
unity of the human race which 
forms at once its aim and task, its 
desire and hope. 

In conclusion, if we seek to 
trace backward the road which the 
most important parts of mankind 
have followed, we find the starting- 
point to be the neighbouring exist- 
ence of several variations, or, as 
Blumenbach prefers, degenerated 
forms of the one human species. 
These were at first confluent at a 
few points only ; but, as intercourse 
increased, came more and more into 
contact, at last penetrating and 
mingling with each other to such 
a degree that no one of the original 
varieties now exists in the form 
once peculiar to it. What remains, however, leads us back to two great contrasted 
divisions which survive in the races of to-day, the Whites and Mongoloids in the 
northern hemisphere, the Negroes in the southern. These embrace the further 

AGallamonk: Hamitic or Semitic blend. (From a photo- 
graph in the collection of Pruner Bey. ) 


contrasts of continental compactness and oceanic disconnection ; of the world 
which is deeply interlaced with the north polar regions, and that which is cut off 
by the ocean from polar influences. The Negro races, whether in Africa, Asia, 
or the Pacific, may once have lived further north than they do now ; but, in any 
case, they always held the more southerly position under the impulse which has 
assigned to them this present place of abode. 


The conception of a natural or barbarous race— Progress and retrogression — Bodily differences — Civilized races 
— The brute in man — Wherein does the possession of culture consist ? — Common property of mankind 
in reason, language, religion — In the remaining elements of civilization the difference is only one of 

FIRST a word as to the name of " natural " races which we shall frequently 
have to use. They are those races who live more in bondage to, or in dependence 
on, nature than do those whom we call " cultured " or " civilized." What the 
name expresses is a distinction in mode of life, of mental talent, of historical 
position ; it assumes nothing and prejudices nothing in those directions, and is 
therefore doubly suitable for our purpose. For we shall perhaps have to make 
this neutral name contain what is in many respects so different a conception as 
that which the reader has been wont to attach to the term " savages." We 
speak of natural races, not because they stand in the most intimate relations with 
Nature, but because they are in bondage to Nature. The distinction between 
natural and cultured races is not to be sought in the degree, but in the kind of 
their association with Nature. Culture is freedom from Nature, not in the sense of 
entire emancipation, but in that of a more manifold and wider connection. The 
farmer who stores his corn in a barn is ultimately just as dependent on the soil of 
his fields as the Indian who reaps in the swamps the rice which he did not sow ; but 
the former feels the dependence less, since, owing to the provision which he had 
the wisdom to store up, the chain is longer and its pressure accordingly less severe ; 
while the latter is touched in the very sinews of life by every tempest which shakes 
the ears into the water. We do not become any the freer of Nature by our more 
thorough utilisation and exploration of her ; we only make ourselves less 
dependent on individual accidents of her being or of her course by multiplying the 
points of contact. It is just by reason of our civilization that we are actually 
to-day more dependent on her than any former generation. 

We must not content ourselves with contrasting natural and civilized races, 
and noticing the wide gap which seems to yawn between them ; our business is 
to propound the question : What is the position which the natural races hold 
among mankind ? For centuries this question has been treated with an indolence 
which, when its desire for facts, narratives, and descriptions was once appeased, felt 
no further necessity for establishing the relation of " savages " to the rest of the 
human race. These black and brown men were very strange, very curious ; it 
was highly interesting to read of them, and that was quite enough. We have no 
occasion to laugh at this attitude ; our own delight in descriptions of travel is 
much of the same sort. The more uncivilized the country, the more fascinating 



the talc. But the researches of Cook, Förster, Barrow, Lichtenstein, and so on, 
making, as even they did, some effort after a deeper insight into and clearer views 
of natural life, possessed for their contemporaries chiefly a romantic interest, and 
gave little subject of consideration to the philosophers. The only deeper emotion 
aroused by the increasing number, excellence, and popularity of works of travel 
towards the end of the last century consisted in the shaking of beliefs in that 
blissful state of nature which beautiful spirits after Rousseau venerated as the 
most desirable existence, only to be realised in the solitude of primeval forests, or 
on the shores of fortunate islands. It was sought, but never found. What a 
disillusion for hearts of sensibility such as were possessed by the readers of The 
Indian Wigwam^ or George Forstef's sketch of the paradisal Otaheitans. 

Slowly did the consideration of savage races make its way from the sphere of 
the emotions to that of the intellect ; and at the same time the estimate formed 
of these races sank a good deal lower, proportionately almost to the greater distance 
by which we are ahead of them rather in intellect than in those amiable dispositions 
and expressions which had hitherto been regarded with predilection. Then came 
into the world the idea of evolution, dividing races into strata ; whereby, as must be 
clearly pointed out, uncivilized races were, on the basis less of considered facts 
than of general sentiment, lumped together as a kind of heterogeneous foundation. 
One can understand the almost passionate need which was felt of providing 
supports in the world of actual fact for the bold edifice of the theory of evolution, 
and if we cannot ally ourselves at all points with this feeling, it would be unjust 
not to recognise that it has called forth, no less in the study of the life of races 
than in that of all life, a movement which is bringing fruitful truths to light. In 
every field the most difficult research is that into origins ; but it is just this once- 
neglected but most profound problem which the evolutionists have handled in 
ethnology as well as elsewhere with an admirable unity of purpose. Whether 
negative or positive, their results deserve our gratitude. To them is due the merit 
of having placed a rich array of facts at the disposal of science ; from the day 
when they took it in hand must we date the thorough research into what has been 
somewhat too hastily called the original conditions of the human race. 

While we are duly thankful for these pioneering achievements, we cannot 
reconcile ourselves to their conclusions. They look for origin and " development " 
everywhere. Are we not entitled, on scientific territory, to meet with a certain 
mistrust such a search, which knows so well beforehand what it is going to find ? 
Experience teaches us how near to this lies the danger of premature assumption. 
A man whose head is full of one possibility holds others very cheap. If the 
inquirer, steeped in the idea of evolution, finds a race which in several or even 
many respects is behind its neighbours, the "behind" is involuntarily converted 
into " below" ; it is regarded as on a lower round of the ladder by which mankind 
have ascended from their original state to the heights of civilization. That is the 
countermart of the one-sided, nay, extravagant notion that man came into the 
world a civilized being, but that a retrogressive degeneration has made him what 
we find to-day among " natural " races. Just as the idea of evolution found its 
chief adherents among physical students, so, for reasons which we can easily divine, 
did this notion of retrogression appeal to students of religion and language. 
Meanwhile it has at the present day been pushed far, in our view too far, into the 
background. Inquiry has far less to dread from it than from the opinion most 



decidedly opposed to it, of which the fundamental conception expressed in its 
basest and most abstract form would be somewhat as follows : "In mankind there 

exists only upward effort, 
progress, development ; 
no retreat, no decay, no 
dying out." Put in this 
way, do we not at once 
see how one-sided is 
such a way of looking 
at things ? It is true 
that only extremists go 
so far in this direction, 
and Darwin, who, as a 
great creator of ideas, 
held his views with the 
fullest sense of propor- 
tion, admits that many 
nations may undoubt- 
edly have gone back in 
their civilization, some 
even fallen into utter 
barbarism ; although, he 
cautiously adds, he has 
found no evidence for 
the latter case. But 
even he, in his Descent 
of Man, has not always 
been able to escape the 
temptation to imagine 
mankind more various 
in itself and reaching 
in its supposed lowest 
members more nearly 
down to the brute world 
than on cooler reflection 
appears possible. 

Here we see the two 
extreme conceptions of 
natural races. We can 
understand how funda- 
mentally different must 
be the resulting modes 
of considering every side 
of their existence, or 
estimating their past and 
future. For what difference can be greater than between a conception which 
assigns them this place far below us, where all the capacities which have matured 
on the long and difficult road between their position and ours are as yet unde- 

Young girl of the Mountain Damara tribe. (From a photograph 
belonging to the Barmen Mission. ) 


veloped, and one which regards them as it were on the same line with us, at an 
equal or similar stage of evolution, but robbed by ill-luck of a large part of their 
share of culture, and thus impoverished, miserable, and in arrear ? May we be 
permitted to examine the facts at first hand, and to approach a little nearer to 
the mean where the truth lies than it has been granted these hypotheses to do. 

The question which first occurs is that of innate physical distinctions, since 
these must enable us to form the most trustworthy conclusions as to the nature 
and magnitude of the general difference to be observed among mankind. But that 
is a matter of anatomy and physiology, and as such concerns the anthropologist 
rather than us. For separate facts and all wider excursions in the field our 
readers must be referred to books on the subject. From our ethnographical 
point of view, from which the great distinctions in human civilization, with their 
important results, are most clearly to be recognised, the first thing we wish is that 
the notion of culture -races, in respect of mankind, might be somewhat more 
thoroughly tested than has yet been done. It would, we may safely predict, be 
found first of all that qualities appear in the bodily frame of civilized races due 
to the fact of their civilization, just as on the other hand the bodies of natural 
races have certain features clearly indicating the operation of a mode of life 
marked by the lack of all that we are used to call culture. Gustav Fritsch, an 
anatomist who has studied the natural races in their natural state, asserts that 
the shapely development of the human body is only possible under the influence 
of civilization ; and readers of his descriptions of Hottentots, Bushmen, and even 
Kaffirs, will feel convinced that well-developed bodies, such as a sculptor would 
call beautiful, are rarer among them than among us, the " played-out " children of 
civilization. He states plainly in one place that the healthy, normally-developed 
German, both as to proportions and as to strength and completeness of form, 
surpasses in fact the average Bantu man. 1 The Bantus, we may add, are, in the 
Kaffir branch of which he is here speaking, one of the toughest and most powerful 
races of Africa. In recent times we have often heard similar judgments ; and 
the saying of an American ethnographer, that the Indians are the best model of 
the Apollo Belvedere, cannot pass even as a flower of speech. Deeper investiga- 
tions have shown differences in the skeleton referable in the one case to the 
influences of civilized, in the other to those of uncivilized, life. Virchow has 
plainly noted Lapps and Bushmen as " pathological " races, that is, impoverished 
and degraded by hunger and want. But the most important experiment for 
settling the value of racial distinctions — one for which the resources of science 
are too small, and only the history of the world suffices — is now for the first time 
in progress. The introduction of the so-called lower races into the circle of the 
higher civilization, and the overthrow of the barriers which once were raised high 
against such introduction, is not only a brilliant feat of humanity, but at the same 
time an event of the deepest scientific interest. For the first time millions of 
what was considered the lowest race — the blacks — have had all the advantages, 
all the rights and duties of the highest civilization thrown open to them ; nothing 
prevents them from employing all the means of self-formation which — and herein 
lies the anthropological interest of the process — will necessarily be transformation. 

1 [One .would be curious to see the result of a fight between equal forces of normally-developed Germans 
and average Zulus or Matabeles, firearms being barred. The question of relative beauty is one which each 
race will answer differently.] 



If we could say to-day with approximate certainty, what will become in the 
course of generations of the 12,000,000 of negro slaves who have within the 
last thirty years been freed in America, and who will, in the enjoyment of freedom 
and the most modern acquisitions of culture, have multiplied to 100,000,000, 
we could with certainty answer the question as to the effect of culture upon race- 
distinctions. But as it is, we must be content with hints and conjectures. 

It may be safely asserted that the study of comparative ethnology in recent 
years has tended to diminish the weight of the traditionally-accepted views of, 

anthropologists as to racial distinctions, and that in any 
case they afford no support to the view which sees in 
the so-called lower races of mankind a transition-stage 
from beast to man. The general similarity of man to 
the brutes in bodily structure cannot indeed be con- 
tested ; what we demur to is the assumption that 
individual portions of mankind are so much more like 
the beasts than others. In our study of people of 
whatever race we come upon traits that may be called 
bestial ; but this is only what was to be expected. Since 
man has retained in his bodily structure so close a 
resemblance to the apes that even the most recent 
classifiers have attached importance to this only, and 
might, without fear of blame for illogicality, recur to the 
old Linnaean grouping of the genus homo with the Apes 
in an order of Primates, a reduction of the spiritual 
element in human nature is quite enough to allow the 
bestial part of the material foundation to emerge in a 
pretty glaring form. We all, alas ! are familiar with 
the idea that a beast lies hidden in every man, and 
" brutality," " brutalisation," and other only too familiar 
terms, prove how frequently our fancy is called upon for 
corresponding images. When a starving family of Australian aborigines retrieves 
from the vulture a piece of carrion, which by all natural rights has long been his 
property, and flings itself like a pack of greedy jackals on its prey, gorging until 
repletion compels slumber, this testifies to a brutality in their mode of life which 
suppresses all movements of the soul. Nor are we surprised when African 
travellers can compare a startled swarm of Bushmen, who see an enemy in every 
stranger, black or white, with nothing else than a troop of chimpanzees or orangs 
in flight. We must not, however, let all our blows fall on these poor " natural " 
races who have on the whole no greater naturally-implanted tendency towards the 
bestial than we ourselves. There exist Europeans who are morally degraded 
below the level of the Australians. This sad faculty of being or becoming like 
the brutes is unhappily present in all men, in some a little more, in others a little 
less. Whether it manifests itself with more or less frequency and plainness 
depends merely upon the degree of acquired capacity for dissimulation, which 
often corresponds to that of civilization. But it is civilization alone which can 
draw any boundary between us and the " natural " races. We may declare in the 
most decided manner that the conception of " natural " races involves nothing 
anthropological or physiological, but is purely one of ethnography and civiliza- 

Steel Axe of European make with 
old bone handle, from New 
Zealand. (Christy Collection.) 



tion. Natural races are nations poor in culture. There may be peoples belonging 
to every race, endowed by nature in every degree, who either have not yet pro- 
gressed to civilization, or have retrograded in respect of it. The old Germans and 
Gauls appeared no less uncivilized beside Roman civilization than do Kaffirs or 
Polynesians beside ours ; and many a people which to-day is reckoned as a portion 
of civilized Russia was at the time of Peter the Great still in a state of nature. 

Ainu beside one of their store-huts. (From a photograph in the possession of Freiherr von Siebold, Vienna. 

The gap which differences of civilization create between two groups of human 
beings is in truth quite independent, whether in its depth or in its breadth, of the 
differences in their mental endowments. We need only observe what a mass of 
accidents has operated in all that determines the height of the stage of civilization 
reached by a people, or in the total sum of their civilization, to guard ourselves 
with the utmost care from drawing hasty conclusions as to their equipment either 
in body, intellect, or soul. Highly-gifted races can be poorly equipped with all that 
makes for civilization, and so may produce the impression of holding a low position 


among mankind. Chinese and Mongols belong to the same stock ; but what a 
difference in their civilization. This is even more apparent if, instead of the 
Mongols, we take any of the barbarian tribes which, in the frontier provinces of 
China, stand out like islands from a sea of more highly-civilized people, who lap them 
round and will soon overwhelm them. Or again, the latest researches make it 
probable that many of the Ainu, the aborigines of the northern island of Japan, stand 
nearer to the Caucasian than to the Mongolian stock. Yet they are a " natural " 
race, even in the eyes of Mongolic Japanese. Race as such has nothing to do with 
the possession of civilization. It would be silly to deny that in our own times 
the highest civilization has been in the hands of the Caucasian, or white, races ; 
but, on the other hand, it is an equally important fact that for thousands of years 
in all civilizing movements there has been a dominant tendency to raise all races 
to the level of their burdens and duties, and therewith to make real earnest of the 
great conception of humanity — a conception which has been proclaimed as a 
specially distinguishing attribute of the modern world, but of which many still do 
not believe in the realisation. But let us only look outside the border of the brief 
and narrow course of events which we arrogantly call the history of the world, and 
we shall have to recognise that members of every race have borne their part in 
the history which lies beyond, the history of primeval and pre-historic times. 


Natural and civilized races — Language and religion universal possessions — Races with and without history — ■ 
Reasons why many races are in a backward state — The development of civilization is a matter of hoarding 
— So-called semi-civilization — Material and spiritual elements in hoarded civilization — The material basis 
and the spiritual nucleus — -Natural conditions required for development — The part of agriculture and pasture 
in the development of civilized politics — Zones of civilization — -Loss of civilization. 

What is then the essential distinction which separates natural and civilized races ? 
Upon this question the evolutionist faces us with alacrity, and declares that it was 
done with long ago ; for who can doubt that the natural or savage races are the 
oldest strata of mankind now existing ? They are survivors from the uncultured 
ages out of which other portions of mankind, who have in the struggle for existence 
forced their way to higher endowments and have acquired a richer possession of 
culture, have long ago emerged. This assumption we meet with fthe question : 
Wherein then does this possession of culture consist ? Is not reason, the basis, 
nay, the source of it all, the common property of the human race ? To language 
and religion, as in some measure the noblest forms of expression, we must give 
the precedence over all others, and connect them closely with reason. In the fine 
expression of Hamann : " Without speech we could have had no reason, without 
reason no religion, and without these three essential components of our nature 
neither intelligence nor the bond of society." It is certain that language has 
exercised an influence reaching beyond our sight upon the education of the human 
spirit. As Herder says : " We must regard the organ of speech as the rudder of 
our reason, and see in talk the heavenly spark which gradually kindled into flame 
our senses and thoughts." No less certainly does the religion of the less civilized 
races contain in itself all the germs which arc hereafter to form the noble flowery 


forest of the spiritual life among civilized races. It is at once art and science 
theology and philosophy, so that that civilized life which strives from however 
great a distance to reach the ideal contains nothing which is not embraced by it. 
Of the priests of these races the saying holds good in the truest sense that they 
are the guardians of the divine mysteries. But the subsequent dissemination of 
these mysteries among the people, the popularising of them in the largest sense is 
the clearest and deepest-reaching indication of progress in culture. Now while no 
man doubts of the general possession of reason by his fellow-men of every race and 
degree, while the equally general 
existence of language is a fact, 
and it is not, as was formerly 
believed, the case that the more 
simply constructed languages 
belong to the lower races, the 
richest to those who stand high- 
est ; the existence of religion 
among savage races has been 
frequently doubted. It will be 
one of our tasks in the following 
pages to prove the unfounded- 
ness of this assumption in the 
light of many facts. For the 
present we will venture to as- 
sume the universality of at least 
some degree of religion. 

In matters connected with 
political and economical insti- 
tutions we notice among the 
natural races very great differ- 
ences in the sum of their 
civilization. Accordingly we 
have to look among them not 
only for the beginnings of 
civilization, but for a very great 
part of its evolution, and it is 
equally certain that these differences are to be referred less to variations in endow- 
ment than to great differences in the conditions of their development. Exchange 
has also played its part, and unprejudiced observers have often been more struck 
in the presence of facts by agreement than by difference. " It is astonishing," 
exclaims Chapman, when considering the customs of the Damaras, " what a 
similarity there is in the manners and practices of the human family throughout 
the world. Even here, the two different classes of Damaras practise rites in 
common with the New Zealanders, such as that of chipping out the front teeth 
and cutting off the little finger." It is less astonishing if, as the same traveller 
remarks, their agreement with the Bechuanas goes even further. Now since the 
essence of civilization lies first in the amassing of experiences, then in the fixity 
with which these are retained, and lastly in the capacity to carry them further or 
to increase them, our first question must be, how is it possible to realise the first 

Ambuella Drum. (After Serpa 

Igorrote Drum from Luzon. 
(From the collection of 
Dr. Hans Meyer.) 


fundamental condition of civilization, namely, the amassing a stock of culture in 
the form of handiness, knowledge, power, capital ? It has long been agreed that 
the first step thereto is the transition from complete dependence upon what 
Nature freely offers to a conscious exploitation, through man's own labour, 
especially in agriculture or cattle-breeding, of such of her fruits as are most 
important to him. This transition opens at one stroke all the most remote pos- 
sibilities of Nature, but we must always remember, at the same time, that it is still 
a long way from the first step to the height which has now been attained. 

The intellect of man and also the intellect of whole races shows a wide dis- 
crepancy in regard to differences of endowment as well as in regard to the different 
effects which external circumstances produce upon it. Especially are there varia- 
tions in the degree of inward coherence and therewith of the fixity or duration of 
the stock of intellect. The want of coherence, the breaking-up of this stock, 
characterises the lower stages of civilization no less than its coherence, its inalien-' 
ability, and its power of growth do the higher. We find in low stages a poverty 
of tradition which allows these races neither to maintain a consciousness of their 
earlier fortunes for any appreciable period nor to fortify and increase their stock 
of intelligence either through the acquisitions of individual prominent minds or 
through the adoption and fostering of any stimulus. Here, if we are not entirely 
mistaken, is the basis of the deepest-seated differences between races. The 
opposition of historic and non-historic races seems to border closely upon it. 
But are historical facts therefore lost to history when their memory has not been 
preserved in writing ? The essence of history consists in the very fact of 
happening, not in the recollecting and recording what has happened. We should 
prefer to carry this distinction back to the opposition between national life in its 
atoms and national life organised, since the deepest distinction seems to be 
indicated by internal coherence which occurs in the domain of historical fact, and 
therefore mainly in the domain of intellect. The intellectual history of mankind 
no less than the social and political is in the first place a progression from 
individual to united action. And in truth it is in the first place external nature 
upon which the intellect of man educates itself, seeing that he strives to put 
himself towards it in an attitude of recognition, the ultimate aim of which is the 
construction within himself of an orderly representation of Nature, that is the 
creation of art, poetry, and science. 

Showing as they do every possible variety of racial affinity, the " natural " 
races cannot be said to form a definite group in the anatomical or anthropological 
sense. Since in the matter of language and religion they share in the highest 
good that culture can offer, we must not assign them a place at the root of the 
human family-tree, nor regard their condition as that of a primitive race, or of 
childhood. There is a distinction between the quickly ripening immaturity of the 
child and the limited maturity of the adult who has come to a stop in many 
respects. What we mean by " natural " races is something much more like the 
latter than the former. We call them races deficient in civilization, because 
internal and external conditions have hindered them from attaining to such 
permanent developments in the domain of culture as form the mark of the true 
civilized races and the guarantees of progress. Yet we should not venture to 
call any of them cultureless, so long as none of them is devoid of the primitive 
means by which the ascent to higher stages can be made — language, religion, fire, 


weapons, implements ; while the very possession of these means, and many others 
such as domestic animals and cultivated plants, testifies to varied and numerous 
dealings with those races which are completely civilized. 

Queensland Aborigines. (From a photograph. 

The reasons why they do not make use of these gifts are of many kinds. 
Lower intellectual endowment is often placed in the first rank. That is a 
convenient, but not quite fair explanation. Among the savage races of to-day 
we find great differences in endowments. We need not dispute that in the course 


of development races of even slightly higher endowments have got possession of 
more and more means of culture, and gained steadiness and security for their 
progress, while the less-endowed remained behind. But external conditions, in 
respect to their furthering or hindering effects, can be more clearly recognised and 
estimated ; and it is juster and more logical to name them first. We can conceive 
why the habitations of the savage races are principally to be found on the extreme 
borders of the inhabited world, in the cold and hot regions, in remote islands, in 
secluded mountains, in deserts. We understand their backward condition in parts 
of the earth which offer so few facilities for agriculture and cattle-breeding as 
Australia, the Arctic regions, or the extreme north and south of America. In the 
insecurity of incompletely developed resources, we can see the chain which hangs 
heavily on their feet, and confines their movements within a narrow space. As a 
consequence, their numbers are small, and from this again results the small total 
amount of intellectual and physical accomplishment, the rarity of eminent men. 
the absence of the salutary pressure exercised by surrounding masses on the 
activity and forethought of the individual, which operates in the division of 
society into classes, and the promotion of a wholesome division of labour. A 
partial consequence of this insecurity of resources is the instability of natural 
races. A nomadic strain runs through them all, rendering easier to them the utter 
incompleteness of their unstable political and economical institutions, even when 
an indolent agriculture seems to tie them to the soil. Thus it often comes about 
that in spite of abundantly-provided and well-tended means of culture, their life is 
desultory, wasteful of power, unfruitful. This life has no inward consistency, no 
secure growth ; it is not the life in which the germs of civilization first grew up to 
the grandeur in which we frequently find them at the beginnings of what we call 
history. It is full rather of fallings-away from civilization, and dim memories 
from civilized spheres which in many cases must have ^existed long before the 
commencement of history as we have it. If, in conclusion, we are to indicate 
concisely how we conceive the position of these races as compared with those to 
which we belong, we should say, from the point of view of civilization these races 
form a stratum below us, while in natural parts and dispositions they stand in 
some respects, so far as can be seen, on a level with us, in others not much lower. 
But this idea of a stratum must not be understood in the sense of forming the 
next lower stage of development through which we ourselves had to pass, but as 
combined and built up of elements which have remained persistent, mingled with 
others which have been pushed aside or dropped into the rear. There is thus a 
strong nucleus of positive attributes in the " natural " races ; and therein lies the 
value and advantage of studying them. The negative conception which sees only 
what they lack in comparison with us is a short-sighted under-estimate. 

By the word " civilization " or " culture " we denote usually the sum of all the 
acquirements at a given time of the human intelligence. When we speak of 
stages, of higher and lower, of semi-civilization, of civilized and " natural " races, we 
apply to the various civilizations of the earth a standard which we take from the 
degree that we have ourselves attained. Civilization means our civilization. Let 
us assume that the highest and richest display of what we conceive by the term is 
to be found among ourselves, and it must appear of the highest importance for 
the understanding of the thing itself to trace back the unfolding of this flower to 
its germ. We shall only attain our aim of getting an insight into the nature and 


essence of civilisation when we understand the impelling force which has evolved 
it from its first beginning". 

Every people has intellectual gifts, and develops them in its daily life. Each 
can claim a certain sum of knowledge and power which represents its civilization. 
But the difference between the various " sums of acquirement of the intelligence " 
resides not only in their magnitude, but in their power of growth. To use an 
image, a civilized race is like a mighty tree which in the growth of centuries has 
raised itself to a bulk and permanency far above the lowly and transitory condition 
of races deficient in civilization. There are plants which die off every year, and 
others that from herbs become mighty trees. The distinction lies in the power 
of retaining, piling up, and securing the results of each individual year's growth. 
So would even this transitory growth of savage races — which have in fact been 
called the undergrowth of peoples — beget something permanent, draw every new 
generation higher towards the light, and afford it firmer supports in the achieve- 
ments of predecessors, if the impulse to retain and secure were operative in it. 
But this is lacking ; and so it befalls that all these plants destined for a larger 
growth remain on the ground and perish in misery, striving for the air and light 
which above they might have enjoyed to the full. Civilization is the product of 
many generations of men. 

The confinement, in space as in time, which isolates huts, villages, races, no 
less than successive generations, involves the negation of culture ; in its opposite, 
the intercourse of contemporaries and the interdependence of ancestors and 
successors, lies the possibility of development The union of contemporaries 
secures the retention of culture, the linking of generations its unfolding. The 
development of civilization is a process of hoarding. The hoards grow of them- 
selves so soon as a retaining power watches over them. In all domains of 
human creation and operation we shall see the basis of all higher development 
in intercourse. Only through co-operation and mutual help, whether between 
contemporaries, whether from one generation to another, has mankind succeeded in 
climbing to the stage of civilization on which its highest members now stand. On 
the nature and extent of this intercourse the growth depends. Thus the numerous 
small assemblages of equal importance, formed by the family stocks, in which the 
individual had no freedom, were less favourable to it than the larger communi- 
ties and states of the modern world, with their encouragement to individual 

. As the essential feature in the highest development of culture, we note the 
largest and most intimate interdependence among themselves and with past 
generations of all fellow-strivers after it ; and as a result of it, the largest possible 
sum of achievement and acquisition. Between this and the opposite extreme lie 
all the intermediate stages which we comprise under the name " semi-civilization." 
This notion of a " half-way house " deserves a few words. When we see energetic- 
ally at work in the highest civilization the forces which retain, as well as those 
concerned with extending and reshaping, the building, in semi-civilization it is 
essentially the former which are called into most activity, while the latter remain 
behind and thereby bring about the inferiority of that state of things. The one- 
sidedness and incompleteness of semi-civilization lie on the side of intellectual 
progress, while on the material side development sets in sooner. Two hundred 
years ago, when Europe and North America had not yet taken the giant's stride 


which steam, iron, and electricity have rendered possible, China and Japan caused 
the greatest astonishment to European travellers by their achievements in 
agriculture, manufactures, and trade, and even by their canals and roads, which 
have now fallen far towards dilapidation. But Europeans, and the daughter races 
in America and Australia, have in the last two hundred years not only caught up 
this start, but gone far ahead. Here we may perceive the solution of the riddle 
presented by Chinese civilization, both in the height it has reached and its 
stationary character, and indeed by all semi-civilization. What but the light in 
free intellectual creation has made the west so far outrun the east ? Voltaire 
hits the point when he says that Nature has given the Chinese the organs for 
discovering all that is useful to them but not for going any further. They have 
become great in the useful, in the arts of practical life ; while we are indebted to 
them for no one deeper insight into the connection and causes of phenomena, for 
no single theory. 

Does this lack arise from a deficiency in their endowments, or does it lie in 
the rigidity of their social and political organisation, which favours mediocrity and 
suppresses genius ? Since it is maintained through all changes of their organisa- 
tion, we must decide for the defect in their endowments, which also is the sole 
cause of the rigidity in their social system. No doubt the future alone can give 
a decisive answer, for it will in the first place have to be shown whether and how 
far these races will progress on the ways of civilization which Europe and North 
America vie in pointing out to them ; for there has long been no doubt that they 
will or must set foot on them. But we shall not come to the solution of this 
question if we approach it from the point of view of complete civilization, which 
sees in the incompleteness of China and Japan the signs of a thoroughly lower 
stage of the whole of life, and frequently at the same time signs of an entire 
absence of hope in all attempts at a higher flight. If they possess in themselves 
only the capacities for semi-civilization, the need of progress will bring more powerful 
organs to their head and gradually modify the mass of the people by immigration 
from Europe and North America. This process may have first raised to its present 
height many a civilized race of to-day ; we may refer to the Russians and 
Hungarians, and to the fact that millions of German and other immigrants have 
stimulated in many ways the progress of these semi-Mongols in Europe. 

The sum of the acquirements of civilization in every stage and in every race 
is composed of material and intellectual possessions. It is important to keep 
them apart, since they are of very different significance for the intrinsic value of 
the total civilization, and above all for its capacity of development. They are not 
acquired with like means nor with equal ease, nor simultaneously. The material 
lies at the base of the intellectual. Intellectual creations come as the luxury 
after bodily needs are satisfied. Every question, therefore, as to the origin of 
civilization resolves itself into the question : what favours the development of its 
material foundations ? Now here we must in the first place proclaim that when 
the way to this development is once opened by the utilisation of natural means 
for the aims of man, it is not Nature's wealth in material but in force — or rather, to 
put it better, in stimulus to force, — which must be most highly estimated. The 
gifts of Nature most valuable for man are those through which his latent 
sources of force are thrown open in permanent activity. Obviously this can 
least be brought about by that wealth or so-called bounty of Nature which spares 


him certain labours that under other circumstances would be necessary. The 
warmth of the tropics makes the task of housing and clothing himself much 
lighter than in the temperate zone. If we compare the possibilities which Nature 
can afford with those that dwell in the spirit of man, the distinction is very 
forcible, and lies mainly in the following directions. The gifts of Nature in them- 
selves are in the long run unchangeable in kind and quantity, but the supply of 
the most necessary varies from year to year and cannot be reckoned on. They 
are bound up with certain external circumstances, confined to certain zones, 
particular elevations, various kinds of soil. Man's power over them is originally 
limited by narrow barriers which he can widen but never break down by develop- 
ing the forces of his intellect and will. His own forces, on the contrary, belong 
entirely to him. He cannot only dispose of their application but can also 
multiply and strengthen them without any limit that has, at least up to the 
present, been drawn. Nothing gives a more striking lesson of the way in which 
the utilisation of Nature depends upon the will of man than the likeness of the 
conditions in which all savage races live in all parts of the earth, in all climates, 
in all altitudes. 

It is due to no accident that the word " culture " also denotes the tillage of the 
ground. Here is its etymological root ; here, too, the root of all that we under- 
stand by it in its widest sense. 1 The storage by means of labour of a sum of 
force in a clod of earth is the best and most promising beginning of that non- 
dependence upon Nature which finds its mark in the domination of her by the 
intellect. It is thus that link is most easily added to link in the chain of develop- 
ment, for in the yearly repetition of labour on the same soil creative force is 
concentrated and tradition secured ; and thus the fundamental conditions of 
civilization come to birth. 

The natural conditions which permit the amassing of wealth from the fertility 
of the soil and the labour bestowed thereon, are thus undoubtedly of the greatest 
importance in the development of civilization. But it is unsafe to say with Buckle 
that there is no example in history of a country that has become civilized by its 
own exertions without possessing some one of those conditions in a highly 
favourable form. For the first existence of mankind, warm moist regions blessed 
with abundance of fruits were unquestionably most desirable, and it is easiest to 
conceive of the original man as a dweller in the tropics. But, on the other hand, 
if we are to conceive of civilization as a development of human forces upon Nature 
and by means of Nature, this can only have come about through some compulsion 
setting man amid less favourable conditions where he had to look after himself 
with more care than in the soft cradle of the tropics. This points to the temperate 
zones, in which we may no less surely see the cradle of civilization than in the 
tropics that of the race. In the high plateaux of Mexico and Upper Peru we 
have land less fruitful than the surrounding lowlands, and accordingly in these 
plateaux we find the highest development in all America. Even now, with 
cultivation carried to a high pitch, they look as dry and barren as steppes 
compared with the luxuriant natural beauties of many places in the lowlands, 
or on the terraces not a day's journey distant. In tropical and sub-tropical 

1 [Of course its employment to denote the cultivation or refinement of the mind and manners (which though 
found in classical Latin seems comparatively recent in English) is a mere metaphor, without any suggestion of 
the fact noticed in this paragraph.] 


countries the fertility of the soil generally diminishes at high elevations, and in 
whatever climatic conditions, high plateaux are never so fruitful as lowland, hilly 
countries, and mountain slopes. Now these civilizations were both situated on 
high plateaux ; of that in Mexico, the centre and capital, Tenochtitlan — the 
modern city of Mexico — lay at a height of 7560 feet, while Cuzco, in Peru, 
is no less than 11,500. In both these regions temperature and rainfall are 
considerably lower than in the greater part of Central and South America. 

This brings us to the recognition of the fact that, though civilization in its 
first growth is intimately connected with the cultivation of the soil, as it develops 
farther there is no necessary relation between the two. As a nation grows its 
civilization sets itself free from the soil, and, in proportion as it develops, creates 
for itself ever fresh organs which serve for other purposes than enabling it to take 
root. One might say that in agriculture there resides a natural weakness, which 
may be explained not only through want of familiarity with weapons, but through 
the desire of possession and a settled life enfeebling to courage and enterprise. 
We find, on the contrary, the highest expression of political force among the 
hunter and shepherd races, who are in many respects the natural antipodes of the 
agriculturists — the shepherds especially, who unite agility with the faculty of 
moving in masses, and discipline with force. The very faculties which are a 
hindrance to the agriculturist in developing that power, can here be turned to 
advantageous account, — the absence of settled abode, mobility, the exercise of 
strength, courage, and skill with weapons. And, as we look over the earth, we find 
that in fact the firmest organisations among the so-called semi-civilized races result 
from a blend of these elements. The distinctly agricultural Chinese have been 
ruled first by the Mongols, then by the Mantchus ; the Persians by sovereigns 
from Turkestan ; the Egyptians successively by Hyksos, or shepherd kings, Arabs, 
and Turks — all nomadic races. In Central Africa the nomadic Wahuma founded 
and maintained the stable states of Uganda and Unyoro, while in the countries 
that surround the Soudan every single state was founded by invaders from the 
desert. In Mexico the rougher Aztecs subdued the more refined agricultural 
Toltecs. In the history of places in the borderland between the steppe and 
cultivated lands a series of cases will be found establishing this rule, which may 
be recognised as a historical law. Thus the reason why the less fertile high 
plateaux and the districts nearest to them have been so favourable to the develop- 
ment of higher civilization and the formation of civilized states, is not because they 
offered a cooler climate and consequent inducement to agriculture, but because they 
brought about the union of the conquering and combining powers of the nomads 
with the industry and labour of the agriculturists who crowded into the oases of 
cultivation but could not form states. That lakes have played a certain part as points 
(Tappni and centres of crystallisation for such states, as seen in the cases of Lake 
Titicaca in Peru, the lagoons of Tezcoco and Chalco in Mexico, Lakes Ukerewe 
and Tchad in the interior of Africa, is an interesting but less essential phenomenon. 

Beyond the historic operation of climatic peculiarities in favouring or checking 
civilization, differences of climate interfere most effectually by producing large 
regions where similar conditions prevail — region's of civilization which are disposed 
like a belt round the globe. These may be called civilized zones. The real zone 
of civilization, according to all the experience which history up to the present day 
puts at the disposal of mankind, is the temperate. More than one group of facts 


corroborates this. The most important historical developments, most organically 
connected, most steadily progressing in and by means of this connection, and 
externally most exciting, belong to this zone. That it was no accident which made 
the heart of ancient history beat in this zone on the Mediterranean Sea, we may 
learn from the persistency of the most effective historical development in the 
temperate zone even after the circle of history had been widened beyond Europe, 
ay, even after the transplantation of European culture to those new worlds which 
sprang up in America, Africa, and Australia. No doubt an 
infinite number of threads are plaited into this great web ; 
but since all that races do rests ultimately upon the deeds of 
individuals, the one which has been most fruitful in results is 
undoubtedly the crowding together in the temperate zone of 
the greatest possible number of individuals most capable of 
achievement, and the arrangement in succession and compre- 
hension of the individual civilized districts in one civilized 
belt, where the conditions were most favourable to inter- 
course, exchange, the increasing and securing of the store of 
culture ; where, in other words, the maintenance and develop- 
ment of culture could display its activity on the largest 
geographical foundation. 

Old semi -civilizations, whose relics we meet with in 
tropical countries, belong to a period when civilization did 
not make such mighty demands upon the labours of indi- 
viduals, and when for that very reason its blossom sooner 
faded. A study of the geographical extension of old and 
new civilization seems to show that as the tastes of civiliza- 
tion grew, the belt comprising it shrank into the regions 
where the great capacity for achievement co-existed with the 
temperate climates. This observation is important for the 
history of the primitive human race and of its extension, and 
for the interpretation of the relics of civilization in tropical 
countries. Another mode in which civilization may perish is 
through the absorption of higher races by lower, who profit 
by the advantage of better adaptation to conditions of hard- 
ship. The despised Skraelings have merged themselves in 
the Northmen of Greenland. And has not every group of 
Europeans that has penetrated the Arctic ice-wastes, during 
the period of its stay in those dreary fields, been obliged to accustom itself 
to Eskimo habits, and to learn the arts and dexterities of the Arctic people in 
order successfully to maintain the fight with Nature's powers in the Polar zone ? 
But so has many a bit of colonisation on tropical and polar soil ended in falling 
to the^evel of the wants of the natives. The colonising power of the Portuguese 
in Africa, the Russians in Asia, lies in their ability to do this more effectually 
than their competitors. 

Yet a civilization, self-contained and complete, even with imperfect means, is 
morally and aesthetically a higher phenomenon than one which is decomposing in 
the process of upward effort and growth. For this reason the first results of the 
contact between a higher and a lower civilization are not delightful where the 

Indian Mirror from Texas. 
(Stockholm Ethnograph- 
ical Museum. ) 



higher is represented by the scum of a world, the lower by people complete in a 
narrow space and contented with the filling up of their own narrow circle. Think 
of the first settlements of whalers and runaway sailors in countries rich in art and 
tradition like New Zealand and Hawaii, and of the effects produced by the first 
brandy-shop and brothel. In the case of North America, Schoolcraft first pointed 
out the rapid decay which befell all native industrial activity as a result of the 
introduction by the white men of more suitable tools, vessels, clothing, and so 
forth. European trade provided easily everything which hitherto had had to be 
produced by dint of long-protracted, wearisome labour ; 1 and native activity not 
only fell off in the field where it had achieved important results, but saw itself 
weakened, and lost the sense of necessity and self-reliance, and so in course of 
time art itself perished. As we know, the same is going on to-day in Polynesia, 
in Africa, and among the poorest Eskimo. In Africa it is a declared rule that on 
the coast you have a region of decomposition, behind that a higher civilization, 
and the best of all in the untouched far interior. Even the art of Japan, 
independent as it was, deteriorated after a glimpse of artistically inferior European 


Language is a universal faculty of modern mankind — Power of natural races to learn languages — Changes in 
languages — Is there a relation between racial and linguistic peculiarities ? — Origin, growth, and decay of 
language — Fossil words : dialect and language — Relation between language and degree of civilization — • 
Poor and rich languages — Modes of expressing number and colour — Gesture — Speech — Writing. 

" Man is so endowed, so circumstanced, and such is his history, that speech is 
everywhere and without exception his possession. And as speech is the property 
of all men, so is it the privilege of humanity; only man possesses speech." 
Thus Herder; and we may add that mankind possesses it in no materially different 
measure. Every people can learn the language of every other. We see daily 
examples of the complete mastery of foreign languages, and therein the civilized 
races have no absolute superiority over the savage. Many of the persons in high 
position in Uganda speak Swahili, some Arabic ; many of the Nyamwesi have 
learnt the same language. In the trading centres of the West African coast 
there are Negroes enough who know two or three languages ; and in the Indian 
schools in Canada nothing astonishes the missionaries so much as the ease with 
which the youthful Redskin picks up French and English. 

The media of language, sounds no less than the accompanying gestures, are 
very similar all the earth over ; and the inner structure of language not very 
discrepant. It may be said that human language is one at the root, which strikes 
deep into the human mind ; but it has parted into many very various branerüs and 
twigs. Innumerable languages, diverging from each other in every degree, dialects, 
sister and daughter languages, independent families of languages, fill the homes 
and homesteads of mankind with varied tones. Some races can still pretty well 
understand each other ; in some languages, a little farther removed, even a 

1 [Cf. Lang, Myth, Ritual, and Religion, vol. i. p. 187, "He created the white man to make tools for 
the poor Indians," said the Winnibagoes to a white inquirer.] 



superficial observer detects similarities ; in others these lie so deep that only 
science can find them. Lastly, a great number are to all appearance quite 
different — not only in the words but in their structure, in the relations they 
express, the parts of speech which they distinguish. But these distinctions are 
by no means associated with mental differences in the speakers. Individuals of every 
variety of endowment use the same language, while minds equally endowed and 
working on the same lines cannot make themselves understood to each other. 
Xor does language go with geographical, often not with racial, distinctions. How 
much wider is the gap between the Englishman and the English-speaking Negro 
than that between the Chinese and the Micronesian who linguistically is so far 
from him ! The importance of language to ethnology must be sought elsewhere 
than in proof of racial affinity based on affinity of speech. Language must 
always appear as the preliminary condition to all the work of civilization among 
mankind. It may be called the first and most important, even the characteristic, 
implement of man. But, like every other tool, it is liable to alteration. In the 
course of centuries a word can assume very various meanings, can disappear 
altogether, can be replaced by some expressly-invented word, or one taken from 
another language. Like a tool, it is laid aside and taken up again. Not only 
do individuals lose their mother-tongue, like Narcisse Pelletier who, after twelve 
years in the Australian bush, became himself a savage, or the Akka Mianis who, 
brought as boys to Italy, had in a few years wholly forgotten their native speech ; 
but whole races abandon one language and take to another, as if it were a suit of 
clothes. Some of the acquirements of civilization are more permanent than language, 
as the science of cattle-breeding. If the comparative study of religion teaches us 
that the names change while the thing remains, we may find here good evidence for 
the higher degree of changeableness shown by language in comparison with other 
ethnographic characteristics. We should not think it necessary to linger over 
a point so obvious to all who know anything about the life of races, were it not 
that linguistic classification is still apt to be mixed up with anthropology and 
ethnography. Even so great an authority on philology as Lepsius has found 
it necessary to protest against the notion that races and languages correspond in 
origin and affinities, as is still far too largely supposed. " The diffusion and 
mingling of races goes its way : that of languages, though constantly affected by 
the other, its own — often very different. Languages are the most individual 
creation of races, often the most immediate expression of their minds ; but they 
often escape from their creators, and overspread great foreign peoples and races, 
or die out, while those who formerly used them live on, speaking quite other 
tongues." It is clear that in the light of such deeper considerations, conceptions 
like that of an Indo-Germanic race, a Semitic race, a Bantu race, are not only 
valueless, but to be wholly rejected as misleading ; and that, incalculably great as 
may have been the value and influence of languages as a support and staff in the 
mental development of mankind, their importance as an indication of distinctions 
within mankind is uncommonly small. While hunting-savages like the Bushmen 
speak a finely-constructed and copious language, we find among the race which has 
developed the highest and most permanent civilization of Asia what, according to 
evolutionary views, must be a most simple language, — the uninflected Chinese 
with its 450 root words, which may be put together like pieces in a puzzle and 
taken apart again, remaining all the time unaltered. Under these circumstances 


it is no doubt possible to make a pedigree of languages, but we cannot be expected 
to believe that anything is thereby gained towards the pedigree of mankind, when 
we find a poorly organised language spoken by one of the highest races, and a 
highly organised one by one of the lowest. The newer philology appears indeed 
to promise less than formerly in the way of a universal pedigree of languages. 
Monosyllabic speech, which once grew at the root of the tree of language, is now 
thought to owe its poverty and stiffness rather to retrogression than to undevelop- 
ment, while the South African clicks, once compared with the chatter of birds and 
other animals, are now regarded less as survivals from the brute than as the 
characteristic expression of linguistic indolence and decay. We hear no more 
about remains of the primitive speech, but see in this domain only development 
and retrogression. 

The universality of language is the simple result of the fact that all portions 
of mankind have existed long enough to develop the germs of their capacity for 
speech to the point at which we can apply the term language. Not only 
Haeckel's Alali has long passed into oblivion ; all his successors with their 
imperfect or childish speech are no more. But here the universalness extends 
farther ; modern languages are organised to a very similar pitch. Herein 
language is like certain universal arts or implements, which are just as good 
among savage as among civilized folk. Does not the like hold good with the 
universal spread of the religious idea, the artistic impulse, the simpler utensil ? 
At the basis of speech lies the desire to impart ; it is thus the product not of the 
single man but of Man in society and history. For the sake of and by means of 
imparting we acquire our earliest knowledge : it develops and enriches the 
language ; it creates its unity by limiting the exuberance of dialectic variations. 
We speak, to be understood ; we hear and learn, to understand ; we speak as is 
intelligible, as others do, not as we ourselves want to do. So far speech is the 
dearest and most universal sign of the important effect of social life in limiting 

All languages now existing are old in themselves or descended from old 
families ; all bear the traces of historic development ; all are far from their first 
origin, and for their interpretation philology has now laid aside the " bow-wow " 
theory. Itself drawn from the mobile mouth of the living man, and remaining 
close to the mind, the starting-point of living expression, language bears the 
stamp of life, constant change. Even if it survives the generations of those who 
spoke it, yet it lives with them and undergoes changes ; dying at last itself. The 
old Egyptian died even before the Egyptian civilization ; old Greek did not long 
survive the independent existence of the Greek race ; Latin fell with Rome. 1 
These three languages did not die childless ; they survive in Coptic, Modern 
Greek, and the Romance languages respectively. More rarely do languages perish 
without successors as Gothic has done. Yet even this has been survived by 
languages nearly akin to it, which represent the family. Basque, standing solitary 

1 [This statement seems to need qualification. Müller and Donaldson give several pages of names of "old" 
Greek authors subsequent to B.C. 146, including Meleager, Dionysius, Strabo, Philo Judaeus, Epictetus, Plutarch, 
Appian, Galen, Lucian, Clement, Eusebius, Chrysostom, Longus, Anna Comnena, Demetrius Chalcondyles. 
As to Latin, if we knew when the " fall of Rome " occurred we could better test the accuracy of the illustration. 
Certainly the language continued to thrive for nearly 1000 years after the removal of the Emperor's residence 
to Byzantium. But to say that a language dies is a misleading metaphor. No one generation notices any 
material change.] 



as it does with no near kinship to any contemporary tongue, will die, and with it 
a primeval family will become extinct. It is only # the mutability of languages 
that prevents us from seeing in them the characteristic marks of an old connection, 
the support of that uniformity which we find in myths and material objects. 
Yet we venture to predict that success will one day attend the effort to ascertain 
the elements of speech in their world-wide distribution. 

Meantime in the life of every language a gradual dying off and renewal is 
taking place in many forms. Words become obsolete, pass out of use, or survive 
only in religion and poetry. It has been pointed out that since 161 i, 388 words 
have become obsolete in English. There are besides innumerable changes in 
pronunciation, spelling, and meaning. Old forms of speech still in use, but long 
become unintelligible, are frequent in the unthinking life of the natural races. 
Thus a Fijian in battle challenging his opponent, shouts Sai tava ! Sat tava ! Ka 
yau mat ka yavia a bure, that is " Cut up ! Cut up ! the temple receives." 
But no man knows what the words mean, though they are held to be very 
ancient. How with new things, new words and terms of speech are imported, or 
rather import themselves, into language, the age of railways and steamers has 
shown ; by their means the language of all civilized races has been enriched with 
hundreds of new words. The Azandeh or Nyam-Nyams assert that many words 
which were in use among their ancestors are at present no longer employed. 
Junker believes in a rapid transformation of the African languages ; while Lepsius 
attaches little value to their store of words, and describes even their syntactical 
usage as remarkably unstable. Alteration is naturally more frequent in unwritten 
languages than where writing has produced a certain petrifying effect on speech ; 
and if we must admit the assertion of philologists that the life-blood of a language 
is to be found not in its written form but in dialects, we can understand that we 
have to regard languages as organisms no less variable than plants or animals. 
While writing tends to fix a language in a given form, the more fruitful and wider 
intercourse of races that have writing has at the same time a tendency to widen 
the area over which a dialect or a language is distributed. We may put it that 
races without writing speak only dialects, while languages are possessed by those 
alone who write. But where is the boundary between dialect and language ? At 
the present day we understand by a language a dialect which has become fixed 
by writing and widely spread by dint of intercourse. Especially is the literary 
language rather an artificial than a natural form of speech. Dialects we conceive 
as languages less copious, less definitely settled and brought under rule, and hence 
more exposed to change, even of an arbitrary kind. But this is only so long as 
we compare them with written languages. Of the 300 tribes of the many- 
languaged Colchis, to do business with whom the Romans, as Pliny tells us, 
required 130 interpreters, which spoke a language, which a dialect? At this stage 
only dialects are spoken, every tribe having its own ; and we need not be so much 
surprised at the Colchians when seventy dialects are reckoned in modern Greek. 
What produces language and what preserves dialects we can see by comparing 
the wide diffusion of Burmese in the thickly-peopled countries of Burma, Pegu, 
and Arakan with their brisk commerce, and the far more limited area of languages 
in the hill countries of the Upper Irawaddy, where Gordon collected twelve dialects 
in the neighbourhood of Manipur alone, and where often thirty or forty families 
speak a dialect of their own, unintelligible to others. This is the scale by which 



we have to measure the frequent statements as to the immoderate number of 
languages among small nations. The multiplicity of the dialects spoken by the 
Bushmen which show differences even between groups separated only by a range 
of hills or a river, is referred by Moffat exclusively to the fact of their stage of 
culture allowing of no common centre, no common interests, in short neither 
possessing nor producing anything which might contribute to the fixing of a 
standard language. It is interesting to notice that the language of the Bechuana 
Bushmen, the Balala, who live as a race of pariahs with and among the 
Bechuanas, is a much-altered idiom showing many peculiarities in different groups, 
while their masters the Bechuanas maintain and propagate their language, the 
Sechuana, in a pure form by means of public discussions and frequent meetings 
for conversation, singing, and the like. 

Yet we must beware of under-estimating the effect of customary speech, which 
also is a conservative force, and assuming a too easy fluidity in linguistic forms. 
We learn from Schweinfurth that the Djurs and Bellandas, though far apart, have 
preserved the Shillook language almost unaltered. The latter are divided from 
the Djurs by the whole breadth of the Bongos, and these again are separated from 
the Shillooks. Consider too the slight differences in the most distant Bantu 
dialects. We can only assume some great error of observation when S. F. 
Waldeck, writing to Jomard in 1833 from the neighbourhood of Palenque, says 
that he could no longer use a vocabulary which had only been prepared since 
1820. We have good cause to know how carelessly vocabularies often are 
compiled. Even in the best of those made by English or Americans for savage 
languages a large number of words are, owing to arbitrary transliteration, quite 
useless for a Frenchman or German in intercourse with " natives." 

In any case, however, it may be taken as a rule that the larger a race is, the 
more intimate its intercourse, the more firmly articulated its society, the more 
uniform its usages and opinions ; so much more stable will its language be. 
Public speaking, popular songs, national laws, oracles, exercise in a lesser degree 
the same influence as writing. They set obstacles in the way of the natural 
tendency of language to flow into the countless streams of dialect, and give 
permanence to speech-formation which, without these external influences, would 
have enjoyed but a transitory existence. 

These facts show clearly where we have to look for the real and essential 
distinctions in the degrees of linguistic development. Permanent growth 
enhances the value of language as of civilization. The language which has 
means to express anything without becoming obscure through redundancy, which 
offers the most complete, most intelligible, and shortest methods of expressing 
ideas, whether abstract or concrete, will have reached the highest stage of develop- 
ment. And hence it would follow that a thorough parallelism rules between the 
development of language and that of culture, since the highest culture requires 
and creates the most copious means of spoken expression. Without prejudice to 
the varieties in the structure of language, the possessors of the highest culture 
will thus speak a language which deserves the name of a first-class implement. 
But by this term we do not understand merely that which best fulfils the end for 
which it is designed, since the Australian languages in all their poverty perfectly 
subserve the simple wants of those who speak them. We rather look upon 
languages as special organisms with a development of their own. Just as in the 



class of mechanical tools, we should give the plough a higher rank than the axe, 
although the latter fulfils simple needs just as well as the former meets greater 
requirements ; so must we hold the supple yet firmly -articulated, clear though 
copious languages of the Indo-Germanic family of more account than the poorer 
idioms of the Bantu. 

But if the language of a race be the measure of the stage of civilization it has 
reached, we must be cautious in drawing conclusions from one to the other ; for 
language is only one among modes of expression, and has its own life. Least of 
all should the mode in which it deals with particular conceptions be taken as 
such a measure. Counting and reckoning are doubtless very important things, 
upon the perfection of which a great deal of the mental development, and 
consequently the culture, of a race depends. But in view of the alleged inability 
of man}* savage races to think higher numbers than 3 or 5, attention must 
generally be drawn to the fact that the inefficiency of a tool does not always 
imply a corresponding inability in the hand using it. In reply to the constant 
repetition of the statement that as the languages of these races contain no numerals 
above 3, the people cannot count beyond 3, Bleek has very properly pointed 
out that this conclusion is as much justified as would be the conclusion that, as 
the French say dix-sept and quatre-vtngts, they cannot count beyond 10 or 20. 
Greek had a word for 10,000; Hindustanee has words for 100,000 {lac), and 
10,000,000 {crore)\ we have none. The Nubians, who can only count to 20 
in their own language, employ Arabic words for higher numbers ; at the same 
time calling 100 by their own word, imil. Just the same holds good in colour- 
names, the deficiency of which among many savage races and many peoples of 
antiquity was unhesitatingly ascribed to a corresponding deficiency of perception. 
Here they started from the unproved assumption that expression corresponds 
exactly to perception — in this instance that the number of colour-terms corre- 
sponded to that of the various degrees of colour which pass through the retina to 
be reproduced in consciousness. Erroneous as is this supposition, it is no less 
instructive for the recognition of the true nature of language, to observe that many 
races, otherwise uncultivated, can show an unusually copious list of colour-terms. 
Both copiousness and deficiency alike spring from immaturity. We just as often find 
the same name used to denote different colours, as the most different names applied 
to the same colour. This is merely the copiousness of confusion, and no token of 
high development. After testing a native of Queensland, Alfred Kirchhoff wrote : 
" It is asserted that the Hottentots have thirty-two words to express colours ; if 
so, they are exceeded more than two-fold by these Australians of Queensland, a 
list of whose colour-names yielded as many as seventy." A light is thrown on the 
way in which this excessive wealth of terms arises by the fact that the greatest 
cattle-breeders among the African Negroes, the Hereros, Dinkas and their kin, who 
are passionately devoted to that occupation, possess the greatest conceivable choice 
of words for all colours — brown, dun, white, dapple, and so on. The Herero has 
no scruple about using the same word to denote the colour of the meadows and 
of the sky ; but he would regard it as a sign of gross mental incapacity if any one 
were to comprise in one word the various gradations of brown in different cows. 
So among the Samoyedes there are eleven or twelve designations for the various 
greys and browns of reindeer. The nautical vocabulary of Malays and Polynesians 
shows similar development ; but not far off we find great barrenness, the result of 




indolence. Nor is it only " natural " races who are content with one word for 
different colours ; the same want of fertility in the formation of language holds 
good in higher stages. The peasant of central Germany frequently includes violet 
under brown, and the Japanese as a rule calls blue and green indifferently ao. 

Requirements decide what the wealth of language shall be. 
For the most civilised among modern European nations the rule 
seems to hold that a man of average education actually uses only 
a very small part of the words which his language contains. The 
English language claims to possess 100,000 words, yet an English 
field-labourer gets along as a rule with about 300. Where races 
of a higher civilization come in contact with a lower, the language 
of the latter easily lapses into impoverishment, since it takes over 
a number of words from the former. But then its impoverishment 
allows no conclusion as to the degree of civilization, but can only 
bs looked upon as a historical fact in the life of that language. 
A good example is the freedom with which Nubian has been sup- 
F 11 plemented by Arabic. The Nubians have their own special words 
\) v for sun, moon, and stars ; but the indications of time, year, month, 

day, hour, they borrow from the Arabs. With them essi serves 
for water, sea, river ; but the Nile is called Tossi. For all native 
animals, domestic or wild, they have names of their own ; Arabic 
for all relating to building and navigation. Spirit, God, slave, the 
ideas of relationship, the parts of the body, weapons, the fruits of 
the earth, and everything connected with breadmaking, have Nubian 
names ; on the other hand servant, friend, enemy, temple, to pray, 
to believe, to read, are Arabic. All metals have Arabic names, 
except iron. " They are rich in Berber, poor in Arabic." 

How much the very mixture of tongues does to enrich a 
language, and above all to adapt it to its purpose, is shown among 
European languages by English, which includes just about as many 
words of Teutonic as of Romanic origin. Many of the despised 
v , 1 ■ . - - foreign words are really in- 

V \T7 \l 

Y N/ 



V G -< 

dispensable. We need only 
think of the planting and 
engrafting that has had to be 
undertaken in the garden of 
every African, Polynesian, 
and American tongue in order 

Owner's marks : the upright column from the Ainu (after Von Sieboldy , 

the others, rudimentary writing from the Negroes of Lunda (after *-0 make it possible lor the 

M. Büchner). missionaries to interpret the 

simplest facts of Scripture history and the writings which form the foundation 
of Christianity. In every mission the rendering of " God " especially has a history 
rich in difficulties and errors. 

Glancing at the heavy burden laid upon those who are naturally without speech, 
we will only call to mind the interesting fact that in Kazembe's kingdom Living- 
stone met with a deaf and dumb man, who used just the same signs as un- 
educated persons of his kind in Europe. It is obvious that the language of signs 
and grimaces is all the more tempting to use in proportion as language proper is 



defective and simple, and the less varied and abstract the ideas to which it can 
lend expression. By frequent use this kind of language can be brought to a 
perfection of which we, who always have thousands of words at command, can 
form no conception. Races deficient in culture can put far more into the simplest 
winks and gestures than we are in the habit of doing. Livingstone tells us that 
when Africans beckon to any one they hold the palm of the hand downwards, as 
though to combine the idea of laying it on the person and drawing him towards 
them. If the person wanted is close by, the beckoner reaches out his right hand 
in a line with the breast, and makes a movement as if he wanted to catch the 
other by closing his fingers and drawing him towards himself ; if the other is 
farther off, the movement is emphasised by holding the hand as high as possible 
and then bringing it downwards and rubbing it on the ground. But gesture 
language has not been developed to a real system of signals among the Africans, 
who for that purpose use the drum language (drum signalling, it may be said, 
extends from the Cameroons through Central Africa to New Guinea, thence to the 
Jivaros in South America). Its highest cultivation seems to be reserved for 
the inventive, and at the same time taciturn, Indians of North America. Mallery, 
in his great work on the sign and gesture language of the Indians, has given a list 
of principal signs, by combining which the most various sentences can be formed. 
Here belong also fire and smoke signals ; the whistling language of Gomera, in 
which shepherds converse over great distances, make appointments, and so forth ; 
and the like. Lichtenstein gives a pretty instance of the expression of numerical 
conceptions by means of signs. He relates that a Hottentot, who was disputing 
with his Dutch master about the length of time that he had yet to serve, contrived 
to explain the difference of their respective views to the magistrate. " My Baas," 

he said, " will have it I have got so long to serve " Here he stretched out 

his left arm and hand, and laid the little finger of the right hand on the middle 
of his forearm ; " but I say that I have only got so long — - — ■" And therewith 
he moved his finger to the wrist. American Indians often carry a complete 
measure with various subdivisions tattooed on one arm ; this brings us to the 
rudiments of writing. 

Among all races of the earth we find simple methods of fixing a conception, 
which present themselves either in picture-writing or in sign -writing as allied 
inventions. Yet both are familiar to the youth of all races in later times. Our 
boys use a form of picture-writing when they draw an unpopular schoolfellow on 
the door of his house with a donkey's head. But adults who possess no higher 
form of writing are able, by means of pictures placed in a row, to express a good 
deal more than isolated notions. As soon as by mutual consent a conventional 
character has been stamped on these representations, making them intelligible to 
wide circles, they attain the stage of picture-writing. Signs can only serve a 
purpose defined by mutual agreement, as, for instance, marks of ownership simply 
express the fact that the article upon which they are painted or cut has such and 
such a definite man for its owner. Many signs which are hardly recognisable 
under the ornamental character which they often assume, and which brings them 
nearer to art, may have sprung from ownership marks of this kind, or be directed 
to make a notion plainer, as when the road is indicated by a foot going or a hand 
pointing in a certain direction. But then they have already reached the boundary 
at which their arrangement in succession brings us to a higher stage of develop- 


ment. The " Wabino song of the Ojibbeway Indians," represented on our coloured 
plate entitled " Indian picture-writing," gives an illustration of the way in which 
not only one idea but a whole series of statements can be expressed by simple 
means to which a definite sense is attached ; all the higher kinds of writing 
have sprung from picture-writing. This descent is recognisable in the Mexican 
and Egyptian hieroglyphics, but is obliterated in the Chinese ; but traces may 
still be noticed everywhere ; even in the cuneiform writing we may find echoes of 
the picture-writing from which it sprang. In the Egyptian hieroglyphics an ox 
or a star indicate the things themselves, but besides this, even in the very oldest 
inscriptions going back to B.C. 3000, they also denote certain definite sounds. 
In the Mexican picture-writing signs of things and signs of sounds were similarly 
blended. A monosyllabic language like Chinese, which denotes different words by 
means of one and the same syllable, makes use of signs of things which indeed are now 
hardly recognisable in order to define phonetic signs for syllables. The Japanese, 
on the other hand, for the purposes of their language, which, being polysyllabic, 
is more adapted to phonetic writing, arranged a really phonetic script out of the 
Chinese letters. Ina more decided fashion the Phoenicians did the same when they 
dropped the superfluous signs used by the Egyptians to denote things, and only 
adopted such hieroglyphs as were most necessary for writing down the sounds. 
The Phoenician names for the letters made their way into Greece, and passed into 
all western " alphabets." Thus, from obviously manifold beginnings of picture- 
writing, grew up, in one spot of the earth only, one of the finest implements of 
human thought — the art of writing by means of letters of the highest pliancy, 
adapted to all languages, and in its development into telegraphy and shorthand 
attaining the highest possibilities of compressed expression of thought. Therewith 
mankind achieved an extraordinarily important step in the progress of its develop- 
ment, for in fixing and securing tradition, writingr fixed and secured civilization 
itself, in the essence of which we have found the connection of generations based 
upon tradition to be the living, we may say the inspiring nucleus. 


Difficulty of the subject — Have "natural" races religion? — Are their ideas survivals from a higher sphere of 
thought, or germs to be developed later ?■*— Hawaiian Hades-legend — The origin of all religion lies in the 
search for causes — Phenomena which stimulate this search : great natural phenomena — Superstitions con- 
nected with animals — Sickness, dreams, death, have an even more powerful effect than natural phenomena 
— Ascription of souls to all objects — Fetishes — Idols — Temples — Modes of burial — The idea of a future 
life — Morality in religion — Classification and propagation of religions — Missionary activity. 

The inquiry into the religious life and thought of natural races is difficult. 
They give information about their conception of the Supreme Being only with 
reluctance, often incompletely, or with the intention of deceiving. Very often it 
may really not be easy to them to give such information, for the reason that they 
have no clear ideas on the subject. When Merensky asked some Christian Basutos 
what they had thought about God while they were still heathens, they said : " We 
did not think about God at all, we only dreamt." Religious ideas as clear and 
simple as monotheism are not found among savages. Not only does the entire 



thought-life of these people move in pictures of dreamy indefiniteness, in many 
cases without sequence or connection ; they lack the secure progress and develop- 
ment of thought from one generation to another which brings about the organic 
growth of the thought of a former age into that of the present. Such religious 
ideas as do exist are often known only to a few elders who guard them jealously. 
Even where this does not occur, the dislike to giving away the secrets of religion 
often makes it possible to get at most a mutilated fragment. 

We must therefore be on our guard against too narrow a notion of the 
religious surmises and imaginings of " natural " races. In one respect they are 
always comprehensive. All mental stirrings and strivings which are not directed 
to the immediate practical r. ^ 

aims of life find in them c^^ "X^ // 

their expression. Reli- 
gion is at once philosophy, 
science, historic tradition, 
poetry. Cranz says of the 
Greenland angekoks" They 
may be called the Green- 
landers' physical -science 
teachers, philosophers, doc- 
tors, and moralists, as well 
as soothsayers !" In reli- 
gion there is under all 
circumstances much room 
for conjecture and inquiry. 
But we must not start with 
the view that everything 
which exists deep down 
must equally show itself 
on the surface. The most unfair judgments, full of intrinsic contradictions, 
arise from this prejudice. How shallow is the view of Klemm that among the 
Arctic races every one believes as he likes ! " No common religion exists ! " 
Klemm has quite misunderstood a remark of Cranz. One who knew the 
Xamaqua Hottentots well, Tindall the missionary, has also made the statement 
that "in regard to religion their minds seem to have been almost a tabula rasa." 
This has no doubt been understood to mean that they had scarcely any inkling 
of religious matters. Certainly in the soul of a Namaqua there is no intelligible 
writing to be read, clearly proclaiming any religious message ; but survivals of an 
intelligible writing, in many places obliterated, are not lacking. And so indeed 
Tindall presently qualifies his own statement by saying that the fact of their 
language containing appellations for God, spirits, the evil one, seems to indicate 
that they were not wholly ignorant of these matters ; even though nothing further 
appears in the terms of the language or in ceremonial usages and superstitions to 
give evidence of anything more than a crude conception of a spiritual world. 
He believes that the superstitious tales which travellers have picked up from them 
and narrated as religious reminiscences, were regarded by the natives themselves 
as mere fables, related only with a view to entertain, or in order to give some 
insight into the habits and peculiarities of wild beasts. This expresses far too 

Melanesian sea deity, from San Christoval. (After Codrington. 


narrow an apprehension of the idea of religion ; if these usages and tales are not 
religion, at least they are of the elements from which, as civilization progresses to 
development, the crystal of a purified belief is built up. When we find ourselves 
in the course of our description in presence of the question : Is religion to be seen 
in usages, views, legends ? we shall put the counter-question : Is religion to be 
apprehended only as a cut-and-dried conception, or is not the truer and fairer way 
of looking at it to hold that the elements of religion are to be recognised in every 
department of human thought and feeling which can rise above the affairs of daily 
life, and above this corporeal existence, into the realm of unknown causes ? 
Rarely, no doubt, among " natural " races shall we meet with religion in that 
narrow sense ; but, on the other hand, we shall not analyse a single race on its 
spiritual side without laying bare the germs and root-fibres of religious feeling. 
Nay, we shall arrive at recognising that the spiritual side of a race nowhere finds 
more copious utterance than in religious matters. Beside the material destitu- 
tion of the Bushmen, are not their myths suggestive of a treasure ? From 
scientific conviction we must unhesitatingly endorse the verdict which was 
pronounced by the religious feeling of V. von Strauss in opposition to this tendency 
to degrade : " Complete absence of religion, true atheism, may be the result of an 
undermining, soul-deadening over-culture ; but never the effect of crude barbarism. 
This, in its deepest degradation, always retains the craving for religion, with a 
corresponding faculty for religion, however faultily and confusedly this may 

Ethnography knows no race devoid of religion, but only differences in the 
degree to which religious ideas are developed. Among some, these lie small and 
inconspicuous as in the germ, or rather as in the chrysalis ; while among others 
they have expanded in a splendid wealth of myths and legends. But we must 
not always want to see primitive conditions in their imperfections. Let us 
remember how in Abyssinian Christianity, Mongolian Buddhism, Soudanese 
Mahommedanism, great religious thoughts have dwindled aw r ay beyond recogni- 
tion. The propagative force of religious ideas is as great as the certainty that 
they will dwindle where they are cast forth into the wilderness of the materialistic 
savage life, isolated and cut adrift from any organic connection with a great living 
mythology, or a system of teaching imbued with spirituality. Already we find 
debased fragments of Christian or Mussulman ideas in Indian and Polynesian, 
Malay and African myths ; and if we had no inkling as to the history 
of their introduction, they would appear as evidences of an underlying germ 
of monotheism. The poetry of " natural " races again in any case arouses a 
suspicion that some twig from the tree of European story and fable has there 
dropped into the soil, and with the power of reproduction which is peculiar to 
these creations of fancy, has straightway thrown up scions in foreign ground. 
In a notice of Callaway's Ahtrsery Tales of the Zulus (1866), Max Müller has 
connected with this the deeper thought that like our folk-lore stories and so forth, 
at least so far as they deal with ghosts, fairies, and giants, these point to a remote 
civilization, or at least to a long-protracted process of growth. " Like the anomalies 
of language, they show by their peculiar character that there was an epoch when 
what is now devoid of rule or sense formed itself with a definite object and 
according to laws." We venture even to predict that in the religion of the most 
remote African and Australian peoples, just as in the rest of the culture possessed 


by them, will be found germs or survivals of Indian or Egyptian tradition. The 
Indian elements in the Malay religion belong now to the domain of proved facts, 
and perhaps reach as far as Hawaii and beyond, even to America. 

The profundity of the thought must not be measured by the imperfection of 
the expression. In considering a mythology like the Polynesian, it must not be 
overlooked that this multiform weft of legend is often less like clear speech than like 
the prattle of a child, and that one has more often to attend to the What ? than 
to the How ? Often a similarity of sound, an echo, suffices the sportive fancy of 
these people as an attachment for far-reaching threads. The same aspect of a 
supra-sensual relation looks far more impressive on the parchment of some 
manuscript of a Greek poet than in the oral tradition of a Polynesian or African 
priest or sorcerer. But if we try to extract the more intelligible sentences in the 
prattle of the savage we get a picture which is in its essence not far inferior to 
the more adorned poetical expression. Let us compare a Hawaiian legend of 
the under -world with its parallels in Greek mythology. A certain chief, 
inconsolable for the loss of his wife, obtained from his priest, in answer to his 
prayers, the company of the chieftain's god as his guide into the kingdom of 
Milu. They journeyed to the end of the world, where they found a tree which was 
split ; on this they slid down to the lower regions. The god hid himself behind 
a rock, and after smearing the chief with an ill-smelling oil, sent him forward by 
himself. On reaching Milu's palace, he found the court filled with a crowd of 
spirits {Akua), who were so engrossed in their game that he was able to join them 
unobserved. When they did notice him they took him for a newly-arrived soul, 
and jeered at him for a stinking ghost who had stayed too long by his putrefying 
body. After all kinds of games had been played, they had to think of another, 
and the chief suggested that they should all pluck out their eyes and throw them 
together in a heap. No sooner said than done ; but the chief took care to 
observe which way Milu's eyes went. He caught them in the air and hid them 
in his coco-nut cup. As they were now all blind, he succeeded in escaping to the 
kingdom of Wakea, where Milu's hosts might not set foot. After long negotia- 
tions with the chief, now under the protection of Wakea, Milu got his eyes back, 
on condition of releasing the soul of the chief's wife. It returned to earth and was 
reunited to its body. 

Religion is everywhere connected with man's craving for causality, which will 
ever be looking out for the cause or the causer of everything that comes to pass. 
Thus its deepest roots come into contact with science, and are profoundly 
entwined with the sense of Nature. Agathias tells us that the Alemanni 
venerated trees and streams, hills and dales ; and we may boldly assume for all 
mankind the universal " animation " which lay at the base of this veneration. 
This craving is very suitably met by the tendency to vivify or even incarnate all 
the higher phenomena of Nature, by attributing to them a soul which guides in 
the first place their own motions and changes, but afterwards also their relation 
to their surroundings nearer or more distant. The Dyaks ascribe a soul to 
plants no less than to men : if the rice rots, its soul is clean gone ; but it can, 
when strewn on a body, follow the human soul to the other world, and there 
again be incorporated and serve it for food. A false application of the law of 
cause and effect leads to the assumption that there are relations between this soul 
and the human soul, which at last weave around this latter a close network of 



causation. The story of the Kosa chief has often been told. He died shortly 
after causing a piece to be broken off an anchor which was cast up on shore, and 
from that time forward the anchor was treated with reverence. So a thousand 
threads arc knotted together, and none of them is forgotten ; and in this net of 
tradition the simple child of nature flutters like a fly in the spider's web, and ever 
entangles himself more with every attempt to find the right clue. The soul is 
literally caught. A cord with several open nooses fastened to it is hidden in the 
leaves. If the man for whom it is meant catches sight of it, he fancies his soul 
is caught in it, and frets himself to death. There you have a method of sending 
a person out of the world which in the Banks Islands has been tested by 

Fetish in Lunda ; purpose unknown, perhaps to avert lightning. (After Büchner.) Cf. p. 4S. 

experience. Hence the terror of phantoms due to his own power of imagination, 
which is one of the distinctive traits of the savage, and has more influence than 
it should over his doings. When Melanesians are asked, says Codrington, who 
they are, they answer " Men," in order to let it be known that they are not ghosts 
or spectres. Of night the savage is more afraid than a badly brought-up child. 
Felkin, writing from the Upper Nile, says that at night the natives will never 
march, for fear of wild beasts and the evil influence of the moon. At the same time, 
for full half the year they feel far from comfortable in the daytime, and try at least 
in some measure to secure themselves under the constant feeling of being 
threatened by invisible powers, by extending the idea of unlucky days, common 
to all mankind, to the point of absurdity. Monday, Thursday, and Saturday are 
good days for travelling in these parts ; Wednesday is neither specially good nor 
bad ; but Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday are unlucky days. In Java, have not even 
the thieves their silver dial, like a watch, showing, after the fashion of a calendar, 



the best time for burglaries or robberies, to assist them in their choice of lucky- 
days ? White men, like everything new and unusual, have almost inevitably been 
mixed up with these superstitions. Many a sad episode in the history of the explora- 
tion of the dark continent is explained by this connection, which is natural enough 
in the negro's spectre-teeming brain. Livingstone, in his Missionary Travels, 
forcibly depicts the terror which he, as the first white man, inspired in the negroes ; 
he, the best friend they ever had among the whites : " The women peer from 
behind the walls till I come near, and then hastily dash into the house. When a little 
child, unconscious of danger, meets me in the street, he screams." No less are the 

Ä^i->^ •>•- ->.'■•« 


M f 

Entrance to a fetish hut in Lunda. (After Büchner. ) Cf. p. 45. 

things owned or used by the white man instantly raised into the sphere of the 
miraculous, the fetishic. Paper with writing on it especially is a fetish for the 
West Africans, who regard it as sheer witchcraft. Buchholz was bandaging a 
severe wound for a man when a scrap of paper fell unnoticed from his pocket. 
On his next visit to his patient he found him flitted, because the house was 
bewitched. The bit of paper was restored him with the utmost solemnity. On 
the occasion of the funeral of a Bakwiri woman he was urgently entreated in a 
special speech by an envoy from the negroes, kindly not to throw bits of paper 
about in his walks, as otherwise they would have to avoid those roads and spots. 
When Chapman visited Lechulatebe's town on Lake Ngami, the mortality from 
fever was very high. The chief was in great alarm and excitement about " the 
death that was roaming all around." He scarcely showed himself outside his hut, 
made his wives and children undergo frequent ablutions, and kept his doctors 
constantly at work by having his threshold incessantly sprinkled with decoctions 
of herbs. The relations of those who had died were subjected to tedious processes 
of purification before they were allowed to rejoin the community. 



Thus an animating breath blows not through Nature only, but all things ; 
and there is in all dealings, even in the decoration of men and the ornament of 
things, much more spiritual value and purpose than we fancy. Therefore the word 
polytheism applies to all religions of the lower grades. A tendency to multiply 
conceptions shows itself throughout ; in the course of time the process of god- 
making has become pleasant and easy to the 
troubled spirit to which all this is due. Where 
the mass of the chiefs were looked upon with 
awe as demi or entire gods ; where souls did not 
only survive, but remained in intimate contact 
with this world ; where every family possessed 
its own tutelary spirit in the shape of a beast 
or something else, gods and idols must have 
sprouted and flourished and entangled the whole 
mind in a thicket of fantastic fictions. We do 
not wish to see therein only the base creations 
of terror. In the act of animating is something 
beautifying, such as on their higher levels poetry 
and philosophy strive after. 

Where lie the sources whence ghosts and 
spectres rise incessantly in their millions ? The 
most striking change in a man himself or his 
closest associations is wrought by sickness, sleep, 
and death. It is not the fear of Nature which 
meets us as the first basis of superstition, but 
that of death and the dead. The business of 
Shamans, medicine -men, Koraji, and whatever 
else these wizards are called, is everywhere in 
the first place to seek out the causes of death 
and sickness, and then to communicate with the 
spirits of the dead ; who are regarded by their 
- = relatives with deep aversion, often with fear and 

Directly from this springs fetishism, setting 
up in all manner of complicated ways relations 
between the countless tribe of souls and all pos- 
sible articles in which these take up their abode. 
Here it is clearly seen that no straight road from 
objects of external nature to the soul of man is 
offered by the fundamental lines of primitive religious systems — for we shall seek 
in vain for any direct relations between their teaching and the measure of extent 
and activity which the fetish-system has reached, • — but rather that the fancy, 
timidly searching around in the whimsical way in which the emotions of alarm are 
apt to express themselves ; for any support that may be at hand attaches itself to 
objects often in the highest degree unworthy of its confidence. But interrupted 
experiments, so to say, are tried with regard to supernatural agencies. Not only 
is search made after new spirits, as when curiously-shaped stones are laid by a tree 
to try if they will improve its bearing ; but old acquaintances are tested, as, for 

Wooden idol from the Niger (Museum 
of the Church Missionary Society). 



instance, by giving them bad or putrid meat. Why have all the African negroes 
such a predilection for horns, hanging them in quantities on the persons of their 
magic-men, while the high priests, who are the kings, keep their dreaded medicines 
in them ? Whence comes the almost comic veneration for pots, displayed by 
Dyaks and Alfurs ? Anything striking finds a place in the wilderness of curi- 
osities which hang about the neck and waist of a Kaffir magician ; indeed it was 
in the leather pouch hung round the neck' of such a person that the first great 
find of diamonds at the Cape, by an extraordinary coincidence, was made. 
Stone-worship is widely spread, but as a rule is connected with large upright 
pieces of rock ; though in Africa any stone may become a fetish, and be decorated 
with rags of many colours wound 
round its neck. Among the Mus- 
gus, long poles serve for idols ; the 
Azandeh prefer shapeless blocks 
stuck with nails, while in the 
Cameroons pillars of basalt are 
used. It would be hard to find 
an African who has not a fetish 
hung on him, and since many 
wishes, actions, and so on, have 
their special fetishes, many a man 
is heavily laden with these salu- 
tary objects. There are amulets 
too, which taste the water before 
you drink, and give warning of 
anything noxious therein ; for evil 
spirits are partial to this flickering, 
foaming, ever-changing fluid. An 
Eskimo's weapon bears a little 
tutelary god on the band. This 
is only one stage from the so- 
called idols, figures of dead persons, which are cut in wood or cast in metal, or 
moulded in the huts out of clay, and set up about the graves. Both are 
animated ; only the soul of the ancestral image is a definite one, which used 
to possess a well-known body, and now has passed into this doll, and often for 
years to come takes its accustomed place ; as in the case of the Shaman of the 
Goldi, who stands in his old place in the yaourt until he is broken up with 
memorial services. With the making of such visible images of souls comes 
also the founding of special places for venerating them, in the form of the 
African fetish huts, the tabooed places- of Malays and Polynesians, and so on 
up to the temple. As these are frequently contiguous to the places of burial, 
the abodes of the souls of the departed, they often look much like our church- 
yards, which are laid out round the churches without any consciousness of the 
close connection which prevails between care for the souls of the dead and the 
worship of God. The only difference is that the primitive temple more often 
grew out of the churchyard than the churchyard was appended to it. The 
Shaman of northern Asia surrounds himself with a whole series of wooden idols, 
with whom he converses during his conjurations, and from whom he gets advice. 

A mummy wrapped in clothing, from Ancon. 
and Stubel. ) 

(After Reiss 

4 6 


Figures of animals, especially bears, come in, and his 
yaourt is a very home of souls. It must remain un- 
decided whether we have a higher stage in the fetish-huts 
where there are no images or other embodiments. In 
Africa we find them as genuine huts, in Oceania as little 

Funeral ceremonies are a department of religion 
among all races. The thought underlying them all is 
that the soul docs not leave the body immediately, or at 
least maintains a certain alliance with it. The Poly- 
nesians state clearly that the soul after death haunts the 
neighbourhood of the grave for a while, until it finally 
descends to the realms of Milu or Wakea. Among 
Malays and Indians of north-east America this action is 
equally clear, and among the races of east Asia we find 
a glimmering of it. For this reason the corpse is often 
left for some time unburied — a whole year among the 
Chiriquis. The widely -spread custom of burying gifts 
with the dead, and the mummy-like arrangement of the 
corpse ; the marking of the grave, which among the 
Bongos assumes the character of a monumental edifice ; 
the founding and maintaining of regular mausoleums in 
the case of chiefs show how little the inanimate body is 
regarded as a mere thing. Among many races provision 
is made for the temporary return of the soul to its 

' 1 

Idols from Hermit Island. 
(Ethnological Museum, Berlin.) 

Supposed idols representing souls, from Ubudjwa. (After Cameron.)' 



decayed tabernacle, and to this end an opening is left in the vault, and from time 
to time meat and drink are put by the corpse or poured into the grave. The 
soul in its wanderings may travel to any other persons, bewitch them, ruin them, 
or raise them to unexpected honour. In Uganda every sorcerer is tenanted by 
the soul of a king ; but the ordinary soul, Musimu, can enter into any one. That 
the soul does not rest when it has reached the grave is indicated by the boat 
which is set up on the mound. In the North the sledge on which the corpse 
was drawn to its last home is used in the same way. From this boat is derived 
the shape of the stone slab used by North Germans. The forcible recall of the 
soul into the corpse by means of witchcraft was regarded as no less possible than 
its extraction by the same means from the living body, and transference to that 
of some beast ; this last is a speciality much in favour with African magicians. 
But with the assumption of universal animation, the fancy need see no bar to 
any transmigrations on the part of the soul, though beasts naturally occur first. 

With the grounds for reverent treatment of the corpse fear is associated as a 
powerful motive. The rapid swathing, the carrying on a pole, the avoidance of 
the door, the hasty interment at a distance from the hut, are all operations if not 
prompted by fear, at any rate imbued with it. Curiously enough in this respect 
the strongest contradictions occur ; for while the Kaffirs often simply drag their 
dead into the forest and leave them to the hyaenas, they bury others in stone 
graves, or on their own premises. In the Cameroons a man is buried in his hut, 
a woman by the roadside. If the hut of the deceased is deserted or destroyed 
his household furniture is broken up, his slaves and flocks often put to death, and 
his very name devoted to oblivion, so effective is the dread of spectres. 

The brief and fragmentary thought of savage races allows of a profound 
belief, expressing itself in as many forms as we have seen, in the animation of 
the human body, without a perception in all cases of the consequent necessity of 
accounting for the place in which the souls abide. Still that belief doubtless 
renders their acceptance of the idea of a future state more ready ; and if this 
shows a remarkable similarity among ancient Europeans, Polynesians, and 
American Indians, we may look upon this as a fact of geographical distribution,, 
remarkable rather in its relation to the geography of mankind than to the 
psychology of races. The myth already given of the soul-snatching Hawaiian 
chief shows clearly how far the resemblances go. In the fundamental features of 
a descent, a trick practised on the lord of the nether world, the jealousy of the 
remaining souls, we find agreement among many races. Conceptions which, as 
immediately reflected images of the reality, involve a certain element of necessity, 
stand in a different relation to each other from ideas which are attached to them 
only in the second or some more distant degree. These latter must always be 
tested with especial thoroughness in respect of their origin in higher and more 
remote spheres of thought. 

What is called an idol is originally nothing but a memorial of a deceased 
person — an ancestral statue. It is more rare to find the soul embodied in a 
symbol, as when, at a memorial service for the dead among the Goldi, a wooden bird 
bearing the soul away is swung over the head of the Shaman. Usually the man 
is given as he was, often highly conventionalised. The connection between these 
images and what is commonly called idolatry, naturally depending on the affection 
bestowed upon the dead, is never more than a part of religion. This explains 



the otherwise inexplicable variety which in this matter prevails among close- 
allied tribes, as for instance in New Guinea, where the Nufurese have a long list 
of idols {karowar), while there are none whatever among the Arfaks. Now we 
can understand also the intimate connection between skull and idol worship, for 
the skull is a memorial of the dead. The farther the idea of memory retreats, 
the more impersonal is the image. In Tahiti, where the personal family idols, or 
tit, are distinguished from the national idols, tu, it is chiefly the latter who are 
rendered invisible by wrappings. The theft of them often gives rise to wars 
between tribes. 

Besides death we find life, with generation and birth as its more enigmatic 
and significant processes, woven into relations with the supernatural. The moment 
of generation is by predilection represented in carvings and images, and very 

commonly that of birth also. In the case 
of this the presentation of the feet signifies 
a special relation to the myths. There lies 
an affirmation in the new life which is 
opposed to the power of destruction. The 
phallus as a symbol of protection against 
evil powers is in use among the most 
various races ; and therefore we do not 
think it necessary, with Schmeltz, to bring 
the appearance of phallic emblems among 
the Maoris into relation with the obscure 
question of the composition of the race, on 
the ground of the special prominence of 
the same among the Melanesians. Any- 
how it is the case that among most dif- 
Grave of a Zulu chief. (After G. Fritsch. ) ferent races, birth, the attainment of 

maturity (this very particularly), and mar- 
riage, are surrounded by ceremonies intended to render in a perceptible form the 
importance of these events. To the notion of a future life there has now accrued, 
in a higher stage of development, a more advanced and higher element in the 
shape of a doctrine of future rewards and punishments. Of this, however, many 
races show no trace. The " natural " races, no doubt, imagine divisions in the 
future life, but these are social, not moral. Thus the Polynesians distinguish the 
realms of Milu and Wakea. The former is the rowdy place where lower-class 
souls dwell, and amuse themselves with games and shouting ; in the latter, on 
the contrary, quiet and dignity prevail, suited to the chiefs of whose souls it is 
the abode. Walhalla is only for brave warriors who have fallen in fight ; and so, 
too, the Indian warrior has his select heaven. It is essential to point out that 
ethics do not necessarily form a primitive ingredient of religion, but are an 
admixture occurring first in the higher stages. 

Two classes of natural phenomena exercise the most profound effect upon the 
innate sense of insecurity ; and man must find out how he stands with regard to 
them. In presence of the mighty activity of natural forces he compares himself 
with the power and majesty of nature and acquires the consciousness of his own 
inferiority. On all sides innumerable obstacles offer barriers and hinder his will. 
His spirit trembles before the infinite and unfathomable, and hardly troubles itself 



further about the particulars of which that exalted grandeur consists. Legends are 
sure to be woven about a mountain in the plain ; the dark forest harbours ghosts ; 
storms, earthquake, volcanic eruptions, impress by the unexpected and stunning- 
manner of their outbreak. The fantastic idols with which forest and field in the 
Negroes' part of Africa swarm are in fact frequently memorials of lightning-strokes 
and the like. The deepest impression is left by the phenomena of the starry 
heavens, by reason of the majestic calm and regularity of their motions. The 
existence of these strange appearances so remote from earthly things, their 
brightness, their great number, naturally exercised an influence on the mind even 
of primitive men. All, even Bushmen and Australians, have names for the 
constellations. The warming power of the sun must have been felt with gratitude, 
more perhaps in cooler regions than in the tropics. Moon and stars, lighting the 
darkness, are doubly welcome to savage races with their fear of ghosts. The 
trouble they took to exorcise the obscuring spirit in eclipses of the moon, the 
high place allotted to the moon in the religious ideas and legends of all races, 
are evidence of this. It is too much to say that the sun as giver of light has 
been revered by all nations as a divine being and the universal benefactor. 
But sun-worship is widely spread, especially among agriculturists, and where ideas 
are more developed. Even on the magic drum of the Lapland Shaman a 
radiant sun is represented. Legends connected with the various positions of the 
sun in respect of the earth, and with the changes of the seasons, are widespread. 
In common with mother-earth the fertilising sun creates all living things, and the 
stars also. The souls of departed heroes make their way to the setting sun. 
With the sun is connected the worship of the fire which must not be put out and 
is kindled under the bond of an oath. The Japanese solemnly brings into his 
house at the new year fire which has been lighted in the temple by rubbing wood 
on an appointed day. Even the Russian in the district of Tamboff carries all 
the ashes he can and some stones from his old hearth into a new house, to bring 
luck ; a survival of the transference of the fire itself. 

Weather phenomena impress by their immediate effects, and the degree to 
which they enter into economic prosperity. The part which they play in the 
beliefs or superstitions of mankind is thus easily comprehensible, and shows itself 
in the frequent occurrence of rain- or sunshine-makers, the purveyors of fertility. 
Somewhat beyond lies the domain of those phenomena which never or seldom 
come into immediate relation with man, and therefore are noticed by him only 
when they force themselves on his attention. Even the savage, the most prejudiced 
creature in human shape, the man with the least field of vision, receives an 
impression from the rainbow " the bridge to the sky," from the roar of the sea, 
from the rustle of the woods, the bubbling of the spring. These phenomena are 
drawn into the range of superstitious conceptions, which in their turn are called 
forth by nearer causes. Are they images of souls, which the Ainu place on 
promontories where an awkward current prevails in order to pray for a good 
passage or a lucky haul ? Savages know how meteoric stones fall, and have 
retained experiences of them in their traditions ; the stone-hatchets found in the 
soil they call thunderbolts. The boat with the corpse is launched on the waves ; 
the dark forest is overlaid with taboo ; in every brook a spirit is imagined. 
Poetry here entwines its roots with religion ; it appears a highly superfluous 
question to ask if these races have a sense of Nature. 




But social observances arc also mixed up in this. We know the part played 
by beasts as symbols of the • social groups, as totems that is. The Shaman goes 
about with beasts as with his fellows, puts on a pair of artificial stag-horns, drinks 
the blood of dogs out of the hollow figure of an animal, has a hollow wooden bird 
swung over him, sacrifices to the river god out of fish-shaped shells. The Giljaks 
employ bears, hedgehogs, and tortoises for magic purposes, especially in sickness. 
Every year they have a solemn feast of fat bear out of their own wooden dishes. 
Legends about beasts and plants form a chief, not to say typical, part of the 

literature of primitive 
races. Beasts ever find 
a place at the base of 
the genealogies of tribes 
and chiefs. Wherever 
the world of Indian 
thought has spread, 
the belief in the trans- 
migration of souls ex- 
tends, especially in 
their transition from 
apes ; even Japan once 
had its sacred apes. 
Besides this, beasts 
impressed themselves 
irresistibly by means 
of the good and harm 
they did. Man-eating 
savages felt themselves 
akin to the man-eating 
beasts. The custom 
of sparing theseanimals 
— indeed among the Malays and the Joloffs of Senegambia, crocodiles were kept in 
sacred ponds — may perhaps have another interpretation, as when Lobengula, king 
of the Matabele, made it a capital offence to kill a crocodile because mischievous 
magic could be practised with a dead crocodile. Even so, however, the beast 
religion may be assuming an indirect form. 

The inquiry about the One, the Lord of heaven, the All Creator — God in short, 
is not one of the first results that emerges from the mass of religious ideas. It is 
only incidentally that a glimpse at Him opens, and that only through chinks in the 
thicket of idols. The conception of His existence which we gain is all the less 
clear from the fact that the streams in which He is mirrored flow from different 
sources. Undoubtedly ancestor-worship leads to a gradual exalting of prominent 
figures above the common herd, and even to heaven. We can point to such 
apotheoses in Africa, as well as in Oceania ; among the Incas they even began 
while the subjects of them were living. By the transference to heaven, the con- 
dition of far-reaching dominating influence is fulfilled. The millions of departed 
souls must have chiefs to lead them, and for this purpose those who were chiefs 
below are also the best adapted in the next world. Further, if it pertains to the 
essence of a god to accomplish the most various results from one point, without 

Fish-headed idols from Easter Island. (Christy Collection. ) 


being tied to thing and place of action, he must be raised on high. The weak- 
ness of remembrance accounts for his appearing to forget his roots in earthly affairs 
and to soar above. Thus the mass of souls become spirits ; in their images they 
become fetishes ; a few become tribal gods, and from these perhaps, by dissemination, 
may proceed gods recognised to a distance. Jehovah is received as the God of the 
world. Creation requires at least a first man, and beyond him a God capable of 
creating him. Usually the sky or the sun is called to this dignity ; there live the sacred 
primeval ancestors who now coalesce with the creating God. Lastly, consideration 
of Nature demands great ruling spirits for the great things, and innumerable small 
ones for the small things. One Spirit in heaven, who is at the same time Creator, 
will of course be the First. Thus from different points there is a striving after 
one high Being, one God ; everywhere we hear the name of a highest spoken, but 
only faintly and indistinctly. Frequently he is literally to be regarded as the 
eldest, the spiritual Lord of the tribe, the Sovereign over the souls of the departed, 
the Creator. It is dangerous for our missionaries to assign his name to their and 
our God, or the adherent of ancestor worship will be led of himself to put a mytho- 
logic form upon a first man, the ancestral lord of the whole race. Unkulunkulu 
is the original ancestor ; he is himself the creator of men, a mysterious figure, but 
mysterious simply because the Kaffir has abstained from figuring him precisely 
either in fact or fancy. Thus Unkulunkulu resembles the supreme heaven-god of 
most negro religions ; a being unaffected by earthly doings, and therefore dis- 
regarded ; and corresponds to Molimo among the Bechuanas and Basutos, and 
Nyambi or Nyame elsewhere. The origin of all may be the same ; but here it is 
important to notice, whether memory has grown so faint that the image of the first 
parent has been spiritualised, or this image is still so recent that our conception of 
God is degraded by the use of His name. The missionaries to the Hereros 
took Mukuru and Kalunga (for which they had at first put " fortune ") as the 
expression for " God " ; Nyambi was not adopted till later. In pre-Christian days 
the Hereros actually lived in a state of pure ancestor-worship. On the Gold Coast, 
and in parts of East Africa, we shall see that more pronounced developments in 
the direction of monotheism appear ; and with these Christianity need have less 
scruple in linking itself. In some cases, the name of evil spirits (where they appear 
as destroyers and renewers of creation), has been adopted to render " God." In 
the New Hebrides, Siiqae, the name of a secret society, has been used for this 
purpose ; and in the Torres Islands, Augud, which means " totem." The 
familiar Manitu of the Indians of North America is not " the Great Spirit," but 
" spirit " generally, even a bad one. The Polynesian Atua, which the missionaries 
took for " God," may have originated in some similar idea ; but it is so universal 
in the sense of ghost, soul, or breath, that too close a contact is prevented with 
notions which the heathen would seize upon'. The fact, referable to ancestor- 
worship, that within one race different spirits are assigned to different groups, which 
conduct their worship in secret societies, and often use this secrecy for purposes 
of outrage, naturally hinders the growth of the monotheistic idea, so long as no 
one of them is in the majority. Regulations of rank in veneration is no sure guide, 
for the name of the god venerated as supreme changes from one country to another. 
In the small area of the Society Islands, we find the following gods holding the 
supreme place : — Rua in Tahiti, Eimeo in Raiatea, Tane in Huaheine, Tao in 
Bolabola, Tu in Maurua, Tangaroa or Taaroa in Tabueamanu, Oro in Tahaa. In 


New Zealand, Rangi Heaven), takes the highest place at the head of all other 
gods. In Hawaii, Tane comes to the front, as Kane ; with him Wakea and Maui, 
who are only of importance in mythology, and the war-god. But as we shall see, 
all these supreme beings can lose nearly all their worship in favour of simply local 
ancestral deities. Nothing has contributed to this so much as the formation of 
sectarian groups, who struggled to keep their own god or spirit strictly to them- 
selves. As they grew powerful, they imposed their own divine service on weaker 
brethren. On the other hand, we are told in regard to the Shillooks, that the Niekam 
owned in every village a temple or a house, often the whole village, which was 
inhabited by a privileged and much -respected caste — a kind of lords spiritual. 
These claimed a share of all the booty taken ; no man ventured to touch their 
cows, even to milk them. The chief's wealth was kept concealed in the Niekam's 
territory. In Abbeokuta, bundles of straw indicated the property of the thunder- 
god Shango ; this is inviolable, and whosoever lays his hand upon it, incurs the 
vengeance of Shango's priests. Indeed Shango is an instructive phenomenon. 
Some hold him for a king who in his life was very cruel. Others say he was a 
late-born scion of deity, only recently admitted to immortality ; sometimes he is 
the thunder-god's ancestor, sometimes his companion, and then thunderer himself. 
All points to the soul of a chief lately raised to Olympus. 

The shiftings and exchangings of names, especially among non-writing races, 
owing to the recurrence of the same deities and divine functions, form a constant 
source of confusion even in the fundamental threads of mythology. It is therefore 
only possible to disentangle them by keeping fast hold of the underlying reality, 
setting aside all questions of hierarchy. To see in some isolated fact, like the 
survival of the first parent of the human race, a special and higher characteristic 
feature of the American form of the deluge-myth, is only to fail to recognise the 
multiform varying nature of the myth generally. An effort after selection and 
elevation lies deep down in the human mind. Nothing but rapid extension over 
wide areas, and the keeping of all decomposing influences at a distance, is needed 
to raise one idea of the deity above local limitations and waverings, as we see in 
the diffusion of Christianity and Islam. But the acquisition of power, that is, 
alliance with the secular arm, is also necessary. 

The notion of man's position towards a personal Supreme Being, the highest 
disposer of things, to whom man stands in personal relations, has nowhere grown 
up in a pure form, but always only in fragments, inadequately, and in a shape 
full of misconceptions. Nor has religion, in the course of its development, remained 
alone, but has passed into more and more intimate alliance with other efforts of 
the human mind, above all with the stirrings and cravings of his conscience. Thus 
it received its most important adjunct, the moral element, and thereby acquired a 
higher influence upon general civilization. While in the cruder stages of religious 
development, man appears almost entirely as the demanding party who approaches 
spirits, fetishes, and so on, with his wishes or even orders, the execution of which 
is paid for in sacrifices ; the spiritual side now comes to power, and, equipped with 
reward and penalty, rules him, not by guidance only, but also by constraint. This 
sharper differentiation of the moral element in religion, which may be followed 
through many stages, is accompanied by the clearance from it of a mass of elements 
which without any deeper inward affinity are apt to be bound up with it ; as, for 
example, in the lower stages, not only the service of the superhuman spirit, but 


also the care of the spirit in man, as in all beginnings of science, art, and poetry, 
matters connected with the sorcerer, the priest, and the like. Thus we have a point 
which we might compare to that where a number of vague winding tracks meet 
to form a few clear and straight roads. The alliance of religion with the civil law, 
which, though involving many humiliations, has in the end an elevating effect, frees 
it at the same time in an increasing degree from the alliance with all the activities 
of the mind which are to develop independently with art and science. The separa- 
tion takes the line of a distribution among a number of persons of the priestly 
functions, as magicians, healers, rain-makers, image-carvers, court- minstrels, and so 
forth ; but only arrives at completion on the threshold of the age of art and science. 
History first shows us poetry, the arts, and the sciences in independent activity 
when we come to ancient Greece ; in Egypt they were all attached to the priestly 

The alliance of the temporal and spiritual powers is to be found in all stages 
of mankind at the present day. The power of a chief is incomplete without that 
of witchcraft, exercised by himself or in the closest union with the priests ; only 
fighting chiefs may form exceptions. Eve.n here the bard has to go with the 
prince. A failure in rain-making may totally destroy all respect for a prince ; 
and Africa affords many instances of dethronement and murder owing to ill-success 
in witchcraft. On the other side, one can hardly conceive a more powerful support 
for the tradition of a sovereign house than ancestor-worship, such as made a saint 
of each of the Cuzco Incas. Oceania shows, by a multitude of examples, that 
princes or warrior-heroes stepped into the first rank of the gods. The succession 
of power was thereby materially fortified. In this connection we recall a remark 
of Merimee's to the effect that the preference shown by the Romans for the Etruscan 
above other Italian races, may have been partly due to the knowledge of the oldest 
religious traditions and the interpretation of omens which distinguished the Etruscan 
aristocracy. What is good for society and the state is indicated as pleasing to 
God ; spirits who have to do with the welfare of families, societies, states, cannot 
but be "beneficent. With the immutability of the divine requirements, the variable 
demands of morality, the profound and in part noble requirements of society, are 
content to be allied where they enjoin respect for age, the safeguarding of marriage, 
of children, and also of property — this last in the form of the highly selfish laws 
of " taboo." This gives the blending of temporal and spiritual interests. The 
cunning priest whom enlightenment sees at work, under one cover with the prince, 
to keep the people stupid is, especially at this stage, no mere fiction. Secular and 
spiritual law are fused. If the chief is a sacred person, any revolt against the 
order at the head of which he stands is sin ; and now religion serves for the more 
easy taming of the agitator and subverter. 

The distinction between good and evil, which the profound sentiment of the 
Mosaic story places at the very beginning of the process of the Incarnation, must, 
in any case, have grown up early and spontaneously in another way. In Nature 
we find the harmful and the beneficial, and in the universal animation their counter- 
parts pass from her into the spirit-world. The feeling of thankfulness toward the 
Good is constantly being called forth anew. Man needs it, and must be able to 
pray to it. Then if all good is to be ascribed to the soul of an ancestor, we have 
a mythic embodiment of the Good. But at this point the Good long remains as 
the benefactor of the individual, not of the whole community. There is aii 



approach to this notion when, as in New Britain, the creation of all good things, 
whether lands, institutions, or only traps for fish, is ascribed to one single being — 
To Kabinana (" the wise ") ; other harmful things to another — To Kovuvuru (per- 
haps " the clumsy "). But when the two halves of the race, who bear the names 
of these creators, show no recognition of rank -distinctions, but those called 

Kovuvuru are found 
throughout on the 
same level as the Ka- 
binana, it looks as if 
only a very weak con- 
trast were felt. The 
deep gap between an 
unmoral religion and 
one full of morality 
is attested by the 
human frailty of the 
dwellers in heaven. 
Why are the mytho- 
logical figures of the 
gods often so aban- 
doned from a moral 
point of view — worse 
even than the men 
who adore them ? A 
perverse conception 
of the force and power 
whereby they have to 
raise themselves above 
y-J the masses produces a 
false ideal of divine 
greatness. We have, 
too, the fable-making 
element, which exer- 
cises itself agreeably 
in mythology, and has 
spread over the whole 
world that other false 
ideal of the cunning divinity, outwitting others in adventures of love, war, even 

The priest is the embodiment of the world of spirits with whom he has to hold 
intercourse, whom he bans and exorcises. He is fitted for his duties by the 
expulsion of the ordinary soul and the entrance of a new one ; he best adapts 
himself to them when he differs mentally from the ordinary mass with a tendency 
to mental derangement, epilepsy, hallucinations, and vivid dreams. The tradi- 
tions of the fetish priesthood are propagated by instruction, which is imparted to 
suitable youths. As a transformation from the normal man to a controller of spirits 
with magic powers, the training assumes the character of the miraculous, even a form 
of transmigration. Those whom the fetish loves are taken away by him into the 

Magicians of the Loaned Coast. 

(From a photograph by Dr. Falkenstein.) 



bush and buried in the fetish house, often for a long period. When the person 
thus carried off awakes again to life he begins to eat and drink as before, but his 
understanding is gone and the fetish man must instruct him and teach him to 
perform every movement like a little child. At first this can only be done by 
blows, but gradually his senses return, so that it is possible to speak to him, and 
after his education is completed the priest takes him back to his parents. Often 
they would not recognise him did he not recall past events to their memory. 

The nucleus of his art lies in his intercourse with the spirits of the departed, 
but as sorcerer he is the receptacle of all knowledge, all memories, and all fore- 
bodings. Many Europeans have been in a position to appreciate the operation 
of his medicaments of herbs and roots. The position of the sorcerer is that of 
the doctor on a higher stage ; some doctors understand certain disorders — for 
example, worms, — better than others, and to 
these patients are sent by the sorcerers. Bleek 
asserts that among the Kaffirs of Natal their 
doctors, as a rule, dissect beasts, but that in 
time of war some have secretly dissected men ; 
this is a solitary statement. In any case they, 
no more than their patients, content them- 
selves with natural remedies derived from the 
animal and vegetable kingdom, but they ob- 
tain, as they think, the deepest and most 
secure effects by the intervention of super- 
natural powers, whereby also troubles other 
than sickness, such as those of love, hatred, 
envy, may find a cure. The production of 
hallucinations was familiar to the priests. 
When they brought these about they were 
merely creating fresh supports to faith. Long 
before science they were in possession of the 
secrets of suggestion, hypnotism, and the like. The people themselves knew a 
good deal, but the sorcerer always kept the best a secret. Consider the power 
that resides in the mere fact of tradition. Often, indeed, the only kind of knowledge 
of history possessed by these races is the tradition of important events which is 
handed down secretly among the priests, and astounds those who seek for counsel 
by the appearance of a supernatural knowledge. Naturally, this knowledge can 
also be put at the service of the sovereign and of politics. The sanctity of tradition 
had also the object of making it secure, and in this sense we can say that it replaces 
writing. Writing and printing have damaged the position of the priest. The art of 
tradition had also been specially cultivated ; to it belongs the knowledge of tradi- 
tional signs and pictures in higher stages, the art of writing and reading, if possible, 
in a special script, as with the Egyptian priests. Special priests' languages recur 
among the most different races of the earth ; the fundamental ideas of Shamanism 
are accompanied everywhere by details similar or agreeing even in the smallest 
points, of a kind which, in some respects, is not everywhere intelligible. Arrows 
to be shot off at the completion of a conjuration in order to lay the evil spirit form 
part of the sorcerer's equipment on the Lower Amoor as well as in Africa, 
America, and Oceania. 

Dice and amulets of a Bamangwato magician. 
(Ethnographical Museum at Munich.) 



The employment of masks in religious ceremonies is widely spread in all 
countries where the form of religion is polytheistic. Beast masks and human 
masks, monsters and complicated head-dresses, all find a use in religious perform- 
ances. They recur in China, Thibet, India, Ceylon, among the old Mexicans and 
Peruvians, as also among Eskimos, Melanesians, and African Negroes. The 
Aleutians put masks along with the bodies in the graves, with such comically dis- 
figured features that one is inclined to take them for dancing masks, which at one 
time served a profane end, and now are connected with serious conceptions of life 
and return after death. 

Prognostications alone involve a complete science. Their number is so great 
that they teem through everything and hamper life on all sides. To give only a 
few examples from the Kaffirs. Eating milk products in a thunderstorm attracts 
the lightning. If you eat milk in a strange kraal you will commit a transgression 
there. You must not do field work the day after a hailstorm or you will bring 

Masks from New Ireland — one-eighth of real size. (Berlin Museum of Ethnology. 

down more hail. He who kills a hawk must be put to death. If a bird of this 
kind settles on a kraal it is a sign of bad luck for the owner. If a cock crows 
before midnight it betokens death for man or cattle. The same evil significance 
is attached to the springing of a dog or a calf on a hut, and to the appearance of 
a rabbit in a kraal. The whisker of a leopard brings sickness and death upon any 
one who eats it unaware in his food, but if any one eats it with some of the flesh 
of that animal he becomes brave, and has luck in the chase. Dogs who eat the 
beak and claws of birds become strong and courageous. He who steps upon a 
thorn must eat it in order to protect himself from it next time. The horrible and 
widespread belief that no fatal accident which is in any way unusual can be 
natural, gives rise to a mass of magic practices, which pre-suppose a great know- 
ledge of personalities and their influence. Ordeals which in Africa are intensified 
by means of strong poisons are surrounded with a strict ritual, as are sorceries 
connected with rain, the renewal of fire, and the most important periodical incidents 
in the field, the cattle-stall, and the chase. 

The spiritual elements of a civilization are constantly exposed to the most 
rapid decay. As it is just these which are the motive forces in its forward 
development, this fact alone explains the great tendency to stagnation with 
inevitable retrogression. The history of religions is specially instructive here. 
If we ask in which elements Christianity has undergone the greatest modifications 



among the Abyssinians, or Buddhism among the Mongols, the answer must be 
in the most spiritual. All founders of religions have borne higher ideals than 
their successors, and the history of all religions begins with a declension from the 
height reached by pure enthusiasm, to which later reformers at long intervals 
endeavour again to raise themselves and their fellow-professors. In monotheism 
we taste the bitterness of the sharp experiences of life known to advanced age. 
Who can wonder that young and naive races do not esteem it in all its pure 
worth ? Abstractions are not fit for the masses. The same holds good in matters 
of dogma. It is not purity of dogma for which the fanaticism of the multitude 
cares, but for having the religion to which it is accustomed left undisturbed. 
How easily, in the extension of races, the deeply- differing principles at the 
base of religion tend to disappear behind forms is shown by nothing better than 
by the simultaneous Buddhist and Brahmin worship that takes place in many 
temples in Burmah and Ceylon. The magnificent ruins of Angkor Bat, in 
Cambodia, are a unique surviving testimony to this state of degradation of religions 
into a blend. 

Outwardly decay shows itself in the split between form and essence, and it is 
here that the first rifts are formed. Then the work of destruction is carried farther 
By external decomposing influences, impaired strength, impoverishment, loss of 
independence, dwindling numbers. Artistic facility does not keep pace with 
spiritual creative power ; as we may see by comparing the spiritual imaginings 
of Polynesian mythology with their representations in stone or wood. The spirit 
evaporates without leaving any creations behind fully corresponding to its own 
power and grandeur ; but the forms remain. That is why among the so-called 
" natural " races the forms, even the most rudimentary, often hold a higher 
place than the essence ; and this alone marks a stage in degradation. In almost 
all religions we meet with blurred traces of higher conceptions, and not only in 
spiritual but in purely material affairs, like those articles used in Buddhist worship, 
which have passed into the paraphernalia of Shamanism, brought thither by the 
active traffic between the more opulent Shamans and the Chinese, or the Christian 
crosses which in Tuckey's time were carried as fetishes on the lower Congo. 
Some isolated Christian notions had anticipated the missionaries. When Dobriz- 
hoffer was trying to convert the Guaranis on the Empalado, an old cacique said 
to him : " Father priest, you need not have come ; we need no priests. St. 
Thomas long ago gave his blessing to our land." The idea of a Devil, the most 
conspicuous evil spirit, was spread long before Christianity by uneducated Europeans, 
and has led to the assumption of " devil-worshippers," and a dualism of good and 
evil spirits. On the other hand, with regard to the legends of creation and the 
flood, often no less suspicious, and their curious accordance with Genesis, they 
are too universal and too deeply entwined with the whole mythology to allow us 
to assign them so recent and so casual an origin ; part of them, at least, belong 
to the world-myth, whose origins date from pre-Christian times. 

Have we in religion isolated developments or a network with closer meshes 
here, looser there ? The answer involves more than any classification can offer ; 
indeed, we shall not be in a position to classify aright until we have made it clear 
to ourselves how much is the common property of mankind, how much the separate 
possession of a race. What we have to say on this point is connected with and 
supplements what has been said above about the common possession of mankind. 


" Animism " and ancestor-worship are common to all human nature : Bastian 
calls them elementary thoughts. As we may learn from funeral customs, their mani- 
festations often agree even in details. From them we could reconstruct a universal 
doctrine of souls as held by savages. Fragments from China and North America, 
German}* and Australia, fit with wonderful precision, and form a united body of 
doctrine consistent in its fundamental features. We have seen how the " universal 
animation " of Nature connects itself with this. No doubt the objects which it 
animates are different in Greenland and in Fiji ; but from like sources it draws, 
with like bounty, superstitious usages absolutely alike. For this reason the men 
who have power over these things agree so extraordinarily in disposition and 
character. The Shaman of northern Asia and the African rain-maker, the American 
medicine-man and the Australian sorcerer are alike in their nature, their aims, and 
to some extent in their expedients. 

All mythology has outgrown the small local influences which once must have 
been powerful in it. We do not mean that in the mythological reflection in the 
popular mind of regular natural phenomena, it is not often some slight abnormality 
which is felt as such far beyond the measure of its magnitude, as when the sun is 
distorted on the horizon ; we do not overlook the fact that the extent to which 
sun-worship flourished in Peru rested upon the certainty in that land of little rain 
or cloud, that the brightest of the heavenly bodies would at all times be seen 
uncovered ; nor do we forget the influence of historical facts such as meet us in 
the legend of the primitive abode of Iroquois and Algonquins, in which they saw 
not only their home, but also the places whence kind white men with beards came 
to them. Here one element may preponderate over another ; the main fact 
remains that they were bound together by like fundamental thoughts from which 
what we call the world-myth was constructed. 

The chief trait in the world-myth is the opposition between heaven and earth. 
Heaven appears sometimes as itself, sometimes as the sun, i.e. the sun is the eye 
of heaven. They are interchangeable ; thus among the South Americans a belief 
in heaven replaces the very marked belief in the sun, as the future home of the 
soul, which exists among the North Americans. In the work of creation the sun 
is the assistant of heaven. The earth is always opposed to both ; its creatures 
are subordinate ; it is always regarded as the female upon whom heaven begot 
all existing things, man in particular. With sun, lightning (or the god of thunder), 
fire, volcano, earthquake, is associated also the idea of an assistant creator who 
approaches the earth in the revolution of the sun, in the lightning-flash, in volcanic 
eruptions, just in proportion as heaven remains remote from him. Hephaestus 
and Prometheus, Demiurge and chastised fire -bringer, life -giver and destroyer, 
he stands at the centre of many a religious system, and heaven, the All-father, 
comes far behind him. The Maui-myths are common to all mankind, not specially 
Polynesian. They might just as well be called after Loki, who is also a crippled 
god of the under -world, or after Daramoolun, the thunder -god of the South 
Australian races, whose name Ridley translates by " leg on one side," or " lame," 
or again after the Hottentot Tsuigoab, " wounded knee." No myths, and so 
not these, can be made, in proportion to their wider or narrower, denser or looser, 
distribution, the bases for conclusions which have reference only to limited race- 
relationships ; it is quite enough if the characteristic features turn up elsewhere. 
Maui, like Hephaestus, is crippled in a limb, and dwells in the earth ; if the South 



Africans believe in a lame god dwelling in the ground, it is the same. He even meets 
us in a multiplied form in one-legged gnomes who dance round the cave-dwelling 
fire -god of the Araucanians. The cloud -serpent with the lightning is to the 
Nahuas the creator of man, just as the thunder-god is to the Tarascos, or Ndengei 
to the Fijians ; and he again is a serpent who grew with the foundations of the 
earth, and whose movements produce earthquakes. And this serpent is, again, the 
sacred dragon of China and Japan with its endless variations. 1 

In connection with the opinion of many races that the god of heaven and the 
light who dwells in the east is their creator and benefactor, they place their original 
abode in the east, as the Mexicans sung of Aztlan, the land of brightness. Still 
more often the place of departed souls is placed in the western sky, where the 
Islands of the Blessed rise in the golden glow of sunset. In the description of the 
ways which the soul has to travel, its dangers and escapes, lies a mass of simi- 
larities, which is far greater than the missionary, with all his energy, can have 
carried from one people to another. Readers may remember the Hawaiian tale 
of the soul brought back from the under-world. 2 

There is scarcely a single legend of creation in which a tree does not occur — 
the tree of the Hesperides, the ash Yggdrasil, the tree of Paradise. It stands 
between heaven and earth, the gods descend upon it, the souls find the road to 
heaven by it, or it becomes a rough beam for them to totter across ; in short all 
creation has come out of it. The region in which men are conceived as sprung 
from trees embraces Hereros, Kaffirs, West Africans (cf. cut on the next page) ; 
the kindred idea of an origin from plants occurs among Polynesians and South 
Americans. As a geographical fable it has preserved its connection with that of 
the home of souls : one of the Canary Islands, held to be of iron, and therefore 
waterless, is said to be watered by means of a tree " always covered by a dense 
cloud ; thence the leaves of the tree received water which constantly dripped, so that 
men and beasts got drink enough." This was believed down to the 1 7th century, 
as may be read in Schreyer's Neue Ostindianische Reisebeschreibung (1680). 

The men of the present day are in many accounts only a second later-created 
race, separate from an earlier one which was destroyed by some great catastrophe, 
the falling of the heaven or the flooding of the earth. Cameron heard at the lake 
of Dilolo that in the depth of the lake men were living, moving, and acting, as if 
in daylight, their entire village having been submerged for their cruelty in sending 
away an old beggar man. A single one received him kindly, and so saved himself 
and his house. It may be thought that is a version of the story of Noah, through 
Arabic or Abyssinian tradition. But we find the story elsewhere also with local 
alterations. The water especially is regarded as inhabited ; the negroes on the 
Nile can tell of splendid herds which the river-spirits drive at night to pasture. 

This whole mythology, put together fragmentarily and only half-understood, 
has as it stands before us the interest of an ancient building constructed of strange 
stones, in which the very gods of modern men, the returning restless spirits of the 
departed, roam about in a thousand forms, to which nevertheless it is only in a 
few places that they assume a relation of intimate kinship. The fundamental ideas 
of animism and all that is twined round it, spread over the earth at another date 
and from other sources than the cosmogonic legends, the myths of gods, and the 

1 [Dragons also live in mountain-countries, especially on mountain-tops. Compare Salimbene's account of 
the ascent of the Canigou by Peter III. of Aragon. ] 2 Supra, p. 41. 



portraitures of the next world ; and the former were certainly much earlier than 
the latter. Both show the most striking similarities in the remotest regions ; but 
in every region they are two independent worlds of ideas, which come into intimate 
contact at a few points only, while even then there intervenes a peculiarity which 
we may call " free invention," or at least " free variation." We do not share the 
view that every custom, every usage, of these races with no traditions must be 
deeply rooted in some historical association. Much comes into existence in sport ; 
the Nyambe worship of the Balubas is not the only case in which the suggestion 
of a whim has had consequences. Beside the great similarities, finally, we find 

Cemetery and sacred tree in Mbinda. (After Stanley. 

the smaller ones. These help to explain the others, of which they are often 
survivals, roots, or offshoots. 

As we find in all parts of the earth, where Europeans have built houses and 
ploughed the soil, the same plants growing in rubbish or springing from seed ; so 
isolated superstitious usages, of little importance in themselves, sprout up as 
survivals and traces of thoughts which are universally diffused. The belief not 
only in the evil eye, but in hands and horseshoes as counter-charms to it, is found 
in India, Arabia, North Africa, and Europe. In Morocco the women, when in 
mourning or after illnesses, hang little balls made of their hair on certain trees, a 
custom which, as the hair-offering, we meet with in the most various forms in all 
parts of the earth. It is only one portion of a complex mass of usages the aim of 
which is respect towards, concealment or offering up of, whatever is taken from 
the bod\-. Here also belongs circumcision, a custom most irregular in its 


distribution. Zulus practise it, Bechuanas do not ; it is found in New Caledonia, 
but not in the Loyalty Isles. In its special ritual form again it runs through the 
most various and distant countries. 

In conclusion, we may refer to one of those usages which seem to have 
something playful about them, and of which for that very reason the wide 
dissemination strikes us. In Ancon and Flores, frames made of reeds, and 
having many-coloured threads wound over them in the fashion of a flag, or a star, 
are put into the grave with the corpse (Figs. 7, 8 in the coloured plate " American 
Antiquities). Among the Pirnas a religious significance is attached to them, and 
we find them in Vancouver and Chittagong without any nearer definition of their 
purpose. In Egypt they form ornaments for horses ; in Bolivia they are stuck in 
the rafters. 

In order to take a general view of the extension of the various religions, it is 
customary to divide them into a few large groups, to the statistics of which, if we 
only demand estimated figures, an approximation can be obtained. If the 
grouping is to be based on the deepest-seated differences, in order not to break up 
mankind into casual fragments, but to distinguish them according to the true 
height and depth of their religious development, we must not always take into 
consideration the traditional, superficial forces, Christianity, Paganism, Polytheism, 
Monotheism. If we survey the religious development of mankind in connection 
with their total development, we recognise that its great landmarks lie elsewhere. 
Monotheism arises even in the midst of polytheism as a natural effort to provide 
one Supreme Being ; while the monotheistic creeds are invaded by the impulse to 
distribute the one who is distant into several, or many more accessible. 

At the base of the religious development of existing men we find : 

I. Religions wherein the divine is not exalted far above the human, and 
without any strong moral element. These rest in all cases on belief in souls or 
ghosts ; allied with this are sooth -saying, medicine, rain -magic, and other 

In one group we find the association of natural phenomena to be only slight, 
and the tendency to fetishism accordingly strong, as with many Negro races and 
the Northern Asiatics ; in the other a higher development of cosmogonic and 
mythological conceptions to entire systems, as with Polynesians and Americans. 

II. Religions which exalt the divine far above the human sphere, and 
progressively detach themselves from any mixture with other efforts of the mind 
in the direction of science, poetry, and the like, cultivating proportionately the 
moral element. The belief in souls recurs in a purified form in the assumption of 
a future life with rewards and punishments. 

(a.) Polytheism, which allows a position of sovereignty to several locally 
varying gods without always recognising any moral superiority in 
them, as the Brahmins and Buddhists, pre-Christian Europeans, the 
ancient Americans. 

(b.) Monotheism in different grades 01 development, according to the number 
and importance of the beings akin to gods, saints, and so on, who 
intervene between the one God and man. The single God appearing 
in the highest moral perfection — Mussulmans, Jews, Christians. 

Christianity, at the beginning of its intimate and manifold contact with non- 
European races, soon laid aside the prejudice that their souls were not destined to 


salvation, and from the beginning of the sixteenth century the missionary formed 
the inevitable accompaniment of trade and conquest—even of the slave trade. Not 
only as an institution with religious aims, but generally as an effect produced by 
strangers among a race of whose nature they often know very little, but into 
which they try most forcibly to penetrate, the entrance of the missionary is 
important from an ethnographic point of view. 

The monotheistic religions could not well attach themselves to such a 
wavering uncertain conception as that of Nyambe or Manitu. In most cases 
they could not even use the name of the supreme being whom they found in 
possession to denote their one God ; misunderstandings would have been too great. 
But the possibility of forming a connection, even of fruitfully cultivating the 
already prepared soil, is doubtless presented in other religious ideas of the 
" natural " races. Theoretically for the understanding of the much-despised 
condition of religion among the " natural " races, no less than practically for 
estimating the prospects of Christianity, it is worth while to emphasise these. The 
idea of the continued life of departed spirits, on which that of a future world also 
rests, is fundamentally akin to the Christian doctrines of the soul and immortality. 
To cherish the memory of ancestral souls is in no way in contradiction with 
Christianity, but it must pause before the deification of ancestors with which 
idolatry begins. In the cosmogonic myths of natural races Christianity finds 
traits of its own doctrine of creation reproduced, often in striking agreement ; 
lastly, the Christian doctrine of God as Father and Son may be attached to the 
ideas of a Demiurge. 

The gap opens as soon as we set foot upon the moral law, that essential con- 
stituent of Christian doctrine. In spite of Abraham's sacrifice the missionaries 
must set their faces firmly against human sacrifices and the low value attached to 
human life. What is more difficult, they must extend their influence upon the 
morals of their scholars much farther into the domain of the purely secular than 
did the heathen priests. Their Christianity must have a social and economic side, 
and therewith be revolutionary in its effects. Polygamy and slavery form two 
great stumbling-blocks. Missionaries seek to reach their aim by reforming the 
economic existence of their disciples, but may easily go too far in that direction. 
Certain philanthropists who sent a missionary with Captain Fitzroy to that 
forgotten spot of earth, Tierra del Fuego, wrote in his instructions : " In your 
intercourse with the Fuegians you will bear in mind that it is the temporal advan- 
tages which you may be capable of communicating to them that they will be 
most easily and immediately sensible of. Among these may be reckoned the 
acquisition of better dwellings, and better and more plentiful food and clothing. 
Consequently you will consider it a primary duty to instruct them in cultivating 
the potato, cabbage, and other vegetables, and to rear pigs, poultry, etc., and to 
construct a commodious habitation. You will probably find in this as in more 
important things that example is the most influential instructor. You must there- 
fore take care to have a comfortable habitation yourself, furnished with all necessary 
articles, and kept clean and orderly. You will also fence in a piece of ground for 
a garden and get it well stocked with the most useful vegetables, and also surround 
yourself as quickly as possible with a plentiful supply of pigs, goats, and fowls." 

This is a beautiful plan ; why were its results so meagre ? Such an attempt to 
bring men over from a poor but easy state of existence to one which, though better. 



demands more of them, can be nothing" but an economic revolution which is not 
only capable of bringing blessings, but also certain to cause mischief, and the 
latter sooner than the former. The existence of the Fuegians may very well 
appear dreadful to European eyes and pleasant enough to their own. The 
missionary must in all cases start with a notion that the higher civilization is 
certain to have a decomposing effect upon the conditions of heathen life, and that 
he should soften the transition by the practical schooling of his disciples ; but he 
should not play the part of artisan or tradesman. This contradicts the mystic 
element which resides together with a mass of superstitions in the priesthood of 
natural races. This must not be undervalued, but we must recollect the vows of 
self-denial so frequent in Africa, which are taken with special ceremonies and 

Boat-coffin from Timorlaut. (From a model in the Ethnographical Museum, Dresden.) 

strictly kept ; or the bodily and spiritual acts of self-injury performed by the 
Shaman when he is sending out his soul in convulsions. It is in the healthy 
alliance of self-denial with practical work that the success of the missionary 
monastic orders lies. The aim which the German missionaries to the Hereros set 
before them has for its basis an economic and social development such as 
Christianity might entertain ; deeds are more effective than spoken doctrine as 
they are shown in the demeanour of the missionary, and above all in the calm 
security with which he regards and treats the things of the world. Finally the 
priest can only make a breach in the chaos of superstition if he is at the same 
time capable of acting as physician. 

The universally-recurring combination of chiefhood and priesthood leaves no 
doubt that the success of missions depends upon a right estimate of political 
conditions. Xot till the missionary can obtain the backing of a powerful chief 
will the discharge of his task as a rule be possible. The Austrian mission in 
Gondokoro, started with such sanguine hopes, collapsed without leaving any traces 
worth mentioning of its devoted activity (Speke, with some exaggeration, says 
without having accomplished a single conversion), chiefly because it took a 
perfectly independent attitude. In fact, instead of any government which could 


keep in check the Bari population, in their state of utter political decay, and 
protect their property against themselves, there was nothing but a society opposed 
in its very essence and aims to all missionary activity, that of the slave-traders. 
Results have shaped themselves quite otherwise where the missionaries have been 
able to develop their operations under cover of even such toleration from a chief 
as Moffat got from Mosilikatse ; or when they have enjoyed the protection of 
powerful chieftains, as Livingstone among the Basutos and Makololos under 
Sechele and Sebituane, or the missionaries of different denominations under Mtesa 
and Mwanga in Uganda — though in this instance they have unfortunately not 
been able to keep clear of parties. 

From all this it should be clear that missions can only go to work with a 
prospect of success after thorough study of the religious notions and secular 
institutions of the " natural " races. Ethnology owes most valuable contributions 
to many missionaries who have realised this. Very frequently it has been the 
inevitable study of the languages which has led to a deeper understanding of the 
life of a race. But he who would teach savages what is deepest and most 
essential in Christianity must also understand it himself. The least successful 
missionaries have always been uneducated men, incapable of a right conception 
of their own faith, such as have been sent out in numbers by England and 
America : men without love, who have often been rather traders or political agents 
than Christian ministers. 

In conclusion we may again point out that the implanting of a new faith 
always implies a simultaneous transformation in civilization, and must be the 
work of more than one generation. A mission allows of no hurry, it must shirk 
no trouble to heap up grain upon grain, it must not allow itself to be seduced into 
snatching at opportunities which seem to afford a chance of more rapid progress, 
and thereby, even were it only temporarily, diverted from its true aim. 

Next to Christianity, Islam is the chief proselytising monotheistic religion. 
In many respects it seems better to meet the comprehension of the more backward 
races. In Africa and Asia it makes progress. Its extension may be merely 
superficial, as in the negro countries of Africa, where we find among the Furs, 
under a Mussulman varnish, the bslief in a god called Mola and sky-worship in 
full vigour, while in West Africa the transition from the Mussulman mollah to the 
fetish priest is imperceptible ; but still it strikes its roots deeper than Christianity. 
It offers no logical difficulties, and its practical commands may be lived up to 
with a certain laxity. The permission of polygamy and slavery gives it an 
incomparable advantage compared with Christianity. The prohibition of the 
former indeed excludes from Christianity, at all events until a profound moral 
renovation takes place, all those persons of property whose higher social position 
is above all things indicated by the ability to keep several wives, and for whom 
this is the chief satisfaction derived from their wealth. Upon this institution, to 
which even missionaries do not always venture to offer stubborn opposition, and 
which quite recently in the southern Ural has caused hundreds of Tartars to 
renounce Christianity under the eyes of Russian officials, a great part of the 
influence of Islam depends. The general upshot is that Islam is usually better 
suited to the society and polity of the least advanced races, and is allied with a 
civilization all the closer to theirs for the reason that the place of its origin is 
nearer their own both in locality and in climate. 

Printed by Ehe Bibliographisches [nsütut, Leipzig 



i. Wooden club : Haida, Queen Char- 
lotte's Island. 

2. War-dance flute, Sioux. 

3. Pipe : Blackfoot Indian 

4. Arrow: Apache (New Mexico). 

5. Racquet : Choctaw. 

6. Blunt Arrow : Apache. 

7. Stone Tomahawk : North-west 

3. Bow : Apache. 
9. Wooden Club. 
10 Post erected in front of house : 
One-tenth natural size. All from Ethno; 
Museum Catologue. 

11. Dancing rattle : (?) Apache. 

12. Tobacco pipe. 

13. Shield : Pueblo (Cochiti). 

14. Quiver and bow-case : (?) Apache. 

15. Scalping knife in sheath : Blackfoot. 

16. Medicine bag of otter skin. 

17. Hunting pouch : Cherokee. 

18. Bowl : Pueblo (Acomo, Arizona). 

19. Spear ornamented with feathers 

(Uaupe) : Brazil. 

20. Bow : Conibo. 

21. Arrow : Cashibo. 

22. Arrow : Conibo. 
;raphical Museum, Berlin. (When no place of origin is given, it is lacking also in the 

They are good old pieces from the former Royal Cabinet of Art). 

23. Arrow : Shakaya. 

24. Fishing-arrow : Shakaya (Orinoco). 

25. Fishing-fork : Pano. 

26. Harpoon : Pano 

27. Arrow : Cashibo. 

28. Feather - sceptre used in dancing : 

29. P'eather-crown : Makusi. 

30. Breast belt : Conibo. 

31. Necklace : Lengua. 

32. Ornament for the back : Rio Pastaza. 

33. Carved spoon : Pemba. 

34. Bowl : Cocama. 


Not a third of mankind has yet been won to Christendom. Out of 
570,000,000 estimated of monotheists 440 confess Christianity. Of the remain- 
ing 900,000,000 of the earth's inhabitants, the Buddhists with 600 occupy the 
largest area, and the most inaccessible to Christian teaching. It is practically 
from the residuum of the lowest heathendom that the missions, which now control 
3000 ordained men, have gained their converts. The most conspicuous successes 
have been in Oceania, where a whole list of island groups have been won for 
Christendom, and are now sending out from among themselves missionaries to 
the neighbouring islands. In Africa, Madagascar is almost wholly under Christian 
influence. The Hottentots and Hereros, the people of Siberia and Sierra Leone, 
and numerous tribes in Angola, on the Gold Coast, on the lower Niger, have 
become Christians. In Asia perhaps 1 -400th part of the population of India has 
been baptized. In China the tale is yet less in proportion to the mass of the 
population — 65,000 in all. On the other hand the Indian Archipelago shows a 
larger list of Christian districts. In America nearly all the Eskimo of Greenland 
and Labrador, many Indians in North America, and the greater part both of 
them and the Negroes in the West Indies, have been gained. In South and 
Central America the Spaniards, both in Church and State, have been working 
at the conversion of the Indians ever since the beginning of the sixteenth century, 
with much success in accessible localities. 

It is obvious that no one can have a thorough knowledge of missions who 
thinks that these few figures express their successes. We must always think of 
them in alliance with other civilizing forces, to which they act as a stimulus or a 
check. As a spiritual power they effect much which in its essence is spiritual. 
As Warneck says, " the Gospel puts new religious views and moral conceptions 
into gradual circulation, and these surround even the heathen part of the race 
with a new spiritual atmosphere. Wherever a mission has taken a firm footing, 
paganism is no longer what it was ; a leavening process begins which ends with 
its decomposition and the victory of the Gospel." And besides that, the emitted 
lieht of faith radiates back warmth. 


The condition of scientific development — The slow expanding of the sense of Truth — Religion and Science — 
Age of fear and of mythology — Friendship with Nature — Science under semi-civilization — Systems of 
science among "natural" races — Religion as the common ancestor of art and science — Poetry of 
"natural" races — Lyric and musical art — Images of souls and gods — Priests and Artists — Origin of 
ornament — Ornaments of men and beasts — Plastic art — Arts and crafts— Sense of colour — Modifications 
of style — Materials — Popular sports. 

THE fundamental labour is that of agriculture. All other forms of economic 
activity pursued their course, hand in hand with this, ever more rapidly towards 
perfection, till they attained in all points what would be achieved by industrious 
and skilled hands — patience, devotion, and lastly, a fine taste, so high a mark 
that later generations, working with improved tools and clearer insight, have in 
many cases not been able to surpass it. They remained, however, stationary at 
manual and individual labour, and, under the restraint of caste, stiffened in tradi- 



tional methods. Inventions, machines, production on a large scale, were not 
reached till much later, when a creative impulse brought into all these activities 
the mighty element of advance which we now call science. If manual labour 
provides the basis of civilization, the training of the mind in the maintenance and 
renewal of mental possessions gives the force of life and increase. In the opening 
of this second source lies the cause of the great advance from what we vaguely 
call semi-civilization, to what is called by us Europeans, and is, the civilization of 
the nineteenth century. In the year 1847 the following question was propounded 
at some meetings of the Paris Ethnological Society. Wherein really lies the 
more profound distinction between white men and negroes ? Gustav von Eichthal 
answered it at that time : " In the possession by the white man of science, which, 
owing to writing, the elements of calculation, and so on, penetrates ever deeper 
and gives permanence to itself ; while the negro is characterised, and his stationary 
condition explained, by the total lack of it." Of arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, 
and fixed measurements of time and space they are completely destitute, and 
therewith of what on that occasion was named initiative civilisatrice. Meanwhile 
we must ascend high in order to find what is in the highest sense science. We 
claim to live in the age of science, and if perhaps yet more scientific ages are in 
store in the future, yet we more than any of our predecessors enjoy a science 
that has of itself achieved great things. A few centuries ago science was still in 
a dependent position as handmaid of the Church ; we can trace her entire deliver- 
ance, not without great conflicts, from that bondage. But that was only the con- 
clusion of a long conflict fought out within the human race. The " natural " races 
show us science in its lowest stage. They are not wholly without it ; but their 
science is symbolic, poetic, still hidden within the bud of religion. They are two 
flowers which cannot expand rightly until they are no longer in so close contact, 
but each allows the other space to unfold freely. 

In the lower stage religion includes all science ; and the poetry which forms 
myths is her most powerful tool. There is no question of truth ; only of getting 
an image. The sense of truth is uncommonly little developed among " natural " 
races. The kindly Livingstone wrote in his last diary in Unyamwesi : "In this 
country you can believe nothing that is not in black and white, and not much 
even of that ; the most circumstantial report is often pure imagination. One 
half of what you hear may safely be called false, the other doubtful or not 
authenticated." The sense of truth must have been developed slowly. The 
most highly developed races seek it most eagerly ; and we could even undertake 
to grade the present holders of civilization according to their love for truth. 
With every higher stage of humanity the sense for truth increases, and in every 
higher race the number of truthful men. 

There is a period at which the universal animation of nature forms a principle 
universally valid. Fear or attraction, truthfulness or usefulness, divide all nature 
between them. That is the highest form of the subjective conception. The 
next is mythological explanation, which clothes correct interpretation in an 
intentionally distorting figurative language. Above the dreary terror which for- 
bids the Nyassa negroes to mention earthquakes — how long may the myth- 
breeding effect of such a phenomenon, from which science at last issues, lie 
quietly under the terror which enjoins a superstitious silence ! — soars the loving 
dealing of poetry with Nature. One can speak of the age of belief in ghosts, 


and that of mythology as successive. In the former the bases of natural 
science are laid in the affinity and acquaintance with Nature, which is a great 
peculiarity of " natural " races. The mingling" of men and other creatures in art 
is no mere external feature. The feeling of an absolute spiritual distinction 
between man and beast, so widespread in the civilized world, is almost entirely 
lacking among savage races. Men to whom the cry of beast and bird appears 
like human speech, and their actions seem as if guided by human thought, are 
quite logical in ascribing a soul to beast no less than to man. This feeling of 
khiship shows especially in histories of creation, and as a deduction from these 
in the beast-legend. An enumeration of the animals to which beliefs and super- 
stitions have attached themselves, however copious, would give a defective picture. 
In some parts of Africa the chameleon would be prominent, in others the jackal, 
in north-west America the otter, in the eastern parts the beaver. Nahualism 
(na/iua/=a. beast in Quiche), the belief in a familiar spirit in animal shape who 
is friendly to man, suffers and dies with him, is one way of bringing oneself into 
alliance with the animal world ; totemism, which makes the tribe descend from 
an animal, is another. As a rule the myth-forming powers of the mind are 
concentrated on certain selected points ; while many others, which to all appear- 
ance recommend themselves equally well to the myth-forming spirit, are neglected. 
The predominance of traditions over new creations is nowhere shown so clearly 
as in this limitation, which indeed has a touch of the whimsical. 

The fettering of the intellectual powers by giving the priest a free hand, and the 
special direction which is therein given to them through the preponderance of 
mystical tendencies in the service of superstition, explain much of the backward 
condition of many races, and produce a hampering, one may say even petrifying, 
effect not only upon the so-called natural races, but also among those who enjoy 
semi-civilization. In order to understand this effect we must form a clear view 
of the position held by priests, Shamans, medicine men, or whatever they 
may be called. In ancient Mexico they received a special training and attained 
knowledge and power in the following subjects : hymns and prayers, national 
traditions, religious doctrine, medicine, exorcism, music and dancing, mixing of 
colours, painting, drawing the ideographic signs, and phonetic hieroglyphs. 
This science and ability might be shared with others in its practical employment, 
but as a whole it remained a privilege of their caste. The superstitious dread of 
their magic power, of their alliance with the supernatural, their innate or acquired 
capacity for states of ecstasy, increased by fasting and vows of chastity, raised 
them in the eyes of the people at large to unattainable heights. The artificially 
unintelligible priest-language contributed yet more to mark them off, but since the 
aim of all these preparations and labours was the service of God, or rather of spirits 
in the widest sense, the elements of progress in culture and science remained 
unaltered in the germ. This religious torpidity among races whose intellectual 
life is not yet supported by a more developed division of labour between classes 
and callings, and for whom religion is the entire intellectual life, means a fettering 
of the intellect. Science which, when left to itself, is naturally capable of progress, 
in this alliance is crippled. The Lushais call their witch doctors the " great ones 
who know " ; it would be better to designate them those who can, for from their 
knowledge proceeds only skill, not science. 

In certain directions the intellect of man can progress in straight lines, 


which for US are practically unlimited. In other matters it must necessarily 
revolve about certain points without going very far from them. To the former 
belong scientific, to the latter religious concerns. The creation of science 
therefore forms one of the greatest epochs in the life of humanity, and among 
civilized nations the deepest cleavages result from the lack or possession of it. 
The orientals as a whole do not understand how to value the sciences for their 
own sake. Bare interest in truth characterises them but imperfectly. They 
esteem knowledge, but on grounds which are alien to science. When we find in 
Chinese tradition one and the same prince inventing or regulating the calendar, 
music, and the system of weights and measures, while his wife is regarded as the 
inventress of silk-worm breeding and silk working, one of his ministers gives the 
order to invent writing, and another carries out the order at once with great 
success ; when we find in the same age astronomical observations held in such 
importance by the State that two statesmen are punished for neglecting to 
calculate an eclipse of the sun properly ; we see in this close connection of 
science with State power a proof of the purely practical estimate of science, or, 
one would rather say, of knowledge and skill. For this very reason the most 
modern scientific works of the Chinese look to us like a survival from the Middle 
Ages ; we see the greatest intellects of that race proceeding upon an old road 
from which a sounder new road branched off centuries ago. It takes centuries 
for a people to disentangle itself from such errors. The Chinese have had 
thousands of years, but they stifled all originality in their hierarchic examination 
system. Good observation and false conclusion are by no means irreconcilable. 
The Chinese who, as indeed their art testifies, have good eyes for what is 
characteristic in Nature, are above all no bad describers. Their books of medicine, 
in which 2000 to 3000 remedies are described, are rich in definitions full of 
knowledge and apt if often prolix, and still richer in excellent pictorial illustrations. 
Their classifications too may often claim to formulate carefully correct principles 
of thought, but it is not pure truth which stands as the aim of all these efforts, it 
is rather the case that a philosophy full of preconceived opinions leads them astray. 
The fact that this Physique Mensongere, as Remusat calls it, excludes all encroach- 
ments of the supernatural, and fancies that it interprets all phenomena in the 
simplest possible way, lends a double vitality to the errors. Explaining as it does 
everything by extension and compression, Chinese physics finds it easy to account 
for every phenomenon, — it is triumphantly enthroned upon empty words. 

All civilized races are also writing races ; without writing is no secure tradition. 
The firm historical ground, upon which a step in advance may be tried, is lacking. 
There is no chronicle, no monument of renown or mighty events intended to 
immortalise the history of the past, which may spur to emulation and brave deeds. 
What lies outside of the sacred tradition passes into oblivion. Human memory 
being limited, it is impossible but that when the poems intended to glorify a recently 
deceased Inca are learnt, those which were fashioned in praise of his predecessor 
should be forgotten. In the schools of the Indian Brahmins we learn the import- 
ance which was attached to getting by rote, and the trouble which it cost : in them 
the Vedas have, in spite of writing and printing, been orally propagated up to the 
present day. Every scholar has, in the traditional method, had to learn the nine 
hundred thousand syllables. Yet writing could never be replaced by these means. 

It is impossible to give a general view of all the germs of science among 



natural races. Much is no longer to be known, more has disappeared and fallen 
to ruin, the amount possessed is very unequal. Hitherto too low an estimate has 
prevailed. The reckoning of time and astronomy, both of which come into close 
relation to men's needs, are indeed the most widely extended, just as they also 
stand far up in the pedigree of our science. We may point to the star legends of 
the Bushmen, or the observations of the sailors of Oceania, of which we shall have 
to speak later. A primitive astrology runs through the religion of the natural 
races. Their attempts to drive away eclipses and comets with all sorts of noises 
point to a feeling of discomfort from the 
disturbance of order in the firmament. 
Falling stars denote the death of some 
great man, close conjunctions portend 

All " natural " races distinguish the 
seasons, not only according to the terres- 
trial processes of flowering, ripening, and 
the like, but also by the position of the 
constellations. But the year is an ab- 
straction foreign to many, and even if the 
months are distinguished, their cycle does 
not talh' with the year. The step to 
science is made when sections of the year, 
field labour and such like, are associated 
with the apparition of particular con- 
stellations, for this assumes observations. 
Naturally these are carried out most 
extensively and most acutely among the 
sea-faring races. We find the Banks 
Islanders using a special name, masoi, for the planets on account of their rounder 

Civilized races see in poetic literature the highest achievement ot their great 
intellects, and it is precisely in this direction that the natural races have risen highest. 
Hamann has called lyric poetry the mother-tongue of humanity. Among the 
natural races we scarcely find any but lyric poems, and these express love, sorrow, 
admiration, and religious sentiments. Wherever the poetry of the natural races 
has been put into words it is also sung, and thus poetry is closely allied with 
music. As in the case of our own poets, we find here also words and phrases 
which have only been preserved in poetry, and unusual lengthenings and shorten- 
ings for the sake of metre. In the dancing songs of the Banks Islanders obsolete 
words borrowed from neighbouring islands form a regular poetic language to 
themselves. There is no lack of bold imagery, and a whole list of artifices such 
as repetition, climax, abbreviation, and artistic obscurity come into play. The 
alliance with religion is always preserved. In Santa Maria the following song is 
sung in honour of a person away at sea : — 

" Leale ale ! 
I am an eagle, I have soared to the furthest dim horizon. 
I am an eagle, I have flown and landed on Mota. 
With whirring: noise have I sailed round the mountain. 

Ornament on coco-nut shell, from Isabel in the 
Solomon Islands. (After Codrington. ) 



I have gone down island after island in the West to the base of Heaven. 

I have sailed, I have seen the lands, I have sailed in circles. 

An ill wind has drifted me away, has drawn me away from you two. 

How shall I make my way round to you two ? 

The sounding sea stretches empty to keep me away from you. 

You are crying, mother, for me, how shall I see thy face ? 

You are crying, father, for me, "■ — and so on. 

The last words of the poem are : — 

" Ask and hear ! who wrote x the song of Maros ? 
It was the poet who sits by the road to Lakona." 

In the form of this lyric, as given by Codrington, we see the alliance with 
music. Choric and religious songs were accompanied by music, 
/ and there are sacred drums and trumpets which may only be 
sounded by the initiated. The Tucanos of Brazil use long 
flutes to invoke the spirit Yurupari. Women may not look 
upon him and conceal themselves at the sound of these instru- 
ments, which at other times are kept under water. 

But there is more than this in poetry. It embraces legends 
which are not merely fiction but contain in them the whole intel- 
lectual possession of the race, history, customs, law, and religion, 
and thereby are an important aid to the preservation of know- 
ledge from one generation to another. Many legends are 
mythological fragments differing outwardly from myth by their 
fragmentary character and lack of point. Many myths are 
nothing but picturesque descriptions of natural events and per- 
sonifications of natural forces. These bridge over the interval 
to science, for in them mythology becomes, like science, the way 
and the method towards the knowledge of the causes of pheno- 
mena. The original object falls into the background, the images 
become independent figures whose quarrels and tricks have an 
interest of their own. Therewith we have the fable, especially 
the widespread beast fable. Here the immediate operations of 
Nature are indulged with a wider play. Just as the sacred 
mountains and forests, the sacred sea and its cliffs, protest 
against any denial of the sentiment of Nature among the races 
Piece of bamboo with that have no literature, so do their myths and hymns testify to 
New^eb de™ * C *k e deep impression made by Nature. The connection of many 
(After Codrington.) a little poem with the song of birds is obvious. Light and dark- 
ness, day and night, arouse feelings of pleasure and discomfort ; 
white, red, and green, embody benevolent natural forces and daemons ; black 
those that are dreaded. Sunrise and sunset, storm, rainbow, the glow of 
evening, are most adapted to find a lyric echo where sun and fire are objects 
of adoration. What light and darkness are for the eye, sound and silence 
are for the ear. The rumble of thunder, the muffled roar of beasts of prey, 
contrasted with the clear ripple of the spring, the plash of the waves, and the 
song of birds. Ina series of pictures, copious though limited by the constraint of 
customary expression, the poetry and pictorial art of the natural races contrives 

1 Literally measured. 


to express this. On one side of the mysterious Papuan bull-roarer, the object of 
religious devotion, is depicted the resting- moth, on the other the whirring moth : 
what a simple and impressive picture language ! 

Pictorial art has also, even where it seems to have passed entirely into a trade, 
its connection with religion. The execution of carvings was among the tasks of 
holy men, who imported mythological ideas into all the detail. If we look at the 
instruments used by a priest on the Amoor or the Oregon we see the connection 
between art and religion as plainly as if we entered a village chapel or a Buddhist 
temple. Polynesia presents an astounding abundance of carved work which 
unhappily with its enigmatic fancy is to us a seven times sealed book. But we 
know that at one time the axes of Mangaia in the Hervey Islands might only be 
carved with sharks' teeth, that the openings were called " eel- borings," the projections 
cliffs, and that the whole ornamentation was one mass of symbols. The clay 

Plaited hat of the Nootka Indians showing eye-ornament. (Stockholm Ethnographical Museum.) 

bowls of the Pueblo Indians have step-shaped edges, to denote the steps by which 
the spirit may get into the vessel. The perpetual repetitions of the same little 
figures are just like the 555 images of Buddha in the temple of Burubudor in 
Java, the expression of inarticulateness in religion and rigidity in art. The art of 
" natural " races much prefers its elements to be of small bulk, but from these it puts 
together the largest works. In the squeezed or twisted figures of men or animals 
piled one on another in the door-posts of the New Zealanders or New Caledonians, 
or the family pillars of the Indians of North-West America, no single detail has a 
chance of being fairly represented. No freedom is shown except in their 
decorative combination. For this reason out of all the many magnificent works 
executed in America, sculpture never succeeded in attaining to freedom. 
Tradition was just as depressing here as in the much cruder work of the West 
African carvers of fetishes, who inhabit a regular industrial village in the 
neighbourhood of Beh the sacred village of Togo. Even under the patterns of the 
tapa of Oceania, as shown on our coloured plate, symbols are concealed. Thus, 
as Bastian puts it, all decorative art appears to be a system of symbols, preliminary 
to writing, and is intended to convey a definite meaning. Art, in its efforts after 
expression, develops but slowly, and does not emerge into full freedom until the 
moment when for its own sake it has forgotten that purpose. From the symbols, 


simple masses and lines are composed, which are coloured, shaped, and arranged 
so as to correspond with the sense of beaut}'. But even then the ornament is 
only an idealised copy from Nature, most often from a human face or figure. 
From almost every Persian carpet there looks at us at least the one widely- 
opened eye, which averts the evil eye. The decorative treatment of the face turns 

up in such abundance and in so many 
forms that it practically recurs in all 
ornament above the most elementary. 
The occurrence of " occllate " patterns 
testifies to its presence where it would 
be least suspected. In the objects dis- 
covered at Ancon the most magnificent 
ornament is grouped about large faces 
or figures with very prominent faces as 
centres. On the monolithic gate of 
Tiahuanuco are human figures, arbitrarily 
conventionalised, and composed of similar 
but smaller figures. Attentive comparison 
seems at last to justify us in rediscovering 
the human form in almost every orna- 
ment and every grotesque of ancient 
America. But it is striking to see how 
much the subjects of primitive art differ. 
Australians rarely make any representa- 
tions of the human figure ; and they are 
very rare in East and South Africa. 
Livingstone makes his reflections on the 
fact that idols do not become frequent 
until north of the Makololo ; while on 
the Upper Nile, in West Africa on the 
Congo, in Guinea, they occur in great 
number. These images were also used 
for secular purposes. May not the Kioko 
clubs, carved with human heads, have 
been originally idols, carried in the hand 
instead of being stuck in the ground ? 
What we regard as the work of a sportive 
whim, those gnarled birch-roots often of 
very curious forms, which the Chinese convert into human figures with one or 
two cuts and dots, carry us back to the widespread tendency to see in such 
freaks of Nature more than chance, something indeed which may be of mysterious 
service in magic or medicine. 

In art we find once more the bias of religion towards universal animation. 
An element at the base of all primitive art is the close alliance of men and 
animals in the ornament. This corresponds to the religious view which dreads or 
reveres a human soul in ever)' beast. Accordingly in the richest store of 
conventional sculpture which we possess, that of the ancient Americans, human 
faces and figures, most frequently eyes, occur in the greatest abundance. Next 

Carved clubs from Lunda. (Büchner collection 
the Munich Ethnographical Museum.) 



to them come animal figures, feathers, ribbons ; parts of plants very seldom. 
W. Reiss draws special attention to a Peruvian robe of state exhibited some years 
ago in Madrid, for the very reason that its ornament, contrary to the usual rule, is 
taken from plant forms. Feathers, tortoises, lizards, crocodiles, frogs, snakes are 
represented with remarkable fidelity. The sun-bird with outspread wings is a 
favourite symbol and theme for ornament from Egypt to 
Japan and Peru ; the portal of Ocosingo shows a typical 
development of it. Grotesques of men and beasts, dis- 
torted and involved out of all knowledge, such as even 
the Maya writing displays, are often drawn with great 
skill and boldness of caricature. The often-quoted ele- 
phants' trunks on monuments at Uxmal, and on golden 
figures of men, may be explained either by the tapir's 
snout, or a comic elongation of the human feature. 
Death's heads are among the most widespread subjects ; 
hewn in stone they form long friezes, and adorn the 
approach to temples at Copan and elsewhere. A corre- 
sponding case is when the temple gapes upon the 
beholder with a door shaped like a serpent's jaws, or, 
as in a house at Palenque, the whole front forms a 
horrible monster, whose mouth is the wide doorway, and 
the bars of the sculptured lintel his teeth. 

If amid this abundance of images there comes to light 
so little of any importance that, in countries where the 

Tobacco-pipe carved out of slate, from Queen Charlotte Islands, 
British Columbia. (Berlin Museum of Ethnology.) 

New Zealand tobacco- 
pipe. (Christy Col- 
lection. ) 

climate made it much easier to go without clothes than in Greece, the representa- 
tion of the naked human body was scarcely attempted, this can only be explained 
by the religious fetters in which art was bound. Almost everything is clothed, the 
faces tattooed or covered with a ceremonial mask. In these external points, so 
unimportant for us, the Mexican or Peruvian artist put his whole strength. He 
represented beautifully the feather robes, the ribbon ornament ; his death's head 
or his frog is true to nature, but almost every human figure, on the contrary, 
childishly crude and disproportioned. The exceptions to this are rare. When 
do we find even a living nose or a speaking mouth ? The wide distinction 
between the highest point reached by barbaric art and the Egyptian art from 
which the Greek and all faithful imitation of Nature started, lies in the 



fact that the former made no effort to represent the human form as such, but 
smothered it in wrappings and symbols. When we consider the stiffly designed 
figures of the Egyptians, we get the impression that they were on the road to 
become great sculptors ; indeed, in some works they already came near to it. 
The Mexicans, Peruvians, Indians, were upon quite another road, which led them 

far from this ideal. While the 
highest aim of sculpture is to be 
sought in the representation of the 
human body, the essence of their 
carved work consists in neglect of 
the body and disproportionate em- 
phasis on accessories. Only in the 
technique of arabesques could they 
attain to anything of importance, 
but that led them into a blind alley, 
craftsmanship instead of art. 

In what are nowadays called 
the industrial arts, the restraint was 
far less ; here we do find faultless 
performances. A Peruvian vase 
of red earthenware ; a beautifully 
polished, perfectly symmetrical, bow 
from Guiana ; a steel axe inlaid 
with copper or brass from Kassai- 
land ; a spoon carved by Kaffirs in 
the shape of a giraffe ; a club or 
feather helmet from Oceania, are 
creations perfect in themselves. 
These are things upon which the 
highest art of the west could not 
improve. In plaiting, the industry 
of the natural races produces better 
work, both technically and artistic- 
ally, than the civilized races could 
show. With the support of its 
close ally, embroidery, the applique 
method prevails in the ornamenta- 
tion of work in leather and cotton 
stuffs throughout North and West Africa, and to some extent also in North 
America. The scale of colour is frequently not great, but the sense for colour 
is well cultivated. West Africans, especially Houssas, often show more taste 
in choosing the colours of their clothing. They pre-eminently avoid calicoes of 
many colours, the evidences of machine industry which art has deserted. It is 
precisely in the matter of colour that the characteristic of a geographical region 
often lies. The hard red, white, and black, is typical of New Britain and the 
surrounding parts. One of the districts richest in colour is North- West America, 
which makes the contrast all the more striking as we pass from the Alaskan region 
to the Magemuts and Kuskwogmuts, whose flat round masks, with their crowns 

Ornamental goblet from West Africa. (British Museum. 


of feathers, are coloured white, 

The position of 

fray, and dingy brown. One seems to have come 
back from a spring- meadow of many colours into winter. The pegs of green 
stone in their lips, the dark brown wooden dishes inlaid with white bone the" thin 
strings ot pearls twined round ears and lips, do not give a very strong colouring 
to the snowy landscape. fa 

Many as are the directions in which style varies, the degrees of development 
are yet more various. In originality, fineness, and richness, nothing can touch the 
work of some of the Pacific races, especially the North-West Americans and their 
neighbours farther north. Also some groups in Oceania, especially the Maoris ■ 
we say nothing here about the still higher Peruvians. The richness of Polynesian 
work is astonishing, in spite of their limited materials— shells, coco-nut shells, 
a little wood and stone. In these laborious combinations of small things, there is 
far more labour than in most of the African objects, which betray more talent than 
industry. The Africans and Malays, who are provided with iron and other things 
from Asia, achieve less in proportion than the isolated Eskimo. 
Japan, with its wealth of 
most successful imita- 
tions from Nature, 
seems less strange when 
we consider the num- 
ber and the careful 
execution of human and 
animal figures among 
the tribes of the Pacific. 
Whereas the Moorish 
Arabic style runs 
throughout Africa, the 
Indian style through Malaysia, all the inhabitants of the North Pacific are 
allied by similarity of style with Japan. Australia and South America, excepting 
Peru, stand apart as less fertile but original territories. Materials, too, are 
unequally apportioned and used. The African works in iron and ivory, and 
leather or hide ; the Australian in wood or stone ; the man of the far north 
in walrus tusk. The Polynesian produces his best results working in stone 
and shells ; some American tribes surpass all others in pottery. The reaction 
of the material upon the art, however, is often over-estimated. The patient 
hand of the ancient [Mexican shaped the most artistic works in the most 
refractory stone, such as obsidian. The material is of only small importance in 
regard to the degree to which arts and crafts are developed among the natural 
races. Australia, with its wealth of timber, produces less in the way of woodwork 
than some small island which possesses nothing but coco -nut. The material 
often gives its direction to the technique, but does not determine it. Similarly it 
imparts faint shades of colour, but the human intellect and will is at the root of the 
matter. The achievements of the Africans in iron, to some extent combined with 
copper and brass, are pre-eminent. They avail themselves with naive acuteness 
and taste of the special properties of the material. But none of their performances 
excels the perfection of a beautifully polished and perforated stone hammer. 
Everything which they produce lacks the fine beauty of perfect finish, and more 
especially proportion. A nation's sports are a valuable evidence of its mode of 

Chains made of walrus-teeth, from Aleutia. (City Museum, Frankfort O. M.) 

7 6 


life and view of life. Many gain a special interest from the fact of their having 
spread with scared)' perceptible variations over very wide regions. Any one who 
knows the multitude of the games in which, among simple races, children and 
adults take part with ever fresh pleasure, and considers the simplicity of many of 
them, cannot but remark that in the life of these races there is an element reminis- 
cent of childhood in the careless squandering of time, and the limited demands 
made on life. In the small area of the Solomon Islands and Northern New 
Hebrides, including the Banks Islands, we find hide and seek, prisoner's base, foot- 
ball, stump and ball, games akin to viorra, hoops, exercises in spear-throwing and 
archery. When the harvest has been reaped, they fly kites ; and in connection 
with the yam harvest the game of tika is eagerly played between contending 
villages. On moonlight nights, the villagers go round the circle of gossips, hidden 
behind a screen, and making their friends guess at their identity. 


Essential characters of invention — Primitive science — Finding and retaining — Difficulty of a tradition in the 
lower stages — How inventions get forgotten — Pottery in Polynesia — Importance of individual inventions in 
primitive conditions — Tapa — Obscure derivation of such culture as is possessed by "natural" races — 
Examples of imitation and other correspondences — No race is wholly without external relations — Ethno- 
graphic poverty and impoverishment — Distinctions of degree in evolution — Monbuttus — Curious cases of 
special development — Kingsmill Islands — Difficulty of determining relative degrees of culture. 

THE material progress of mankind rests upon an ever-deepening and widening 
study of natural phenomena, from which results a corresponding increase in the 

Kaffir fire-sticks, for producing fire by friction. One-fourth real size. (Museum of the Berlin Mission. ) 

wealth of means at a man's disposal for his own emancipation, and for the 
improvement and embellishment of his life. The discovery how to make fire by 
friction was an act of the intellect which in its own degree demanded as much 
thinking power as the invention of the steam-engine. The inventor of the bow or 
the harpoon must have been a genius, whether his contemporaries thought him one 
or not. And then as now, whatever intellectual gains were due to natural sugges- 
tions must have grown up in the individual intellect, in order, when circumstances 
were favourable, to make its way to the minds of several or many persons. Only 
suggestions of a lower, less developed kind, such as we may call quite generally 
tones of mind, appear like epidemics in many simultaneously, and are capable as 
it were of giving their tone to the mental physiognomy of a race. Intellectual 


games are individual achievements, and the history of even the simplest discovery 
is a fragment of the intellectual history of mankind. 

When primitive man was brought naked into the world. Nature came to meet 
him in two ways. She gave him the materials of food, clothing, weapons, and so 
forth, and offered him suggestions as to the most suitable methods of turning them 
to account. It is with these suggestions that we have now to concern ourselves. 
In invention, as in all that is spiritual in man, the external world, mirrored in his 
soul, plays a part. We cannot doubt that much has been taken from it. The 
agreement between type and copy seems very close when we find the tail of a 
gnu or eland used by the Bushmen of South Africa, just as it was by its first 
owner, to keep off the flies of that fly-abounding region ; or when Peter Kolb 
relates how the Hottentots look only for such roots and tubers as are eaten by 
the baboons and other animals. When we come to consider the evolution of 
agriculture, we shall discover many other cases of similar suggestions ; justifying 
us in the reflection that in the lower stages of culture man is nearer to the beast, 
learns from it more easily, and, similarly, has a larger share of brute -instinct. 
Other discoveries go back to the earliest observations of the sequence of cause 
and effect ; and with the course of discovery the beginnings of science also reach 
back to the earliest ages of mankind. Some natural occurrence strikes a man ; 
he wishes to see it repeated, and is thus compelled to put his own hand to it. 
Thus he is led to inquire into the particulars of the occurrence and its causes. 

But it is the individual alone who, in the first instance, makes the discovery 
and profits by it. More is required if it is to become an addition to the store of 
culture such as the history of culture can take into account. For the mode in 
which the acquisitions of the intellect are amassed is twofold. First, we have the 
concentrated creative force of the individual genius, which brings one possession 
after another into the treasury of mankind ; and secondly, the diffusion of these 
among the masses, which is a preliminary condition of their preservation. The 
discovery which the individual keeps to himself dies with him ; it can survive 
only if handed down. The degree of vitality possessed by discoveries depends, 
therefore, upon the force of tradition ; and this again upon the internal organic 
interdependence of the generations. Since this is strongest in those classes who 
either have leisure or are led by their calling to attend to intellectual matters, 
even in their most primitive form, the force which tends to preserve what the 
intellect has won is also dependent on the social organisation. And lastly, since 
a store of intellectual possession has a stimulating effect upon creative minds, 
which would otherwise be condemned to be always beginning anew, everything 
which strengthens the force of tradition in a race will have a favourable effect 
upon the further development of its store of ideas, discoveries, inventions. Those 
natural conditions, therefore, may be regarded as indirectly most especially 
favourable to intellectual development, which affect the density of the whole 
population, the productive activity of individuals, and therewith the enrichment 
of the community. But the wide extension of a race and abundant possibilities 
of commerce are also operative in this direction. If we consider, not finding only, 
but the preservation of what has been found — by diffusion through a wide sphere 
and incorporation with the permanent stock of culture, — is essential to invention, 
we shall comprehend that this element of invention, so important for progress, 
will not attain an equally effective character in all stages of civilization. Every- 



thing tends to limit its 
effectiveness in the lower 
stages, for the lower we 
go in civilization, the less 
is the interdependence of 
men kept up ; and for 
this reason the progress 
of culture in the other 
direction acquires an ac- 
celerated pace. 

How many inventions 
of men may have been 
lost in the long ages be- 
fore great communities 
were formed ! Even to- 
day how many do we see 
fallen with their inventors 
into oblivion, or, in the 
most favourable case, 
laboriously dug up again 
and so preserved ? And 
who can measure the 
inertia of the stubborn 
opposition which stands in 
the way of the birth of 
new ideas ? We may 
remember Cook's descrip- 
tion of the New Zealanders 
in the report of his second 
voyage : " The New Zea- 
landers seem perfectly 
content with the scraps of 
knowledge which they 
possess, without showing 
the least impulse to im- 
prove upon them. Nor 
do they show any parti- 
cular curiosity either in 
their questions or their 
remarks. Novelties do 
not surprise them as much 
as one would expect ; nay, 
they do not hold their 
attention for an instant." 
We know now that on 
the remote Easter Island 
writing, the most important of inventions, was generally known, 
have died out there without leaving any offspring. 

It seems to 


What a vista of eternally futile starts opens when we think of this mental 
immobility and this lack of quickening interdependence ! We get a feeling that 
all the sweat which the struggle' after new improvements has cost our age of 
inventions is but a drop in the ocean of labours wherein the inventors of primitive 
times were submerged. The germ of civilization will not grow in every soil. 
The bulk of civilized methods which a race is capable of assimilating is in direct 
proportion to its average of civilization. Anything that is offered to it beyond 
this is only received externally, and remains of no importance to the life of the 
race, passing as time goes on into oblivion or rigidity. To this must be referred 
the ethnographical poverty found in the lower strata of ethnographically richer 

If we draw conclusions from certain acquisitions of culture which may be found 
among a people, such as garden plants, domestic animals, implements, and the 
like, to its contact with some other people, we may easily forget this simple but 
important circumstance. Many institutions among the inhabitants of our mountains 
fail to betray the fact that they have lived for ages in the neighbourhood of a high 
civilization; the Bushmen have appropriated astonishingly little of the more copious 
store of weapons, implements, dexterity, possessed by the Bechuanas. On the 
one side the stock of culture progresses, on the other it retrogrades or stands still, 
a condition into which a movement, evidently in its nature not strong, easily passes. 
This is an instructive phenomenon, and a comparison of various degrees of this 
stationariness is specially attractive. Any one who starts with the view that pottery 
is a very primitive invention, less remote than almost any other from the natural 
man, will note with astonishment, not in Australia only but in Polynesia, how a 
talented race, in the face of needs by no means inconsiderable, manages to get 
along without that art. And when he finds it in existence only in Tonga and 
the small Easter Island at the extreme eastern limit of Polynesia, he will be apt 
to think how much more the intercourse between lands and islands has contributed 
to the enrichment of men's stock of culture than has independent invention. But 
that even here again intercourse is very capricious, we learn from the absence of 
this art among the Assiniboines of North America, next door to the Mandans, 
who excel in it. Here we learn that inventions do not spread like a prairie-fire, 
but that human will takes a hand in the game which, not without caprice, 
indolently declines some things and all the more readily accepts others. The 
tendency to stand still at a stage that has been once reached is greater in 
proportion as the average of civilization is lower. You do just what is enough and 
no more. Just because the Polynesians were able to heat water by putting red- 
hot stones into it, they would never have proceeded to pottery without foreign aid. 
We must beware of thinking even simple inventions necessary. It seems far more 
correct to credit the intellect of " natural " races with great sterility in all that does 
not touch the most immediate objects of life. Migrations may also have given 
occasion for sundry losses, since the raw material often occurs only in limited 
quantity, and every great migration causes a rift in tradition. Tapa plays an im- 
portant part among the Polynesians, but the Maoris lost the art of its manufacture. 
In these lower stages of civilization the whole social life is much more dependent 
upon the rise than upon the loss of some simple invention than is the case in the 
higher. The nearer life stands to Nature, the thinner the layer of culture in which 
it is rooted, the shorter the fibres which it strikes down to the natural soil, the 


more comprehensive, the further-reaching every change in that soil naturally is. 
The invention of the way to manufacture clothing, whether in the form of woven 
stuffs or of beaten bark, is surely natural and yet rich in results. The entire 
refinement of existence among the natural races of Polynesia, resting upon clean- 
liness and modesty, and sufficient by itself to give them a high place, is 
inconceivable without the inconspicuous material known as tapa. Bark is con- 
verted into a stuff for clothing, which provides not only a plentiful covering 
for the body but also a certain luxury in the frequent change it allows, a 
certain taste in wearing and in the selection of colours and patterns, and, lastly, 
a means of amassing capital by preserving stores of this material which are always 
convertible. Think, on the other hand, of an Eskimo's skin coat or a Negress's 
leather apron, which are worn through successive generations and laden with the 
dirt of them. Tapa, a material which can be provided in quantities without much 
trouble, naturally represses the weaver's art, which can only have proceeded by a 
long and toilsome road from plaiting. In the lake-dwellings there are products 
which, with equal justice, are referred to both one and the other form of work. 
This suggests the relations between basket-weaving and pottery ; large earthen- 
ware vessels were made by covering baskets with clay. There is no need on this 
account, with William H. Holmes, to call the whole art of pottery, as contrasted 
with plaiting, a " servile art," but this outgrowth is instructive. 

The fact that the most necessary kinds of knowledge and dexterity are spread 
throughout mankind, so that the total impression of the stock of culture possessed 
by the " natural " races is one of a fundamental uniformity, gives rise to a further 
feeling that this scanty stock is only the remains of a larger total of possessions 
from which all that was not absolutely necessary has gradually dropped out. 
Or can we suppose that the art of producing fire by friction made its way all 
alone through the world, or the art of making bows and arrows ? To discuss 
these questions is important, not only in order to estimate the measure of the 
inventive talent possessed by natural races, but also to obtain the right perspective 
for the history of primitive humanity, for it must be possible to read in the stock 
of culture, if anywhere, from what elements and by what ways mankind of to-day 
has become what it is. Now if we pass in review what is possessed by the natural 
races in artifices, implements, weapons, and so on, and deduct what is and has 
been imported, in some cases already to a large extent, by means of trade with 
modern civilized races, we are inclined to form a high conception of their inventive 
talent. But what guarantee have we of the independent discovery of all these 
things ? Undoubtedly before there were any relations with Europeans, relations 
existed with other races which reached down to these lower strata, and thus 
many a crumb must have fallen here from the richly spread tables of the old 
civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, India, China, and Japan, and has continued 
here in a mutilated shape perhaps quite alien to the original uses served by it. 
The ethnographer knows cases enough of such borrowings ; every single race 
shows examples of them. Nor is the examination of their nature and significance 
anything new. We may specially recall an original remark of Livingstone's 
which, though made with another intention, is fairly applicable here : " The 
existence of various implements which are in use among the Africans and other 
partially civilized races, points to the communication of an instruction which 
must have proceeded at some time or another from a superhuman being." Think 

AY/ "A.Y 7 7< W AND DISCO VKR ) ' 

as we may about the conclusion of this remark, its main point is fully justified as 
a contradiction of the widespread assumption that everything which natural races 
have to show of their own came into existence in the place where it is now seen, 
and was invented by those races themselves. When wc find all races in Africa, 
from Moors to Hottentots, producing and working iron after one and the same 
method, it is far more probable that this art reached them all from a common 
source than that it was independently discovered in all parts alike. At one time 
people pointed triumphantly to the turkey as an animal which had been inde- 
pendent!}- domesticated by barbarous races, until Spencer Baird discovered in 
Mexico the ancestor of this ill-tempered sovereign of the poultry-yard. In the 
matter of utensils, borrowing from civilization is naturally more difficult to prove, 
since these do not, like plants and animals, bear about them, however obliterated, 
the marks of their origin. But may not the Indian, who got his maize from 
Mexico, have learnt from the same quarter the art of his delicate stone-work ? 
Such introduction, together with its consequence of the widest possible propagation, 
must seem to us more natural than the independent invention of one and the 
same utensil, or one and the same touch of art in a dozen different places. Atten- 
tion has been quite recently called to the fact that the Solomon Islanders have 
bows and arrows, while the inhabitants of New Ireland and others in the neigh- 
bourhood have not, and people were quite ready to credit the former with the 
invention of this ingenious weapon. As has been already pointed out, people 
are, in this matter, wonderfully inconsistent. On the one hand the natural races 
are put down to the level of the brute, on the other hand inventions are ascribed 
to them which are, at least, not of an easy kind. One is always too apt to think 
of invention as easy, considering only the* difficulties of finding out, which for a 
brain of genius are small ; but it is otherwise with the retaining of what has been 
found out. In some cases it has been possible to penetrate down to the more remote 
origin of apparently quite spontaneous productions of " natural " races. Bastian 
has compiled a list of cases in which certain elements of European civilization 
have been formally imitated ; a good instance being the characteristic Fijian form 
of club copied from a musket of the last century. The savages thought they would 
have the dreaded weapon at least in wood, and produced a club remarkably ill- 
adapted to its proper purpose. A head-dress used in the New Hebrides is a 
colossal exaggeration of an admiral's cocked -hat. The remarkable cross-bow 
used by the Fans is more to the purpose. It reached the Fans of the interior from 
the Portuguese discoverers on the west coast, and they retained the pattern, while 
on the coast firearms came into use, as in Europe. Now, after four hundred years, 
the cross-bow turns up again ; but as the Fans have neither the patience nor the 
tools to fashion a lock, they slit the stock, and use the cross-bow to shoot little 
poisoned arrows which might just as well be shot from a light long-bow. 

If it were less difficult to seize the manifestations of intellectual life among 
the lower races, we should be able to gather a much richer harvest among them. 
Indian traces run through the religion of the Malays, and extend perhaps to 
Melanesia and Polynesia. We find such striking similarities, especially in the 
cosmogonic legends of Bushmen and Australians, Polynesians, and North Americans, 
that nothing but tradition is left to explain them. So in the domain of politics 
we find points of accord. The institutions of Kazembe's country, as described by 
Lacerda and Livingstone, or Muata Jamvo's, as reported by Pogge and Büchner, 




remind us partly of India, partly of ancient Egypt. In the domain of social and 
political conceptions and institutions, the coincidences arc striking. The deeper 
we search into these matters, the more convinced we are of the correctness of an 
expression used by Bastian at a date when the sharp division of races was a 
gospel, and the unity of mankind was scouted. In his Journey to San Salvador 
he says : " Even to the islands slumbering on the bosom of the Pacific, ocean- 
currents seem to have driven the message of the more abstract triumphs of 
civilization ; perhaps even to the shores of the American continent." We may 
be permitted to add the conclusion that no one understands the natural races 
who does not make due allowance for their intercourse and connection, often dis- 
guised as it is, with each other, and with civilized peoples. There is, and always 
has been, more intercourse between them than one would suppose from a super- 
ficial observation. Thus, long before the Nile route was opened 
to traffic, wares of European origin, especially pearls, made their 
way from Darfour by Hofrat el Nahas, even to the Azandeh. 
Where strong resemblances occur, the question of intercourse, of 
communication from abroad, should always be raised in the first 
instance ; in many cases possibly that of very direct intercourse. 
We think that we are quite justified in asking whether it is not 
by fugitive slaves that so many elements of African civilization 
have been spread through South America. For centuries the 
Japanese have had very little intercourse with the races of the 
North Pacific ; yet it may be that we ought to refer to some 
such intercourse as this (which, in truth, not only enlarges, but, 
as time goes on, always tends to decompose) the wicker armour 
worn by the Chukchis, so like Japanese armour. Thus, however, 
races formerly depended on each other ; and no more than at 
present was there ever on this earth, so far as our historical know- 
ledge shows, a group of men who could be said to be devoid of 
relations with others. Everywhere we see agreements, similarities, 
affinities, radiating out till they form a close network over the 
earth ; even the most remote islanders can only be understood 
when we take into account their neighbours, far and near. 

These most remote islands, too, show how indigenous industries always 
dwindle where European or American manufactures come. When Hamilton 
visited Car Nicobar in 1790, the women wore a kind of short petticoat, made of 
tufts of grass or rushes strung in a row, which simply hung down ; now they 
universally cover up their bodies with stuff cloths. Thus a century's progress has 
resulted in the replacing of the grass petticoat by woven materials. Meanwhile, 
the domestic industry perishes, and no new dexterity arises in its stead. On the 
lower Congo we no longer find the bark-stuffs and fine webs which Lopez and 
other travellers of the sixteenth century prized so highly. Where, too, is the art 
of grinding amber and obsidian, which produced such conspicuous results in 
ancient Mexico ? or the goldsmith's work and tapestry of the old Peruvians ? 

For estimating the importance of external suggestion, nothing is more instruc- 
tive than the consideration of races which are poorest in an ethnographical sense. 
Of them we can say that they arc invariably also those whose intercourse with 
others is scantiest. Why arc the most remote races at the extremities of the 

Human figure and 
medusa in walrus- 
ivory, from (?) 
Tahiti. (Vienna 
Museum. ) 


continents or on the less accessible islands the most destitute? Ethnographic 
poverty is only in part a consequence of the penury, the general poverty, which 
presses on a people. This has been readily recognised in the case of many races, 
as, for instance, the Australians, whose life on the arid steppes of their continent, 
almost destitute of useful plants and animals, is one of the poorest and most 
depressed that has been allotted to any race on the earth. But even in the 
most favoured northern tracts within the tropics, they are almost totally devoid of 
that tendency to the artistic adornment of existence which flourishes so profusely 
among their Papuan neighbours, and forms the luxury of barbarous races. In 
this case we need not seek far for the causes of their ethnographical poverty. 
Even- glance at the conditions and mode of these people's life shows how sharp 
is their struggle to maintain bare existence, but it also shows the impoverishing 

Shell and bone from Oceania. The larger one on the right probably of North American 
origin. (Vienna Ethnographical Museum.) 

effects of remoteness from the great streams of traffic. The out-of-the-way- 
situation of Australia, southern South America, the interior of South Africa, and 
eastern Polynesia, exercises the same impoverishing influence everywhere upon the 
indigenous races. If any one is inclined to see in this a sort of contagion of 
poverty, referable to the smaller number of suggestions offered under these 
conditions by Nature to the mind, and especially to the fancy, he must beware of 
hasty conclusions. Easter Island, though small, and by nature poor, is ethno- 
graphically rich ; and hardly any barbarous race is superior in artistic develop- 
ment to the Eskimo. 

We know how the utensils and weapons of civilized races have spread as it 
were by stages and continue to spread to races which previously possessed no 
notion of them. When Stanley crossed the Dark Continent, on his first remark- 
able journey along the Congo, the last point where firearms were seen in native 
hands was left on the east at the famous market-town of Xyangwe. He came 
upon them again to the westward at Nbenga, 6' north of Xyangwe, in the shape 
of those four old Portuguese muskets, ever to be historical as the first sign from 
which the party learned, at the most critical moment of their journey, " that we had 
not missed the way, and that the great stream really reached the sea." Xyangwe 
and X"benga are on the borders of an area of 200,000 to 250,000 square miles 
wherein firearms, with which the coasts of Africa have roared these four hundred 
years, were a few years ago unknown. It is true that other things have been 



more quickly diffused, as for instance those American products 
which were not brought here till the sixteenth century — tobacco, 
maize, and potatoes. But they too have travelled by stages ; 
the Damaras have only come to know tobacco within the last 
few dozen years. 

To this fact of the importance of intercourse we must 

ascribe the striking uni- 
formity of motive seen 
in productions of ethno- 
graphical interest even 
in rich districts ; as 
when the island-world 
of Melanesia and Poly- 
nesia, so far as concerns 
the distribution of uten- 
sils and weapons, pre- 
sent's the picture of a 
meadow in which the 
same main elements 
spring up everywhere in 
the vegetation, thinner 
in one place, thicker in 
another, here showing 
better, here less good 
condition, and only 
rarely mingled with 
such peculiar growths 
as wonderfully animate 
the picture. And just 
as amid the monotonous 
herbage on the barren 
soil of a steppe, we 
often suddenly see one 
plant above the rest un- 
fold itself in luxuriance, 
so is it here. The in- 
tellect of races, torpid as 
it is in the matter of 
following up what it has got, suddenly receives from some side 
or other an impulse towards freer unfolding. It is well worth 
while to study first these isolated developments, even in the 
grotesque. It is interesting too to see at what manifold forms 
the people of small islands in Polynesia have arrived in a set of 
fish-hooks, through their devotion to fishing ; or how others, by 
dint of a consistent progress in a definite direction, have appro- 
priated some remarkable style of weapon, demanding much 
industry and ingenuity. The art of fitting-up weapons with 
sharks' teeth, to such an extent that one might suppose one 

Weapons set with shark's teeth, from the Gilbert 
Islands. (Munich Ethnographical Museum.) 

I ' 


INI ENTIt )N AND DIS( '< > J 'ER ) 


had to do with a people of no small numbers and strength, living in constant 
war, reached its highest point in the Gilbert or Kingsmill Islands with an area 
of 185 square miles and a population of not more than 35,000. These weapons 
surpass in gruesomeness those of any 
other race in Polynesia, and the 
equipment which corresponds to them 
is brought to a finish that we find 
nowhere else but in Japan and New 
Guinea. Thus under uniformity of 
fundamental idea almost every island- 
group conceals its own more or less 
perfected special features ; even if it 
be only that invariable little human 
figure, easily overlooked, found on all 
Tongan carved-work. Among con- 
tinental races such features naturally 
are more limited in their appearance. 
But even here, every circle of culture, 
however narrow, has its own little 
peculiarities, which establish them- 
selves with a certain consistency in 
the most various domains. Just as among the West Africans we can point to 
the predilection for representing what is ugly, as a characteristic of this kind, so 

Carved and painted figure from Dahomey. 
Ethnographical Museum.) 


Zanza, a musical instrument used over a great part of Central and South Africa. 

among the forest-negroes we have the frequent employment of banana-leaves in 
the place of leather, hide, or stuff — a theme upon which the Monbuttus play 
endless variations. This race offers at the same time an interesting example of 
a general high-development of industry under favourable conditions. When the 
storms of the period passed harmless round a peaceful oasis, as was once the 



case with Monbuttuland, the rich soil of wealth in material and natural ability- 
allowed a fine flower to expand ; destined however to a short existence. Its 
fame spread far and wide in Africa. The actual discovery of the Monbuttus by 
Schweinfurth was preceded by rumours, reaching even to Europe, not only of 
their brown colour, but of their high degree of civilization ; and that traveller 
himself reports that even in the district of the Bahr-el-Ghazal he gathered from 
the conversation of the ivory-traders how they were looked upon as a peculiar 
and distinguished people. But, above all, the cleverness of the people in the 

repair of warlike weapons 
and peaceful utensils is 
highly esteemed. The high 
position which the negroes 
of Africa hold in the manu- 
facture of the most varied 
musical instruments is quite 
a unique phenomenon, and 
has provided endless ma- 
terial for eulogistic descrip- 
tions. Yet with all this the 
industry of the Monbottus 
always remains a negro in- 
dustry, often applied to the 
same themes as we find 
among the Nile negroes 
and the Kaffirs. One of 
the most difficult tasks we 
can undertake is when, as 
here, we have to define a 
gradation in the degree of 
perfection reached by any 
branch of human activity, 
and yet at the same time 
such tasks are among those 
that can best be justified if 
any genealogical conclusion 
is to be drawn from this gradation. We notice a difference in the develop- 
ment of shipbuilding between two races dwelling so near each other as the 
Fijians and Tongans ; the latter, of Polynesian descent, in this matter surpassing 
to a noteworthy extent the Fijians, who are to be reckoned among Melanesians. 
The difference is not great, but very important, since it contributes to the confirma- 
tion of our view that the Melanesians, who have been longer established, received 
the high development of their shipbuilding and navigation from the later arrived 
Polynesians, and not vice-versa. Yet it is obviously always difficult to judge with 
certainty in such a case, all the more so that a race superior in general culture 
may in the matter of individual points of knowledge and knack be behind some 
who on the whole belong to a lower stage. The superiority in smith's work of 
the Djurs over the Nubians, or the manifest advantage which the Musgus possess 
as agriculturists over their Soudanese masters, appears an anomaly. The clever- 

Fan warrior with crossbow. (After Du Chaillu. ) 


ness of the negroes in both these directions has astonished even Europeans. If the 
facts were not so clear, any one would be predisposed to ascribe to people like the 
Arabs or Borneans, who in main- other respects possess so superior a civilization, 
the education of the negroes to the excellence which they have attained in these 
arts. But the very fact that the Arabs had something to learn from the negroes 
in agriculture and house-building testifies to the antiquity in Africa of an indigenous 
semi-civilization based upon agriculture. 

It is quite wrong to believe that we do not meet with division of labour before 
reaching a somewhat advanced stage of economic development : Central Africa 
has its villages of blacksmiths, nay, of smiths who only make throwing-knives ; 
Xew Guinea its potter villages ; North America its finishers of arrowheads. Hence 
arise those remarkable social and political groups which from guilds become castes, 
and from castes privileged classes in a race. Hunting-races, who stand towards 
the agriculturist in a mutual relation of traffic in products, are scattered with 
special frequency about Africa. Besides these specialised activities there are 
others distributed among those people who practise their art only occasionally as 
need requires. The form and fashion of their work therefore often appears in the 
shape of a busy idleness. A man who has just then nothing better to do polishes 
a great troclius for an arm band, or files some other kind of shell for a finger 
ring, or prefers to do the engraved work on a club to which he has for years 
past devoted his leisure. This habit of working with the most liberal expenditure 
of time, and quite at ease, goes far to explain the perfection of the things produced. 
Xo doubt they are for the most part articles for immediate use and not for traffic, 
and trade profits little by this limited though persevering labour ; whereas an 
active trade is closely connected with the industries mentioned above. 


Origin of agriculture — First stages — Limitation of nature — Breeding animals — Taming animals — Influence 
of cattle-breeding upon national destiny — Nomadism — Influence of agriculture— Low place taken by 
agriculture among "natural" races — Food and feeding. 

Ix view of man's profound dependence on Nature, none of the suggestions which 
she offers to him will sooner prove beneficial than those which tend to modify that 
dependence by so far as possible placing under his own control the bonds which 
link him to the rest of the animated world. The way to this lies in the permanent 
appropriation by means of tillage and breeding of useful plants and animals. 

Doubtless there never was a time when man could, without trouble, acquire 
food, shelter, livelihood, by drawing upon Nature. Nature nowhere brings the 
food to his mouth, nor roofs his hut adequately over his head. Even the 
Australian who, in order to get his victuals, does no more than prepare a sharp 
or spade-ended stick to grub roots, or chop nicks in the trees with his axe to 
support his feet in climbing, or make weapons, fish-spear, net, or hook, or traps 
for smaller animals, pitfalls for larger — even he must take some trouble, and that 
not entirely bodily, to help himself. Even in his case the various artifices by 
which he manages to exploit what Nature freely gives indicate a certain develop- 


ment of the faculties. Nor does this go on regardless of rights and laws. The 
Australians, like all other hunting races, even the Eskimo, are bound to definite 
districts. It is only within their own hunting-grounds that they shift their 
habitation according to the time of year and the supply of game. 

It is, however, but a poorly productive capital that is invested in all these 
dexterities and contrivances, which have only a momentary use, and from which 
no permanent gains in the way of culture can accrue. From this situation, 
dependent as it is, and for that very reason easy, man raises himself to a higher 
stage by engaging Nature in certain directions to more durable performance. To 
this shaking-up and awakening, want is more favourable than abundance. In 
many respects Nature comes to his aid, having supplied various countries very 
variously with crops which can be made available for agriculture. We may 
regard as especially favourable those regions where there is a marked difference 
in the seasons, Nature at one time emerging in the fullest creative vigour, at 

another lying dead and be- 

stick used by Bushmen in digging roots, and stone weights for the same. 
(Berlin Museum of Ethnology.) 

numbed, as in the steppes. 
Some steppe regions con- 
tain by no means a small 
supply of food crops ; for 
in the effort to hoard nutri- 
ment and moisture for the 
future germ during the dry 
season, Nature has stored 
in grains, tubers, bulbs, and 
fruits exactly what man can 
best use. These countries 
then offer him not only the 
inducement to store up and 
put in barns, but at the 
same time the most suit- 

able growths for the purpose. Our varieties of crops must come in great measure 
from these regions. 

When man sets to work to add something from his own resources to what 
Nature does for him, a simple solution of the problem lies in an attempt to bottle 
up as it were the sources of his food supply. Even now many of those 
Australian races whom we regard as standing on the lowest step of civilization, 
strictly prohibit the pulling-up of plants which have edible fruit, and the destruc- 
tion of birds' nests. They are content simply to let Nature work for them, only 
taking thought not to disturb her. Wild bees' nests are often emptied with such 
regularity that a kind of primitive bee-keeping grows up. So with other animals : 
man allows them to lay up the provision which he subsequently takes away, and 
thus is led in another direction to the verge of cultivation. Drege instances the 
case of ArthratJierum brevifolium, a grain-bearing grass in Namaqua-land, the 
seed of which the Bushmen take from the ants. 

Here Nature frames a check for man, and teaches him thrift. On the other 
side, the tendency to settlement is encouraged. Where large provision of fruits 
is found whole tribes come at the gathering time from all sides, and remain as 
long as the food lasts. Thus to this day the Zanderillos of Mexico come to the 



sandy lowlands of the Coatzacoalco when the melons are ripe ; or the Ojibbeways 
assemble round the marshes where the Zizaiiia, or water-rice, grows ; or the 
Australians hold a kind of harvest festivity in the neighbourhood of the 
marsiliaceous plants which serve them for grain. Thus on two sides the barriers 
of savage nature are broken down. The son of the desert is beginning to look 
ahead, and is on the way 

to become settled. From 
this stage to the great 
epoch - making discovery 
that he must commit the 
seed to the earth in order 
to stimulate Nature to 
richer performance, may in 
point of time have been 
far, but as we think of it 
the step does not seem 

The beginnings of 
cattle - breeding show yet 
further how man succeeded 
in knitting an important 
part of Nature with his 
own fortunes. The roam- 
ing barbarian, who for cer- 
tain periods is quite away 
from mankind, tries to get 
from Nature either what is 
most like himself, or what 
seems less likely to make 
him conscious of his own 
weakness and smallness. 
Now the animal world, 
though separated by a deep 
gulf from man of to-day, 
includes, in its gentler and 
more docile members, the 

natural qualities with which Loango negress at field-work. (From a photograph by Dr. Falkenstein.) 

he likes best to associate 

himself. The delight which Indians, or Dyaks, or Nile-negroes take in taming wild 
animals is well known. Their huts are full of monkeys, parrots, and other playmates. 
It may be that the strong impulse to companionship which exists in man may have 
had more to do with the first effective step towards acquiring domestic animals than 
any eye to the use to be made of them. Thus we find, no less among the lowest 
races of existing mankind than in the remains of civilization anterior to the intro- 
duction of domestic animals and cultivated plants, the dog as the sole permanent 
companion ; and his usefulness is limited enough. 1 Generally, indeed, it is difficult 

1 [May not his use in hunting, which is considerable, have been discovered by men in the hunting-stage of 
development ?] 


to draw any certain conclusion from the purpose which an animal serves in our 
civilization, as to that for which man first associated him with himself. In Africa 
and Oceania the dog is used for food. We may suppose that the horse and the 
camel were in the first instance tamed, not so much for the sake of their speed 
as for the milk of their females. A certain friendship, even in more civilized 
countries, attaches the shepherd to the members of his flock. Thus cattle-farming 
is a pursuit which arouses more enthusiasm than agriculture. It is more often 
the men's work, and exercises a far deeper influence on all private and public 
relations. Nowhere in Africa do the fruits of the field form to the same extent 
as the herds the basis of life, the source of pleasure, the measure of wealth, the 
means of acquiring all other desirable articles, especially women ; lastly even 
currency, as when pecus gave its name to pecunia. Many a race has carried this 
identification of its existence with its favourite animal to a dangerous excess. 
Even when their stage of culture is well advanced these cattle-farming' 
peoples suffer from the narrow basis in which their livelihood rests. The Basutos 
are, all things considered, the best branch of the great Bechuana stock, but the 
theft of their cattle alone was enough to reduce them to impotence. Similarly the 
rinderpest of recent years has ruined the Masai and Wagogo. 

But the great influence which cattle-breeding produces upon a race is to make it 
restless. Pastoral life and nomad life are practically synonymous. Even our own 
alp-system, with its changes from valley to mountain pastures, is a fragment of 
nomadism. Pastoral life requires wide spaces, and agrees with the restless tendencies 
of the more forcible races. The desert is preferred to the fertile country, as more 
spacious. The Rhenish missionaries had specially to undertake the task of 
inducing some of the Namaqua tribes to settle on fertile oases. How little nomads 
care to utilise Nature more thoroughly we may learn from the fact that as a rule 
they hoard no provision for the winter. In the country about Gobabis on the 
Nosob River, Chapman found the grass growing a yard high, and so thick that 
it would have been easy to make hay in abundance ; but as a rule the Namaquas 
allowed it to be burnt without attempting to use it. This sort of indifference 
tends to increase the contrast between nomadism and agriculture, and assumes 
the character of a great obstacle to civilization. Prjewalski, in his account of his 
first journey, has described this boundary, the boundary of both Nature and culture, 
between steppe and farm land, between " the cold desert plateau and the warm, 
fertile, and well-watered plain of China, intersected by mountain-chains," as marked 
with wonderful sharpness. He agrees with Ritter that this question of situation 
is what decides the historic fortunes of races which inhabit countries closely 
bordering on each other. When he enters the Ordos country — that steppe region, 
so important in history, which lies in the bend of the upper Hoangho, — he says of 
the races in those parts : " Dissimilar as they are, both in mode of life and in char- 
acter, they were destined by Nature to remain alien to each other, and in a state 
of mutual hatred. To the Chinese, a restless nomad life, full of privation, was 
inconceivable and despicable; the nomad looked with contempt at the life of his agri- 
cultural neighbour with all its cares and toils, and esteemed his own savage freedom 
the greatest happiness on earth. This is the actual source of the distinction in 
character between the races : the laborious Chinese, who from time immemorial 
has attained to a comparatively high and very peculiar civilization, always avoided 
war, and looked on it as the greatest misfortune ; while on the other hand the 



active and savage inhabitant of the Mongolian desert, hardened against all 
physical consequences, was ever read)' for raiding and reiving. If he failed he 
lost but little, while in the event of success he secured the wealth accumulated by 
the labour of several generations." 

Here we have the contrast between the most characteristically nomad race 
and the most sedentary agriculturists, — a contrast with whose historical results in 
many gradations we shall meet as we go along, in the chapters of this book 
which describe races. Only we must not forget that sedentary life in this decree 
is found in a race of ancient civilization. It is otherwise with the " natural " races. 
When we consider the position of agricultural barbarians, we shall often no doubt 
attach less weight to the difference, in other respects of so much ethnographic 
importance, between nomadic and settled races ; for what is the significance of 
a sedentary mode of life if its great civilizing advantage, continuity, and security 
of life, and if possible of progress, is 
taken out of it ? As a matter of 
fact even the best cultivators among 
the African races are astonishingly 
movable ; and the majority of villages, 
even of the smaller races, seldom re- 
main for many generations in the 
same spot. Thus the distinction be- 
tween pastoral and agricultural life 
becomes much smaller. The African 
Xegro is the finest agriculturist of all 
" natural " races, except perhaps some 
Malayan tribes, as, say, the Battaks 
of Sumatra. He contends with a 
luxuriant nature, fells trees, and burns 
the coppice, to make room for the plough 
you will find a greater variety of garden plants than in the fields and gardens of 
a German village. He grows more than he requires, and preserves the surplus in 
granaries above or under the ground. But the force of the soil and the man is not 
utilised to the full. It is a small cultivation, a kind of gardening. Codrington's 
expression, " horticultural people," used by him of the Melanesians, may be applied 
to many other " natural " races. Apart from the fact that the man does not in 
many cases devote himself wholly to agriculture, imperfect tools tend to per- 
petuate the lower stage. The women and children, with the unpractical hoes 
shown in our illustrations, do no more than scratch the surface. The plough, not 
to mention the harrow, has nowhere become customary among genuinely bar- 
barous peoples ; manuring, except for the ashes of the burnt brushwood, just as 
little. One much more often comes across terracing and artificial irrigation. 

Agriculture, limited in the tropics by the hostility of the forces of Nature, is 
equally so in the temperate zones by the lesser fertility of the soil, and the less 
favourable climate. It was never carried on here to the same extent as in the 
tropics, but rather formed a subsidiary branch of economy ; it fell mainly into 
the hands of the women, and was a provision only for the utmost need. In con- 
trast to the wide diffusion which newly-imported plants obtained among the 
Africans, it is significant that the Xew Zealanders, though they were from the 

Iron hoe from Kordofan. The blade is also used as cur- 
rency — one-eighth real size. (Christy Collection.) 

Round the hut of a Bongo or a Musgu 

9 2 


first very fond of potatoes, never planted any of their own free will, but, on the 
contrary, grubbed up almost the whole of the ground which Captain Furneaux 
had tilled for their benefit. Still, it is just here that, with persistence, agriculture 
renders possible higher developments than cattle-farming can do. It is steadier, 
and forces on a man the wholesome habit of labour. In Mexico and Peru it is 
followed by the accumulation of capital, and the development of industry and 
trade ; and therewith by the occasion for a fuller organisation of social ranks. 

European cultivation is an entirely new system ; apart 
from its more effective implements and methods, it pro- 
ceeds on broader lines. It has abandoned the gardening 
style possessed by the agriculture of Negroes and Poly- 
nesians, even by that of the industrious peoples of east 
and south Asia. 

This kind of agriculture does not make the daily 
bread secure. Even the most active cultivators in Africa 
have to go without security against changes of luck. The 
behaviour of the elements cannot be reckoned upon. 
Drought especially does not spare these tropical Paradises; 
and famine often forms a scourge of the population in the 
most fertile regions. This alone is sufficient to prevent 
these races from passing a certain line, beyond which their 
development to a higher civilization is alone possible. All 
the good of a good year is trodden out by a famine year 
with its results of cannibalism and the sale of children. 
In the tropics, too, damp makes the storage of provisions 
difficult. In Africa, again, the devastation of ants and 
weevils makes it hard to keep the chief crop, millet, till 
the next harvest. However much they plant, and how- 
ever plentiful the harvest turns out, everything must be 
consumed in the year. This again is one reason why the 
negroes brew so much beer. Herein, however, whatever 
may be the fault of the climate, undoubtedly lies one of 
the imperfections whereby agriculture will necessarily be 
beset among a race in whose customs foresight and en- 
durance are hardly developed, and are incapable of linking 
the activities of individual persons and individual days with a strong thread of 
necessary interdependence. And here, too, human foes, those " communists of 
nature " who equalise all property, take good care that the steady prosperity of 
agriculture shall not create too deep a gulf between it and nomadism. 

In the matter of food, " natural " races, even when they carry on agriculture, 
strive with avidity to get animal adjuncts. Contrary to our physiological notions, 
fat and blood are consumed in quantities even by purely tropical races, like the 
Polynesians ; and it is just in these things that gluttony is practised. The 
nearest approach to vegetarianism is made by the rice-planting peoples of east 
Asia and the banana-planting negroes of the forest, as formerly by the civilized 
races of America. The races of the far north eat, no doubt, more than we suppose 
of wild plants ; but they rely especially on the fat and flesh of sea-inammals. 
Some nomad groups support themselves with superstitious exclusiveness on meat 

Hoe or grubbing-axe of turtle- 
bone, from the Mortlock 
Islands. (British Museum. ) 


and milk. Roots are eagerly sought. Salt is liked in all parts of the earth, and 
the fondness for meat and blood is based in some measure on the craving for it. 
By rapid and thorough roasting the salts of the meat-juices are rendered more 
highly serviceable. Every race in all parts of the earth has hit upon some means 
of enjoying caffein compounds and alcohol. Tobacco is not the only narcotic 
herb that is smoked. The methods of chewing betel and coca are strikingly 
alike. The knowledge. of many poisons has come to civilized races from barbarians. 


Complete nudity nowhere found as a regular custom — Caprice in the matter of clothing and non-clothing — 
Better clothing is no absolute indication of higher culture — Fashion — Clothing begins as ornament — 
Natural clothing materials — Climate has little influence on clothing — Example of the Fuegians — Eskimos 
—Ornament found everywhere — Similarity of principle in ornament— Ornament and weapons — Mutilations 
— Difference of ornament according to sex — Material of ornament — Ornament and trade — Precious 
metals — Imitation pearls — Cleanliness. 

We have heard tell of races to whom clothing is unknown ; but it must be said 
that the few cases of this for which there is good evidence are exceptions that 
have arisen under such special conditions as only to establish the rule. If, 
however, we are to discover the principles which underlie the usage generally, the 
first thing required is to come to an understanding as to what we mean by 
clothing. It is surely impossible to designate mere ornament as clothing ; among 
tribes in tropical countries the motive of protection against cold entirely disappears, 
and of all the superfluity of our northern apparel, nothing remains save what is 
required by decency. One need hardly discuss the question whether there is 
any thought of simply protecting the parts concealed. If it were a question 
of protection, the feet and ankles would surely be sooner covered. What is most 
decisive is the observed fact that clothing stands in unmistakable relation to the 
sexual life, and that the first to wear complete clothes is not the man who has to 
dash through the bush in hunting, but the married woman. This gives us the 
primary cause of wrappings, which must have arisen when the family was evolved 
from the unregulated intercourse of the horde, — when the man began to assert a 
claim to individual and definite women. He it was who compelled the woman to 
have no dealings with other men, and to cover herself as a means of diminishing 
her attractions. As a further step in this direction may be noted the veiling of 
the bosom. From this root, the separation of the sexes, sprang the feeling of 
modesty ; this developed powerfully, and clothing with it. It was a great stride ; 
since the more confined and more destitute the life of a tribe is, the less induce- 
ment is given to a rigid separation of the sexes with its attendant jealousy ; and 
the more readily do they dispense with the troublesome covering, of which scanty 
fragments alone remain. Thus it is always the smallest, most degraded, most 
out-of-the-way tribes among whom we more especially find no mention of 
customary clothing ; such as some Australian races, the extinct Tasmanians, some 
forest tribes of Brazil, and here or there a negro horde. Even with them survivals 
of dress are not wanting. When clothing was more complete, the woman gained 



immensely in charm, esteem, and social position, so that she had every reason to 
keep up her wardrobe. 

It is quite otherwise with the portion of the dress intended directly to protect 
the body. In all places we find the shoulder-covering in the shape of a cloak. 

__^ _____ Tropical tribes use it 

primarily to keep off the 
rain, while in colder 
climates it serves for 
warmth and also as a 
sleeping -cover. These 
cloak-like articles of 
clothing are far less 
widely diffused than 
those which serve for 
decency ; which also 
proves that the latter 
were the first clothing 
worn by men. 

Another circum- 
stance undoubtedly has 
contributed to develop 
the sense of modesty, as 
Karl von den Steinen 
has pointed out. As 
the wild beast drags his 
prey into the thicket, in 
order to devour it un- 
disturbed, so some tribes 
think it highly inde- 
corous to look at any 
one eating ; and the 
same may have held 
good in regard to other 
functions. Still this can 
only have been sub- 
sidiary, and does not 
account for the original 
concealment. Finally 
we must not overlook 
the superstitious dread 
of the possible effects of the evil eye, though here again this cannot be rightly 
assigned as the root-idea of modesty. Curiously enough, in New Guinea no 
more than in ancient Greece do the representations of ancestors, with their free 
exhibition of what in the living is carefully concealed, seem to give any offence. 
But all these various causes tend to react upon and supplement each other 
mutually. Further, no relation can be traced between the amount of clothing 
worn and the degree of culture attained. The lady of Uganda or Unyoro 
who drapes herself with elaborate care in her robes of bark, stands in general 

Woman of the Azandeh, or Nyam-Nyams. 
Richard Buchta. ) 

(From a photograph by 



no higher than the Nyam-Nyam negress, whose sole garment is a leaf. Nor 
do the former race, who treat it as a capital offence to strip in public, hold any 
higher position than the Duallas, who take off every rag for their work in the 
sea. Nor, lastly, do we find any marked national distinctions in these matters. 
All things considered, we may say that in mankind of to-day modesty is universal ■ 
and where it seems to be lacking, this is due to some accidental or transitory 

But this is not the only feeling which 
the simple man is endeavouring to satisfy 
when he clothes his body. Next to it stands 
the gratification of vanity. The former 
motive, as a mere injunction of custom, is 
quickly done with ; the other is sought to 
be attained at an)- cost. One may say with- 
out exaggeration that many races spend the 
greater part of their thought and their labour 
on the adornment of their persons. These 
are in their own sphere greater fops than 
can be found in the highest civilization. The 
traders who deal with these simple folk know 
how quickly the fashions change among 
them, as soon as a plentiful importation of 
varied stuffs and articles of ornament takes 
place. The natural man will undergo any 
trouble, any discomfort, in order to beautify 
himself to the best of his power. 

Thus it would obviously be unjust to 
form any judgment as to the absence or 
deficiency of clothing without regard to the 
other attentions which the " natural " races 
pay to the body. If we look at all together 
we get an impression of predominant frivolity. 
Necessaries have to give way to luxuries. 
The poorest Bushman makes himself an 

arm-ring OUt of a Strip of hide, and never Princess of Unyoro, dressed in bark-cloth. 
c .... a photograph by Richard Buchta. ) 

torgets to wear it, though it may well happen 

that his leather apron is in a scandalously tattered state. The man of low culture 
demands much more luxury compared with his small means than one in a higher 
stage. Ornament holds such a foremost place that some ethnologists have 
declared it impossible to decide where clothing ends and ornament begins. All 
clothing seems to them to have proceeded by way of modification from ornament ; 
and they hold that modesty played no part in the earliest evolution of dress. 
The facts no doubt show that the delight in ornament preponderates over the 
sense of decency ; but it does not follow that it was anterior. 

Modesty in the woman is especially apt to take on a touch of coquetry, for 
an example of which we need look no further than the low-necked dresses of our 
own ball-rooms. In this way what was once an article essential to decency imper- 
ceptibly approximates more and more to ornament by the addition of fringes, or, 




as among the Fans and some of the Congo tribes, by the attachment of strings 
of jingling bells. Even more grotesque combinations of concealment and parade 
may be observed ; especially where there is a religious motive for the former. 

The style and completeness of the clothing naturally depends in great measure 
upon the extent to which Nature or labour has provided material. All countries 
are not so benevolently furnished in this respect as tropical Brazil, where the 

Village chief of the Loango coast, with wife and dignitary. (From a photograph by Dr. Falkenstein.) 

" shirt-tree," a kind of Lecythis, grows with its pliant and easily-stripped bark. 
The Indians cut up the stem into lengths of 4 or 5 feet, strip the bark off, soak 
and beat it soft, cut two armholes, and the shirt is ready. In the same forests 
grows a palm, the spathe of which provides a convenient cap without further 
preparation. The fig-leaf of Paradise recurs in a thousand variations, and 
celebrates its revival by appearing in manifold forms, even to the universal 

The use of bark as a clothing material is, or was, widely spread from Polynesia 
to the west coast of Africa. It recurs in America, and thus is found in all lands 



within the tropics ; and besides this, the bast or inner bark of the lime was used 
for a similar purpose in old days by Germanic tribes. The laws of Manu 
prescribe to the Brahman who purposes to end his days in religious meditation 
amid the primeval forests, that he shall wear a garment of bark or skin. Here 
probably, as in Africa, the bark of a species of Fines was used for the purpose. But 
in Polynesia the manufacture of a material called tapa from the bark of the paper- 
mulberry was carried to great perfection. Races who no longer make use of this 
material procure it for special occasions. Thus the mere settled Kayans of Borneo, 
when they go into mourning, throw off 
their cotton sarongs to wrap themselves 
in bark-cloth ; and on the west coast of 
Africa, at certain festivities connected 
with fetish- worship, it is usual to wear 
skins instead of clothes. In this there 
lies a perfectly right sentiment, that these 
home - invented garments, borrowed 
directly from Nature, have a higher 
intrinsic value than the rubbishy Euro- 
pean fripperies, the invasion of which 
has made clothing arbitrary and un- 

How little the great schoolmistress 
Want can impress upon the " natural " 
races that seriousness which behaves 
appropriately at the bidding of hardship, 
is shown by comparing the dwellers in 
a severe climate with those who live 
under more genial skies. The South 
Australians and Tasmanians hardly 
wore more clothes than the Papuas. 
Considering the abundance of animals, 
we can only refer the scantiness of their 
attire to laziness. The Fuegians who 
are best situated, those of the east coast, 
wear guanaco cloaks like the Patagonians, and those of the w r est coast, have at 
least seal-skins ; but among the tribes near Wollaston Island a piece of otter- 
skin, hardly as large as a pocket-handkerchief, often forms the only protection 
against the rude climate. Fastened across the breast with strings, it is pushed 
to one side or another, according as the wind blows. But many, says Darwin, 
go without even this minimum of protection. Only the Arctic races, always in- 
ventive and sensible, have in this, as in other matters, better adapted themselves to 
the demands of their surroundings and their climate ; and their clothing of furs 
and bird-skins is in any case among the most rational and practical inventions 
in this class. They are, however, the only " natural " races of the temperate or 
frigid zones whose clothing is completely adapted to its purpose. The outliers 
of them in the Xorth Pacific, such as the inhabitants of King William's Sound 
and others, may be recognised at once beside their Indian neighbours by their 
clothing. The Eskimo dress, which covers the whole body, obviously limits the 


Cap made of a palm-spathe, from Brazil. 
(Munich Ethnographical Museum. ) 

9 8 


use of ornament. Hence we never find arm or leg-rings, and only rarely necklaces 
of animal's teeth or European beads ; but, on the other hand, buttons, like sleeve- 

Bawenda children belonging to a mission school. (From a photograph in the possession of 
Dr. Wangemann, Berlin). 

Fur and bird skin clothing of the Ainu. (Collection of Baron von Siebold, Vienna. ) 

buttons, of stone or bone, not uncommonly decorate lips and ears. The fact that 
they tattoo the body, however, indicates a former residence in a warmer climate.. 



Footgear is universally worn on the march ; it is generally made of hide, less 
often of wood or bark. Curiously enough the method of fastening sandals is 
essentially the same all the world over. 

Among " natural " races no one goes without ornament ; the contrary to what 
we find among civilized people, many of whom, rich and poor alike, avoid any 
ornamentation, either of their person or of their clothing. But the universal 

Woman of New South Wales. ( From a photograph in the possession of 
Lieutenant von Biilow, Berlin. ) 

distribution of ornament seems easier when we consider its by -aims. In the 
first place the amulets, which are hardly ever missing, assume the shape of 
decorations. Hildebrandt, in his admirable work on the Wakamba, says : 
" Amulets are regarded as defensive weapons, and so, in a treatise on ethnography, 
deserve a place between weapons and ornaments." But they have more affinity 
with the latter than with the former. The fan is used not only to flirt, nor only 
even for purposes of coolness, but is an indispensable implement in kindling and 
maintaining the charcoal fire. The massive iron arm-rings, with which the negro 
bedecks himself, are adapted for both parrying and striking. The Irengas of the 


Upper Nile wear these sharpened to a knife-like edge. In peace they are covered 
with a leather sheath, in battle they serve as fighting-rings. Of a similar kind 
are the arm-rings of the neighbouring Jurs, fitted with a pair of spikes. The 
smart dagger attached to the upper arm or hung from the neck is half weapon, half 

ornament. But we must 
reckon among genuinely de- 
corative weapons the beau- 
tifully-carved clubs of the 
Melanesians and negroes, 
the batons of command, 
the decorated paddles. The 
savage warrior can no more 
do without ornament than 
without his weapon. Are 
we to suppose that this 
connection has so deep a 
psychological basis in the 
stimulus to self-esteem and 
courage given by external 
splendour, that it has 
reached even to the heights 
of our own military civiliza- 
tion ? 

Ornament and distinc- 
tion again go hand in 
hand, though for this brilliancy and costliness are not always necessary. In East 
and Central Africa the chiefs wear arm and leg-rings made from the hair of the 


ornaments of dogs' teeth, and shell armlet, from Hawaii. 
(Vienna Ethnographical Museum.) 

Sandal from Unyoro. (After Baker. ) 

giraffe's tail ; in West Africa, caps from the hide of a particular antelope ; while 
in Tonga, necklaces of the cachalot or sperm-whale's teeth serve at once for 
ornament, distinction, and money — perhaps also for amulets. It is quite intel- 
ligible that in the lower grades of civilization, where even great capitalists can 
carry their property on their persons, ornament and currency should be inter- 
changeable. There is no safer place — none where the distinction conferred by 
wealth can be more effectively displayed — than the owner's 'person. Hence the 
frequency with which we find forms of currency which may at the same time serve 

I, 2. Stone lip-plugs ; 3, 6, necklaces ; 4, armlet, worn by the Jur tribes ; 5, armlet ; 7 head-di 
of the Shulis. (Vienna Ethnographical Museum. ) 



Irenga arm - rins 
fourth real size. 

with sheath. One- 
( Vienna Ethnographical 

for ornament — cowries, dentalium, and other shells, 
cachalots' teeth, iron and copper rings, coins with 
a hole through them. Silver and gold currencies 
have grown up in the same way ; but among the 
barbarous races of the older world, only the 
Americans seem to have appreciated the value of 
gold. It was left for Europeans to discover the 
great stores of this metal in Australia, California, 
and Africa. To this day, in the districts of 
Famaka and Fadasi, although almost every 
torrent brings down gold, it plays no part in 
native ornament or trade. 

Lastly, we may reflect how eloquent for a 
savage is the silent language of bodily mutilation 
and disfigurement. As Theophile Gautier says : 
" Having no clothes to embroider, they embroider 
their skins." Tattooing serves for a tribal 
or family mark ; it often indicates victorious 
campaigns, or announces a lad's arrival at 
manhood, and so also do various mutila- 
tions of teeth and artificial scars. Radiating 
or parallel lines of scars on cheek or breast, 
such as the Australians produce with no 
other apparent ob- 
ject save that of 
ornament, denote 
among the Shillooks, 
Tibboos, and other 
Africans, the loss of 
near kindred. Even 
if we cannot see in 
circumcision, or the 
amputation of a 
finger, any attempt 
at personal embel- 
ishment, in these 
and similar practices 
it is difficult to 
separate with a hard- 
and - fast line the 
motives of decora- 
tion, distinction, and 
fulfilment of a reli- 
gious or social pre- 
cept. Doubtless much 
of the ornamentation 
which is applied to 
the body is a mode 

Paddle-shaped clubs, probably from Fiji ; and carved adzes, as carried by chiefs, 
from the Hervey Islands. (Munich Ethnographical Museum. ) 2. Dagger for 
attaching to the upper arm, from Lagos. (Christy Collection, London.) 



of expressing the primitive artistic impulse upon which special attention is 
bestowed ; and thus the tattooings of the New Zcalanders, often the work of years 
to execute, and that at the cost of much labour and pain, must be reckoned 
among the most conspicuous achievements of the artistic sense and dexterity of 
that race. The Indians are less distinguished in this respect, while among the 
Negroes few devote so much attention to this branch of art as to the arrangement 
of their hair — a po ; nt in which they certainly surpass all races, being materially 
aided in this task by the stiff character of their wigs. 

As in all primitive industries, we meet here, as a characteristic phenomenon, 
with endless variations on a limited theme. Thus some races take to painting, 
some to tattooing, some again to hairdressing. Customs affecting the same region 

Modes of hairdressing. Lovale\ (After Cameron. ) 

of the body may often indicate relationships. Thus the Batokas knock out their 
upper front teeth, causing the lower to project and push out the under lip. Their 
neighbours to the eastward, the Manganyas, wear a plug in their upper lip, often 
in the lower, and thereby arrive at a similar disfigurement. These luxuriant 
developments of the impulse for ornament exhibit the innate artistic sense of a 
race often in an astonishing phase, and it is not without interest to trace it from 
its crudest beginnings. The articles which savages use for ornament are calculated 
to show up against their dark skins. White shells, teeth, and such like, produce 
a very different effect on that background to what they offer on our pale hands or 
in dark cabinets. Hence we find far and wide painting with red and white- — 
cosmetics were among the objects buried with their dead by the old Egyptians — 
dressing of the dark hair with white lime and similar artifices. But the highest 
summit of the art has been attained by the Monbuttus, who, in the great variety 
of patterns with which they paint their bodies, avoid harsh colours and elementary 
stripes and dots. The old people alone leave off adorning themselves and let the 
painting wear out ; but it is at this age that the indelible tattooing begins to be 



Among one and the same race, special decorative themes are generally adhered 
to most rigidly, and varied only within narrow limits. We must, however, beware 
of the temptation to read too much conscious intention into these manifold 
ornaments. In face of the tendency of prehistoric research to treat particular 
themes as the signatures, so to say, of the respective races, it is necessary specially 
to emphasise the space to be allowed for the play of caprice. It is true that you 

can always tell a Tongan club by the 
little human figures which stand out 
in the mosaic-like carved pattern ; but 
here we have to deal with a limited 
area of culture, within which a great 
persistency of tradition can easily be 
aimed at. But would any one take 
the cross, which is so natural a motive 
in matted work, as it appears on the 
beautifully woven shields of the Nyam- 
Nyams, for an imitation of the Christian 
symbol, or ascribe the crescent on 
Polynesian carved work to the influ- 
ence of Islam ? 

Among the other advantages en- 
joyed by the male sex is that of cul- 
tivating every kind of adornment to 
a greater extent, and devoting more 
time to it. In the lowest groups of 
savages ornament follows the rule 
which is almost universal among the 
higher animals ; the male is the more 
richly adorned. As is well known, 
civilization has pretty well reversed 
this relation, and the degree of progress to which a race has attained may to 
some extent be measured by the amount of the sacrifice which the men are 
prepared to make for the adornment of their women. Otherwise, in the most 
civilized communities, men only revert to the custom of 
adorning themselves when they happen to be soldiers or '" 
attendants at court. 

A practical result of the tendency to luxury in the midst west African mode of filing- 
of destitution is the confinement of trade with the "natural" the teeth. (From a draw- 

111- r -i r ing by the same. ) 

races to a small list of articles, the number of which is 

almost entirely limited by the purposes of ornament or pastime and sensual 
enjoyment. Of trade in the great necessaries of food and clothing there is 
hardly any. The objects exchanged, things of value and taste, are primarily 
luxuries. Setting aside the partly civilized inhabitants of the coast, and the 
European colonies, the important articles of the African trade are beads, brass 
wire, brass and iron rings, spirits, tobacco. The only articles in a different 
category which have attained to any importance are cotton goods and firearms. 

Finally we may find a place in this section for those implements of the toilet 
wherewith all those works of art are performed upon which primitive man, in this 

West African body-tattooing. (From a drawing by 
Pechuel-Loesche. ) 



respect nowise behind his civilized brother, bases his hope of pleasing and con- 
quering. Let us hear how Schwcinfurth describes the dressing case of a Bongo 
lad)- : " For pulling out eyelashes and eyebrows they make use of little tweezers. 
Peculiar to the women of the 1 

Bongos are the curious little 
elliptical knives fitted into a 
handle at both ends, sharpened 
on both edges and decorated 
with tooling in many patterns. 
These knives the women use 
for all their domestic opera- 
tions, especially for peeling 
tubers, slicing cucumbers and 

1. Tortoise-shell combs from Pelew. One half real size. (Kubary Collection, Berlin.) 
2. Azandeh or Xyam-Nyam shield. One-tenth real size. (Vienna Ethnographical Museum. ) 

gourds, and the like. Rings, bells of different kinds, clasps, and buttons, which 
are stuck into holes bored in their lips and ear lobes ; with lancet-shaped hairpins, 
which seem necessary for parting and dividing their plaits, complete the Bongo 
lady's dressing-case." A pair of tweezers for thorns, in a case attached to the 
dagger-sheath, forms part of the outfit in almost all parts of Africa. Many carry 
a porcupine's bristle or an ivory pin stuck into the hair to keep it smooth. 
Combs are well known to the Polynesians, the Arctic races, and the Negroes. 

While the civilized European regards cleanliness as the best adornment, even 
the Oriental is very far from giving it a high place. Barbarous races practise it 


when it docs not cost too much trouble. In certain directions, however, it can 
become a custom ; for example, the negro pays much more attention to keeping 
his teeth clean than the average European. The horror of ordure is often in 
truth superstitious, and in that case contributes to keep the neighbourhood of the 
huts cleanly. Furneaux was astonished to see latrines among the Maoris. But 
what especially promotes cleanliness is the absence or scantiness of clothing. 
Dirt as a general rule is principally met with among such races as are compelled 
by uncertainty of climate or by custom to keep their bodies always covered. A 
daily change will involve rapid wearing out, and for this reason they usually 
wear their clothes, as Jenghis Khan prescribed, until they drop off in tatters. 
In the most intimate family life, however, a reserve prevails among natural races 
which puts their civilized brethren to shame. Among Negroes, Malays, and 
Indians, it is a widespread custom that parents and children should not sleep in 

the same room. 


The first huts — Germs of buildings in wood and stone — Temporary character of most hut architecture — His- 
torical value of permanent building — Classification of the natural races according to their style of building 
— Shelter as a motive — Pile buildings — Assemblage of habitations — The ethnographic importance of towns 
— Various descriptions of towns — Ruins of towns and of civilizations. 

The germ of architecture, the first hut, was called into existence by a need which 
is primitive and universal. No race lives for a continuance in hollow trees, as 
certain of the Tasmanians did in Cook's time, or as the scattered Bechuanas 
in the Matabele kingdom. That first hut was no doubt very simple and perish- 
able. Architecture in the real sense, that is building made to last, and sub- 
sequently decorated edifices, lie nearer to the present time. In the somewhat 
vague statement of Laprade, " the birth of architecture, the building of the first 
temple, marks the beginning of the historical period," the ethnographer will find 
a somewhat narrow notion of a temple in view of the fetish huts of the Central 
Africans or the Melanesians ; for him the step beyond the most primitive hut- 
building begins much earlier. 

The first germ from which, in later times, the inspiring grandeur of architecture 
was to unfold itself, lay in the need of shelter. We may mention first the ways 
in which this need drives men to rely on Nature. We shall have to speak of the 
almost brute-like habit of living in trees found among many races. The use of 
pendent branches, which are hastily plaited together and strengthened, as among 
the half nomad Bushmen, is nearly akin to it. By cutting down branches or 
saplings, sticking them in the ground in a circle, binding together the upper ends, 
and roofing this hasty edifice with boughs or skins, is the next step towards 
simple hut-building as we find it among Fuegians and Hottentots, Gallas and 
Somali. Hence we are brought by a long series of more permanent and 
gradually more decorated buildings to the richly ornamented wooden houses of 
the Papuas and Malays, or the Pelew Islanders, and the stoneless palaces of the 
Monbuttu or Waganda kings. The kindred germ of stone architecture was given 
by the habit of dwelling in caves, widely spread in primitive times, and not yet 
obsolete. It has an advantage in the durability of the material, counterbalanced 



by its lesser adaptability to decoration and ornament. But the advantage out- 
weighs the disadvantage, for as soon as an effort is made in the direction of taste 
it was easier to satisfy in the matter of symmetry, which is the fundamental 
condition of all architectural beaut}-. 

How little the hard pressure of necessity can do to call forth a greater activity 
in satisfying those demands for shelter and food, which are most imperious where 
the climate is most harsh and the plant and animal world most scanty, is shown 
by the case of the Fuegians who, incredible as it may sound, build not more, but 

Caves of the Bushmen 

less, than more favourably situated races. So, too, the Tasmanians must be indi- 
cated as having been the most backward of all Australasians in hut-building. In 
Australia itself it is surprising to see how it is just in the warmest regions that 
hut-building has made most progress ; while it is most wretched in the coldest 
parts, where the hut is in fact a protection rather for the fire than for the people. 
\\ hen we find a similar fact recurring elsewhere, as we do in South America and 
South Africa, it establishes with all the force of an experiment that it is not the 
schoolmistress need that has most power to compel a progress towards culture, 
but that it is only in a tranquil development guaranteed by peace and plenty that 
the higher stages, even in the matter of hut and housebuilding, can be reached. 

What is required above all is continuity. Nomadism strikes deeper than we 
realise into the lives of even agricultural races. The famous art of constructing 
dwellings rapidly in bee-hive style, that form of hut used by Hottentots and 
Bechuanas, which pre-supposes access to the flexible half-grown stems of the 



mimosa, only shows that the distinction between the hut and the tent is as yet 
not fully appreciated. These edifices disappear as quickly as they spring up. 
The most symmetrical and most elegant huts used by Negroes, even though, as 
on the Upper Nile, their ground-plan, form of roof, proportions, vary from one 
tribe to another, are often hastily run up of reeds and grass. Nothing but their 
temporary character prevents the development of a style of art relying on types 
and creating new works on the basis of the old. The destructive force of Nature 

comes as additional to the perishable 
character of the structure. Everywhere 
in tropical latitudes the flimsy dwellings 
are subject to speedy decay by reason 
of boring beetles, devouring ants, 
tropical storms. Nor do the human 
inhabitants in any way cleave to the 
soil ; on the contrary, they regulate 
their mode of life quite in the sense of 
Nature, with whom " all things are in 
flux," and, instead of restoring their 
dwellings, they desert them in order 
without trouble to get virgin soil for 
cultivation. Junker found in the Bahr- 
el-Ghazal country hardly any of the 
zeribas which Schweinfurth had so 
precisely indicated. After a very few 
years what was once a well-ordered 
settlement displays at most a few posts 
standing in circles, and weeds sprouting 
ever afresh from the seeds of what once 
were cultivated plants. 

There is nothing monumental about 
negro architecture, and for that very 
reason anything durable is all the more 
conspicuously significant in that land 
of nomadic building. The granite of 
Syene, the black limestone of Persepolis, 
which have retained even to our days 
the most' delicate sculpture and the smoothest polish, are of high historical 
significance as trustworthy props and bearers of tradition. They witness to the 
truth of a remark of Herder's : " No work of art has died in the history of 
mankind." How great an influence has been produced on us by the fact that 
those remains, so far removed both in place and time from the modern civilization 
of the Nile valley, have been handed down to us uninjured ? But how much 
greater was the value of these stony witnesses of the greatness, the deeds, the 
religion, the knowledge of their nation, for the people who walked beneath them ? 
This hard stone gave as it were a skeleton to tradition, to guard it from 
premature collapse. In any case the fact of settlement in stone houses, vying in 
firmness with the solid earth, had a significance very different from that of settle- 
ment in huts of bamboo and brushwood. 

Tree-dwellings in South India. (After Jagor. ) 



In any classification of races according to their method of building, the lowest 
grade will be held by nomadic hunting and fishing peoples of the type of the 
Fuegians, the Bushmen, the Tasmanians, and many Australians, who inhabit no 
huts built on a fixed plan or placed regularly together in villages, but put up 
temporary shelters of brushwood and reeds. The tent-dwelling nomads, whether 
their tents be of leather like those of the Arabs, or of felt, the Mongol or Sifan 
yaourts, so far as plan goes, are not much superior to those above-mentioned ; 
but the necessity of guarding their herds has made it a characteristic of them all 

Fishing village on the Mekong. (From a photograph.) 

to be arranged in a circle ; and thus has grown up the more regular disposition 
inside of a fence or boundary wall, with gates. These again suggest those partly 
agricultural, partly nomadic Negroes who build huts of beehive or conical shape, 
in the most various stages of perfection. The Negroes of Central Africa who, from 
Ugogo all across to the Fan and Dualla countries, build rectangular houses with 
several rooms and ornamented doors, form the transition to the Malays of 
Madagascar and the Indian Archipelago, and to the races of the Pacific, whose 
richly-ornamented and often large houses, very various in design, offer the most 
perfect work found in the way of timber-building among " natural " races. Among 
them, however, we find at the same time (as on Easter Island) the beginnings of 
masonry in connection with monumental sculpture. The Polar races live in stone 
buildings or in huts in which snow takes the place of wood. A zone of stone 
houses with several stories passes through India, Arabia, and the Berber regions 
of Africa. Contiguous stone houses for hundreds of families occur among the 


Indians of New Mexico and Arizona ; and these bring us to the great monumental 
buildings of the races who were outside the sphere of Old-world culture, as the 
Mexicans, Central Americans, and inhabitants of the South American plateaux. 

ar äaa( '?sä; 



The so-called " Dwarf's House" at Chichen-Itza. (After Charnay. ) 

Independently of all these variations, special kinds of habitation and building 
develop themselves from the fundamental idea of shelter. Men were led to 
found permanent abodes in the water — not that of the insecure and violent sea, but 
always only in calm inland lakes or rivers with gentle current — at first obviously 
by the wish to protect themselves from beasts of prey and enemies of their own 


species; but later, and on higher planes of civilization, with the view of avoiding 
the crush and pressure of g- re at assemblages of human beings in a limited space, 
as in China with its excessive population, and some parts of Further India. In' 
the former case the favourite method of surrounding oneself with the protectim*- 
water was to build on piles and platforms ; in the other, large rafts or condemned 
barges served for dwellings, whence again pile buildings were evolved, but on a 
larger scale than in the former stage, which is marked rather by isolation than 
by crowding. Even in our own days pile-dwellings are numerous; they are 
built by most of the races of the Indian Archipelago, by Melanesians, most of 
the Americans of the 
North-west, certain 
tribes in Africa and 
Central and South 
America. We can 
easily convince our- 
selves, if we please, | 
that the phenomenon y 
is no less natural than \, 
frequent. Thus our : ■ ~ 
European pile-dwel- i. 
lings call for no arti- ljj| 
ficial hypotheses as s \i 
to specific pile-build- jj|j 
ing races, Etruscan 
warehouses for trade flBjlF 
goods, or the like. " llSj^^ 

In later times the i__ 

idea ot protection ___ - ^'^Ärt^i, 

may often have be- ^Slifrs." 5 ^-^ " ? 

House in Central Sumatra. (After Veth. ] 


come superfluous and 
passed into oblivion, 
while the custom remained. Nor were piles always necessary for the construc- 
tion of such dwellings ; many other means were employed to isolate and protect 
dwellings and stores. We may recall the old Irish crannoges, or fenced villages, 
or our modern cities built on piles — Amsterdam, St. Petersburg, Venice. From 
the effort to gain the greatest possible security, together with the desire for a 
more healthy position, arises the practice in vogue among traders settled on 
foreign shores to take up their abode on ships or hulks, which are moored 
out in rivers or harbours, and contain at the same time their warehouses. In 
a smaller measure the same end is served by the post -supported dwellings 
on dry land, very common among the Malays, and to be found in Africa, 
especially in universal application to storehouses. Livingstone relates that the 
Batokas on the Lower Zambesi build their huts on a high framework in the 
middle of their gardens, in order to protect themselves from wild beasts, 
especially the spotted hyenas. Tree-dwellings, as of the Battaks in Sumatra, 
of many Melanesians, of South Indian tribes, come under this head. They are 
not really a primitive stage ot dwelling, comparable to the arboreal residences 
of the orang-outang, but arise simply from the employment of trees as posts. 


The huts which the trees support often belong to the best -made things of 
their kind. 

The effects of the craving for protection reach neither far nor deep, when the 
essence of it is only isolation ; but when it tends to pack men together it gives 
rise to developments which have a wide and mighty bearing. The great cities 
which belong to the most marvellous results of civilization stand at the further 
end of the effects produced by this tendency to unite men and their dwellings 
about a single point. Nothing will enable us so well to recognise the power of 
the motive of defence as a glance at the situation of cities. We find fortified 
villages crowded together on the tops of mountains or on islands, in the bights 

Village on a tongue of land, Lake Tanganyika. (After Cameron.) 

of rivers or on tongues of land. Since most centres of habitation have been laid 
out at a time when a thin population was beginning to spread, and the danger 
of hostile invasions was vividly before their eyes, considerations of defence are 
often strongly stamped on their situation. We need only set before our minds 
the way in which nearly all the older towns of Greece and Italy stand on the tops 
or sides of hills, or remember that nearly all the oldest maritime trading cities 
are placed on islands. The tendency to pack together may pass into an extreme, 
as in the case of the Indian dwellings in Colorado, combining the character of 
caves and castles, which shelter numbers of persons in the narrowest possible 
space, and often are only accessible by steps in the rock or by ladders. 

A third cause to be considered is common interests in labour. These of 
course increase with the progress of economic division of labour, until they form 
the principal cause which decides the situation of an inhabited place. Even at 
primitive stages of culture large populations assemble temporarily in spots where 
useful things occur in quantity. The Indians of a great part of North America 
make pilgrimages to the beds of pipestone ; and we have mentioned the crowds 
who go yearly to gather the harvest of the zizania. swamps in the north-western 
lakes, and the assemblage from all parts of widely-scattered Australian tribes on 


the Barcoo river for the seed-time of the grain-bearing Marsiliaceae. These arc 
transitory assemblies. But when once the step is taken from a roaming life to a 
settled one, places of just this kind will be among the first selected ; and if, when 
life has become settled, the population increases and division of labour comes in, 
larger habitations will spring up until such spots of the earth as are furnished by 
Nature with any special wealth will, as the highest stages of civilization are 
reached, show those unwontedly dense populations — 400 and upwards to the 
square mile — which we meet with in the fertile lowlands of the Nile and Ganges, 
in the coal and iron districts of Central and Western Europe, or in the goldfields 
of Australia and California. 

The larger isolated aggregations, on the contrary, come into existence at 
definite points, which have become points where the streams of traffic meet or 
intersect. The wish for exchange of goods first causes the need for drawing as 
near as possible ; traffic creates towns. Everywhere that Nature simplifies or 
intensifies traffic great assemblages of men spring up, whether as cities of the 
world like London, or market-towns like Nyangwe. 

We assume by a kind of instinct a certain connection between cities and 
higher culture, and not without reason, since it is in the cities that the highest 
flower of our culture declares itself. But the fact that just this development of 
cities is so important in China, shows that a certain material culture is independent 
of the highest intellectual culture, and gives an impressive lesson of the real 
extent to which cities help to serve that life of trade which is less dependent on 
culture, nay, even for the most part spring from it. If cities are an organic 
product of national life, they are not always the result of that race's own force 
to which they belong. There are towns of international trade, like Singapore, or, 
in a lesser degree, the Arab and Swahili stations on the coast of Madagascar ; 
or colonial towns, which are closely akin to these, such as Batavia, Zanzibar, or 
Mombasa. So mighty is traffic that it bears with it the organisation necessary to 
it into the midst of an alien nationality ; so that again whole races which have 
become organs of traffic bear the stamp of town life on their brow. Most of all, 
indeed, are the desert-dwellers urban races ; for the nature of their place of abode 
crowds them together around the springs, and also for defence, and forces them 
to more durable building than would be possible with timber and brushwood. The 
fact, too, that the oases are widely scattered renders it almost impossible for any 
assemblage of habitations to become a centre of traffic in the wide-meshed net of the 
desert roads. The first conquerors of an inhabited country, again, are often com- 
pelled to live in towns, independently of traffic ; feeling themselves secure only 
in close settlements. Then in later times these compulsory towns follow the 
natural requirements of trade, and change their situation. Premature foundation 
of towns is a symptom of young colonisations ; in North and Central America 
we may find ruined cities of quite modern date. In the Chinese region of 
colonisation on the frontier of nomads and Chinese, along the upper Hoang-ho, 
numerous ruined cities are characteristic of the zone where semi-civilization comes 
into contact with semi-savagery. 



Head and family — Polygamy — Position of women — Female rule — " Mother -right " — Exogamy — Capture of 
women — Parents and children — Morality — Society — Social inequalities — Slavery — Races in bondage — 
Distinctive character of property— Extent of the distinction in tropical countries — Property in land — 
Examples of various conceptions of private property — Civilizing power of ownership — Poverty and labour 
in uncivilized peoples. 

Every step towards higher development involves grouping in societies. The 
Animal sociale of Linnaeus : is justified by history, and the most natural form of 
society is the Family. It is the only source from which all social and political 
life can be developed. If there was any union before the family, it was a herd, 
but not a state. The stability which every political organisation capable of 
development must needs possess, first comes into existence with the family. With 
its development the security for economic advantages, which forms the foundation 
of all higher civilization, goes hand in hand. 

The fundamental basis of the family is the union of the sexes in a common 
home in which the children are brought up. Within the wide limits of this 
definition we find marriage universal. Where marriage has been supposed to be 
absent, even among the most promiscuous nomads of the forest and desert, its 
existence has sooner or later been in every case established. Extraordinary as 
has been the spread of polygamy, extending even to the possession of thousands 
of wives, as a rule the establishment of the family begins in the union of one man 
with one woman. Even elsewhere, one wife remains the first in rank, and her 
children have, as a rule, the rights of primogeniture. 

Marriage is an endeavour to bridle the strongest natural impulse — one which 
advance in civilization has as yet hardly diminished. The restriction is at all 
stages and under all circumstances constantly being loosened or broken, and then 
reimposed in new forms. Thus an enormous variety of shiftings lies between the 
modern forms of monogamy and those survivals of old forms which are referred 
to group-marriage. But all are variations of the same problem, how to bind man 
and woman to a lasting union. 

In every great community we find smaller groups of persons who are dis- 
qualified or withheld from marriage. Continence as a religious duty holds no 
very important place, though in all parts of the earth we find celibacy regarded as 
the highest perfection in military and sacerdotal organisations. But in a far higher 
degree is the natural development of the family hindered by the unequal number of 
the sexes. The capture of women often connected with slavery, infanticide, war, and 
the emigration of the men, bring about an excess of women. From the point of 
view of the relations prevailing among ourselves, which are based upon an equality 
of numbers in the two sexes, it is hard to conceive a state of things in which the 
women are two or three times as many as the men. Yet not only do we find 
in Uganda, according to Felkin, seven women to every three men, but in the 
half-civilized Paraguay it was reckoned in 1883, after some years of war, that 
out of 345,000 inhabitants, two -thirds were women. The consequence is an 
excess of the female element in the family, which is the most immediate cause of 

1 [And of Aristotle long before him.] 


polygamy. A superfluity of men, such as civilization brings with it in new 
countries peopled by immigrants, is less frequent in the lower grades ; we find 
it where there are slaves, and in great centres of commerce. Plurality of husbands, 
or polyandry, which was formerly regarded as a specially deep-rooted and ancient 
form of the family, has by closer observation been shown to be a development 
from altered or abnormal conditions. The small number of women among the 
imported labourers in Fiji has caused a true polyandry to grow up, and it has 
arisen, under similar conditions, among a slave colony of Dinka slaves in Lega 
land. In Tibet, and among the Nairs in India, one man may belong to several 
married groups. 

Independenth' of these outgrowths of marriage, in which nevertheless the 
woman follows the man — while he is her lord, and the lord of her children and 
her earnings, — we find that form of marriage, equally possible with monogamic 
or polygamic institutions, in which the man enters the woman's community, and 
the children belong to her. Here comes in what in one word is called " Mother- 
right." This takes, as the corner stone of the family and of society, the one 
certain fact in all relationship — the kinship of children to their mother. When 
Herodotus found among the Lycians the custom whereby the children took the 
mother's name, and pedigrees were reckoned in the female line, he thought that 
that people differed from all others. But we now know that this custom, either 
practised consciously and completely, or only as a survival, recurs among many 
races. The child may be so closely attached to the kindred of the mother that 
in tribal feuds father and son may fight on opposite sides. In all races we find 
nations among whom the chiefship descends through the mother. It is tempting to 
see in this a survival from an older form of marriage, perhaps a transition to group- 
marriage ; since this too looks for the only unquestionable certainty of a child's 
origin in his kinship to his mother, and thus equally ignores the father. It is 
also certain that where mother-right prevails, so far from any promiscuity of 
intercourse arising, women wdio, owing to their kinship to their own group, may 
only mate with a man belonging to another, stand to him in a much closer relation 
than do those with whom he is forbidden ever to mate. The husband enters the 
tribe, even the household, of his wife, and a whole series of customs, in many cases 
very extraordinary, points to the fact that in spite of the bond of wedlock he is 
regarded as a stranger there. Tylor has collected statistics indicating that the 
curious practice whereby the husband avoids and refuses to know the wife's parents, 
and especially his mother-in-law, appears almost exclusively in the cases where he 
enters the wife's family. These onerous ordinances, too, are among the most 
strictly enforced. An Australian indignantly repels a suggestion to utter the 
name of his mother-in-law. When John Tanner, the naturalized Ojibbeway, was 
introduced by an Assiniboine friend into his wigwam, he noticed that two old 
people — his friend's father and mother-in-law — veiled their faces while their son- 
in-law went by. Each will even avoid the footprints which the other may have 
made in the sand. The custom of naming the father after the child, as Moffat 
was called " Mary's father," is also found where the husband has migrated into the 
family of the wife. It may be explained as an indication that the non-acquaint- 
ance continues until such time as the birth of a child has established a connection 
between himself and the family. The small attention, too, which the father pays 
to the bringing-up of his offspring, is probably due to a like cause ; the children 



do not belong to him, but to the mother and her tribe. A survival of the privileged 
position of the female side appears also in the etiquette prevailing among the 
Kurnai of Australia, by which the husband has to assign certain special portions 
of game taken by him to his parents-in-law. We must not, however, look for 
traces of mother-right in every insignificant custom, such, for example, as the 
provision of the wedding-breakfast by the bride's family. 

A Zulu family. (From a photograph in the possession of Dr. Wangemann. 

The transition from this system to that in which the father is the head of the 
house, or as it may be called, " father-right," appears to come about spontaneously, 
in cases where the father acquires property by his own exertions ; which then 
naturally belongs to him. Again, local separation furnishes a point of origin for 
the extension of the new family. Powell relates that an Indian tribe in which 
mother-right prevailed, being compelled in a time of dearth to migrate with its 
women, became in its new situation the originator of a tribe with father-right. 
In view of the tendency to exempt from the mother's right of bequest land which 
has been cleared by the father with or without the aid of the children, it must 
happen that, for example, settlements in a new country must be at the disposal 
of the father ; and besides this, movable property shows the same tendency. 
Tending the herds especially demands hard labour, and as a natural consequence 


the patriarchal system has reached its highest development among pastoral races ; 
so that the introduction of cattle-breeding into the industrial life of mankind 
may well have played an important part in the extension of this system. 

Closely connected with marriage under the influence of mother-right is the 
remarkable custom, which has lasted to our own time, known as " exogamy." 
Many tribes forbid their young men to take a wife from among their own body, 
thus compelling them to marry one of another tribe. This custom assumes so 
rigid a legal form that many tribes in Africa, Australia, Melanesia, America, have 
their regular " wife -tribes " out of which they always choose their partners. 
Exogamy even reaches so high as to the Brahmins of India, and we find it as 
a superstition among the Chinese ; it penetrates so deeply that the very language 
of a race may be divisible according to male and female descent. Thus L. Adam 
reports of the Carib language that it is a mixed speech, that of the men being 
deducible from the Galibi or true Carib, that of the women from the Arawak. 
Its twofold nature consists in the use by men or women of certain forms and words 
only when speaking to persons of their own sex ; while on the neutral ground the 
influence of the women's Arawak speech predominates. The division takes a local 
shape where a village is divided into two exogamous halves, or where two exogamous 
villages or tribes dwell side by side, which, as they multiply, similarly form a 
dual society. Over large districts, even in the Malay Archipelago, where foreign 
influences have made themselves much felt, the tribal organisation comes under 
this law, the rigour of which extends even beyond marriage, for all intercourse 
within the prohibited limits is treated as incestuous and punished with death. 
This holds among the Dieyerie of Australia. The often -quoted exogamous 
group-marriage of the Mount Gambier tribe, where all intercourse within the 
two half- tribes, Krokis and Kumites, is strictly forbidden, but allowed so 
freely between them that the two groups may almost be said to be married to 
each other, appears to us to be a mere procreative hugger-mugger. Remarkable 
traces of a state of things which has either vanished or is preserved only in 
fragments, are visible in the kinship-systems of the most various races. These all 
occur under monogamic or polygamic forms, but give clear evidence of the 
previous existence of other forms of marriage ; and that not as rare curiosities, 
but widely extended. Morgan first recognised in the Iroquois a people who by 
that time had reached the mark of marriage by couples, but showed in their 
names for the degrees of relationship the traces of an earlier system. The 
Iroquois at that time called his brothers' children " son " or " daughter," while they 
called him " father " ; but his sisters' children were to him " nephew " and " niece," 
and he " uncle " to them. This observation led Morgan to establish the rule that 
the family proceeds from a lower to a higher form in proportion as society 
develops to a higher stage ; but the system of kinship only registers progress 
after long intervals, and only undergoes fundamental changes when the idea of 
the family has fundamentally altered. Thus it seemed possible to find in the 
names traces of an older mode of reckoning kinship of which it might be that 
nothing else had actually survived. It has been suggested that the kin-names 
of Hawaii may be referred to a system like that of the Iroquois, but even wider 
in its employment of the names for child, brother, and sister ; since there all 
children of brothers and sisters are spoken of as the common children of these, 
and call each other " brother " and " sister." But we are in no way justified in 


seeing in this a survival of what Morgan, and after him — not without an 
ulterior purpose — Marx, Engels, and the rest, have called the "consanguine family," 
— that is, a family in which the only bar to intercourse was as between relatives 
belonging to different generations — grandparent, parent, child, etc. The notion 
of incest is bound up with the very lowest forms of marriage of which we have 
any knowledge, and the bar has been fixed far further back than in our conception 
of marriage. Still less does the so-called Punalua family — in which brothers and 
sisters, and, as a probable further consequence, their children, were excluded from 
marriage — result from this Iroquois kinship-system. In Hawaii this form of 
marriage existed even in the present century, whereby sisters were the common 
wives of several husbands {Punalua), or brothers the common husbands of several 
wives. The ancient Britons may well have had a similar form of marriage ; but 
on this subject we have no information to carry us farther. All attempts to 
prove the existence of absolute promiscuity may be regarded as unsuccessful ; 
Bachofen's researches take us back to group-marriage at farthest. The traces 
of a community of women, such as surrender taking the form of a religious rite ; 
that curious feast held by the Congo natives at the conclusion of the three 
days' mourning for the dead, at which the widow yields herself to the mourners, 
and many similar customs, can indeed be explained as survivals from such a state 
of things ; but it seems more natural to regard them as relapses from the 
monopoly of women in single or polygamous marriages which is constantly being 
attempted, but always meets with opposition, especially in regions where the 
sexual instinct is less restrained. Similar relapses, though in other forms and 
more concealed from view, are not unknown even under our own code of morals. 
Questions concerning property and society will make us recur to this subject. 

Primogeniture is no more universal than the tracing of descent in the male 
line. No doubt we find it strongly marked among most races, even to the point of 
the parents, when old, yielding obedience to the eldest son, while the brothers have 
to work for him like slaves ; but we also find privileges conceded to the youngest, 
as in the custom of " borough-English," still not wholly extinct in this country. 
In this we may see a regard for the interests of the mother and the family, who 
will gain most by the supremacy of the son who is likely to remain longest under 
their tutelage. " Patria potestas " is, if only as a case of the right of the strongest, 
very considerable wherever the family tie is not extremely lax. In Africa 
children allow their fathers to sell them without a murmur. On the other hand, 
among Negroes the love of parents for children is developed in a beautiful degree, 
and these races, considered low in the scale, often enjoy a most closely-welded 
and charming family life under the influence of paternal authority and children's 

The modes of contracting marriage offer many traces, persisting to the present 
day, of a former state of things. A present given in many cases by the founder 
of a new household to his father-in-law, stamps the contract as a form of purchase, 
while not excluding the traces of capture. The purchase of a wife is often 
concluded while she is still a child, nay, occasionally, while she is still unborn. 
It happens not uncommonly that the lady's inclinations are also considered, but, 
as a rule, parental dispositions are absolute. The wooer usually expresses his 
wishes by the presentation of a gift to the parents of the girl he has chosen ; and 
its acceptance or rejection is taken as their decision. Intermediary suitors are 


often employed. Marriages " on approval " are also frequently found ; in cases 
where things turn out satisfactorily, the course is, first the offering of presents to 
the girl, then the building and furnishing of the hut, then the gift to the bride's 
parents. The nuptials are then performed either by priests, or by the parents, or 
the grandmothers of the young people ; or, in their absence, by any older relations. 
The ceremony includes symbols of the bride's loss of her freedom, of her regret at 
leaving her parental home, of the expected joy of motherhood, and so forth ; but 
consists mainly of merriment. In many cases the religious element does not 
enter, but where it does appear, it is in the form of an invocation of the souls of 
ancestors, whose abiding interest in the family concerns is everywhere presumed. 
Blood-relationship is among most races regarded as a bar to marriage ; yet the heir 
often takes over his father's wives. Divorce is in these cases wont to be as easily 
concluded as marriage, the chief difficulty being the recovery of the purchase- 
money. Wherever polygamy is most widely extended, the marriage relation is 
most lax ; until we meet with conditions such as the most advanced corruption of 
civilization does not attain to. It has been said, not unjustly, of the Polynesians, 
that the great laxity of their family-ties has played an important part in their 
migration. What Cook said of the father of a New Zealand boy who was about 
to leave him without hope of return, is true of many : " He would have parted 
with more emotion from his dog." The slave-trade again has increased the ease 
with which the bond between husband and wife, parent and child, has so often 
been loosed ; while adoption rends the natural dependence in favour of an 
unnatural tyrannical law. 

The capture of women is no longer practised as the sole means of acquiring 
wives and founding families ; though in the wars of savage races often only the 
younger women are spared, and these are taken as booty, like Andromache, to 
the homes of the victors. But stories like that of the Rape of the Sabines, or of 
the daughters of Shiloh by the Benjamites, declare plainly that a different state 
of things once existed ; and a whole series of curious customs can only be ex- 
plained by a traditional objection to seeing daughters, sisters, women of the tribe, 
carried off. So, too, when we find at the present day, whether among Arabs, 
South Slaves, or others, the bride making a show of yielding to compulsion, 
against her own desire, or the marriage procession embellished by a fight between 
the bride's people and those of the bridegroom, culminating in the carrying off of 
the bride, we have obvious traces of what was once conducted in a different 
spirit. The less reality there is in the custom, the more capriciously does the 
symbolism work. In a district of East Melanesia the boys -of the village await 
the bride's relations and shoot harmlessly at them with arrows. Or the sham 
fight between the bride's and bridegroom's people does not take place till after 
the wedding feast. Not only has the bridegroom to buy his bride, but she must 
pay for permission to go in peace. To the same class perhaps belongs the 
custom prevalent in the Loyalty Islands, whereby the newly-married pair may 
not see each other in public, nor dwell in the same house, but have to meet 

Contrary to the notion that a comparison of the various forms of marriage 
will reveal a great development, resembling as it were a pedigree, showing a pro- 
gressive contraction of the area within which intercourse was permitted, from its 
original identity with the whole tribe, bv the exclusion of first nearer, then more 


distant kindred, until monogamy at last was reached ; we see in all the forms 
various attempts to do justice to the hardest of all social problems, one of 
which, indeed, no perfect solution is practically possible. The breeder's motive 
for selection, viz. the repression of the weakening effects of in-and-in breeding, 
by encouraging an invigorating cross-breeding, has unduly influenced this theory 
of development ; races which did not breed cattle must have been far from 
recognising anything of the kind. We should rather say that we are here in 
presence of one of those cases of a consistent and refined development of a 
limited group of ideas, of which we find so many examples in the ethnology of 
the natural races. Such development as we can perceive with undoubted clear- 
ness in marriage is in the growth of sentiment with the growing cultivation of 
the individual, and the closer union resulting from the multiplication of points of 
contact between the sexes, which comes with increasing civilization. 

In primitive society woman holds a position quite as full of anomalies as her 
position among the most highly-civilized races, the only difference being that in 
the former case injustice and ill-treatment appear with less disguise as the natural 
consequences of her physically weaker powers. Polygamy alone hardly explains 
her lower position. Even where monogamy is the general rule, as is the case, 
though not without exceptions, and still less as an ordinance, among Negroes, 
Malays, Indians, and the northern races, it is usual for the woman to live in a 
separate part of the house, seldom to eat out of the same dish as the men, and 
in any case, only after they have finished. Higher civilization, while it has 
improved woman's position by softening the man's rude instincts, and especially 
his violence and injustice, has at the same time, by depriving her of the dignity 
of labour, removed the basis of a possible firmer position in society. Has it not, 
indeed, by making such a division of labour as to give the more limited, easier, 
and less honourable forms of it to the woman, and exclude her from warfare, 
public or private, and sport, put her in an even less favourable position than 
Nature intended ? If we descend the stages of civilization we shall find, as we 
come to the lower, that woman is physically and intellectually more on a par 
with man. Might not the question of power, or rather strength, once have stood 
somewhat differently ? At the stages of civilization with which we are here 
concerned, it was not found difficult to allot a position of authority to the woman. 
We may recall the influence of the priestesses among the Malays, the frequency 
with which female sovereigns are found in Africa and America, the female troops 
of Dahomey, who are stronger than the men and handier with their weapons. 
Despots have often, like the present king of Siam, formed a bodyguard of women, 
believing the fidelity of female slaves to be more trustworthy. 

Nature has no doubt implanted elements of weakness in the physical organisa- 
tion of women, which perhaps civilization only tends to develop further ; but 
there can be no question that the fact of her bearing and bringing up the children 
is a great source of strength which can never fail her. If the children belong to 
the mother, or if, according to the custom of exogamy, the husband enters the 
wife's family, the greater influence, based upon present possession and the future 
hope of the stock, lies on the female side. That does not prevent the hardships 
of life weighing upon her more than upon the stronger man ; but even so it must 
often happen that, as Arthur Wright says of the Seneca Iroquois, the women 
are a great power in the clans and elsewhere. On occasions, he adds, they can 


even depose a chief, and reduce him to a mere ordinary brave. The manifold 
forms of female rule, or the double chieftainship, male or female, such as we find 
in Lunda, and traces of it in Unyoro, point to a higher position of woman at one 

In regard to sexual morality, comparative observation shows that in all 
grades of civilization very different conceptions of it obtain, but that these are 
by no means most relaxed among the poorest and most wretched of natural races ; 
rather in places where there is constant intercourse with the lower classes of 
civilized nations. Apart from this, however, we find great differences, such as are 
hardly to be explained by primitive conditions, but are rather bound up with the 
very various circumstances of national life. In some regions the utmost freedom 
is allowed between unmarried persons, to the point of its being held creditable to 
a girl to bear children to her lovers ; elsewhere wives are surrendered, freely or 
for payment, to guests ; while some tribes kill a girl who has borne a child out 
of wedlock. There is no sharper contrast than the rigid jealousy wherewith the 
Masai guard the purity of their maidens, who go clothed in skins, and the laxity 
which their easy-going neighbours, the Wakamba, display in regard to their girls, 
who stroll about without a rag on ; but the former are a proud race with strict 
laws and aristocratic organisation ; the latter a complaisant, lazy, scattered 
subject-race. We often meet with the same contrast ; a strong nation keeps its 
laws on this subject at as high a level as on others, a weak one tends to license. 
On the other hand, the Masai attach no importance to chastity in married women. 
The fact is that the influence of moral ideas upon races at this stage is very 
small, and that such morality as there is exists less in compliance with any 
moral feeling, than as an obstacle to the infringement of private rights. Adultery 
is universally regarded as an attack upon rights acquired by the purchase of the 
wife ; and thus the action of the man who makes a temporary surrender of his 
wife to a guest, does not necessarily shock morality. It remains to inquire how 
the growth of this custom bears upon the position of women in a community with 
" mother-right." Xo doubt the influence of the women would be thrown against 
it, as to this influence is due the disfavour with which public opinion among the 
North American Indians views facility of divorce. In general the less civilized 
societies allow freer play to the sexual instinct than do the higher ; and accord- 
ingly among them we find less violence done to ideas of law or morality. As 
the bonds which unite man and wife are drawn closer a change takes place. It 
is at this point that professional harlotry appears, as a means of averting forms 
of profligacy which might endanger family ties. In the form in which we find 
it among the Nyam-Xyams, it may no doubt be regarded as an indication of 
higher social development ; but at the same time it lowers that society materially 
in moral worth. Indeed, in disregard of moral obligation, the most cultivated 
society is on a level with the natural races. The conditions which lead to 
national decay often present a striking parallel. Society in Tahiti, as Cook and 
Forster found it, was thoroughly corrupt and on the high road to decay ; it was 
doomed to perish neither more nor less than that of Rome under Heliogabalus, 
or that of Paris before the Revolution. Conversely the condition of the Zulu 
nation under Dingaan and Chaka was one of rude and youthful health. Certain 
features of family life which we are apt to consider as restricted to the richer 
growth of the affections in civilized life may be specially noticed. The mourning 


of a widow for her husband, or of parents for children, is expressed with a vehe- 
mence which must partly suggest superstitious ideas, but in any case is a great 
act of sacrifice on the part of the living for the sake of the dead. We may recall 
how Australian women carry about the corpse, or some bones, of their dead 
children on all their marches, or how Melanesian women wear the mummied 
skull of their departed husbands ; not to mention the widespread custom under 
which widows and slaves follow their husband or lord to the grave. 

Motherly love is so natural a sentiment that the modes of expressing it need 
no authentication ; but we often come across instances of tenderness on the 
father's part towards his offspring. No doubt there are many cases of cruelty, 
but these are exceptions. All who have gone deeply into the question agree in 
praising the peaceful and kindly way in which those of one household live 
together among uncorrupted natural races, doubly striking by contrast with 
the dark practices and disregard of human life with which it often co -exists. 
Solomon's maxim that he who loves his child chastens him betimes, finds no 
observance among natural races ; rather is it the children who tyrannise over the 
adult. But even they seldom quarrel or fight among themselves. Nansen has 
depicted the great good-nature which prevails among the Eskimos, and is inclined 
to refer the repose and peacefulness of family life mainly to the intimate associa- 
tion customary between mother and children. The educational effect of this 
closely-knit fellowship upon its members has often been under-estimated. But 
among many natural races life moves more securely in fixed lines than it does 
among the most highly-cultured. The respect for elders, the obedience to those 
in authority, the willing subordination, the apathetic calm, which preserves its 
supremacy by force not of intellect but of habit, in face of the most unexpected 
occurrences, often impress Europeans. The cool self-contained Redskin of the 
Indian tales is a product of this closely-knitted society. 

The word Family had, even in its original Latin use, the meaning of house- 
hold, the slaves being included in it ; and thus signified a society. It has a yet 
wider import among races in very various stages of civilization. By the compre- 
hension of kinsfolk of several generations and inclusion of strangers in the position 
of slaves, it broadens out into an important element of society. Among the 
Slavonic peoples we find house-comradeship, Zadruga or Bradstro, " brother- 
hood," embracing several generations of descendants from one progenitor, and 
their wives, in a community of goods and labour under one head, who need not 
always be the eldest. Traces of the same appear among the old Germans and 
the Celts ; we find them in India, in the Caucasus, among the Kabyles, and many 
other races of Africa and Oceania. Where we know nothing of their internal 
organisation, the great house with its numerous apartments for single groups — 
particularly the "long-house" (see woodcut on p. I 27) indicates their existence. Here 
then we are in sight of the family and of society. The family holds its members 
together with a bond closer than that of marriage, and forms with them an 
organisation which is one of the great and permanent elements of society. This 
effort is most conspicuous in the societies where mother-right and exogamy 
obtain ; in which the sharp division on the basis of blood-relationship divides the 
whole stock into two halves, which arc at once family and society. They divide 
the property, individual property being unknown ; and this, apart from kinship, 
holds the society together. For political purposes some family stocks unite in 


groups, which may be compared with the old Greek Phratriae ; several of such 
groups form the highest political unit, which we call simply the tribe. 

Slavery and serfdom soon bring- about a further gradation. The oldest 
occasion for slavery was the compulsory entry into the society of foreigners, who in 
most cases would be prisoners of war. The custom of enslaving such prisoners when 
the captors do not wish to kill them is to this day very widespread, and indeed 
has been abandoned only by the most highly civilized nations. The Masai in East 
Africa, a shepherd tribe, who subsist upon herds of a fixed size, and have neither 
labour nor provisions to spare for slaves, kill their prisoners ; their neighbours, 
the agricultural and trading Wakamba, being able to find a use for slaves, do not 
kill them ; while the Wanyamwesi, a third people of that region, having, through 
their close connection with the Arabs of the coast, a good market for slaves, wage 
wars on purpose to acquire them. Here are three situations of typical significance. 
The impulse to level downwards which exists in primitive societies shows nowhere 
more strongly than in the position of relative freedom which the slaves enjoy. If 
there is no work for male slaves, females are always wanted, and their issue forms 
a. yet lower social grade. Slaves are also bought for human sacrifices, and in 
Central Africa the death of a chief creates a brisk demand. Wherever the status 
of slave is recognised, as it is among all pagan nations, it offers a welcome means 
of expiation ; the last sacrifice which the creditor can claim from »his debtor, the 
plaintiff from the defendant, is the surrender of personal freedom. A curious 
exception is found among the Ewe people, where the insolvent debtor incurs the 
penalty of death. But between the positions of slavery for debt and freedom as 
enjoyed by the masters, lies the dependent position of those whom poverty has 
reduced to the verge of slavery though nominally free. To these applies the 
maxim that the final abolition of slavery is owing to the creation, by means of 
labour, of movable value, that is, capital, and thus that capital and freedom are 

There is a great distinction between slavery as a national institution and as 
a means of preparing goods for trade. If Arabs and other slave-holders treat 
their slaves well, the reason is to be found in the participation of both slave and 
master in the general indolence. So long as no great differences of rank from 
the point of view of culture exist, not much demand will be made upon the slave's 
labour ; but as society progresses and wants increase his lot becomes harder, and 
it is in no way ameliorated by humanising progress generally. The interval 
which separates master and slave increases in proportion to the desire of gain ; so 
that, as Livingstone says, no improvement in the slave's position can be expected, 
even if the slave-holder does not return to or remain in barbarism. If we look 
at Africa, we see that among all merchandise slaves and women stand in the closest 
relation to the requirements of the negro. Their sphere is a large one ; for all 
that does not concern trade, fighting, or hunting, is the business of the women and 
slaves. These form the favourite merchandise, the most important standard of 
property, the best investment for capital. Above all they are the articles easiest 
to provide in exchange for goods in request — at one time, indeed, the only medium 
of exchange beside ivory that Africa possessed. 

When men are a form of capital, their tendency is, like other capital, to accumu- 
late; for the desire of owning slaves is just as insatiable as the craving for property 
and wealth in any other form. Therein lies the greatest danger of this institution. 


Excessive slavery is one of the causes which destroy states ; it was so in Rome 
of old, it is so in Africa and parts of America to-day. It splits up the nation, of 
which an ever-increasing proportion falls into slavery ; it brings on war, devasta- 
tion, tyranny, human sacrifices, cannibalism. It has been alleged as an advantage 
possessed by the powerful conquering nation of the Fans in West Africa, that they 
keep no slaves to weaken their warlike force. The last result is the depopulating 
and enfeebling of wide areas. If we may assume, with Father Bauer, that before 
the conclusion of Sir Bartle Frere's treaty in 1873, 65,000 slaves were annually 
imported into Zanzibar, this means, allowing for those who escaped or were left 
behind on the way, that some 100,000 were torn from their homes in the same 

Nearly allied to slaves are those despised and degraded portions of the popula- 
tion, who live as a sharply-separated and deep-lying stratum, under a conquering race. 
Almost every race of Asia or Africa which has made any progress towards higher 
development embraces some such, not always differing ethnologically. For that 
very reason, however, the social difference is all the more strictly maintained, and 
often enough leads to further divisions among the lower classes themselves. Thus 
in some parts of Southern Arabia four, in others two, classes of Pariahs are dis- 
tinguished ; some of them degraded by birth, others through following unclean 
trades. The caste divisions of India show the same distinctions, for in the lowest 
castes we equally find some degraded by birth, some by occupation. Both causes 
meet in our gipsies, in the Yetas of Japan, and others ; and it is at once interesting 
and melancholy to see how in North America numerous remains of the Indian 
population have sunk to a like level. Here the cause of the degradation was the 
invasion by a foreign race. A particular form of this inequality is the subjection 
of whole races to a conquering plundering horde. In some parts of the Sahara 
the Arabs and Tibboos look upon certain oases and their inhabitants as their 
private property. They turn up at harvest time to take their tribute, that is to 
plunder and rob ; and in the interval leave their subjects to misery and the task 
of planting for their benefit. In course of time an assimilation may result from 
this gradation, though the family regarded as a kin-group seeks to maintain an 
attitude of reserve and opposition to this, by objection to misalliances. But it 
may also, by the introduction of economical causes, and local dispersion, lead to 
a sharp and permanent separation, till we find the hunters of the Central African 
forests, the so-called Pygmies, appearing as a peculiar social race beside their 
agricultural masters and protectors. 

The tribal membership becomes connected with the realm of the unseen by 
means of special stock-symbols — known as Totems among the American Indians, 
Atuas among the Polynesians — which have been promoted to the position of tutelary 
spirits. Among the Samoan stocks we find Atuas using the shovel, Aanas the 
lance, Latuamasangas the whisk, Mononos the fishing-net, as imparted by the god 
Pili. More especially are animals, preferably reptiles, fish, and birds, sacred to 
the gods ; and each member of a stock bears the emblem tattooed on his person, 
not only with a view to his recognition and classification, but as an amulet and 
an object of reverence. Among Indians and Australians we also find the influence 
of the totems in proper names. G. Forster called attention long ago to the fact 
that among the Polynesians personal names are often taken from animals, and 
compared this with a similar custom among the North American Indians. A 



Tahitian chief was called Otu, the heron ; a Marquesan, Honu, the tortoise. 
These are almost certainly clan-names, such as we find also among African tribes, 
Bechuanas, Ashantees, etc. The attitude adopted towards the stock-symbol is 
very various ; sometimes it is an object of dread, sometimes of honour and 
protection. Among some stocks it is a capital offence to injure the original of 
the symbol ; while in Aurora (Banks Island) a member of the Veve, whose cog- 
nisance is the cuttle-fish, so far from objecting to eat it, thinks the capture of 
it particularly lucky. Similar totem-stocks in different tribes lend each other 
mutual assistance, and thus the system affords a ground for close alliances between 
distant tribes. 

Secret societies also ramify through the community, creating a division into 
adepts and uninitiated. They have a natural tendency to appear in communities 
which lack any great public motive for a hierarchy of ranks. They draw artificial 
boundaries, wear masks of which they alone understand the meaning, surround 
themselves with religious forms, take control of important functions, such as the 
initiation of young persons arriving at maturity, or the exaction of penalties for 
law-breaking, reminding us (and in this latter respect both in their nature and 
their operations) of the German Vehmegericht. Part of the duty of these secret 
societies and other bodies consists in the maintenance of traditions. If there is 
no other organisation for this purpose, their members are systematically instructed 
in the subject. 

Xo race is actually communistic ; but there is so much communism in the 
institutions of savage races, that it has often appeared more important to combat 
this than to introduce Christianity. Missionaries have, no doubt, been too ready 
to find in communism, which does not require a man to put all his strength into 
his work, the ground of various undesirable characteristics, as in Samoa of the 
tendency to intrigue which enlivens the native indolence. We shall come across 
institutions which are deliberately designed to prevent the undue amassing of 
capital. In Polynesia the effect of these has been decidedly good in rendering 
difficult the admission, with mischievous rapidity, of European goods. Property 
shows in its relations a natural analogy with family no less than with social 
institutions ; thus as we find remains of group-marriage beside monogamy, so we 
find traces of common ownership side by side with individual ownership. When a 
member of a family community, which unites its forces to till the common land 
and shares the produce, brings a piece of ground under cultivation, this becomes 
his own private property with right of bequest. A boat is common property, 
tackle or fish-hooks personal and private. Especially among nomad, and there- 
fore thinly-scattered, races the notion of private property is unequally developed 
in different directions. The first thing that makes a European, among the 
pastoral races of Africa or the hunting tribes of North America, feel that he 
has left the constraints of civilization behind him, is the way in which rights of 
property are in some cases neglected. They stick to their herds to the point of 
miserliness, but insist upon property in land only so far as they want it for 
pasture. Many peoples respect property in locked chests, but hold what is lying 
about to be as free as air. If my team is tired, I unyoke where I will ; I let 
my cattle graze wherever I think I have found grass for them. I cook my meal 
with the nearest wood, asking no man's leave ; and no man looks upon it as an 
infringement of his rights, or an injury to his property. If I like the place where 


I have halted, or find anything to attract me, such as a copious spring, good 
pasture-land, or a bit of fertile garden-ground, I can stay there as long as I 
please, and build myself as big a house as I like. But in any case, if I settle in 
a particular spot, I must allow others to find the spring copious and the pasturage 
abundant, and to come there with their herds ; and I must come to an under- 
standing with them about the use of it. The Hereros of Damaraland, according 
to Büttner, have a way, in spite of their communism, of making an unpopular 
newcomer dislike his quarters by the simple artifice of driving all their flocks and 
herds into the neighbourhood of his residence. As soon as he has had enough 
of the damage and devastation which is thus caused, he clears out. The exact 
contrary is seen in the thickly-peopled region of the Upper Nile, where lakes and 
ponds, which yield fish and lotus-seeds (almost the sole sustenance of these fishing- 
people) in profusion, are respected as valuable property, just as are cornfields and 
vineyards in Europe. The Indian buffalo-hunters of the prairies confine them- 
selves to settled natural boundaries. To the present day the Bechuanas pay toll 
to the Bushmen on the game which they take, under the plea that the latter 
were the original owners of the hunting-grounds. The Hereros, of whose half- 
developed proprietary instinct we have just given an example, carefully avoid any 
formal surrender of their property to strangers ; a full renunciation of the use of 
their land is inconceivable to them. From the idea of tribal possession arises the 
notion common in Africa that the tribal chief is the sole owner of the soil, and 
accordingly the members of the tribe pay such a tax to him for the use of it as 
may be agreed upon. 

The Spaniards of the sixteenth century tell us that no Indian had any free 
disposal of land, but only with the assent of his tribe. In Oceania the transition 
from one form of ownership to the other seems to be taking place under our eyes, 
and, just as happened with the advance of white settlers on Indian soil, upon the 
basis of labour done in clearing and cultivation. Hunting leads to tribal owner- 
ship only ; and even the Australians and Eskimo, distributed in the proportion of 
one to 2000 square miles or so, lay claim to certain tracts of land on behalf of the 
family or tribe, and regard as an enemy any one who enters or uses these terri- 
tories without leave. The thinness of population usually found when we come down 
to the lower stages, will for the most part allow of abundant elbow-room ; but it 
is obvious that a family subsisting by the chase wants more soil than one of agricul- 
turists, and equally so that pastoral nomads demand broader areas than settled 
cattle-breeders. These contrasts have prevailed at all times and in all countries ; 
and when we come to the races of the steppe, we shall see that important historical 
consequences follow upon this demand for land. The hereditary dislike of the 
Indians towards the partitioning of their lands into individual properties, as well 
as towards the sale of superfluous territory, has contributed much to the difficulties 
of their position in regard to the white man. 

The effect of labour in creating property does not stop with the fencing-in of 
a forest clearing. According as labour attaches itself to the soil, or only passes 
lightly over it, its results differ fundamentally. Hunting, fishing, nomad pastoral 
life, create for the most part a mere transitory possession, which takes no pains to 
store or spare the source whence it draws. In agriculture, on the contrary, there 
is a constant strengthening and deepening, which acts not least powerfully through 
the other branches of human activity which it keeps steadily going. All higher 



development of human powers rests upon this steady labour and the storage of 
its fruits. 

It is just in the lowest stages of civilization that the amassing- of wealth is a 
matter of the greatest importance, for without wealth there is no leisure, and 
without leisure no ennobling of the form of life, no intellectual progress. It is 
not till production materially and permanently outstrips consumption that there 
can be any superabundance of property. This, according to the laws of political 
economy, tends to increase, and allow an intelligent class to come into existence. 
An absolutely poor race develops no culture. But under the protection of civilization 

Interior of a house in Korido, New Guinea. (After Raffray. ) 

more men will be born and grow up than the soil affords room for. The faster 
this disproportion increases, the greater will be the gap between Haves and 
Havenots, rich and poor. In hot countries, where man requires less nourishment, 
and production is at the same time easier than in cold regions, the population 
will multiply more quickly. Men become many, work scarce, therefore wages 
will be abnormally small, life poverty-stricken, misery great. In the cooler zones 
men want stronger food, while the land produces less of it, and thus maintains 
fewer persons ; the individual has to work harder, with the result that more is 
done and wages are higher. The relations between harder labour and higher 
wages is calculated to narrow the distinction between labourers and owners ; while, 
on the contrary, the indolence of the dweller in the tropics increases this distinction, 
when it is once established, to an enormous degree. In European countries we 
see advantages of soil and climate fully compensated by the excellent disposition 
of men who have to work, whose activity guarantees the progress of civilization 
more securelv than natural wealth could do. Natural forces, with all their 


grandeur, are essentially limited and stationary ; the intellectual force of man is 
inexhaustible. The best soil is worked out at last, but into the place of an 
exhausted generation of mankind there is always a new one ready to step, full 
of youthful vigour. Resting on this basis, civilization is always most capable of 
development among the dwellers in the temperate zones. But this force had to 
be developed in slow, steady labour ; and the development of civilization is before 
all things a progressive training of every man to work. 

Undoubtedly every man must labour in order to live ; but if he likes to live 
in misery, he need not labour much. The total sum of labour performed by the 
savage is often not less than that performed by the civilized man ; but he does it 
by fits and starts as the humour takes him, and not in a regular fashion. The life 
of the Bushman is an alternation of hunting expeditions, on which he often 
pursues the herds of wild animals for days together with extreme toil, and 
of gorging on the game he has taken, ending in slothful repletion, until hunger 

Ashantee drinking cups of human skulls. (British Museum. ) 

forces him to new exertions. Regular work at high pressure is what the savage 
abhors ; hence comes that trait of obstinate apathy in his countenance which 
is an infallible means of distinguishing the spurious from the genuine Indian. 
For the same reason he hates to learn a handicraft. The Negro's passion for 
trade, well illustrated by the fact that in Sierra Leone almost every fifth person 
is a shopkeeper, springs to a great extent from this distaste. 

Cannibalism, which is found in every quarter of the earth, and was once more 
widely spread than now — for even Europe contains prehistoric remains and 
traditions pointing to its prevalence — is not peculiar to the lowest stages of civiliza- 
tion, nor yet a phenomenon due to a single cause. Peoples like the Monbuttus, 
the Battaks, the Maoris are among the highest of the races to which they belong. 
But they are well off for men, and have not risen high enough to make a good 
use of their superfluous population by increasing their economic production. 
Human life is held cheap among them. Now cannibalism presumes men for 
eating ; and therefore we find it either where the population is dense, or where 
a people has the power to get plenty of slaves. Among the Bangalas there are 
more slaves than are wanted for the labour, so that meat is abundant. Another 
cause is the sharp separation between one race and another, which causes 
strangers to be regarded as enemies, and allows any use to be made of them, 
even that of supplying nourishment. Within an exclusive family-stock or in 
a group consisting of such stocks, cannibalism would have seemed as inconceivable 



as incest ; so that if the practice has in recent years infected islands of the 
Solomon group, it is a fact of the same class as the relaxation of social order 
which has spread over the same region from a similar direction. Since the 
introducers of both innovations are the Polynesians, we can hardly doubt that 
there is a deep-lying connection between them ; ahd similarly we may account 
for the uneven, disconnected spread of cannibalism, which was found to exist 
even before the rapidly increased opposition to it caused by Christian and 
Mussulman influence. Further motives are revenge, which delights to eat its foe; 
and envy, which hopes by so doing to acquire his more desirable characteristics. 
To people whose loose style of building makes 
prisons untrustworthy, the idea of imprisonment 
for life does not readily occur, so that capital 
punishment flourishes. Besides these reasons, 
cannibalism is closely involved in the whole net- 
work of cannibal customs ; embracing first human 
sacrifice, then the employment of portions of the 
human frame in the ritual of consecrations and 
witchcraft, and lastly the preservation and use of 
human remains, skulls for drinking-cups, bones for 
daggers, teeth for necklaces. This playing with 
human flesh and bones would be the first step to 
overcoming a natural disgust. When a chief in 
the Society Islands swallowed a human eye on a 
festive occasion, cannibalism was not entirely at 
an end in those regions. We cannot always safely 
infer cannibalism from the names of races, as these 
were frequently given by way of insult. The indulgence in the practice from 
necessity, which is not unknown among Europeans, is quite intelligible among 
races which, like many Australian and Arctic tribes, suffer every year or two, 
or continuously, from famine ; and need only be noticed as contributing to its 
maintenance and extension. For where it has once got a footing, its attraction 
increases, till we find races among whom human flesh is an article of trade, and 
funerals are almost unknown. 

Human bone in the fork of a branch ; a 
cannibal memento from Fiji. (Leip- 
zig Museum of Ethnology. ) 

§ 13. THE STATE 

All races live in some kind of civil union — Development of states — Farmers and shepherds as founders of 
states — Distinctive marks of the primitive foundations — Cause of arbitrary power — Power of the chiefs — 
War — Causes of its frequency — Ruinous effects of a permanent state of war— Universal mistrust — Rarity 
of alliances — Sham wars — Frontiers — Loose cohesion of primitive states. 

Xo race is without political organisation, even though it be so lax as among the 
Bushmen, whose little bands united for hunting or plunder are occasionally without 
leaders ; or as we find among other degraded or scattered tribes, who are often 
held together only by superstition and want. What sociologists call individualism 
has never been found anywhere in the world as a feature in any race. When 
ancient races fall to pieces new ones quickly form themselves out of the fragments. 



This process is constantly going on. " Each individual stock," says Lichtenstein, 
" is in some measure only a transitory phenomenon. It will in course of time be 
swallowed up by one morevpowerful, or if more fortunate will split up into several 
smaller hordes which go off in different directions, and, after a few generations, 

know no more of each other." 
These political mutations 
have always the character of 
a re-crystallisation, not of a 
shapeless breaking up. It is 
only seldom that the organ- 
ism is of long duration. One 
of the marks of the civilized 
man is that he accustoms 
himself to the pressure of the 
laws in the fulfilling of which 
he is himself practically in- 
terested. But if a compara- 
tively well-ordered constitu- 
tion has been founded among 
negroes, another community 
is sure soon to make its ap- 
pearance on the frontier com- 
posed of persons belonging 
to the same stock who are 
subject to no ordinances, and 
these lawless outcasts often 
obtain through their freedom 
from every legal restraint and 
every regard for tribal rela- 
tions, even through the con- 
sideration which attracts to 
them all the boldest and 
neediest men from neigh- 
bouring tribes, a force which 
is capable of converting the 
robber tribe into a conquer- 
ing, state-founding, and ruling 
people. Plunder and conquest 
pass easily into one another. 
In all countries of which we know the history, predatory tribes have played an 
important part. 

Most of what we know of the history of the natural races is the history 
of their wars. The first importation of firearms, which permitted unimportant 
powers to rise rapidly, marks the most sharply-defined epoch in the history of 
all negro states. What Wissmann says about the Kioko, " with them came 
firearms and therewith the formation of powerful kingdoms," is true of all. Is not 
this constant fighting the primitive condition of man in its lowest manifestation ? 
To this it may be answered that hitherto our own peace has never been anything 

Zulu chief in full war-dress. (From a photograph in the possession 
of Dr. Wangemann. ) 


but armed, but among us serious outbreaks of the warlike impulse arc interrup- 
tions in longer intervals of rest which are enjoined by the conditions of civiliza- 
tion, while among- the races of which we are speaking, a condition like our mediaeval 
" club law " is very often permanent. Yet even so it must be pointed out that 
among barbarians also there are peaceful races and peace-loving rulers. Let us 
not forget that the bloodiest and most ruinous wars waged by the natural races 
have been those which the}- have carried on not among themselves but with 
Europeans, and that nothing has kindled violence and cruelty among them in 
such a high degree as has the slave trade, instigated by the avarice of more highly 
civilized strangers, with its horrible consequence of slave -hunting. When the 
most charitably just of all men who have criticised the natural races, the peaceable 
David Livingstone, could write in his last journal these words : " The principle of 
Peace at any Price leads to loss of dignity and injustice ; the fighting spirit is one 
of the necessities of life. When men have little or none of it they are exposed 
to unworthy treatment and injuries," — we can see that the inevitableness of 
fighting between men is a great and obtrusive fact. 

But this state of war does not exclude civil ordinances, rather it evokes them. 
It is no longer war of all against all, but it rather represents a phase in the evolution 
of the national life when it has already been long in process of forming a state. The 
most important step from savagery to culture is the emancipation of the individual 
man from complete or temporary segregation or isolation. All that co-operates in 
the creation of societies as distinct from families was of the very greatest importance 
in the earliest stages of the evolution of culture, and here the struggle with Nature, 
in the widest sense, afforded the most important incitements. The acquisition of 
food might in the first instance give rise to association in joint hunting and still 
more in joint fishing. Not the least advantage of the latter is the disciplining 
of the crews. In the larger fishing boats a leader has to be selected who must 
be implicitly obeyed, since all success depends upon obedience. Governing 
the ship paves the way to ruling the state. In the life of a race like that of 
the Solomon Islanders, usually reckoned complete savages, sea-faring is undoubtedly 
the only element which can concentrate their forces. The agriculturist living 
isolated will certainly never feel an impulse making so strongly for union ; yet he 
too has motives for combination, he owns property, and in this property inheres 
a capital for his labour. Since this labour does not need to be again executed by 
the inheritors of this property, there follows of itself the continuity of ownership 
and therewith the importance of blood relationship. Secondly, we find bound 
up with agriculture the tendency to dense population. Next, as this popula- 
tion draws closer and marks its boundaries, it, like every multitude of men who 
live on the same spot of earth, acquires common interests, and diminutive 
agricultural states spring up. Among shepherds and nomads the formation of 
states progresses more quickly, just in proportion as the need for combination is 
more active and includes wider spaces. This indeed lies in the nature of their 
occupation. Thus while the family is in this case of greater importance than in 
that first mentioned, the possibility of denser population is, on the other hand, 
excluded. But here the property requires stronger defence, and this is guaranteed 
by concentration, in the first place of the family. From an economic point of 
view it is more reasonable for many to live by one great herd than for the herd 
to be much subdivided. A herd is easily scattered, and requires strength to keep 

i j; 


it together. It is therefore no chance result that the family nowhere attains to 
such political importance as among nomad races. Here the patriarchal element 
in the formation of tribes and states is most decidedly marked ; in a hunter-state 
the strongest is the centre of power, in a shepherd-state the eldest. 

We are apt to regard despotism as a lower form of development in comparison 
with the constitutional state, and attribute to it accordingly a high antiquity. It 
used formerly to be thought that beginnings of political life might be seen shaping 

The Basuto chief Secocoeni with his court. (From a photograph in the possession of Dr. Wangemann. 

themselves in the forms of it. But this is contradicted at the very outset by the 
fact that despotism stands in opposition to the tribal or patriarchal origin from 
which these states have grown. The family stock has of course a leader, usually 
the eldest ; but apart from warfare his power is almost nil, and to over-estimate 
it is one of the most frequent sources of political mistakes made by white men. 
The chief's nearest relations in point of fact do not stand far enough below him 
to be mingled indiscriminately in the mass of the population over which he rules. 
Thus we find them already striving to give a more oligarchical character to the 
government. The so-called court of African or ancient American princes is doubt- 
less the council which surrounds them on public occasions. Arbitrary rule, though 
we find no doubt traces of it everywhere in the lower grades, even when the form 
of government is republican, has its basis not in the strength of the state or the 


chief, but in the moral weakness of the individual, who submits almost without 
resistance to the domineering power. In spite of individual tyranny there is a 
vein of democracy running- through all the political institutions of the " natural " 
races. Nor could it well be otherwise in a society which was built up upon the 
gens, kindred in blood, communistic, under the system of " mother-right." But 
herein lay no doubt an obstacle to progress. 
The power of the 

sovereign is greatly 
strengthened by alli- 
ance with the priest- 
hood. A tendency to 
theocracy is incidental 
to all constitutions, and 
very often the import- 
ance of the priest sur- 
passes that of the ruler 
in the person of the 
chief. The weak chiefs 
of [Melanesia, in order 
not to be quite power- 
less, apply the mystic 
Duk-Duk system to 
their own purposes ; 
while in Africa it is 
among the functions 
of the chief to make 
atonement for his 
people by magic arts, 
when they have in- 
curred the wrath of 
higher Powers, and to 
obtain for them by 
prayers or charms ad- 
vantages of all kinds. 
This, however, does 
not prevent the influ- 
ence of the chief from 
being overshadowed 
by that of a priest 
who happens to be in possession of some great fetish. Conversion to Christianity 
has almost always destroyed the power of the native chiefs, unless they have 
contrived to take the people with them. But the religious sentiment is the one 
thing that has maintained respect for a chief's children, even when they have 
become slaves. 

The power of the chief is further heightened when the monopoly of trade is 
combined with his magic powers. Since he is the intermediary of trade, he gets 
into his own hands everything coveted by his subjects, and becomes the bestower 
of good gifts, the fulfiller of the most cherished wishes. This system finds its 

A Dakota chief. (From a photograph. ) 


highest development in Africa, where the most wealthy and liberal chief is 
reckoned the best. In it lies the secure source of great power and often of 
beneficial results. For at this point we must not overlook the fact that one of 
the most conspicuous incitements to progress, or, let us say more cautiously, to 
changes in the amount of culture which a race possesses, is to be sought in the 
will of prominent individuals. We also find chiefs, however, whose power is firmly 
based upon superior knowledge or skill. The Manyema chief Mocnekuss, so 
attractively depicted by Livingstone, was keen about having his son taught 
blacksmithing, and the Namaqua chief, Lamert, was the most efficient smith among 
his tribe. But of course it is in the art of war that accomplishment is most valued 
in a chief. In giving judgment, he needs no great abundance of Solomonian 
wisdom, since in all more serious accusations the culprit is ascertained by means 
of magic, and in this duty too the popular council generally co-operates. Mean- 
while whatever the chief's position may be, it is never comparable with the power 
conferred by the wealth of culture existing in a European people ; and it were 
to be wished that descriptive travellers would employ such terms as " king," 
" palace," and the like with more discretion. It is only among the war-chiefs 
that regal parade is customary ; the others are often scarcely distinguished from 
their people. 

Every race has some kind of legal system ; among most of the " natural " 
races, indeed, this fluctuates between that under which the injured person takes 
the law into his own hands, and that of money-atonement for the offence. There 
is no question of the majesty of the law ; all that is thought of is the indemnifica- 
tion of the person who has suffered damage. In Malayan law, for example, the 
former course may be taken with a culprit caught in flagrante delicto even to the 
point of killing a thief ; but in any other case redemption, that is a money penalty, 
is enjoined ; and similarly among the negro races. Among lower as well as 
higher races violence has a very free play, and tends to limit its sphere as among 
individuals according to the resistance with which it meets. Blood-feuds in 
various degrees are to be found among all barbarous races. In the case of 
Polynesians and Melanesians they reach a fearful pitch. Cook tells us that the 
New Zealanders appeared to him to live in constant mutual dread of attack, and 
that there were very few tribes who did not conceive themselves to have suffered 
some injury at the hands of another tribe and meditate revenge for it. 

The wars of " natural " races are often far less bloody than those waged 
among ourselves, frequently degenerating into mere caricatures of warlike opera- 
tions. Still the loss of life caused by them must not be under-estimated, since 
they last for a long time, and the countries inhabited by " natural " races can in 
any case show only small population. In the case of Fiji, Mr. Williams estimates 
the yearly loss of human lives in the period of barbarism at 1500 to 2000, "not 
including the widows who were strangled as soon as the death of their husbands 
was reported." These figures are quite sufficient to have contributed materially 
to the decrease of the population. Firearms have diminished war, while increas- 
ing the losses. But with this continual war, guerilla war as it might be termed, 
are associated those catastrophes resulting from raids, in which great destruction 
of human life accompanies the outbreaks of warlike passion. The final aim of a 
serious war among the natural races is not the defeat, but the extermination of 
the adversary ; if the men cannot be reached, the attack is made upon women 



and children, especially where there is a superstitious passion for the collection 
of human skulls, as among the head-hunting Dyaks of Borneo. Of south-east 
Africa, Harris says : " Whole tribes have been drawn root and branch from their 
dwelling-places, to disappear from the earth, or to wander with varying fortunes 
oxer illimitable tracts, driven l 

by the inexorable arm of 
hunger. Therefore for hun- 
dreds of miles no trace of 
native industry meets our eyes, 
nor does any human habita- 
tion ; never-ending wars pre- 
sent the picture of one unin- 
habited wilderness." Rapine 
is associated with murder to 
produce a misery which civil- 
ized races can hardly realise. 
But the culmination of this 
devastating power is reached 
when more highly endowed, or 
at least better organised hordes 
of warriors and plunderers, 
well practised in slaughter and 
cruelty, appear on the scene. 
Amputation of hands and 
feet, cutting off of noses and 
ears, are usual. This ill-treat- 
ment often has the secondary 
object of marking a prisoner, 
and to this must be referred 
the tattooing of prisoners of 
war. Lichtenstein saw a 
Xama whom the Damaras 
had taken prisoner. They 
had circumcised him and ex- 
tracted his middle upper front 
teeth : " He showed us this, 
and added that if he had 
been caught by them a second 
time, these very recognisable 
marks would inevitably have entailed the loss of his life." 

Losses of life and health may be repaired by a few generations of peace, but 
what remains is the profound moral effect. This is the shattering of all trust in 
fellow-men and in the operation of moral forces, of the love of peace and the 
sanctity of the pledged word. If the politics of civilized races are not distin- 
guished by fidelity and confidence, those of the natural races are the expression 
of the lowest qualities of mistrust, treachery, and recklessness. The only means 
employed to attain an object are trickery or intimidation. In the dealings of 
Europeans with natural races they have, owing to this, had the great advantage 

f ffg>£3 

Articles belonging to Dyak head-hunters :— 1. Shield ornamented with 
human hair ; 2. Sword and knife ; 3. Skull with engraved ornament 
and metal plate; 4. Basket to hold a skull. (1 and 2 probably 
from Kutei ; 3 and 4 from W. Borneo. Munich Muöeum. ) 


of very rarely having to face a strong combination of native powers. The single 
example of any great note is the alliance of the " six nations " of North American 
Indians belonging to the Iroquois stock, which was dangerous to Europeans in 
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. An attempt at an alliance, which 
might have been very serious, was made after the so-called Sand River treaty of 
1852 by Griquas, Basutos, Bakwenas, and other Bechuana tribes, but never 
came to completion, and recent years have again shown abundantly how little 
the South African tribes can do in spite of their numbers and their often con- 
spicuous valour, for want of the mutual confidence which might unit«! them and 
Sfive a firm ground for their efforts. 

Constant fear and insecurity on the part of native races is a necessary result 
of frequent treachery on that of their foes. It is significant that the great 
majority of barbarous peoples are so fond of weapons and never go unarmed ; 
and nothing better indicates the higher state of civic life in Uganda than that 
walking sticks there take the place of weapons. It is noted as a striking feature 
when no weapons are carried, as Finsch points out with regard to the people of 
Parsee Point in New Guinea. 

The custom of treating strangers as enemies, under a superstitious fear of 
misfortune and sickness, or of knocking on the head persons thrown on shore by 
shipwreck like " washed up cocoa-nuts," was certainly a great hindrance to expan- 
sion. But we hear that among the Melanesians the question was discussed 
whether this was lawful, and that even strangers used to link themselves by 
marriage with a new place. If they belonged to a neighbouring island or group 
of islands they were not treated altogether as strangers, since they were not 
regarded as uncanny. Polynesians, who were frequently driven upon the Banks 
Islands, were received there in a friendly manner. If scarcely one of the innumer- 
able exploring expeditions in Australia made its way without being threatened 
or attacked by the aborigines, we must not overlook involuntary violations of 
the frontiers of native districts, for even to this day in Central Australia unlicensed 
entry upon foreign territory reckons as a serious trespass. 

Thus, as in the family and in society, we meet also in the political domain 
with a tendency to the sharpest separation. Who does not recognise in this 
latent state of war a great cause of the backward condition of the " natural " races ? 
The greatness of civilized states, which have worked themselves up to the clear 
heights of development, lies in the fact that they act upon each other by means 
of mutual incitement, and so are ever bringing forth more perfect results. But 
this mutual incitement is just what is missing in a state of continuous war. The 
forces which make for culture both from within and without are alike weakened, 
and the consequence is stagnation if not retrogression. 

Want of defined frontiers is in the essence of the formation of barbarous 
states. The line is intentionally not drawn, but kept open as a clear space of 
varying breadth. Even when we reach the semi-civilized states the frontiers are 
liable to be uncertain. The entire state is not closely dependent upon the area 
which it covers, especially not upon the parts near the borders. Only the political 
centre, the most essential point of the whole structure, is fixed. From it the 
power which holds the state together causes its strength to be felt through the 
outlying regions in varying measure. We have examples of frontier points and 
frontier spaces at every stage. The frontier spaces are kept clear, and even 



serve as common hunt- 
ing-grounds, but they 
serve also as habitations 
for forces hostile to civil 
authority, for desper- 
adoes of every shade of 

Not infrequently the 
formation of new states 
starts from these spaces. 
The cases in which sharp 
frontiers are soonest 
formed is where the two 
fundamentally different 
modes of civilization and 
life, nomadism and agri- 
culture, come in contact. 
Here of necessity fron- 
tiers are sharply drawn 
against races of the 
steppes, and art endea- 
vours to contribute its 
aid by building earth- 
works and even walls. 
The region of the steppes 
is the country of the 
great wall of China, and 
of the ramparts thrown 
up by Turks and Cos- 

Leopold von Ranke 
has stated as a maxim 
of experience that when 
we study universal his- 
tory it is not as a rule 
great monarchies that 
first present themselves, 
but small tribal districts 
or confederacies of the 
nature of states. This 
is shown in the history 
of all great empires ; 
even the Chinese can be 
carried back to small 
beginnings. Xo doubt 
they have been of short 
duration with the single 
exception of the Roman 

Kingsmill Islander in full armour. (Berlin Museum of Ethnology.) 



Empire. Even that of China has passed through its periods of breaking up. 
From the Roman Empire the nations have learnt how great territories must be 
ruled in order to keep them great in extent, for since its time history has seen 
many empires, even surpassing the Roman in magnitude, arise and maintain 
themselves for centuries. Apart from the way in which the teaching of history 

has been taken to 
heart, the increase 
of population and 
the consequent ac- 
cession of import- 
ance to the ma- 
terial interests of 
the people has un- 
questionably con- 
tributed to this. 

But there are 
deeper-lying rea- 
sons for the small- 
ness of primitive 
states. Among 

most " natural " 
races the family 
and the society 
form unions so 
large, so frequently 
coinciding, so ex- 
clusive, that little 
remains to spare 
for the state. The 
rapid break-up of 
empires is counter- 
balanced by the 
sturdy tribal life. 
When the empires 
fall to pieces new 
ones form them- 
selves from the old 
tribes. The family 
of blood -relations, 
in their common 
barrack or village, represents at the same time a political unit, which can from 
time to time enter into combination with others of the kind ; to which perhaps 
it is bound by more distant relationship. But it is quite content to remain by 
itself so long as no external power operates to shake its narrow contentment. 
Negro Africa, with all its wealth of population, contains no single really large 
state. In that country, the greater an empire the less its duration and the 
looser its cohesion. It requires greater organising and consolidating power, 
such as we meet with among the Fulbes or Wahuma, not merely to found, 

Lansro chief and magician. 

(From a photograph by Richard Buchta. ) 

i. Difuma dia Di- 
kongo. Iron sceptre, 
borne by the Bashi- 
lang chief, Mana Kat- 

2. Baluba wooden 
shield with cross-weav- 

3. Basonge chief's 
staff of iron ; the figure 
overlaid with sheet- 

4. Basonge orna- 
mental spear (Zappu 
Zapp) inlaid with 

5. Ornamental 
spear from the Ruiki. 

6. Basonge spear. 

7. Baluba spear. 

8. Samba spear. 

9. Baluba double 

10. Baluba woven 
bark mat. 

11. Baluba big 
drum, used at festivals. 

(1-10 from the 
YVissmann Collection ; 
1 1 from the Pogge 
Collection. ) 

Insignia, ornamental weapons, and drums from the Southern Congo territory. 


but also, even if with difficulty, to maintain kingdoms like Sokoto or Uganda. 
Even the Zulus, high as the)' stand in warlike organisation, have never been 
able to spread permanently beyond their natural boundaries, and at the same 
time maintain cohesion with their own country. They have not the capacity 
for planning a peaceable organisation. Even in the Mussulman states of 
the Soudan we meet with this want of firm internal cohesion ; which is equally 
at the bottom of the weakness which brought down the native states of Central 
and South America. The more closely we look at the actual facts about Old 
Mexico, the less inclined shall we be to apply terms like empire and emperor to 
the loose confederation of chiefs on the plateau of Anahuac. The greatness of 
the Inca realm was exaggerated to the point of fable. When we hear of the 
renowned and redoubtable tribe of the Mandan Indians, we are astonished to 
learn that it numbered only from 900 to 1000 souls. In the Malay Archipelago 
it seems not to have been until the arrival of Islam that the formation of states 
rose above disjointed village communities. Even in our own day the great 
powers of South and East Asia lacked the clearness and definition in the matter 
of political allegiance, which are a privilege of the higher civilizations. 

Instead of the extension of single states, what takes place is the foundation 
of new ones by migration and conquest. It is the multiplication of cells by fission 
instead of the growth of the organism. It is striking how often the same legend 
or tradition recurs in Africa or elsewhere. A monarch sends out a band of 
warriors to conquer a country or a town ; if the enterprise fails they settle down 
quietly and marry the daughters of the people whom they came to overthrow. 
Such was the origin of the Matabele ; such, it is said, that of the kindred Masitu. 
Thus too are explained the Fulbc settlements on the Lower Niger, and the Chinese 
oases in the Shan States. Without crediting all these traditions, we may see in 
them a proof at once of the great part played by war in blending races in ancient 
times, and of the difficulty of founding coherent states. Instead of these we find 
colonies which cut themselves loose either peaceably or after a war. The Alfurs 
of the eastern islands in the Malay Archipelago have definite rules for the 
government of their colonics ; and in Polynesia of old, colonisation must have 
been as necessary in the life of a state as formerly in Greece. 

Among races in a low stage the cementing force of contests waged against 
natural dangers, threatening the entire community and binding them together for 
common defence, is naturall)' but little felt. A strongly uniting power, by pro- 
moting the value of common interests, has a favourable effect on the general 
culture. In the low-lying tracts on the coast of the North Sea, in Germain- and 
Holland, the common danger from broken dykes and inundation by reason of 
furious storms and high tides has evoked a feeling of union which has had 
important results. There is a deep meaning in the myths which intimately 
connect the fight against these forces of Nature, these hundred-headed hydras, or 
sea-monsters crawling on to the land, with the extortion of the highest benefits 
for races in the foundation of states and the acquisition of culture. No race 
shows this more than the Chinese, whose land, abounding in streams and 
marshes, was able to offer more than 'sufficient work to its embanking and draining 
heroes — Schem, Schun, Jao, and their like. In Egypt a similar effect of the 
anxiety for the yearly watering and marking out of the land is obvious from 


Generali)' all common needs which draw men out of barren isolation must 
have the effect of promoting culture. Above all, too, they strengthen the con- 
stitution which organises the work done to satisfy those needs. States arc created 
by common sovereignty and common requirements. But the sovereignty must 
come first. Outside the sphere of European civilization almost all states arc ruled 
by intruding conquerors ; that is by foreigners. The consciousness of national 
identity does not come into existence until later, and then makes its way as a 
state-forming force if the intellectual interests of the race add their weight on the 
same side. In almost all countries representing greater political units, we find 
for this reason various nationalities. At first one is superior to another, then they 
are co-ordinate ; it is only in small states that the entire people has all along been 
formed of a single stock. 



A. §§ 1-9, Races of Oceania — B. §§ 10-15, Races of Australia — C. §§ 16-21, Malays and Mala- 
gasies — D i. §§ 22-30, Americans and Hyperboreans — U. ii. ^ 31-32, Civilized races of 
early America — E. § 33, The' Arctic races. 


EX .from 90 Greenwich 

Bibliographlsches Institut Leipzig 

3 4 1 7 

Polynesian clubs and insignia of rank. 
1,2. State-paddles from the Hervey Islands. 3-5. State-clubs from the Marquesas. 6-1 1. Clubs from Tonga. 




The position of the Pacific Ocean in history — The Indians of Columbus — Situation of America in the inhabited 
world — Racial resemblances of the people of Oceania to Malays and Indians — Ethnographic relation- 
ships — Position of Japan and North-west America — The great groups ; Oceanians, Malays with Mala- 
gasies, Australians, Americans — The Malayo-Polynesian family of languages — To what period are the 
relations of America, Oceania, and Asia to be referred — The vacant space between Easter Island and 
Peru, and the relations of America with Polynesia. 

Since the Pacific ocean lies between the eastern and western portions of the 
inhabited earth, the inhabitants of its islands appear in a general survey as the 
instruments of an important ethnographical connection. From its western border 
we can follow Asiatic traces far towards the east in a gradual transition across 
the islands. They grow fainter as we go east, but some remain even in the most 
eastern islets of Polynesia, and some are found again on the opposite shore, 
especially in those districts of North-west America which are distinguished by points 
of agreement with Polynesia. It has been pointed out in the first section of our 
introduction how closely the inhabitants of the Pacific islands are connected with 
the Americans by the stone-period civilization, which is common and fundamental 
to the eastern half of mankind, as well as by that inclusion in the Mongolian race, 
which applies to by far the greater part of them. This connection is one of the 
most important facts in the ethnographical distribution of the human race as it now 
exists. It has been said that the key to the greatest problems of ethnography is 
to be found in America. If we can succeed in bringing the inhabitants of this the 
largest and most isolated island of the world into connection with the rest of man- 
kind, then in any case the unity of the human race is established. But the con- 
nection can only be sought by way of the Pacific, for ancient America looks westward. 
From this side America must have been discovered long before the Northmen found 
their way to its shores from the east. Among the peculiarities of the inhabitants 
of Guanahani which most astonished Columbus, was their lack of iron, as he noted 
in his log-book as long ago as 13th October 1492. No subsequent discovery has 
succeeded in putting this significant fact of old American, and at the same time 
of Oceanian, ethnography in another light. With the exception of a strip in the 
north-west, which became acquainted with iron from Asia, America was, when 
discovered, still in the stone age. Even its more civilized races, while producing 
highly artistic work in gold, silver, copper, and bronze, use weapons and imple- 
ments of stone. When Africa was discovered by the Europeans it was manufac- 
turing iron right away to the Hottentot country. The races of the Malay 
Archipelago wrought artistically in iron. In Northern Asia only one strip on 
the coast where their traffic was small was without iron. Thus the domain of 
the ironless races lies on the eastern border of the inhabited earth ; it embraces 




Australia, the Pacific Islands, the Arctic region, and America. Absence of iron 
implies limitation to the use of stone, bone, or wood, for imperfect weapons and 
utensils implies, too, exclusion from the possibility of such industrial progress as 
is based upon iron and steel. Within the line which includes the ironless races 
there is to be observed also the want of the most valuable domestic animals ; oxen, 
buffaloes, sheep, goats, elephants, camels, are here unknown, and consequently 
there is no cattle-breeding. 

The racial affinities of the Americans also point, not across the Atlantic, but 

Araucanian man and woman. (From a photograph. ) 

across the Pacific. When Columbus said of the natives of the West Indies, 
" they are neither white nor black,"' he means that he can compare them neither 
with Europeans nor negroes. In later times the difference of the Americans 
from negroes, and their resemblance to the races on the western border of the 
Pacific, has often been more clearly indicated. Whatever isolated characteristics 
we may yet be able to adduce among all races at a similar level of civilisation, 
the Americans stand nearest to those who live to the westward of them. If we 
unroll a map on Mercator's projection, and cast our eyes upon the earth and its 
races, the Americans find their place on the east wing contrasted with, and 
furthest separated from those who have their dwelling on the eastern borders of 
the dividing gulf of the Atlantic ocean. 

As the most easterly part of the Pacific-x\merican region of the stone-using 
countries, America is at the same time the true Orient of the inhabited earth. 
The whole of America shares with Polynesia, and did once share with Northern 


Asia, all the distinctive marks of stone-age countries, which have sometimes a more 
Polynesian, sometimes a more Northern Asiatic character. It is, however, in many 
respects poorer than either, since it possesses neither the pig nor the taro of the 
Polynesians, nor the reindeer herds of Northern Asia. This poverty, due to 
remoteness, confirms us in the notion that in America we have the final link in 
a chain of distribution of which the beginning is to be sought on the eastern 
shore of the Atlantic. With the ordinary idea that American evolution exhibits 
an isolated, almost insulated, independence, our view is only apparently in contra- 
diction. Within the lines of its affinity with the eastern lands of the inhabited 
world, America is, in any case, a region of extreme independence, firmly based on 
the geographical fact of its situation between the two largest oceans. But this 
finds expression far less in individual ethnographical peculiarities than in points of 
conformity which mark it off as a whole. The specialty is not of kind but of 
degree. If we look at bodily characteristics, the conformity of all Red Indians 
among themselves is very great, so long as we consider skin, hair, and physiognomy ; 
but if we include the skull, it breaks down. Here we are in presence of the same 
contradiction that meets us as an internal point of difference among the islanders 
of the Pacific. With A. von Humboldt, with the Prince of Wied, and with Morton, 
we can only hold fast to the external unity of the race. The results of investigating 
the skulls will, to all appearance, only prove that a more ancient variety of racial 
elements is concealed under the insular uniformity of to-day. But there can be 
no doubt as to the affinity of the American tribes with the great Mongoloid race, 
and, moreover, with that branch of it to which the dwellers in Eastern Oceania 
belong. Of both the similarity is shown in a comparison of colour, hair, and 

What in a racial point of view severs the people of Oceania most profoundly 
from their neighbours to the eastward, is the unmistakable extension of the 
Indo-African group of races into the midst of their island-region. Individual 
small groups of these negroids are undoubtedly scattered over all the archipelagos, 
and have here and there imparted to the original Malay colouring a deeper 
Polynesian tint ; but neither are traces of them lacking in America. The 
species of mankind that occur in the South Sea Islands were long ago brought 
by Forster into two main divisions. One was lighter coloured, better shaped, of 
strong muscular build, handsome stature, and gentle, good-natured character ; the 
other blacker, with hair becoming crisp and wavy, leaner, smaller, almost more lively 
than the other, but at the same time more suspicious. These are the " Poly- 
nesians " and " Melanesians " of more recent ethnographers. They cannot always 
be distinguished. Where it was supposed that only members of the latter group 
existed, scattered examples, nay, sometimes whole tribes of the lighter-skinned 
straight-haired race have turned up ; while even among the Samoans, Virchow is 
decided in assuming a certain negroid strain. Finsch describes the natives of 
Port Moresby as follows : " We find here every variety, from perfectly smooth 
hair to the twisted wig of the Papua ; curly heads, some of a red blonde, are 
frequent ; Japanese or Jewish physiognomies, even men with eagle noses, remind- 
ing one of Redskins, are not rare. So too with the colour of the skin." The 
least we can do is to leave the possibility of mixed descent an open question, as 
Wilkes did with the Paumotu Islanders. The question of origin becomes more 
complicated ; but it is surely better, in place of assuming a pure Polynesian origin 



from the north-east, to draw also a line of affinity towards the north-west, than 
with Crozet and others to drag up again the worn-out hypothesis of a dark-skinned 
" primeval population." If two races dwell in the Pacific, two races may have 
migrated thither, especially if they were used to sea and ships. 

The race-relationship with the inhabitants of the Malay Archipelago is apt to 
be asserted with all the more emphasis because the language-relationship so clearly 
points to it. But we must keep these two relationships quite distinct. Those 
races of the Malay Archipelago which show Asiatic affinities in lighter skin or 

Bakairi girl from the Kulishu river. (After Dr. R. von den Steinen. ) 

Chinese eyes, are perhaps more strongly represented in some islands of Micronesia. 
The real Polynesians are more closely linked to the races with negroid elements 
in them dwelling eastward from Java and the Philippines. Physically the Poly- 
nesians are less like the inhabitants of the Malay Archipelago than are the Hovas 
of Madagascar. Since the time of the elder Lesson it has been usual to trace the 
descent of the Polynesians from Dyaks, Battaks, Maoris, Alfurs, owing to their 
obviously small resemblance to the Malays proper. Topinard even refers the mass 
of the Polynesians to North America ; holding that conquerors, in no great 
numb2r, may have come from Buru in Celebes ; but we do not yet possess the 
fuller anthropological evidence, based on a multiplication of measurements, required 
to prove this view. Suffice it to say that it replaces the artificial theory, insuf- 
ficiently grounded on either philology or ethnology, of a single immigration and 
simple branching-off, by a permeation and cleavage of races. In the next section, on 
the migration of the Polynesians, we shall adduce a series of facts in support of it. 



Given the existence of a group of sea-faring races, who, gradually by dint of 
uninterrupted voluntary and involuntary migration, occupied various coast and 
island-districts of the Pacific Ocean, there follows necessarily, if we allow for Ion«- 
periods, a wide distribution over this large district ; and therewith arises that 
ethnographic agreement which connects the lands on the eastern and western 
borders of the Pacific Ocean. Zuniga's meteorological basis of belief for asserting 
the South American origin of the Tagals, namely, the impossibility of bearing up 
against the south-east trades, can as little be maintained as the likeness asserted 
by him to exist between Tagalese and Chilian. Since his day the knowledge of the 
ethnography of the American races has pro- 
gressed. We see how both east and west 
of the Pacific religious beliefs and usages 
are based upon the same animistic belief 
and upon an ancestor-worship which not 
only stands on a similar footing, but 
often assumes precisely concordant forms ; 
just as the treatment of corpses and the 
procedure of the priests embrace a whole 
host of similar practices. The principles 
of cosmogony, the high importance at- 
tached to the tribal symbols, even less 
prominent legends like that of the foun- 
tain of life — -Boas has briefly indicated 
the remarkable conformity of north-west 
American legends with those of the Ainus 
and of Micronesia — and inconspicuous ex- 
pedients of daily life, such as the employ- 
ment of narcotics in the capture of fish, or 
the shape of the fish-hooks, the dressing 
of fish by steaming, the preparation of fer- 
mented liquors, are alike in both regions. 
Valuable evidence is given by conform- 
ities in tattooing, in painting the body, in 

details of decorative mutilation ; more especially in tiie style of the necklaces 
made of little polished disks of red, white, and black shells. Even the metallic 
wealth of America could not oust the use of stone, bones, and shells. In connec- 
tion with this important feature, we have already pointed out the common 
prevalence of a definite type of economic life. We may refer once more to 
the weapons ; the encroachment of the Asiatic bow upon North and Central 
America or the similarity of the same weapon in South America and Melanesia. 
On Xissan, in the Solomon Islands, a stone axe has lately been discovered 
with a chamfer running almost round, just like the American, and like them 
fastened into a piece of wood split into a fork. Probably many more finds of 
this sort will occur. Wicker armour and cuirasses, with protection for the neck, 
are most widely spread on the Asiatic and American borders of the Pacific ; but 
extend far into the island world of the tropics. Throwing-sticks were at one time 
thought to exist only among Australians and Eskimos ; now specimens are known 
also from Mexico and Brazil. In North -west America, as in many parts of 

Maori girl. 

From photograph in the possession of 
Dr. Max Büchner. ) 



Oceania, especially in the Bismarck Archipelago, dancing-masks are used, with 
curious ornamentation based upon the conventionalised figures of animals. In 
one region we find otter and frog, beaver and hawk, arranged together ; in the 
other snake, lizard, fish, beetle, bird. The masks of New Ireland remind us to 
a striking degree of those used by the Haidas. Less importance is to be assigned 
to the fact that in both these cases the eyes, and the ornaments in the shape 
of eyes, are made with inlaid shell, than to the striking agreement in the 
connection formed by the tongue dependent between the upper part, representing 

Men of Ponapä in the Carolines. (From a photograph in the Godeffroy Album.) 

a broad animal's head, and a second animal. This arrangement of animals' heads 
in a row along the middle line reminds us of North America, no less than the 
eye-ornament, which is an essential element of the Pacific and American styles. 
YVe must indeed note that it is not always between races lying nearest to each 
other that the closest relations prevail. On the other we meet agreements not 
merely at single points, but running all through the groups. Thus not merely 
does the Dyak loom resemble that used by the Indians of North-west America ; 
the practice of head-hunting, the cult of skulls, the use of human hair for orna- 
ment, are common to both. The ornament of Malay fabrics is remarkably like 
that of the early Americans. Among the Calchaquis of Northern Argentina we 
find pottery painted with line drawings of birds, reptiles, and human faces, which 
remind us of Peruvian, and no less, in selection and conventional treatment of the 
themes, of Malay work. In customs too several features recur in a marked way. 
Particular forms of greeting, the declaration of an agreement by the transfer of 



a piece of stick, the method of communicating by means of wooden drums, and so 
on. But over all arises, like a great edifice common to all, the social order based 
on " mother-right " and exogamy. We find it most distinctly in Australia and 
Melanesia ; then again in America, while between the two, in Polynesia, lies a 
region in which it has broken down and become obsolete. In South and North 
America we meet with the same system, often repeated even in small details. 

The impoverishment which we find becoming more and more conspicuous in 
the animal and vegetable world of Oceania, as we proceed eastwards, in no way 
holds good of mankind. In the Pacific the most recent development holds 
the eastern parts ; the west and south are backward. The Melanesians occupy 
as it were a depression in the level of 
culture between Malays on the one 
hand and Polynesians on the other. 
But on the South American shores we 
find in Peru a region of yet higher cul- 
ture. If to the works of art we add 
what is from an ethnographic point of 
view a more important intellectual pos- 
session, namely religious conceptions, 
together with social and political insti- 
tutions, we find the east standing higher 
than the west ; and that is true not 
only for Melanesia, but for Micronesia 
as well. Xo mistake on this point need 
arise from the fact that more objects 
in our museums come from islands 
which have been ransacked later, or 
which have fallen less into decay by 
reason of white influence. In the 
general position held by the two great 

Pacific groups of races towards each other we can recognise a great difference of 
level. The Melanesians are on the whole inferior to the Polynesians ; they 
represent an earlier development, retaining much which among the latter has 
already become obsolete. We cannot, however, at the present day decide whether 
the proximity of xAmerica or independent evolution has been the cause of this 
superiority in the eastern parts of Oceania. Still not only the points of agree- 
ment, but also the far shorter distance, are in favour of America. 

If we group the races of this wide region into the Americans dwelling on the 
eastern shores of the Pacific, and the inhabitants of the islands on its western 
border, on the south, and far out in the ocean, we may denote the second group 
by the name of Oceanians, seeing that the Pacific is the only ocean that possesses 
so widespread a population having a character peculiar to itself. The possession 
(or lack) of a host of important articles links the oceanic races together in contra- 
distinction to the Malays on the west and the Australians on the south. From 
the Australians they are sharply divided ; but on the other hand they are 
connected with the Malays by transitions which point partly to a closer connection 
of origin, partly to influences of long standing. But as they have many points, 
notably the use of stone, in common with the Americans, while the Malays 

Boy of New Ireland. (From a photograph.) 



are within the domain of iron, they hold a very different position towards 
these latter from that held for example by the most westerly outliers of that 

race, the Malagasies. 
While the Oceanic and 
Australian races have, 
together with the 
Americans, remained 
in the stone period of 
civilization, the Aus- 
tralians indeed degen- 
erating in their isola- 
tion, Malays and Mala- 
gasies have gained by 
means of influences 
from Asia and Africa. 
jj The importance of the 
gj Malays lies to a great 
■ extent in the fact that 
g? they have been instru- 
jj; mental in the diffusion 
H of these influences 
U eastward. But the 
I connection of the 
if Oceanians with them 
reaches back to an 
early period. When 
the regions of Oceania 
were first unveiled to 
Europeans in the six- 
teenth century, iron 
was found to have 
advanced as far as 
New Guinea, and the 
influence of India, as 
shown by details of 
language and artistic 
style, had extended to 
the same point. This 
influence was spread 
by those active traders 
and expert seamen, the 
Malays, and with the 
support of Eastern 
Asia, which had not 
then elevated exclu- 
siveness to a principle of state, but had kept up an active traffic with the south, 
it would have spread further. According to the statement of George Spilberg, 
the crews of the fleet, which was equipped in 1616 against the Dutch in Manilla, 


Man of New South Wales. ( From a photograph. 



were composed of Indians, Chinese, and Japanese. An Indian bronze bell, with 
an inscription in Tamil, has been found in the interior of New Zealand ; it was 
the ship's bell of some Mussulman Tamil, and dates from the fourteenth century 
at latest. The place of these weak and irregularly-acting influences has now been 
taken by the weight}- advance of the Europeans, under whose hands in the course 
of 300 years almost all that was peculiar has died out, together with a great part 
of the population. 

The Malayo-Polynesians are at this day the most pronouncedly insular people 
on the earth ; their only remaining 
hold on the mainland is by the penin- 
sula of Malacca. But we may main- 
tain a continental origin for individual 
tribes now living on islands, like the 
Malays and Acheenese of Sumatra, 
without any inducement from the desire 
of finding an origin, or so-called cradle 
of mankind, for all the races of the 
earth, on the continent of Asia. H. 
Kern assumes, on philological grounds 
that the home of the Malayo-Poly- 
nesians, including the Malagasies, was 
situated in a tropical country, where 
sugar-cane, coco-nut, rice, banana, rattan, 
and taro grew, and where they were 
acquainted with dogs, pigs, poultry, 
various kind of monkeys, turtles, pro- 
bably also buffaloes and crocodiles, and 
possibly even elephants and horses, and 
that it was at no great distance from 
the sea. He is most inclined to look 
for the district of their origin in the 
countries which are now called Cam- 
bodia, Annam, and Siam. The Ma- 
layan starting-point for the Polynesian 
migration has been connected with the 
word bolota, used by Polynesians for 
the next world, the abode of the gods ; 

in which a reminiscence of Buru has been imagined. In spite of various indi- 
cations in that direction, we can hardly reconcile ourselves to the notion that a 
single insignificant island of the great Archipelago can have given rise to the 
widely-scattered peoples of the Central Pacific — all the less when we find Malayo- 
Polynesian affinities extending to the Melanesian Islands and Madagascar. The 
continental origin of the Malayo-Polynesians is of special import for the right 
understanding of them, since it reveals to us the possibility of their wider exten- 
sion in former times in the western coast districts of the Pacific. Their presence 
in Formosa, the traces of them in Japan, lead in that direction to a point 
where the chain of relations with North-west America becomes more clearly 
visible. The question whether these races had once a wide extension on the 

Dyak woman of Borneo. (From a photograph in the 
Damann Album. ) 


continent may here be passed over. Between Japan, where north-west American 
influences are recognisable, and Formosa, to which the Malayo-Polynesians 
extend at the present day, so narrow a gap is left that transference is almost 
certain. But a more important fact is that with so much larger an extension 
either on the coast or on islands towards the north, the possibility of direct 
connection by means of migration, voluntary and involuntary, is increased. 
The coast northward from the mouth of the Columbia river with its numerous 
islands, more especially the part between Puget Sound and Cape Spencer, the 
Beehive as Dall calls it, where continuous swarms of men are reared and sent forth, 
is some four thousand miles in a straight line from the Japanese archipelago. On 
this side also, and from hence northward to the Behring Straits, there stretches a 
region where the art of navigation is highly developed. The points of agreement 
with America of which we get glimpses even under the peculiar and high 
civilization of Japan grow thicker as we go north, until on the Behring Sea we 
arrive at identity between the races dwelling on the Asiatic and American shores. 
That very more recent extension of Asiatic characteristics over North America, 
from which it results that South American races show in details points of 
conformity with those of the south-west Pacific, while the North American are 
more clearly traceable to the north-west Pacific, testifies to the advantages of the 
northern road. 

The Pacific islands are in the tropical zone separated from the American shore 
by a space of forty to sixty degrees of longitude in which there are neither islands 
nor inhabitants. The single group of any size, namely the Galapagos, which can 
be reached in three days from the South American coast, seems never to have been 
seen by any man before the first visit of Europeans. If we consider that this 
empty space is only one-third as broad as that between Easter Island and the 
most easterly islands of the Malay Archipelago, and that the Easter Islanders, 
in order to reach their island from the Samoa group — generally considered the 
common centre of dispersion for the Polynesians, — had to traverse a much longer 
road than that space would involve, the gap will appear to us of much less 
importance. In proportion to the inhabited part of the Pacific with its many 
islands, this rift is not wide enough to prevent us from regarding the Pacific like 
the Indian Ocean, and in contrast to the Atlantic, as an inhabited sea. We have 
no historical record of voyages, voluntary or involuntary, in the region east from 
Easter Island. Peruvian annals mention coasting voyages and more distant naval 
expeditions for conquest or discovery. Pizarro met with trading ships, and the 
Chinchas as well as the Chimus had traditions of a distant home across the sea. 
But there is no historical indication of any immediate traffic between Polynesia 
and South America. It is far more probable that the agreements and resemblances 
are all contained within the four corners of a common inclusion of both parts in the 
great Pacific group of races. The Chinese imagination again of a great land in the 
east can only be interpreted as meaning North-west America, and the gold-bearing 
islands which the Japanese placed in the east — Tasman was sent to discover them 
and found the Bonin Islands, — belonged to legend. As to the derivation of the 
old American civilizations from Asia, we shall have to speak of it in the American 
division of our work. 

Printed by Ehe Bibliographisches Institut. Leipzig; 



8. Sacred staff : Cook Islands. 

9. Feather head-ring : Sandwich Is- 

10. Ornamental gorget : Tahiti. 

11. Idol : Tahiti. 

12. Dance Club : Vanikoro, Santa 

All one-tenth of natural size. Nos» 1, 2, 4, 9, 12, 13, 18, from the Ethnographical Museum, Berlin. Tile rest from British 

Museum and Christy collection. 

1. Lance : Viti. 

2. Feather-sceptre : Sandwich Islands. 

3. "Partisan," with shark's teeth : Kings 

mill Island. 

4. Fan '. Sandwich Islands. 

5. Dancing-cap: Cook or Society Islands, 
6, 7. Feather helmets : Hawaii. 

13. Tafia-cloth. : Tonga. 

14. Feather cloak : Hawaii. 
15, 16, 17. Feather masks : Hawaii. 

18. Water-bottle: Fiji. 

19. Spear with shark's teeth : Kings- 
mill Islands. 

20. Club. 



The island groups, their climate and their cultivated plants — Number of the population, its decrease and 
shifting — Traces of denser population and of civilization — -Ruins — Migrations— Involuntary migrations in 
the Pacific — Navigation and shipbuilding — Orientation — Trading journeys — Famine, war, and other 
grounds of emigration and immigration — Legends of migrations — Migrations in mythology — Community 
ol speech and agreement of customs in Polynesia — Legend of Hawaiki — Polynesians in Melanesia and 
Micronesia — Uninhabited islands — Date of the migrations — Ethnographical groups in the Pacific — Genea- 
log}- of the Australians. 

THROUGHOUT the western and central part of the Pacific are many thousands of 
islands scattered about in numerous groups. On the west they are connected by 
larger islands with Australia and the Malayan Archipelago. There is first of all 
New Guinea with the inner chain of the Melanesian islands ending on the east 
with the Fiji group ; the New Zealand group lies isolated to the south-east. East- 
ward beyond Fiji and northward beyond New Ireland lie countless smaller islands 
forming Polynesia. They stretch away from the Carolines to Easter Island, 
which is separated by a space of nearly 2500 miles from the South American 
coast, and they stretch from the South Island of New Zealand to Hawaii. Within 
the angle formed by a line running through the Mariannes towards Japan and 
another running through the Pelew Islands towards the Philippines, there lies a 
second group of still smaller islands called Micronesia. The separation between 
the three groups does not penetrate far ; smaller groups within them may much 
more naturally be excluded. Individual countries, larger and smaller, have plenty 
of common peculiarities both in natural character and in the mode of their origin. 
Long ago a natural division into high and low islands was recognised, the latter 
including the coralline, the former the volcanic islands. This simple classifica- 
tion does not indeed wholly correspond with the domain of phenomena, surface 
phenomena, volcanic phenomena, and violent earthquakes occurring over the whole 
length and breadth of the region ; while the coral formation has been developed 
to an extent such as is nowhere else found in that tropical belt of the Pacific which 
is richest in islands. Only certain islands, the chief of them being New Guinea 
and the two larger islands of New Zealand, afford space for development on a 
large scale, and sufficient to permit, more especially in Melanesia with its larger 
islands, the growth of differences between up-country and coast tribes. New 
Guinea does not indeed hold a position in Melanesia proportionate to its size, being 
more sparsely inhabited than most of the islands lying in front of it, an evidence 
for the indolence and unproductiveness of true Papuan labour and its development. 
On the other side the distance of New Zealand from Polynesia prevented it from 
exercising those more penetrating effects which might have been expected to 
emanate from the largest among the islands. Thus we have before us, almost 
universally, only the population of small and numerous areas, very unevenly 
endowed, and widely separated from each other. Of all people the ethnographer 
must bear that well in mind. Further, the denser population is confined to the 
coast spaces, while the interior is thinly inhabited. Rapid changes from habitation 
to non-habitation are frequent under these conditions; nor is the list of islands 
now uninhabited, but showing- traces of former habitation, a short one. The 

i 5 6 


majority of the Pacific islands lie in a region where the prevailing currents and 
winds move in a westerly direction, north and south of the equator, between the 
annual isothermals of 68°. It has often been pointed out how the prevailing east 
to west direction of the trade-winds would facilitate immigration from the New 

Bread-fruit tree (Artocarpus incisus) : (a) inflorescence, (/>) fruit. 

World. In small districts the influence of the winds and currents is no doubt 
great ; but the facts of migrations and castings-away show that, though it may 
often determine the lines of distribution of mankind, it does not always do so. 
In more recent times, meteorology has no less shown us the existence of westerly 
currents of air, than a study of the ocean has taught us that there is an equatorial 
counter-current in the same direction. In their regular traffic the Polynesians 
wait for a west wind to sail eastwards, and they have a corresponding tradition 
that their domestic animals were brought from the west. By the time we reach 



the Hervey or Cook's, and Tubuai or Austral groups, the west winds, which in 
the southern hemisphere prevail south of 20 , begin to make themselves felt. 

The flora and fauna of this region, the pronounced Asiatic character of which 
Chamisso was the first to refer to the eastward migration of the Oceanians, have 
little to offer for human use. Some of the most important cultivated plants 
and domesticated animals have been imported ; such as pigs, dogs, poultry, 
taro, and perhaps bananas too. But the tree which is most closely connected 
with the island world, and which does most to give a character to its landscape, 
the coco-nut, renders existence 
possible even to the inhabitants / \ \ 


of the remote and low -lying 
islands. While green, the nut 
contains a liquid which is cool- 
ing when fresh and intoxicating 
when fermented. The olea- 
ginous kernel, when older, is 
nutritious and gives oil in 
abundance. The shell of the 
nut provides vessels ; the 
fibres of its outer side furnish 
a durable fabric ; the leaves 
are used for thatching houses, 
plaiting mats, sails, or baskets ; 
the stem serves for building 
huts and boats. Lastly, the 
coco-nuts with their spreading 
roots contribute to hold the 
coral islands together and to 
extend their area ; being, as 
they are, among their earliest 
and most frequent inhabitants 
of the islands. Next to the 
coco-palm the bread-fruit tree 

is the most profitable of all things grown and cultivated in Polynesia. Cook's 
saying, that six bread-fruit trees would keep a family, is well known. In the 
third place comes the chief article of real agriculture, the taro plant. It and 
the bread-fruit together have made life almost too easy in those parts. The 
sago-palm extends from the west as far as Melanesia ; a great part of the popu- 
lation of Xew Guinea is dependent on it. 

Thus, in spite of their wide distribution, almost all the inhabitants of the 
central Pacific have the more important conditions of life in common. If to this 
we add the common possession of a mass of ethnographic characteristics we shall see 
that, in spite of significant racial differences, Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia 
form a single ethnographical domain. Islands of their nature make their 
inhabitants seamen and wanderers. Accordingly we have here a region of 
extensive colonisation, and we find settlements from one group of races in the 
district of another ; though, by a curious contrast, in countries like New Guinea 
or New Zealand, where there is such ample room for extension in the interior, the 

Taro {Caladium esculentum) — one-half natural size. 


people stick, in the great majority of cases, to the coast. Implements and customs 
connected with seafaring and fishing show a general agreement. They must all do 
without iron, and consequently have much skill in the working of stone, wood, and 
shells. In weaving they have attained a high level ; the loom has spread from 
the west, while in the cast and south they manufacture bark and bast. The 
few domestic animals, the usual fruits of the field, and the intoxicating kava or ava, 
are found throughout all three districts. In the social life the preponderance of 
the tribe or commune over the family is more pronounced than perhaps anywhere 
else; while in the realm of religious conceptions there has arisen, out of a large 
number of ideas common to all Polynesia, one of the most complete mythological 
systems owned by any primitive race, which, with its luxuriance of legend, has 
overspread this vast area, and parts yet more remote. 

The present population of the Pacific in the space between the western 
promontory of New Guinea and Easter Island, and between the Hawaiian 
Archipelago and New Zealand, is reckoned at not more than a million and a half, 
not including whites. Yet even to-day on some of the Polynesian islands we find 
such a density as borders on over-population. The Kingsmill, or Gilbert, group 
counts 35,000 in less than 200 square miles, the Marshall Islands 12,000 in 170. 
But these are all cases in which the inhabitants of small islands have the run 
of the coco plantations and fishing-grounds belonging to an entire archipelago. 
Tonga too — for one of the less bountifully endowed groups, — the Solomon Islands, 
the Bismarck Archipelago, show a population that is relatively not at all thin. 
Generally the smaller areas of land tend to a closer packing of the population. 
But the great majority of the Pacific islands hold far fewer persons to-day belong- 
ing to the original native races than they did before the arrival of European 
influences. We must look not only at the figures, but at the geographical aspect. 
The South Island of New Zealand and the Chatham Islands have no longer any 
but a small and vanishing aboriginal population, and these crowded back into the 
furthest corner ; while all the natural advantages have passed into the hands of the 
more numerous and more active white inhabitants. The number of the Maoris 
between 1835 and 1840 was reckoned with good reason at 100,000; to-day 
there are 42,000, including numerous half-breeds, who will soon be the sole 
survivors. So it is with Hawaii, and so even with the small islands. If we 
inquire the causes of this phenomenon, which has already given occasion for great 
dislocations in the regions of races and peoples, we find them everywhere the 
same. After the remarks made in the Introduction (pp. 1 1, 12), we can sum up 
the causes in the words used by Pennefather in 1888 as applied to the case of 
the Maoris : drunkenness ; diseases ; clothing in bad European materials instead 
of in their own close-woven mats ; a state of peace, which has allowed them to fall 
into indolence, and to exchange healthy dwellings on fortified hills for damp sites in 
the neighbourhood of their potato-fields ; : prosperity, which has introduced leisure 
and pernicious modes of enjoying it. Progress on the lines of European custom 
is opposed by their hereditary usages, especially their political subdivision and the 
absence of private property in land. But the cannibalism of the Maoris has 
played a special part in the destruction of the Maoraris of the Chatham Islands. 

The importation of European diseases has in many districts accelerated the 

1 [Vet, says the late Mr. Stevenson, the Marquesans are dying out in the same houses where their fathers 


rate of decrease. Kubary's inquiry into the astonishing" disappearance of the 
Pelew Islanders, the most complete and comprehensive inquiry that we have for any 
portion of Oceania, reveals a whole string of internal causes. Important pheno- 
mena in the social life of the island races, such as adoption in its various forms, 
the descent of titles to sons, the ruined state of large houses, point to a long 
previous period of this lamentable decrease. The natives wrongly ascribe it to 
the climatic disorder, influenza ; but the main cause must be sought in their 
dissolute way of life, particularly in the case of the women. The deficiency of 
births is so great that total extinction is anticipated in the near future. Early 
licentiousness in both sexes ; special features in married life of a kind to deter 
the younger women, so far as possible, from entering into bonds, and to inflict 
upon the others the heavy labour of taro cultivation, keeping couples apart and 
placing considerations of utility before everything ; lastly, the practice of head- 
hunting, which is not yet obsolete. Kubary stated in 1883 that in the last ten 
years only thirty-four heads had been cut off; these causes offer a sufficient ex- 
planation. In the light of the description given by the writer just quoted, the 
entire population would seem to be in a morbid state, what with a tendency to 
dysentery, induced by living exclusively on taro, the prevalence of intestinal 
parasites, the liability of all the older people to chronic rheumatism as a result 
of the climate and the exposure of the naked body, and the lack of endurance 
of the man under circumstances of bodily exertion. 

This decrease is in close connection with a decadence from levels of develop- 
ment formerly attained in political and social matters, and even in arts and 
crafts. In Micronesia they have ceased to build the large club or assembly 
houses of former days ; and therewith a source of endless encouragement to fancy 
and skill has been dried up. The people make fewer things than they used to 
do — their originality has died out ; they are in a way to become poor ethno- 
graphically. A glance into the past of these races reveals remains of bygone 
generations, telling of another state of things, of a larger population, of more 
considerable results from labour, of more enduring works. In the small Louisiade 
group there is a network of roads far closer than is wanted by the present popu- 
lation. On Pitcairn's Island, now deserted, there are the stone foundations of 
morals, stone-axes, and in the caves skeletons lying near drawings of the moon, 
stars, birds, and so on ; ancient fortifications crown the hills of Rapa, while in 
Huahine in the Windward Islands a dolmen, built on to a morai in terraces, is 
found beside a road of cyclopean stones. The ruins of Nanmatal in Ponape 
consist of square chambers, fenced with pillars of basalt and separated from each 
other by channels. There are eighty of these stone islets ; some of them having 
undoubtedly once served as sepulchral monuments. Among these ruins the tomb 
of the kings of Matalanim rises, on a base 6 feet high and 290 feet long by 230 
broad, to a height of about 30 feet, with walls 10 feet thick, formed of basalt 

The most classical instances of this wealth of relics left by a more numerous 
and more active generation are preserved in Easter Island. There the gigantic 
stone images are something wonderful. Their great number is no less astonishing 
than their size and the comparative high level of their workmanship. Even now they 
are reckoned at several hundreds ; their height is nearly 50 feet, while in one case 
the breadth across the shoulders is not less than I o feet. Many of them have 



been thrown down and half-buried in rubbish ; but others stand on broad plat- 
forms built of hewn stone. Originally many are said to have had head-coverings 
of reddish stone ; cylinders, according to Cook's description, of 5 feet diameter. 
Some have hieroglyphics carved on their backs. These images, weighing many 
tons, must at one time have been lowered down the mountain with hawsers, and 
prepared, that is, engraved, in pits below. Naturally these images, whose number, 
size, and clever workmanship contrast so strangely with the smallness of the 
island, and the state of extreme simplicity in which the first Europeans found 
the islanders, have given rise to many speculations as to their origin. Even so 

Sepulchral monument in Ponape\ Caroline Islands. (From a photograph in the Godeffroy Album.) 

sober a judge as Beechey declares it to be simply impossible that the Easter 
Islanders can have executed these works ; both the sculpturing and the erection 
of them, he thinks, far exceeded any capacity of theirs. What makes it yet 
more difficult to answer these questions is the ignorance in which we are as to 
their age, as to the reason why so many have been thrown down, and, lastly, as 
to their object. Earthquakes of course may have thrown them down ; but no 
observer, old or recent, has been able to divine the purpose they served. The 
impression of decadence which one receives from the sight of such mighty works 
among a race now so scanty, feeble, and impoverished, is strengthened when we 
find that Easter Island shows masonry adapted to various purposes in the shape 
sometimes of staged platforms, sometimes of huts, above or below ground, and 
with or without interior ornament in colour. 

Oceania, as being, of all regions which men inhabit, the richest in islands, the 
poorest in land, seems at the first glance a most favourable soil on which to study 
isolated evolutions of civilization. It is, however, a region of constant intercourse, 
and nowhere offers a wide or fertile soil for permanently independent evolution. 



It furnishes interesting evidence of the special directions in which individual 
elements in the fund of civilization possessed by a " natural " race can develop, 
but it shows us no persistency of a single racial type and a special civilization. 
Instead of the deep gradations which divide the Fuegian, a kind of Bushman or 
Hottentot, from the Inca of Peru, expert in many arts, rich, devoted to sun- 
worship ; Oceania displays, in the domain of culture, only slight variations on 
the same ground-theme. Its great problem is not the tranquil development of 
local peculiarities, but the equalising effect of migration from one archipelago to 
another, and ultimately from quarter to quarter of the earth. 

The distribution of Malayo-Polynesian races over an area covering 2 I O degrees 
of longitude and So of latitude, is an astounding fact. It gains in significance 

Outrigged boat, New Britain. (From a model in the Godeffroy collection, Leipzig 

when we remember that wide tracts of very deep ocean divide these islands, while 
the islands are so small that even exploring navigators did not discover them 
till late, and then with difficulty. No cause appeared too vast to explain such a 
phenomenon, and we cannot be surprised that not only older inquirers like 
Ouiros, or seafaring men like Crozet and Dumont d'Urville, but even a man like 
Broca x could admit the idea that in this island-world we have the remains of a 
submerged continent. Even the hypothesis of a separate creation of races so 
isolated has been brought into play here. But migrations of the islanders are 
mentioned even by Forster and Cook ; and have been more and more recognised 
as the great fact in the ethnography of the Pacific. Numerous indeed are the 
records of accidental involuntary migrations. When Cook came to Watiu in 
1777, his Tahitian companion Mai found there three fellow-countrymen, all that 
were left of twenty, from Tahiti, 750 miles distant, who had been cast away twelve 
years before. In 1825 Beechey found on Byam Martin Island forty men, women, 
and children, the survivors of 150 from Matia, who some years before had been 
caught in an unwontedly early monsoon, and driven 62$ miles to Barrow Island ; 
subsequently leaving this on account of its barrenness, and settling on Byam 

1 [Not to mention Darwin and Lyell.] 



Martin. A remarkable point in this is that the course from Matia to Barrow 
Island is against the trades. In 1816 Kotzebue found on Aur, one of the 
Radack Islands, a native of Ulie, who had been cast away with three others 
while fishing, and covered a distance of 1850 miles against the trades. Inhabit- 
ants of Ulie were carried to the Marshall Islands also in 1857 ; Ralick islanders 
to the Gilberts, Gilbert islanders to the Marshalls, and westward to the Carolines ; 
and Finsch reports a more recent case of castaways from Jaluit or Bonham 
Island to Faraulep in the western Carolines, a distance of 1500 nautical miles. 
During his short stay on Yap, and then in Pelew, Miklouho-Maclay often met 

Boat of the Mortlock Islands, with outrigger and sail of rush-mattinc 

Godeffroy collection. ) 

(After a model in the 

people who had been cast away on other islands and had returned. Kubary, in 
his account of the Pelew Islands, mentions as a well-known fact that the inhabit- 
ants of the Carolines are often driven to the Philippine Islands. In every case 
they make the island of Samar or the most southerly point of Luzon, just where 
the northern equatorial current breaks on the island wall of the Philippines. On 
the other hand, inhabitants of the Philippines seem never to have come to Pelew, 
though plenty come from Celebes and the islands in the Celebes Straits. 

Another region where people are often cast away is in and about the Fiji 
Archipelago, its boundaries being indicated by Tikopia, Lifu, Savaii, and Vavao. 
Active as the regular intercourse may be between Tonga and Fiji, the presence 
of numerous Tongan and Fijian half-breeds exactly on the windward side of the 
Fiji Archipelago would suggest that people had been driven westwards, even had 



we not clear evidence that they have been driven from Tonga and Savaii to the 
still more westerly islands of the Banks group, to the New Hebrides, and the 
Loyalty Islands. They appear even to have got to the central Solomon 
Islands. It is when we come within the Melanesian groups that these movements 
gain in interest, owing to the large number of Polynesians to be found there, or 
the traces, often so clear, of Polynesian influence. 

Boat of Niue, Savage Islands. (After a model in the Godeffroy collection.) 

A third region is even more important by reason of its local connection with 
the Polynesian legends of migrations. It embraces the Hervey or Cook Islands, 
the Tubuai or Austral Islands, the Paumotu or Low Islands, and the Society 

Boat of the Hermit Islands. (From the same 

Islands. To supplement the instances already given we may mention the 
involuntary journey of Williams in a boat from Rarotonga to Tongatabu, and 
that of several natives from Aitutaki to Niue ; in both cases distances of a thousand 
miles were traversed in a westerly direction. Those natives of Manihiki who were 
driven by a storm to the Ellice group in 1861, and there spread the first 
Christian teaching, accomplished a still longer course. Between the Society 
Islands, especially Tahiti, and the Paumotu group, a particularly close connection 
has been established by frequent castings-away both with and against the trades. 
Cases have been known here also in which persons have been driven southward, 



but never beyond the tropic, so that no connection has been formed with New 
Zealand. Finally, we have evidence in involuntary journeys made from Tahiti to 
Byam Martin and Bow Islands that, especially during the summer, it is possible for 
vessels to be driven against trade winds and currents in an easterly direction, 
that is to say in the direction in which the Easter Islanders must have reached their 
remote land. 

Reports about castaways in this direction from the continent of Asia or from 

Wooden baler, New Zealand — one-sixth real size. (British Museum 

Japan are more rare. Apart from some established historical cases we may here 
refer to the repeated instances of persons being driven from Japan northward and 
eastward to Lopatka, Kadjak, and Vancouver Islands, which are equally 

confirmed by history. Even 
/; •...., from China ships are said to 

--• . '' . have been cast away on the 

north-west coast of America. 
Evidence of journeys in the 
opposite direction is afforded 
by articles of undoubted north- 
west American origin which 
come ashore on the coasts of 
the Hawaiian Islands. With 
the South American continent 
there are no manifest relations, 
although in higher latitudes 
westerly winds and currents 
lead towards South America, 
while in equatorial regions 
they are easterly and lead 
away from it. The only conclusions that are possible here, and will be later 
investigated, are based upon the data of ethnography. 

Even if we regard only the involuntary journeys, the Pacific Ocean appears no 
longer as a watery desert where islanders live in seclusion ; but mutual relations 
of the most varied kind, both between the islands, and between them and the 
continents, become manifest. Castings-away are no exception but the rule, and 
take people in every direction. Ethnography has to take account of these casual 
relations which in the long vista of years have stretched a dense network from 

Wooden baler, New Zealand — one-fifth real size. (British Museum. 



Wooden baler, New Guinea — one-fifth real size. 
(British Museum. ) 

one land to another. She must give up the idea of any sharp separation 
between the races of Oceania, and allowing" all consideration to disunion and 
peculiarity, must give its due to every cause which makes for union. 

But this view is met also by the life and ways of the Oceanians, their mode 
of thought, and their tradition. There is in them a pronounced migratory sense. 
Journeys of many hundreds of miles are not seldom undertaken by them, either 
for the purpose of falling upon the inhabitants of neighbouring islands and getting 
heads for their canoe houses, or in order to meet on some appointed day of the 
year for a general exchange of goods. The inhabitants of Yap, and Simbo, and 
the Tongans are specially renowned for 
voyages of this kind. The piratical 
inhabitants of Biak also traverse hun- _._ 
dreds of miles in their canoes. Trade is 
naturally a chief cause of roaming. The 1_ 
fact that in the Polynesian islands it is 
mainly carried on by the chiefs or on 
their account can only be favourable to 
the enterprises, since none but they have 
either authority or knowledge to lead the greater expeditions. The Tongans, 
who monopolised the trade between Fiji and Samoa, with the inhabitants of 
Sikiyana, of Peleliu, and some others, are noted as genuine trading races. Division 
of labour in trades leads of necessity to exchange. It is specially to be observed 

that the higher development of any 
industry, as of pottery in Bilibili, Teste, 
or Moresby, all of them islands off 
New Guinea, is always found to im- 
prove all the appliances of travel and 
transport, and thus especially to raise 
navigation to a higher level. Political 
disturbances again have created numer- 
ous motives for migration. Attacks 
of one island upon another, flight to 
remote islands, are common occur- 
rences. At the time of the Spanish 
conquest the inhabitants of the Marianne Islands took refuge in the Carolines. 
Tongans fleeing from a cannibal chief peopled the island of Pylstart or Ata ; 
Kaumualii, when threatened by attack from Kamehameha, had a ship made 
ready in Kauai, in order that he might fly with his family in time of danger to 
one of the ocean islands. Lastly, too, hunger was a spur to migration, famines 
being frequent. Constant contact with the sea has given birth to a spirit of 
adventure for which the aristocratic constitution of society provides nourishment 
and tools. The Tongans may well reckon as the Phoenicians of South Poly- 
nesia ; Samoans and Fijians never ventured upon the journey to Tonga except 
in boats manned by Tongan seamen. Nor, moreover, are real wandering tribes 
lacking. Lastly, we must not forget the low value placed upon human life 
in all island countries with a tendency to over-population. Infanticide, human 
sacrifices, cannibalism, a permanent state of war, are sufficient explanations of this, 
and from the same root springs also the love of emigration. 

Stick chart from the Marshall Islands. 



Among no " natural " races has the science of seafaring reached so high an 
average development as among the Polynesians and Melanesians. Most of the 
tribes arc genuine seamen. If we regard their remoteness from the great civilized 
races of the Asiatic continent, the shipbuilding art stands as high among them as 
among the Malays ; and we must further reflect that they were without iron. 
Naturally here also local limitations produce inequalities in shipbuilding, as well 
as in the extent of the voyages, and also in the migrations of the different races. 
It is a fact that at the present day the Fijians seldom go beyond the boundaries 
of their own group, while the Tongans, favoured by the wind, often come to them. 
But the art of navigation, no less than that of shipbuilding, may undergo 
alterations in the course of time. Fortunate voyages raise the spirit of 
enterprise, bad luck depresses it. The Samoa group got its former name of the 
Navigator Islands from the seafaring skill of its inhabitants ; this has now greatly 
decreased. Many of the low islands are so poorly wooded that shipbuilding is 
rendered difficult, and dependent on drift timber ; while at Port Moresby on the 
New Guinea coast the Motus, having little wood, build as a rule no vessels. 
They do not, however (like the Caribs in a well-known couplet), content them- 
selves with " wishing they could," but draw upon their more expert neighbours 
for them. Yet, on the other hand, the islanders of the Paumotu group, where 
wood is also scarce, build larger and better vessels than the Marquesans. The 
small area and poverty of their islands force them both to peaceable migrations 
and to warlike expeditions of conquest, and this can only be done by sea. 

Vessels of every description, from the simple raft and the sailing vessel with 
outrigger, or the double canoe, are found in this region. We do not need to 
notice the rafts of bamboo made by the Pelew Islanders for the navigation of an 
inland lake, since opportunities for inland navigation are not usual throughout 
the region ; but rafts are actually in use for coasting purposes. Among the 
families whom Cook found in Dusky Bay there were no boats, only a single raft 
made of tree-stems for putting people across. Next we come to boats made simply 
of stems, which, being fastened together and planked over, become raft-like vessels. 
Such boat-rafts have led to the erroneous idea that the New Caledonians, for 
example, sailed the seas on rafts. As a matter of fact these people have only 
a kind of rough raft, resting on two hollowed tree-stems, and carrying a mast 
with a triangular mat-sail. The Kunai people have double canoes, and those of 
very pretty work. The Loyalty Islands' canoes are inferior to these, but are 
also double, with a platform, two triangular mat-sails, and oars 6 feet long, passing- 
through holes in the platform. A long oar serves for steering, and so they sail 
to New Caledonia. At Hood Bay in New Guinea rafts are used resting on five 
trunks ; on a single platform these carry as many as a hundred men and quantities 
of goods. They carry one or two masts, a stone anchor, and a mat-sail. 

It is not usual for single trunks to be used exclusively for seafaring ; but in 
coast navigation and fishing they meet local requirements, even where large 
regularly built vessels exist. We find them in Tahiti, under the name of buJiu 
or shells, usually sharp at one end and seldom holding more than two men. 
But such is the development of boat-building, that the smallest boats are, where 
necessary, built with great care in several pieces. On Waituhi the Paumotu 
Islanders have a great number of small boats, put together of coco-palm wood, 
1 6 feet long at most, capable of being carried by two persons and of carrying two 


or three ; they have pointed pieces specially fixed on fore and aft, an outrigger 
and two recurved paddles. 

The Tahitians build their boats of several pieces, for the very good reason 
that large timber, such as the Maoris obtain from the Kauri pine, does not grow 
in their island. In the Society Islands, elegant double canoes, known as " twins," 
are made by patting together two single stems, which must exactly match. 
The kabekel of the Pelew Islands is a vessel between 60 and 70 feet long, usually 
hewn out of one large tree-stem, and pulling as many as forty paddles. Its beam 
and depth are very small for its great length. The entire vessel is merely a- 
hollowcd-out keel, supported in the water by the outrigger attached to one side. 
A kind of deck made of bamboo is arranged amidships, on which the leader takes 
his place, and the baggage is packed. 

These single-tree craft afford the basis also for the larger built ships. The 
keel of these consists of a stem hollowed out by means of fire, or, in the bigger 
vessels, of several. Large ships are found chiefly in Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, and 
Xew Zealand ; and the number of boats is correspondingly large. In Tahiti, 
Forster saw a fleet of 159 large double canoes and 70 smaller craft. The small 
ones in many cases travel very fast, and serve as despatch-boats to the larger. 

The tree or trees intended for a ship will be felled to the recital of religious 
sentences, and then hollowed by means of fire. While many of the natives are 
qualified for this task, the actual building is in the hands of a privileged class ; 
so closely were the interests of state and society once bound up with this art 
and mystery. Even to the present day in Fiji the carpenters, whose chief work 
is shipbuilding, form a special caste. They bear the high-sounding title of " the 
king's craftsmen " and have the privileges of real chiefs. These highly-honoured 
artisans carry on their trade of shipbuilding with particular care. Planks are 
attached to the keel, stern and bow provided with carved ornaments, sails and 
ropes are all finished and fitted by special workmen, and the outriggers prepared 
by others. Everything is done according to old tradition ; the laying of the keel, 
the finishing of the whole, the launching, all take place with religious ceremonies 
and festivities. Tangaroa was the patron of shipmen, and they bore his worship 
all over the Ocean. Even the gods themselves like to build ships, and undertake 
daring voyages. 

The Fijian ships long held the first place among the craft of the Pacific 
islands. When Cook first visited Tonga in 1772, he found Fijians there who 
had brought a Tongan of high rank to his own island in their ship. The Tongan 
vessels at that time were clumsy compared with those of Fiji, and for that reason 
they accepted this with its sails as a gift. They have only altered the Fijian 
model to the extent of cleverly improving the accuracy and fineness with which 
various portions are executed. These Fijian vessels with Tongan improvements 
belong to a type spread throughout Micronesia, in which, by reversing the sail, 
bow and stern are convertible. Thus Fijian chiefs took to employing by prefer- 
ence carpenters from Tonga ; which gave rise to the belief that the Tongans 
built their vessels in Fiji for the sake of the better wood. The New Caledonian 
ships are like the Samoan, but less well built and slower. The vessels of the 
Loyalty Islands are also clumsy ; a fact the more remarkable since both these 
groups contain admirable material in their great pines. In the Solomon Islands 
shipbuilding has attained a high level, but here too there are gradations. The 


most elegant and the lightest craft in that archipelago are built in Ulakua. In 
the more westerly islands the war-vessels are extraordinarily rich with fantastic 
ornaments, festoons of feathers and bast, coloured red and yellow, shells, and so 
forth. In New Ireland the boats differ materially from those of New Hanover ; 
they are equally made of a single tree stem, but are not so long and not curved 
in the gunwale. The boat of New Britain is mostly made from one stem, but 
has often a low strake on each side. It is on the average larger than that of New 
Ireland, and has a high narrow beak at each end. 

The larger boats of New Guinea are from 16 to 20 feet long, and from 
2 to 2\ wide. The hull, made in one piece, is hollowed out from a trunk which 
must have no flaw. It is not more than half an inch thick, and has cross-ties to 
keep it from warping. Both ends curve upwards and are strengthened with 
wooden posts, of which that in the stem rises high and is adorned with arabesques 
or painted. To raise the gunwale above the water line they employ the ribs of 
sago-palm leaves after the fashion of the Alfurs. These are by preference inter- 
laced, and then being attached like tiles to the cross-ties, form a water-tight 
surface. Over the gunwale are fastened two light cross-pieces, which project about 
5 feet, and at the end of which is another piece of wood, bent at right angles, just 
touching the surface of the water, and sticking into a strong boom, which is as 
light as cork and serves as a float. Amidships on the cross-timbers a square 
cabin of bamboo is erected, sheltered against injury from weather by a small roof 
of coco-palm leaves. All other kinds of craft, from the raft upward, are found in 
New Guinea. The ornamentation is rich, especially of the war-canoes.. 

In Micronesia, where the vessels stand next in quality to those of Fiji and 
Tonga, we do not find the double canoes common among the Polynesians. Even 
the great war- amicus, holding sixty to eighty persons, have only an outrigger. 
Differences can be noticed between one island and another. The Pelew canoes 
differ from all those in use in the South Seas by being very low in proportion to 
their length and sail-area. For this reason they are not adapted for such long 
voyages as the inhabitants of Yap, or those of Mackenzie and the Ralick Islands, 
undertake, but for short journeys they are extraordinarily effective. The light 
and sharp kaep, driven by a large three-cornered sail, slips over the water like 
lightning in the most gentle breeze. Heavy seas find no resistance in these 
canoes, they lift them and divide on the sharp angle of their stems, and do not 
check their way. The Micronesian fashion of adorning boats with bundles of the 
split feathers of the frigate-bird, and avoiding carved work, comes from Polynesia. 

An important element of the Polynesian or Melanesian vessel is the outrigger. 
This is shaped and fitted on in various ways, and is of various sizes. Light 
durable woods are used for this purpose ; in the eastern districts mostly Pisom'a, 
which, even in the Paumotu Group, reaches a height of 65 feet, while in the west 
it is generally Hibiscus, as light as cork, or an ErytJirina. As a rule the outrigger 
is fastened to the vessel by two booms 5 to 6 feet in length, the forward one 
straight and stiff, the after one bent and clastic. Among the Fijians many kinds 
of craft are distinguished solely according to their outriggers. 

The sail — there is never more than one- — is three-cornered, composed of 
plaited mats, or woven from the bast of the leaf-stem of the coco-palm, bent on a 
frame of bamboos, and attached to the mast by a rope passing over or around 
the mast-head. It cannot be reefed. As an article of trade it is in demand 



proportioned to its importance. In large vessels the steering- oar is 20 feet 
long-, the blade over 6 feet, requiring two or three men to handle it in a heavy sea. 
The ordinan- paddles are frequently the least practical part of the gear. The 
blade is lancet-shaped, often decorated at the pointed end, carved about the 
handle with figures of animals or other ornaments. Fancy paddles arc inlaid 
with mother-of-pearl. Where they are as strong as in the Solomon Islands, they 
can be used on occasion for clubs. Even the balers, with their often elegantly 
carved forms, show the value which is attached to the humblest nautical imple- 
ments. The balers of the Admiralty Islands, with their single horizontal bar for 
a handle, were placed by Rear-Admiral Strauch, from a practical point of view, 
above those made 
in Europe. Pre- 
serves, capable of 
keeping for a long- 
time, are prepared 
for voyages from 
paiidaiuisz.\-\<\ bread- 
fruit ; cocoa - nuts 
also serve as pro- 
vision, and their 
shells can be filled 
with water. In the 
large war boats the 
number of rowers 
far exceeds 1 00. 
Forster speaks of 
144 oarsmen, Wil- 
son of 300 men in 
a single boat. The 
time of the paddles 
is given by singing. 
When a number of 
boats are sailing to- 
gether, one man 

stands in the stern of the leading vessel and signals the course with a bunch of 
dry grass. 

The taking of proper bearings is of double importance in this ocean, in which 
the individual islands are often so far apart and so low-lying that one is astonished 
that they were ever found. Many islands in the Pacific were discovered for the 
first time in the present century. The islanders are keen observers of the stars, 
and have names for a good list of them. They distinguish eight quarters of the 
heaven and winds to match. In their conception of the world the ocean is 
imagined as being everywhere full of islands, which helps to explain their daring 
voyages. They even inscribe their geographical knowledge upon maps, but 
while on these the bearings are to some extent correct, the distances are given 
very inaccurately. In the Ralick group the preparation of maps from small 
straight and bent sticks, representing routes, currents, and islands, is a secret art 
among the chiefs. The Marshall Islanders also possess a map of their own, made 

Boat of the Luzon Tarals 

(From a model in Dr. Hans Meyer's Collection, 
Leipzig. ) 



up of little sticks and stones, showing the whole group (p. 165). On their greater 
enterprises they go to sea in a thoroughly systematic way ; the longer voyages of 
from 500 to 1000 nautical miles are undertaken only in squadrons comprising 
at least fifteen canoes, commanded by a chief who has one or more pilots to 
advise him. Without compass, chart, or lead, and with but limited knowledge 
of the stars, these men contrived to make their distant point. On their voyages 
they steadily observe the angle made by the canoe with the run of the sea 
caused by the trade wind, which, north of the equator, blows steadily from the 
north-east. The use of this run, which remains constant even with shifting 
winds, has been brought by the native pilots to great refinement. The ocean 

currents are also 
no less well 
known to them 
by experience, 
so that they are 
able to take this 
also into con- 
sideration in lay- 
ing their course. 
As a general rule, 
in order to get 
the largest pos- 
sible field of view, 
the squadron pro- 
ceeds in line in 
which the indi- 
vidual canoes are 
so w r idely separ- 
ated that they 
can only com- 
municate by signal. By this progress on a wide front they avoid the danger of 
sailing past the island they are looking for. During the night the squadron 
closes in. This whole style of navigation contradicts the supposition that before 
the invention of the compass only coasting voyages were undertaken. 

Polynesians and Micronesians often ship on board European vessels, where 
they prove themselves, apart from their limited physical strength, excellent sea- 
mep. The Hawaiians or Kanakas, who are often tried in the whale fishery, are, 
according to Wilkes, skilful men, but not suited for service on board a man-of- 
war. They are more serviceable in small than in large parties, being very fond of 
putting their work upon some one else. They are timid about going aloft. 
Their best place is at the oar, but even so, when going through the surf, they 
prefer to jump overboard and swim. On board a man-of-war they find difficulty 
in accustoming themselves to the word of command, but, on the other hand, in 
whaling ships they show themselves willing, hard-working, and fearless. 

In the eastern districts the navigation of the Malays connects itself with that 
of the Micronesians. Their distant expeditions for purposes of trade or piracy, 
which ultimately became racial migrations, were carried on in outrigged or double 
boats with triangular reed or mat sails, and to this very day many of the Malayan 

Sumatran prahu. (From model in the Munich Ethnographical Museum.) 


prahus of recognised excellence have not an ounce of iron about them. Inland 
races in Malacca, in Borneo, Luzon, and other islands, have no vessels at all, and 
there are some fishing tribes who get along with bamboo rafts (so-called cata- 
marans) after the Chinese model, and dug-out canoes. The races who have been 
most operative in the history of this widespread group, whether they be genuine 
Malays or Alfurs, Tagals or Goramese, are distinguished by their intimate 
acquaintance with the sea, to which in great measure they owe their conspicuous 
position. These are the races of whom it has been said that they would never 
build a house on dry land if they could find a place in the water. Their skill 
in navigation is sufficient to meet even European requirements. The pvcxlius 
belonging to the once piratical village of Sounsang in Sumatra on the Palcmbang 
coast, carried the post between Palembang and Muntok for years, across the 
tempestuous Banca Straits ; and never within the memory of man were these 
light vessels seriously behind time. The Government of the Dutch Indies employ 
none but natives, mostly pure Malays, on board their large fleet of //-«/«/-cruisers ; 
though there are many Chinese and Arabs among the freighters. The Malayan 
prahu was originally a somewhat shallow boat with one sail, and having a keel. 
The most renowned shipbuilders are the Ke islanders, whose boats, built of 
wood fastened with wooden bolts and rattan, sail through the whole New Guinea 
Archipelago to Singapore ; and next to them the Badjos and Bugises of South 
Celebes, and the Malays of Billiton, Palembang, and Acheen. The Malagasies 
must have lost much of the art of shipbuilding, though they once suffered it to 
reach their island. Their usual boat is a " dug-out " with round bottom and no 
keel, provided with outriggers when at sea — the Hova boats have no outriggers — 
carrying large square or lateen sails made of mats of palm-straw, or of cloth. 
In another kind of boat the floor consists of one hewn tree-stem, upon which the 
slim craft, most elegant in form, is built up with strakes hardly more than an 
inch wide. The sharp beak runs out in a kind of neck, raised high, and adorned 
with peculiar carvings ; while the vessel tapers aft to a narrow stern, also elevated 
and similarly ornamented. These boats also have outriggers, are 20 to 30 feet 
long, and hardly 3 feet wide. 

Their active sea-traffic is one of the most interesting features in the life of 
the Malays. It is no mere coasting-trade that is carried on by some expert 
navigators among the races of the Archipelago, notably the true Malays of 
Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula, and the colonists from thence in Borneo 
and other islands. They are not afraid of competition with the Chinese, whom 
they have obviously taken for their model, formidable as these are in trade ; 
they act mostly as clever middlemen to them, pushing into the interior of the 
islands, where they are preferred by the native authorities, and also reaching 
farther eastward than the Chinese. They make use, moreover, of European 
communications. Piracy has never succeeded in paralysing this native traffic, 
which indeed has known how to come to terms with it ; nor, although not a year 
passes without some prahu from Goram being fallen upon by the inhospitable 
Papuans of New Guinea, does this injure it either, any more than it hinders the 
people of Tidor from visiting those coasts, abounding in slaves and trepang, with 
whole fleets. Entire populations have been, as it were, rendered fluid by means 
of trade — above all the Malays of Sumatran origin, proverbially clever, keen, 
omnipresent ; and the equally smart but treacherous Bugises of Celebes, who are 


to be found in every spot from Singapore to New Guinea, and have recently 
immigrated in large numbers into Borneo at the instance of local chiefs. So 
great is their influence that they are allowed to govern themselves according to 
their own laws ; and they are so conscious of their own strength that there has 
been no lack of attempts to make themselves independent. The Acheenese once 
held a similar position. After the decline of Malacca, which the Sumatran 
Malays had made an emporium, there were, at the beginning of the seventeenth 
century, several decades during the turning period of the world's history when 
Acheen was the busiest roadstead of the far east. 

All things being taken together, the capabilities of the Malayo-Polynesians 
as navigators are pre-eminent. It is only because this estimate of them has not 
always been taken that their distribution assumed the look of a riddle, though in 
fact it was no riddle whatsoever. 

With the dispersion of the Polynesian races over the islands of the ocean, 
first through storms and currents, then by voluntary migration, was associated in 
later times the traffic in men, called into existence by the growing demand for 
labour in regions of economic progress, like Hawaii, Samoa, or Queensland. In 
its beginnings it was indistinguishable from kidnapping. Men and boys were 
dragged from their homes by force, or decoyed by false representations, and 
carried to districts where they had never wanted to be. The regulations framed 
later by various governments remained for the most part ineffective for want of 
officials to look after them. Even when the planters were compelled to send 
their Kanakas back at the end of three years, captains often landed them, for 
their own convenience, on some island where the poor creatures had never lived, 
and where they were ill-treated and often killed by the inhabitants. Since the 
arrival of Europeans, too, the decrease of the population has caused shiftings in 
most islands. Immigrants from a wide area, extending from New Zealand to 
the Marquesas, have come to Hawaii. On the other hand Hawaii is one of the 
groups whence native missionaries have propagated Christianity far into the 
Melanesian region. 

In the world of Polynesian mythology and legend we constantly come across 
migrations undertaken from the most various motives. Everything important or 
peculiar has been brought over sea ; the wide horizon of the ocean, no less than 
the narrow one of the island-world, gleams with a divine light upon these 
migration-legends ; remoter islands are half-way stations between this world and 
the next. To quote Bastian : " Once upon a time, after a long voyage, a ship was 
cast away upon a strange coast. It looked very strange to the new-comers, 
offering the appearance of an uncanny spectre-land : for they walked through 
trees and houses without feeling them. A figure met them and told them that 
they were in the realm of spirits. They followed his injunction to return home at 
once, and were driven along quickly by a favouring wind. But they had only 
time to relate how they had gone astray before they departed this life. Since 
then that deadly coast has been avoided." On Raiatea it was told of Tangaroa 
that after peopling the world he changed himself into a canoe, which, after 
bringing men along, and preparing the red of the sky from their blood, furnished 
the model for the temple. Assistance in the erection of the islands was rendered 
by casual comers, which would give them an additional ground for a title to it. 
When Savage Island was raised out of the sea, two men who swam over from 


Tonga put it in order ; and the steepness of its coast on one side is ascribed to 
the carelessness of the one who worked there. Others think that these helpers 
stamped the islands out of the sea. The Hawaiian account is simpler : When 
Hawaii had been hatched from the sea-bird's egg, some people came from Tahiti, 
a man and his wife, with a dog, a pig, and a hen in their canoe. Ulu introduced 
the bread-fruit which is named after him, and his brother the cloth made from the 
bast of the mulberry tree. The gods, who were originally the sole inhabitants 
of these islands, were approached to obtain leave to settle. The mother-country, 
" Hawaiki," soon came to be regarded as a land of the other world — a spirit-land ; 
what descended from it was hallowed. Tamatekapua, the son of the Clouds, 
brought Rongomai to New Zealand as its tutelary god from the spirit-land ; and 
there, too, was preserved the stone idol brought from Hawaiki, Matua-Tonga, the 
son of the south, as the Kumaras' god. If we find tradition bringing white 
priests and their gods to Hawaii, we are led to see other relations, namely with 
the west, the direction of them being indicated by the casting away on these 
shores of people from Eastern Asia. 

Traditions are not kept alive by memory only. Political and social relations 
follow to this day the lines of old connections which link together island groups 
far distant from each other. Legends of migration survive in individual villages 
and families, where the old home is still remembered, and the connection with it 
often bound closer by special reverence. The Tongans were long in the habit 
of respectfully greeting the people of Tokelau, as being their ancestors. Men 
from Ulie in the Carolines, who visited the island of Guam in the Mariannes in 
1788, followed the roads from old descriptions preserved in songs ; since then the 
intercourse has become brisker, and at the present day the Caroline islanders 
collect coco-nuts in the Mariannes on behalf of foreign traders. Political 
connection, again, is often bound up with objects that have been either left behind 
or brought along. The Uluthi Islands are subject to Yap, because a great 
destruction, by means of an inundation of the sea, would take place if an axe 
belonging to one of the gods, which is buried in the latter island, were to be dug 
up. When these lines of attraction or attachment intersect, quarrels cannot be 
far off. Thus the Samoans relate that one of their chiefs fished up Rotuma and 
planted coco-palm on it. But in a later migration the chief Tukunua came that 
way with a canoe full of men and quarrelled with him about the prior right of 
possession. The Maoris found another ground for quarrelling : having come 
from little islands where land was scarce, every man laid claim to estates in New 
Zealand that were too large. 

The scantiness of migration legends in Melanesia has been regarded as only 
a part of the general dearth of tradition which is a Melanesian characteristic. 
Fiji offers us unwonted examples of legends of inland migrations, directed from 
the north-west towards the south-east, which in still later times was uninhabited. 
No doubt this bears upon the fact that the home of souls lies across the sea, and 
that all the spots whence souls go, that is swim, to the next world, face north-west. 

If, out of all these innumerable wanderings to and fro to which various causes 
have given rise, one group stands out by reason of the great extent of its 
ethnographic operation — that, namely, which has occupied the region between 
New Zealand and Hawaii, Fiji and Easter Island, with a strikingly homogeneous 
population — that is but part of the result of the great migratory movement in 


the Pacific. It is quite wrong to regard this as a single event, or as an exception. 
It is rather one case of the rule ; for none of these races was ever at rest. They 
wandered far and near, colonising consciously and intentionally, like any 
Greeks or Phoenicians. In any case this last series of great migrations and 
settlements is a single existing fact belonging to that stage in the development of 
culture which we call the stone age. For that reason it is not easy to understand ; 
we have no means of comparison with similar achievements. The area which this 
colonising activity has rendered productive far exceeds the empire of Alexander 
or of Rome. In the domain of annexation it was the greatest performance 
previous to the discovery of America. 

It was with astonishment that the close connection of the languages of 
Oceania was first recognised. Just as little could the general ethnographical 
similarity be overlooked ; the only difficulty was to find therein a scale of affinity, 
still more of remoteness, in point of time. There can be no doubt that from 
Xew Guinea to Easter Island we are in presence of essentially one civilization. 
A special branch of it has developed in the narrower region of Polynesia. The 
elements of this civilization are distributed over the islands with little uniformity. 
YVe cannot ignore the possibility that closer affinities are indicated by the 
distribution of particular articles, but hitherto the right way to identify them has 
hardly been taken, least of all by those who imagine they see in New Zealand the 
point whence Polynesian migrations had set out. For the distribution of certain 
weapons upon which this hypothesis rests in the first instance is everywhere so 
uneven and capricious that conclusions of very wide import cannot be based upon 
it. That the home of the Maui myth appears to be in New Zealand ; that the 
title Ariki is here applied to priests, but in the rest of Polynesia to temporal 
chiefs ; and that New Zealand alone can be the home of the articles made of 
jade which are scattered throughout Polynesia, none of these are facts from which 
we can draw the important conclusion that New Zealand was the point of 

It is solely upon the basis of the traditions that the view of the great majority 
of students is at present to the effect that not only the New Zealanders but also 
other Polynesians migrated to their present abodes from some southerly point in 
equatorial Polynesia. The Maori tradition is that they came to their island from 
a place called Hawaiki ; they seem to distinguish a larger and smaller, or a nearer 
and further Hawaiki. " The seed of our coming is from Hawaiki, the seed of our 
nourishing, the seed of mankind." This name, Hawaiki, is cognate with a whole 
number of Polynesian place names : Savaii in the Samoa group, Hawaii in the 
group of that name, Apai in the Tonga Islands, Evava in the Marquesas and 
others. Savaii, one of the Samoa or Navigator Islands, has the greatest pro- 
bability on its side. As Hawaii it forms also the starting-point for emigration to 
Raiatea and Tahiti, while the legends of the Marquesas and Hawaii refer back to 
Tahiti. There is a song in which Rarotonga, Waerota, Waeroti, Parima, and 
Manono arc mentioned as neighbouring islands to Tahiti. The Rarotongans 
themselves have the tradition that they come from Awaiki. Waerota and 
Waeroti arc now unknown, but Parima and Manono are small islets of the Samoan 
group, the inhabitants of which say they came from Savaii. Wild dogs like those 
of New Zealand, the same kind of rats, the sweet potato, the taro t the same kind 
of gourd, are found in the Navigator Islands. Maori traditions again which call 


Rarotonga the way to Hawaiki, and say that some of the New Zealand boats were 
built in Rarotonga, are equally in favour of the journey having been made first 
from the somewhat mythical Hawaiki to that island which no doubt is the 
"nearer Hawaiki" of tradition. It is possible that the larger part of the Maoris 
are of Rarotongan origin. 

The songs of the New Zealanders tell us even now the reason for their 
emigration and their farther wandering. A chief by the name of Ngahue was 
driven to flight by a civil war which devastated Hawaiki. After a long journey 
he reached New Zealand and returned to Hawaiki with pieces of greenstone and 
the bones of a giant-bird. Other legends give him the name Kupe — the weaker 
party in the war that was still going on among the islanders migrated to New 
Zealand with him. The tradition still preserves the names of the double canoes 
in which the voyage was accomplished. The legend still recalls how the seeds of 
sweet potatoes, taro, gourds, karaka berries, dogs, parrots, and rats, and sacred 

Carved boat from New Zealand ; actual length 8 ft. 2 in. (Berlin Museum of Ethnology. ) 

red paint were put on board the canoes, and how, as the emigrant's fleet departed, 
an old chief exhorted to peace. Nor is the storm forgotten which got up in the 
night and scattered the fleet, nor the doubt whether they should steer east or 
west, nor the little quarrels which arose among the crews of individual canoes 
chiefly on account of the women. The canoes were repaired on islands as they 
went along. Finally, what was left of the wanderers reached New Zealand in 
the summer time, and even before the chiefs had decided on the place to land, 
certain families landed where pleasant bays smiled upon them, all in the North 
Island. It was not till later that the Middle and South Islands received their 
population. Even to this day the north is called the Lower and the south the 
Upper Island. The various tribal groups trace their origin to their canoes, the 
names of which they have preserved, and equally the names of the chiefs and 
the exact spot where the canoe landed. One canoe sailed round the North Cape, 
another made its way through Cook's Straits ; these two brought the first settlers 
to the west coast. Wharekauri or Chatham Island, some sixty nautical miles 
distant from New Zealand, must have been peopled at the same time. 

A second starting-point is indicated by tradition in the Tonga or Friendly 
Islands. The inhabitants of Nukahiva in the Marquesas make their forefathers 
come with bread-fruit and sugar-cane from Vavau in the Tonga Archipelago. 
But among the inhabitants of the southern part of that archipelago the Hawaiki 
legend appears again, although language and customs rather point to Tahiti. In 
this connection we may remember that in Raiatea also there was once a locality 



(1) God of dances in the form of a double paddle, Easter Island; (2) 
toothed club from Tutuila ; (3) ancient club from Tonga; (4, 5) short 
clubs from Easier Island. (Berlin Museum of Ethnology.) 

designated Hawaii. The 
Hawaii or Sandwich 
Islands offer the same 
difficult}'. Language and 
customs connect their 
inhabitants with Tahiti 
to which, as also to the 
Marquesas, Hawaiian 
travel myths point. On 
the other hand, place 
names show a lively re- 
collection of the Samoa 
group. Tahiti seems to 
have sent forth emigrants 
to Hawaii, Nukahiva, 
Rarotonga ; yet the ex- 
plicit tradition of the 
Rarotongans makes their 
island to have been 
settled almost simultan- 
eously from Samoa and 
Tahiti. But then from 
Rarotonga again came 
the colonists for the 
Gambier and Austral 
Islands, with Rapa, and 
also a part of those who 
made the great journey 
to New Zealand. 

We feel some scruple 
about making the name 
Hawaiki indicate one 
single island of a small 
archipelago. Streams of 
emigration are supposed 
to have poured forth 
from it, at the most vari- 
ous epochs, to Hawaii as 
well as to New Zealand, 
to Tahiti no less than 
to Tonga. Why just 
that one and that only ? 
No doubt the name pos- 
sesses a general, and like 
other place - names, a 
mythical significance, 
wherewith many of the 
attributes of the legend 



can more easily be combined than with that somewhat forced geographical inter- 
pretation. We are from the first warned to be cautious by the fact that this 
legend of Hawaiki is one of the few legends related by a race about its own 
origin, which science has nevertheless thoroughly accepted. At all times we 
are strongly averse to such traditions, since they are never free from mythical 
elements. The geographical position of Hawaiki is not absolutely certain in all 
traditions ; but rather shows a 
considerable fluctuation. It even 
turns up as a spirit land, as the 
land of the West, where the souls 
go with the sun into the under 
world, as the land of souls, and 
so as the land of forefathers, the 
ancestral land. We can now 
understand the belief of the 
Marquesans that their entire 
country once lay in this Hawaiki, 
and came up from it. Simi- 
larly it is the land where man- 
kind once lost their immortality, 
and from spirits became men. 
Numerous place - names show 
that a name may recur widely 
without actual transmission. 
Lastly, the fluctuations in in- 
dividual traditions must not be 
overlooked. If a Tahitian ori- 
gin is universally assumed by 
the Hawaiians, traditions also 
point to the Marquesas and 
Samoa, and from the Marquesas 
the threads lead back to Tahiti, 
Samoa, and even Tonga. The 
old Hawaiians seem by " Tahiti " 
to have understood strangers in 
general. The Maori l legends 
also testify that not one immigration only, but several, took place from the north- 
ward. A much later arrival is emphasised in all the legends. We know therefore 
why those wanderers are alleged to have found in these islands aboriginal inhabitants, 
of whom the geological record of New Zealand, and its fossils, have so far revealed 
no trace. At any rate, the fact, still contested, that the dog occurs not as the 
companion of man, but as a beast of prey, points to another civilization than that 
which met the first Europeans who visited the Maoris. The legend of the 
various immigrations also takes various forms. In New Zealand the new comers 
find footmarks, which they recognise as those of one of their companions who had 
been thrown out of his boat. One legend speaks of fair natives, and of the rise 

1 Maori " native " in opposition to Pakeha ' : stranger : ' occurs in the same sense in other parts of Polynesia, 
in the forms Moot and Maoli. 


Thakombau, the last king of Fiji. (From a photograph in the 
possession of Herr Max Büchner. ) 


of a darker stock through mixture with older inhabitants ; likewise of men who 
lived on these islands " after the great monster," and who left great shell heaps 
behind them. We reach quite mythical ground with the Pua-Reingas, who lived 
underground and could not be conquered till a chief made a hole in the earth 
by which the sunbeams entered. Less frequently, for instance in Rarotonga, 
Mangarewa, the Kingsmill or Austral groups, the legend is decided as to their 
being uninhabited. 

The epochs of the Polynesian migrations must have been very various. They 
took place so long as there were any Polynesians in the Pacific. In the case of 
the colonisation of Rarotonga, tradition demands thirty generations, in that of the 
Maoris fifteen to twenty. On Nukahiva indeed we hear of eighty-eight generations ; 
and there are sixty-seven ancestors of Kamehameha ; but to these figures no credit 
can be given. We are entitled, however, to assign no great antiquity to Polynesian 
colonisation. The people have not had time to develop any marked peculiarities 
in culture. The date of their arrival in New Zealand and the other places of 
immigration can only be a matter of some centuries back. The settlement of 
Tahiti no doubt falls earlier. Many isolated casual migrations may have preceded 
the greater deliberate movements. But in any case we must clearly grasp the 
fact that there was a period during which the sending forth of colonies was 
enjoined by the increase in population, and was rendered possible by the political 
organisation. In the newly occupied territories too, the development of the new 
populations began upon a higher level, and then fell off ; upon the remoter 
islands like New Zealand, Hawaii, Easter Island, where disturbing influence pressed 
upon them less, they retained the most traces of a past higher condition. The 
decadence of the Maoris affords a conspicuous instance of a rapid impoverishment 
in the advantages of culture. The larger states split up into small communities, 
on a mutual footing of feud and extermination, having lost the consciousness of 
a stronger cohesion, with its power to maintain culture. The character of the 
people lost in demeanour and discipline, becoming ever more savage and cruel. 
Hand in hand with this went belief in their old native gods, and the transforma- 
tion of these into demons of the forest and the sea, cruel spectral caricatures, 
distorted at pleasure. A superstitious cult of the individual took the place of the 
state or national religion. They went back even in the arts ; even in Cook's time 
works of former generations were preserved as sacred objects, which they had lost 
the knowledge and the capacity to produce. 

These migrations were not confined within the limits of Polynesia. Colonies 
went forth into all the Melanesian groups ; where we obtain a general impression 
of a permeation with Polynesian elements from the eastward. On the small 
islands they hold their ground ; on the larger they were merged in the mass of 
the resident population, but not without leaving their traces. Ethnographical 
varieties become clear, if we remember that one or the other element has been the 
bearer of them. Thus in the territory of the New Hebrides and Solomon Islands, 
where "mother-right" prevails, Polynesian colonists have brought in "father- 
right " ; in this case a revolutionary institution. Echoes of New Zealand meet 
us in the visible speech of New Caledonian architecture, in the clubs of Eastern 
New Guinea, and in other cases. In Micronesia, Polynesian affinities are yet 
more frequent. There many customs remind us with especial force of the western 
Polynesians and at the same time of the Fijians. Not only, however, have 



Polynesians made their way to Melanesia, but we have historical proof of 
Melanesian colonies in Polynesia. 

Nothing indicates more clearly the frequency and extent of these migrations 
than the very small number of totally uninhabited islands. These vikings of the 
Pacific contrived to discover even small and remote islets. In the whole of the 
Pacific there is not one island of any size of which it was left to Europeans to 
demonstrate the habitability. Many of them were only visited periodically for 
their palms or the fishing ; but these were in all cases certain to be less well suited 
than the others for habitation. Of the little islets which rise from a common base 
in a reef, and lie almost flush with the sea, forming an atoll, often only one in a 
group, the largest or most productive, is inhabited. Indubitable traces of former 
habitation show that the uninhabited regions did not extend beyond their present 
boundaries. These are proved to lie in those central Pacific Sporades which hold 
so important a place between the groups of Eastern Polynesia and Hawaii, such 
as the Guano Islands of the Central Pacific, the Penrhyn group, the most south- 
easter!}- islets of the Paumotu group, and others. Norfolk Island is the only one 
in the Southern Pacific which can be pointed out as having from its natural 
conditions and endowments deserved to be permanently settled ; but in the angle 
it makes with Australia and Polynesia, it lies far from all migrations, and it has 
an area of not more than 1 8 square miles. 

Local arrangement breaks up the wide district into geographical groups 
distinguished by ethnographic characteristics : Melanesia is contiguous to New 
Guinea ; north of it, separated by a band poor in islands, we find Micronesia over 
against the Moluccas and Philippines to the eastward. Polynesia joins on in the 
form of a great triangular space outflanking the eastern side of the two districts 
already named both to south and to north, and is divided by a tract of sea with 
few islands into a western group of Tonga, Samoa, and Tokelau with Fiji, and 
a more extended eastern group reaching from Hawaii to New Zealand. 1 

In view of the many internal differences in the populations, and considering 
the distinction, great but difficult, of accurate demarcation between Polynesians and 
Melanesians, there is little purpose in dividing off smaller groups by physical 
characteristics. These can at most be suggested. It is just possible that a sharper 
racial distinction between west and east Polynesians may be emphasised. 
According to Finsch, among all the Polynesians the Hawaiians have the greatest 
similarity with the Samoans. The Maoris are next most closely connected ; this 
nearer relationship is confirmed by the language. This seems to be a similar 
phenomenon to that of the deepening of the lighter skin tint of the Malays into 
a darker as we go eastward. Confining ourselves to tangible objects, we will now 
make an attempt to divide the area of Polynesian culture into smaller districts. 
In this, as might be expected, the large influential groups of Samoa and Tonga 
show an affinity with the neighbouring Fiji. This strikes us most clearly in our 
ethnographical museums by the abundance and variety of the wonderfully carved 
clubs. Tonga shows linguistic peculiarities, shares with Fiji in respect of bows 
and pottery, and builds its vessels differently from Samoa. In the Harvey Islands 
to the eastward, the art of carving has been absorbed in the preparation of 
hatchets with pretty handles rich in symbolic forms. The Society Isles show 

1 [I leave this as in the original, though it appears from the map that a line drawn from Hawaii to New 
Zealand passes through the Tonga group.] 


agreement with Hawaii in their feather work and axes. In the Marquesas, oars 
as well as axes and dancing stilts are carved with conventional ornaments, each 
of which has its name and its significance, reminding us somewhat of the Easter 
Islanders' writing. The Hawaii or Sandwich Islands are distinguished by fine 
feather masks and helmets, and have weapons with wooden handles, set with 
sharks' teeth like knives. These, however, find their richest development in the 
Gilbert or Kingsmill Island. New Zealand, which has the most peculiar climate 
of any region inhabited by Polynesians, is the culminating point and the horn of 
plenty in regard to art development in Oceania. Its favourite manufacture is small 
hand clubs, called mere, made like many ornamental objects from jade. Also 
richly carved sticks, objects in greenstone, symbols of rank in the shape of oars, 
ships, pillars for houses. But on the whole it preserves agreement with the rest 
of Polynesia. One might conclude that its settlement did not take place till late, 
but that from the remoteness of these islands a tranquil development resulted 
with the maintenance of many old notions of form. If the Maori dialect is in 
many respects richer and more primitive than other Polynesian dialects, this may 
be ascribed to the more plentiful contact of the tribes over wider spaces. The 
most unique existence is that of Easter Island. It represents among the islands 
what the naturalist would call a " sport." No part of the earth shows the power 
of isolation with more impressive clearness than this little spot of some 50 square 
miles. The most trustworthy descriptions draw attention to the departure of the 
Easter Islanders from the pure Polynesian type. Darker coloured skin and small 
eyes point perhaps to an admixture of Melanesian blood. In a population which 
by the highest estimate reached 3000, and before the days of small-pox and 
kidnapping were reckoned by the first French missionary at not more than 1500, 
even small admixtures would be of importance. But these peculiarities, not very 
significant under any circumstances, disappear when we look at the special ethno- 
graphical points, positive as well as negative. Above all other Polynesians the 
Easter Islanders possess the art of pottery ; also an obsolete writing, the power of 
executing human figures in wood-carving, and of making gigantic stone images ; 
they also build stone huts. But on the other hand they have not the more artistic 
forms of axe, bow, and spear. 

Locally and ethnographically the Micronesians stand next to the Malay 
Archipelago and East Asia ; from a physical point of view they display many of 
the Mongoloid marks with especial clearness. In their ethnographic relations 
they seem to be a race which has come down from a higher stage. In social and 
political institutions — in their money, their looms, their navigation — they show 
traces of a richer development of the external life. But a further motive must be 
sought in the less secluded character of the entire Micronesian development, upon 
which the neighbourhood of Asia has worked both advantageously and disturbingly. 
Many objects are indistinguishably like those of particular Malayan localities ; 
thus the spears of the Carolines resemble those of central Celebes. Polynesian 
influences predominate especially in the Gilbert Islands ; tattooing instruments 
agree exactly. The agreements between Melanesia and Micronesia lie in a mass 
of small details ; the young people of Astrolabe Bay wear, besides the comb in 
their hair, little sticks bound with grass and adorned with cock's feathers, repeating 
the curious head ornament of the Ruk Islanders. The loom of Santa Cruz, unique 
in the Melanesian region, is closely akin to that of the Carolines. 



Within the region of the darker races the contrasts are naturally sharper. In 
even* archipelago, and in New Guinea, lighter and darker groups may be 
distinguished. The Papuas of New Guinea west of Humboldt Bay, are on the 
average darker than those to the eastward ; in the western portion we no longer 
meet with light - skinned, straight - haired people, who might be taken for 
Polynesians. Ethno- 
graphical character- 
istics point parti}' to 
the more easterly 
islands of the Sunda 
group ; the short bows 
of bamboo strung with 
fibres, or the stone 
clubs and the armour. 
Of smaller, quite spe- 
cial characteristics, we 
ma)' note the arrows, 
exactly like those of 
Ceram. The more 
warlike and enterpris- 
ing tribes dwell in 
East New Guinea ; 
they are far superior 
to the natives of the 
interior, the stupid 
Dorese, and the good- 
tempered, cunning 
Papuas of the south- 
west coast. This 
character extends to 
the inhabitants of the 
neighbouring islands 
to east and north. 
Between the Bis- 
marck and Solomon 
Islanders, too, there is 
a great agreement in 
character ; they are 
strong, coarse, warlike, 

but at the same time capable of work and receptive of education. In some 
distinctive details, such as the use of coloured bast and grass for ornament, the 
Solomon Islanders agree with New Guinea. The Trobriand, D'Entrecasteaux, 
and other islands southward to Teste form, with eastermost New Guinea, one 
ethnographical province. Here we begin to find a higher proportion than in New 
Guinea of population partly straight-haired and fair-skinned, with such specific 
features as the loin-cloth made from the pandanus-\<za.{, the working of small disks 
of red spo?idylus-she\\ for ornament, the peculiar mode of inserting the axe-head, 
navigation highly advanced, and cannibalism. Some of these characteristics 

Rattan cuiras 

throwing-sticks of dark wood, and bark belt, from Kaiser 
Wilhelm's Land. (Berlin Museum.) 


mark the transition from East New Guinea to the more westerly regions. Alike 
in New Guinea and the next islands to the eastward there has been developed 
a style in which the human countenance is rendered by means of two straight 
lines, one at right angles to the other, to indicate the nose and lower rim of the 
forehead, a corresponding line giving the mouth. The effect of boredom pro- 
duced by this physiognomy has been noted as being the effort to portray the 

Axes from the D'Entrecasteaux Islands — one-eighth real size. (Christy Collection.) 

bored Englishman ; but it also reminds us of the " tortoise-shell style " of the 
Torres Islands, where it is made necessary by the material. In the case of the 
Admiralty Islanders, holding as they do an intermediate position among the 
rest of the Melanesians, it is interesting to note that their peculiarities arc 
negative. Except the spear they have no weapons ; lacking bow and arrow, 
throwing-stick, sling, and axe. Bow and arrow are wanting also among other 
Melanesians, and the Australians ; but the latter have other weapons, in some 
cases in remarkable abundance and variety. In the poverty of the islanders of 
whom we are speaking one might be inclined to see an effect of their isolation, 
an evidence of limited intercourse. But many other characteristics point to closer 
affinities, in one or another direction, with the inhabitants of Humboldt Bay, the 
Solomon Islands, or New Hanover. 


1 3 3 

The more easterly islands of Melanesia show, as in Fiji and the New Hebrides, 
the largest proportion of Polynesian influences. Fiji indeed cannot be understood 
apart from Tonga ; Fiji is " upper," Tonga " lower." The relations between these 
two groups are most intimate. Physically the Fijians must be regarded as hybrids 
between the Mongoloid and the Negroid ; etymologically the Tongan is of all 
Polynesian dialects the nearest to the Fijian. In style the productions of Fiji 
bear the closest resemblance to those of Samoa. But the broad paddles of New 
Hanover, with strong middle rib, also remind us vividly of this group. New 
Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands form a district by themselves. The inhabit- 
ants of the former island are more pronounced negroids than those of the latter, 
where, indeed, Mare contains a Polynesian colony, self-founded ; but in both 
Polynesian influences are 
clearly apparent. Deduct- 
ing the effects of the soil 
and the unfavourable cli- 
mate, there still remain 
many peculiarities corre- 
sponding to the secluded 
position. Among these are 
the circular huts, the pecu- 
liar shape of spears and 
clubs, the absence of the j 
bow, the use of the pretty 
brown bat's fur for all kinds 
of adornments. Special to 
New Caledonia are the 

binding of the grip of a weapon with string, or cloth, the attachment of woollen 
tassels, and the like ; also the broad jade blades, the beak-shaped clubs, the 
absence or rudeness of sculpture. The closest affinities to New Caledonia are 
shown by the northern New Hebrides. 

While Polynesian influences have flowed so copiously over the eastern 
boundary of Melanesia that they got possession of whole islands, Malay influences 
have been far less active on the west side. Only in western New Guinea are 
they decidedly predominant. On its eastern shores, till you come towards Tagai, 
the people of New Guinea were ten years ago still completely in the stone age ; 
while in the west the working of iron had long been known. Spear-heads, .short 
swords, and knives soon became common in the palaces on the coast of Geelvink 
Bay. The colonies coming from the east, who settled in the coast districts of 
eastern New Guinea, appear to have made more impression than the conquerors 
and rulers from the west. But that, in spite of that, an old connection must be 
assumed, is quite clearly seen both from the negroid elements which, scattered as 
they are throughout the Malay Archipelago, are represented with especial strength 
in its eastern half, and also from ethnographic characteristics. In the district 
bounded to the westward by a line drawn through Halmahera and Flores, both 
elements appear so strongly that the region appears to be one of transition from 
Malay to Melanesian. Here we find forms of bows and arrows showing a 
remarkable similarity with the Melanesian ; so, too, older forms of spear, filing 
of teeth, and tattooing, have maintained a wide extension. 

Carved wooden plaques, used as stamps, from the Fiji Islands. 
(Godeffroy Collection. ) 



It can hardly be doubted that, from the stream of migration which entered 
the Pacific from the westward, rills were diverted to the continent of Australia. 
Here, too, we have a mingled strain, whose main constituents are a fairer straight- 
haired, and a darker crisp -haired race. Relations with an older world may 

unquestionably be pre- 
sumed. The funda- 
mental ideas, and many 
details in the initiatory 
rites for boys and girls, 
are thoroughly Ocean- 
ian, and connect at least 
Northern Australia with 
the neighbouring New 
Guinea and its adjacent 
islands. Traces of taboo 
also appear ; and if their 
usage is less sharply 
marked than in Poly- 
nesia, the cause may be 
found in the coarser life 
and more indigent con- 
dition of the Australians. 
In former times more 
consistent and more 
highly -finished customs 
may have prevailed. For 
the racial dualism, which 
the rapid progress of 
crossing has done its 
best to obliterate, we 
can look, so far as our 
present knowledge al- 
lows, only to Papuas 
and Malays. It is a 
fact that Malays live, 
temporarily or perman- 
ently, among North Australian tribes, and exercise no small influence upon 
them ; while on the other hand there can be no doubt as to the temporary 
intercourse of the Torres Islanders with both Papuas and Australians. On 
the north-west coasts of Australia we can prove Malayan influence more 
certainly than any other. The extension of the bamboo in Arnhemland, 
the existence of small-pox before the arrival of Europeans, the objection to 
eat pig-meat, testify to this. Perhaps also we may trace to the same cause 
the absence of the boomerang in North Australia. Without doubt these races 
must have begun to permeate long before the historical period. The Malay 
fisheries on the North Australian coast are, says Campbell, a settled insti- 
tution, pointing to a long duration. The evidence of Tasmania would lead 
us to assume a crisp-haired race as originally inhabiting Australia ; for the 

Jade battle-axes and jade hatchet, insignia of chiefs, from New Caledonia. 
(Christy Collection. ) 


Tasmanian hair was decidedly more woolly than the Australian. The apparently 
uniform conditions of Australia arc complicated by what Bastian calls " the 
shadow which the great continent of Asia casts over these oceanic groups of 
islands." We cannot disprove that Malayo-Polynesian elements may have reached 
Australia from the eastward also, just as easily as they got to New Guinea ; but 
no evidence for it is forthcoming. Norfolk Island was uninhabited when dis- 
covered by Europeans. Nor is the connection with New Guinea in any way 
intimate. Whether remains of the dingo are really found in the Australian 
Post-pliocene or not, probability is strongly in favour of his having been introduced 
by human immigrants ; and the New Guinea dog is different. Ethnographical 
objects, too, are not alike on the two sides of Torres Straits. 


Bodily peculiarities — Racial marks — Colour — Head — Hair — Albinism — Muscular strength — Spiritual Disposi- 
tion — A race of contradictions — Optimistic critics — Stupidity — Frivolity — Lies and Dissimulation — Comedy 
of King Finn — Licentiousness — Human sacrifices, cannibalism, and infanticide — Intellectual capacity — 
Influence of Christianity — Creative power of the Polynesian mind — Invention — Mythology — Cosmogony — 
Knowledge of geography — Medicine — Reckoning of time — Counting — Music and dancing — Wrestling and 
boxing — Games of children. 

AMONG the Polynesian tribes, distributed as they are over a wide area broken up 
into numerous islands, varying greatly in natural resources, and permeated by a 
deeply-rooted social organisation, racial distinctions emerge very clearly. It is 
almost superfluous specially to emphasise the fact that in this race too we can 
find no absolute unity. Crossings have taken place, of which we can no longer 
determine the individual elements, though doubtless negroid constituents turned 
up among them. But whatever may be the history of the Polynesians, they 
form a special group of mankind. In close affinity with the Malay race they 
have a brown skin, with a prevailing tendency to light gradations, such as might 
on the average be designated as olive-brown ; though among the Micronesians 
we find the Chinese yellow, and among the Samoans the light-brown tint of 
Southern Europeans. The hair is black, smooth to curly. Finsch considers 
that within these limits the Micronesians do not vary more from the actual 
Polynesians than Swabians from North Germans. There are Polynesian colonies 
in the Micronesian region, but many Micronesians come nearer to the Melanesian 

Among the more important bodily characteristics we may mention the pre- 
dominance of short skulls, often exaggerated by artificial deformation ; low, but 
generally well-shaped foreheads, often causing the facial angle to be equal to that of 
Europeans ; noses more often snub than curved ; eyes small, lively, usually placed 
horizontally, with remarkably wide opening and eloquent expression ; cheek bones 
projecting forward rather than sideways ; and, lastly, mouths well shaped in spite 
of thick lips. In general the lighter Polynesians, more especially Maoris and 
Tongans, resemble most the European type even in expression ; while the some- 
what darker Micronesians, as has been said, approach the Melanesian. The 

1 86 


general character is soft features and pleasing demeanour. The expression 
" nobly-formed races," is so commonly used of the Polynesians that it may be 
worth while to point out that it is only their stature which can be judged by a 
European standard. " The handsomest woman of Samoa," says Hugo Zoller, 

" cannot be com- 
pared with any- 
thing more than 
a pretty German 
peasant girl-" 
The hair in its 
finer texture and 
tendency to form 
waves or even 
ringlets, departs 
from the coarse 
straight Mongol- 
ian form. The 
best term for it 
is " crisp " hair. 
Occasionally wigs 
are met with, 
sticking up and 
towzled after the 
Papuan fashion. 
The colour of the 
hair ranges from 
black to chestnut 
brown. A lighter 
tinge, particu- 
larly rusty-brown 
wisps running 
through dark 

hair, and reddish 
or yellowish col- 
oration of the 
tips, proceeds 
from frequent 
bathing and pow- 
dering with lime. 
Albinism seems 
to be rare. The 

development of hair on the face and body is less in straight-haired than in 
curly-haired persons. 

The bodily strength of the Polynesians is not very great ; the small amount 
of labour which many of them perform hardly tends to a thorough development 
of the body. Even the most stalwart-looking Maoris possess, on the average, 
only a fraction of an Englishman's lifting power ; nor do they excel in speed of 
foot. Arms and legs run rather to fat than to muscle. A notable corpulence 

Samoan woman. (From a photograph in the Godeffroy Album 



is frequent as a result of indolence. The average weight of the men in the 
Gilbert Islands is, according to Finsch, about 1 2 stone, the maximum a little 
over 15. In stature the Polynesians hold a medium position. Finsch's measure- 
ments give 5 feet 1 1 inches as the highest figure for a man of the Gilbert 
Islands, and 5 feet 3^ inches for a woman of Upolu, one of the most powerful 
and stoutest of Polynesian women. The minima fall just below 5 feet. Long 
ago G. Forster said of the Easter Islanders, who live under conditions calculated 
to stunt them : " We did not find among them a single man who could be called 
tall." In the Marshall Archipelago the natives of the more northerly islands, 
which are less visited by strangers, and produce food in greater abundance, are 
men of a taller and stronger stamp ; while the great majority of those in the 

Women of the Gilbert Islands and Marshall Islands. (Godeffroy Album. ) 

southern islands are slender men who grow old prematurely. The more weakly 
type tends to prevail ; possibly the indolence which shrinks from the exertion of 
fishing, and limits itself to a vegetable diet, may have something to do with this. 
According to Finsch the Gilbert Islanders may be indicated as the strongest. 
They are distinguished by the rapidity with which they multiply, supplying an 
abundant emigration. Racial differences are to some extent involved in the 
social organisation. The lighter people of the upper classes are descended from 
Japanese, Chinese, and Spaniards ; and tanning by the sun assuredly does not 
alone account for the darker tint of the lower classes. Ellis heard it said when 
a swarthy man passed : " How dark he is, he must have good bones." Still the 
darker complexions are not found exclusively in the lower classes, while the 
lighter skin of the aristocracy admits of exceptions here and there. 

The acuteness of their senses is considerable ; and this holds good not merely 
of their cleverness in finding lost objects, or seeing small birds in covert. An 
inventive intelligence is native to them. The Polynesian has not the childish 
naivete of the negro ; but at the same time he is not so reserved as the Malay 
nor so calculating as the Chinese. If in surrender to the impulses of their nature 



A Tongan. (Godeffroy Album 

which they met in quite a differe 
By that time the white men had 
made themselves feared. In 
cases where they had not re- 
ceived any lesson of this kind, 
the natives appeared as regular 
savages. Cook was himself 
partly to blame, by his over- 
confidence, for his murder on 
Hawaii. A whole series of 
treacherous attacks are known 
to have occurred in the small 
exterior islands, such as the 
Paumotu, Savage, and Penrhyn 
groups ; and the history of New 
Zealand records still more. 
Without being savages after 
the fashion of the Bushmen or 
Australians, the Polynesians are 
of an untrustworthy changeable 
character. The Microncsians 
for the most part maintain a 
timid attitude ; but thcv arc 

these are genuine " natural " races, 
on the other hand the barriers of 
tradition are rigid and social ordin- 
ances manifold ; and although they 
attack Nature and each other with 
primitive implements and weapons, 
they have in other directions given 
proof of no narrow intellectual en- 
dowment. If all " natural " races 
display something contradictory in 
the proportion which their cultiva- 
tion bears to their endowment, the 
Polynesians are in truth a race of 
contradictions. To Cook and his 
companions the Tahitians and So- 
ciety Islanders appeared as gentle 
and agreeable people, in many 
respects to be envied, fortunate, 
like children of an extremely happy 
disposition. Yet a century ago the 
Tongans were still cannibals. And 
if we turn over the record of the 
dealings of the Tahitians with white 
men, we shall find mention of their 
meeting with Wallis's expedition ; 
nt manner, and experienced a bloody repulse. 

A man of Rotuma. (Godeffroy Album.) 


frequently few in number confined to a solitary island, and almost defenceless 
against strangers. 

Under great outward vivacity lies the dulness of the uncultured nature. 
Even among Christian Polynesians one is struck by the indifference with which 
they meet a disgraceful death at the hand of the executioner ; and the tranquillity 
of children at the death of their parents, particularly in blood-steeped New Zealand, 
has been remarked. Human sacrifices and cannibalism must have left their traces 
in the disposition. These evil qualities are cloaked by a childish levity. The 
task of the criminal law is materially lightened by their garrulity ; they cannot 
keep a secret, even to save themselves from the scaffold. Throughout Polynesia 

A man of Pelevv, and a man of Yap in the Carolines. (Godeffroy Album. ) 

one hears plenty of quarrelsome talk and sees very little fighting. Even in serious 
warfare words play an important part. Many words are accompanied by many 
falsehoods. An entertaining proof of the art of the Polynesians in fiction is 
afforded by the appearance of the sham king Finn on Cook's second visit to the 
Friendly Islands in 1777. In order to carry through the part, many others had 
to take as much share in the farce as he himself ; and yet Cook was taken in for 
some days, and only began to suspect when he saw the impostor do obeisance to 
the real king. 

The Polynesians show themselves quite open to the requirements of an 
industrial life in the European sense. The sugar-plantations which form the 
chief wealth of Hawaii are no doubt at present chiefly in the hands of whites or 
half-breeds ; but King Kamehameha III. rendered essential service in promoting 
the cultivation of the sugar-cane. The first Christians on Maui performed a 
wonderful feat when they built a church 1 00 feet in length ; carrying stone, lime, 
and sand on their backs, and hauling timber with their hands. Twice the principal 

i go 


rafter gave way, and for the third time they put it up again, nothing loth. It is, 
to be sure, just the valiant, laborious, progressive Polynesians who are decried by 
Europeans as avaricious and stubborn. The Samoans and Tahitians are reckoned 
more serviceable. The profound difference between the dissolute, idle, light- 
skinned inhabitants of fertile Tahiti, and the industrious, clever, sober, muscular 
native of the poorer Tonga Islands is instructive. Is it not significant that the 
Tongans escaped the corrupt aristocratic rule of Tahiti ? 

In order to form a fair judgment as to the licentiousness ascribed to the 
Polynesians, we must consider that their excesses were described with much 
exaggeration by visitors who only learned to know the people superficially. 
Much of it no doubt arises from their general level of culture. Levity and 
idleness have in some places allowed sexual irregularity to reach an incredible 

pitch of corruption among the upper classes ; while 
in New Zealand, in Samoa, and especially in 
Tonga, women hold, on the contrary, a high 

Human sacrifices, cannibalism and traces of it, 
also infanticide, will be dealt with in the section 
on society. 

With the first ray of light which falls upon 
the life of Polynesia, together with the opening-up 
of the central regions of the Pacific, we get a 
glimpse of a strong movement of great value in 
the history of civilization. If indeed it be too 
much to assume that a development in the direc- 
tion of a pure monotheism was making its way in 
their religion before the arrival of Christian influ- 
ences, we can, at any rate, recognise therein a powerful impulse towards the creation 
of a pantheon. With a little more space and a little more stability, we should have 
found an Indian mythology in Polynesia. Morally the Polynesians did not and 
do not stand high ; and yet their abandonment of cannibalism and human sacrifice 
speaks a great deal for their self-education. It is a progress towards humanity to 
which full justice has not been done by all critics. Generally too the Polynesians 
have shown a rare capacity for education-; quite apart from their faculty of 
imitating European dress-customs. Nowhere else have missions so soon attained 
to the point of sending out native teachers. For many years whole groups, such 
as Tonga, Samoa, Hervey, have possessed a church and a school in every village, 
with clergy and teachers of whom by far the greater part are natives. At the 
same time these communities soon became self-supporting. The London Missionary 
Society has for years no longer had occasion to send pecuniary aid to Samoa ; on 
the contrary, that Mission has itself forwarded material contributions for missionary 
purposes to other districts. Among the most curious phenomena are the 
independent offshoots from Christianity. Thus in Upolu, Siovedi, a native of 
Savaii, founded the " gimblet-religion." Professing to converse with God and to 
work miracles, he enjoined a mutual confession of sins in cases of sickness ; and 
his divine service was rendered specially impressive by the discharge of firearms. 
Also in Samoa, a native, who taught the invocation of the God of Heaven, 
brought with him on his return from the whale-fisher) 7 an old woman who used 

Dressed skull, from the Marshall Islands. 
(Godeffroy Collection). 



to " touch " for diseases from behind a curtain, alleging that Christ resided 
within her. 

In all variations of Polynesian mythology an element of philosophising 
appears in astonishing luxuriance. Nowhere do we find better confirmation of 
the fact that at this stage mythology includes all science. When, as in the 
Society Islands, we find the creation of spiritual forces following immediately 
upon the emerging of Ru from the side of his mother Papa, we 
are in the region of abstractions. Not till then is the material 
world created by the union of Tangaroa with the various forces 
of Nature. We get the impression of natural science in embryo 
when Tangaroa produces, with the goddess of the external world, 
clouds and rain ; with the goddess of the inner world, the germs 
of movement ; with the air, the rainbow, the light, the moon ; 
and with a goddess dwelling in the earth, volcanic fire. This 
structure of ideas, the creation of thoughtful minds, was not 
adapted for wider extension, and therefore the universal myth- 
ology of Polynesia could not accommodate itself to the analysis 
of its simple cosmogony, which made the world result from the 
embrace of heaven and earth, into these abstract conceptions. 
But in the great simple images of the sea, the islands, the earth 
as a fixed island or floating in the sea, in their need of orienta- 
tion by the aid of sun, moon, and stars, the Polynesians found 
an inducement to observe the heavenly phenomena more keenly, 
and to form cosmogonic imaginations. Their conception of the 
world, to the formation of which fancy has contributed more 
than understanding, is yet based upon a mass of observations. 
The moon is a woman, with an indwelling capacity for renewal. 
The man in the moon is Rona, who stumbled as he went about 
at night and was taken up by the moon with the branch of the 
tree to which he tried to hold. Both sun and moon renew their 
youth in the spring of the water of life. While the moon and 
stars are in a heaven nearer the earth, namely the third, the sun 
shines only from the fifth ; else he would burn up everything. 
Sun and moon once lived together and produced the dry land Bamboo flutes fror 
of the earth. And while the sun is on one side made fast to 
the moon by Maui, on the other it is bound to the earth by its 
own beams. From this twofold attachment also eclipses arise. The stars were 
created by the ancestors of the present Polynesian race. As the population of 
heaven they are divided into two parts, between which the Milky Way, or " great 
shark," forms the boundary. The shooting-stars are the means by which they 
send messages to their former creators. Among the constellations Orion with the 
Southern Cross and the neighbouring stars as " Tamarereti's Canoe," and the 
Pleiads, under the name of " the bowsprit of the canoe," enjoy special consideration. 
In the rainbow they see also the bow, or the gleaming bowstring, or the ladder 
whereby the souls of chiefs ascend to heaven. 

The frequent migrations of the Polynesians from one island to another led 
in course of time to the acquirement of a certain stock of knowledge. The 
talented Tupaia drew for Cook a kind of map on which numerous islands of 



' British 

l 9'- 


Polynesia were marked. The names were found to be pretty correct, but not 
the position and size. Intelligent people were fairly well informed about neigh- 
bouring islands ; they distinguished the low or coral islands from the lofty or 
volcanic, and knew whether they were permanently or only occasionally inhabited, 
and the like. The brother of the chief of Raraka drew with chalk on the deck 
of Wilkes's vessel all the islands of Paumotu that he knew, and named three, 
which were actually discovered later. 

What the Polynesians knew rested on a great persistency of tradition. Their 

stock of culture shows of how much a 
talented race, without writing, and we 
may add, in its stone age, is capable. 
Mythology, historical tradition, and 
star-lore, are taught together by special 
persons, and a little medicine besides. 
Part of this is kept secret. Genealogies 
are taught at night to promising boys. 
On the memorial tablets they find the 
important names in the notches, dis- 
tinguished by special ornamentation. 
When they become priests they recog- 
nise each other by secret passwords. 
The traditional hymns which are re- 
cited at purificatory festivals are in the 
keeping of the priests. Besides the 
sacred, there is also a profane tradition, 
the depositaries of which are often 
curiously enough in the lowest ranks of 
society. To them are entrusted his- 
torical memories, the lays of the heroes, 
the myths which have become old wives' 
fables. Among the priests a kind of 
medical science had developed itself, 
the sound principles of which were 
smothered under the hocus-pocus of 
supernatural commerce. The Tahitian places the seat of life and natural dis- 
position in the belly, and uses the term " bowels " to denote what we express 
by " heart." On the other hand the head is as with us the seat of the human 
thinking faculty, and for this reason receives special veneration, which to be sure 
has a cannibal tinge. Among the more rational modes of treating the sick, 
" massage " has the first place. Among medical apparatus we find bottle-gourds 
for administering injections, and the claws of a Squilla for puncturing pustules. 

The Polynesian language possesses numerals to denominate the thousands. 
Lehn, " ashes," indicates the limit of the numerable. As a rule the system is 
naturally that of division into fives and tens ; but Ton-Fa, that is " four-reckoning" 
forms in the Marquesas and Hawaii a scale with forty as its peculiar unit. In 
Hawaii, Ule, Pelew, and elsewhere, they used, to facilitate counting, a system 
which was also highly elaborated in Peru, of tying knots in string. The Tahitians 
tied strips of coco-palm leaf in bundles ; the New Zealanders used notched sticks. 

Dancing stilts, from the Marquesas. 
Ethnographical Museum. ) 




Time is reckoned by lunar months. 
In Tahiti there were fourteen of these, 
two of which Forster regarded as 
intercalary. The names of the months 
in many cases are referable to agricul- 
ture and the phenomena of vegetable 
life. In New Zealand we find thirteen 
months, and the tenth reckoned twice 
over. The names of the months and 
the first day of the year vary from 
one island to another, and besides 


1. Paddles used at dances, from Easter Island— one-thirteenth real size (Berlin Museum of Ethnology). 
2. Bamboo dancing-stilts, from the Marquesas — one-tenth real size (Christy Collection). 



that, traces remain of another system of chronology dividing the year into 
two parts with the disappearance and reappearance of the Pleiads, thus 
reckoning six months only. Thus in a number of islands New Year's day falls 
at the southern winter solstice. Besides this, they reckon by generations ; and 
this reckoning goes back twenty-nine generations in Rarotonga, twenty-seven in 
Mangarcva, amounting to a handsome tale of centuries, but of course starting 
from mythical times. 

Song and dance occupy a large part of the life of the dwellers in the fortunate 
isles of the tropic zone. The Maoris, too, sing on every occasion ; at work, in 
dancing, in rowing, at their sports, or when marching to war. They especially 
like amcebean songs, in which choruses alternate with individual chants. But 
the character of their songs is not cheerful, however cheerful may be the mood 
which inspires them ; rather are they solemn. The Polynesians have a decided 
sense for rhythm and even for rhyme. At the more important performances, 
monologues, dialogues, even the rudiment of a drama, often consisting in the 
mimic representation of a quarrel, ending in blows, are put on the stage between 
pas seuls. On these occasions dancing-wands or dancing-stilts, often finely carved, 
are in use. Cook's companion, Anderson, describes a musical entertainment in 
Tonga as follows : " Eighteen men sat in the ring of spectators, four or five 
having bamboo-tubes closed at the lower end. These they steadily struck almost 
vertically on the ground in slow time ; muffled notes, varying according to the 
length of the tube, being given out. Another musician produced clear tones by 
striking with two sticks a long split bamboo which lay on the ground in front of 
him. The rest sang a soft air, so much mellowed by the rougher tones of the simple 
instruments that no one could help recognising the power and pleasing melodious- 
ness of the music." On other occasions hollow tree-stems are beaten like drums 
with two sticks. Of all the manifold European instruments the drum was the 
only instrument of which the Tongans would take any notice ; and this they 
thought inferior to their own. Micronesian drums are distinguished for their 
marked hour-glass shape. Particular drums are used in divine service, and 
are regarded as sacred. Bamboo flutes and shell trumpets are everywhere 

Among the dances are also included the war and weapon games, and the 
favourite wrestling and boxing contests. In Hawaii, when Cook was there, even 
the girls took part in these. The Polynesians have a great liking for games. 1 
One of their games is very like our draughts, but appears to be more complicated, 
since the board has 238 squares, divided into rows of fourteen. Another 
consists in hiding a stone in a piece of cloth, and trying to find it by hitting 
with a stick ; in this game the betting is the important point. Ball-games are 
very popular. In the Hawaiian game called Lain, a wheel-shaped stone (Maika), 
is thrown as far as possible ; and players stake all their property, their wives and 
children, their arm and leg bones (after their death), and at last even their 
own persons on one throw. Another pastime is racing between boys and 
girls. Swimming in the surf with the help of a board or spar is also in 
some measure a game of chance ; it is played, especially in Hawaii, by 

1 [Mr. Stevenson mentions somewhere that cricket-matches in Samoa used to be played by whole villages, 
some hundreds on a side, and to last for weeks. At length the waste of time and cost of entertaining the 
" visitors" reached such a pitch that the chiefs had to interfere.] 

Printed by Ehe Bibliographischfis Institut. Leipzig. 


(From Cook's collection in the etlmographical Museum, Vienna.! 


both sexes with much dexterity and pluck. Little boats are a frequent toy 
of children ; who also, like their elders, are fond of ball -play. The young 
New Zealanders have a special predilection for flying kites. Another game 
of theirs is to throw up a ball made of leaves bound together, and catch 
it on a stick sharpened at both ends. Besides these, games with the fingers, 
like the Italian morra, are very common ; and the players are extremely clever 
at them. 



Dress and ornament — Tattooing — Deformations of the body — Feather ornaments — Modes of wearing the hair 
— Objects used for ornament — Bark cloth — Tapa — Mats — Weapons and implements — Lack of iron — 
Working in stone — Manufacture of weapons from wood — Spears — Clubs — Limits of diffusion of bow and 
arrow — Slings — Industrial activity. 

The stage of culture which the Polynesians have reached is very clearly 
expressed in their external appearance ; that is, in their dress, their ornaments, 
their equipment. Living under a fortunate sky, and surrounded with water, 
both Polynesians and Micronesians bathe often, and are, therefore, a cleanly 
race. Unluckily they frequently destroy the effect of this virtue by excessive 
anointing of themselves with coco-palm oil or chewed coco -nut. They prefer 
fresh water to salt for bathing, and regard both as a good remedy against 
illness. Women with their newly-born infants, and even people in mortal 
sickness, will bathe. 

Artificial mutilations and embellishments of the person are widely spread. 
Deformation of the skull, both by flattening it behind and elongating it towards 
the vertex, is found in isolated instances in Tahiti, Samoa, Hawaii, and the 
Paumotu group, but occurs nowhere with such frequency as on Mallicollo in the 
New Hebrides, where the skull is squeezed extraordinarily flat. Flattening of 
the nose is practised in Tahiti and among the Yap Islanders ; and the nasal 
septum is often bored to allow of the insertion of flowers or feathers. The ears 
are bored, and bits of greenstone, teeth of men and sharks, feathers and flowers, 
stuck in for ornament. On Easter Island, as in Micronesia, the ear-lobes are 
dragged into flaps by heavy wooden plugs. The Micronesians also bore the rim 
of the ear in various ways. 

Tattooing nowhere reaches such perfection as in these regions. In Polynesia 
the men are in general more tattooed than the women ; but in some places both 
sexes are alike, and on Nukuor the women only are thus adorned. The custom 
of tattooing the face was not in use among all Polynesians, particularly not in 
Rarotonga ; though universal among the Maoris, with whom the Rarotongans 
were brought into the closest contact. The special forms of tattooing intended to 
excite fear seem to have left off since the introduction of European modes of 
fighting. Another advantage claimed for tattooing is that it obliterates differences 
of age. Lastly the embellishment resulting from it must not be forgotten ; as the 
tattooer's song says : 



. . . Every line be duly drawn. 

On the man who's rich and great 

Shape your figures fair and straight ; 

On the man who cannot pay 

Make them crooked, coarse, and splay. 

Here, as with other Polynesians, tattooing is no doubt founded upon, and 
proceeds from, some religious idea. It is regarded as a sacred profession, which 

Tattooed Maoris. (From a photograph in the possession of Herr Max Büchner.) 

is exercised by the priest to the accompaniment of prayers and hymns. The 
figures depicted are often those of sacred animals like snakes and lizards. In 
Samoa it is based on the doctrine of the Atua or tutelary spirit in beast shape ; 
which was why the missionaries found it so hard to put an end to the practice. 
In the Micronesian region tattooing has become to a great extent a pure matter 
of decoration, but not everywhere. On Nukuor the women live for three months 
secluded in the sacred house, and bathe in the sea before undergoing the operation,, 
which extends only to a small portion of the lower part of the body. In the 
Radack group the patient spends the previous night in the house of the chief, 
who prays for favourable tokens. In the Society and Paumotu Islands, the 
Marquesas, the Carolines, differences are made according to rank ; the common 
people being tattooed on the loins only, whilst the Erii or Ariki are distinguished 
by large circular markings over the whole body. In the Gilbert Islands a poor 
man who is tattooed enjoys more influence in the general council than a rich man 
whose surface is blank. On Rotuma caste-distinctions are indicated by tattooing.. 



Vet the chief's rank is not always thus expressed ; many chiefs are but slightly 
tattooed, while ordinary citizens show this ornament all over their persons. In 
the Marshall Islands the right of tattooing the cheeks is reserved to the chiefs 
while on Mortlock Island differences of rank are shown in the decoration of the 
legs. The two sides of the body are often unsymmetrical, and in this case the 
right side receives the more elaborate treatment. The Samoans select for tattooino- 
exactly the region which we cover with bathing-drawers ; the effect produced 
being that of a striped and spotted cloth wrapped about them. Among the 
Maoris it took years before the body was ornamented up to the design conceived 
in the artist's fancy ; but with them the traits of the face 
are literally dissolved in arabesques. The operation, as 
applied to lips, eyelids, and nose, was painful, especially 
before the introduction of iron ; in the Hervey Islands, 
Forster saw even tenderer portions of the frame sedu- 
lously tattooed. The method is in this wise. The figure 
is drawn where required ; then a little stick, pointed 
with stone, bone (human bone for choice), or iron, is 
tapped with a wooden mallet so as to form a series of 
punctures along the lines. The tattooing tools consist 
of an instrument something like a little hoe, made of 
hard wood — four shapes occur in Samoa — the fiat blade 
of which terminates in a number of sharp teeth, and a 
little mallet made of the same wood and shaped like a 
paddle, which serves to drive it in. For colouring, the 
Maoris use the soot of kat/ri-p'me wood. 

Besides this, in time of mourning the skin of the 
face, arms, and legs has to undergo cutting with sharp 
shells, while at festivities it was usual to colour it with 
red and black paint. Thus when Cook visited Easter Tattooing instruments from the 

1 • 1 11 Friendly Islands — one -third 

Island the women had painted their faces with ruddle, rea l size. (British Museum). 
some also with the yellow dye of the turmeric ; others 

whitening them with cross-streaks of lime. Herewith we may reckon the fact 
that in accordance with the proverb " No wife for a hairy man," every vestige 
of hair is removed from the face ; though it is otherwise in Micronesia. In other 
parts of the body the hair is extracted with tweezers made of mussel-shell. 
Circumcision in a modified form is very common ; though over large regions such 
as Hawaii and New Zealand it is not practised, and elsewhere, as in the Marquesas, 
is not universal. This operation also is of a religious character, and is performed 
by the priests. 

The mode of wearing the hair is suited to its stiff growth, and is simple 
accordingly. It is either worn unfastened and falling, or is cut off. The latter 
course seems, in the Society Islands and their neighbourhood, to have been 
enjoined upon all women except those of the royal family. In the Friendly 
Islands men and women wear the hair cut short and combed upwards in bristles. 
By powdering with lime the tips are reddened, while turmeric gives a golden gloss. 
The fashion of wearing the hair tied in a top-knot may perhaps be an imitation : 
on the very first day of Cook's visit a Tahitian chief copied his bag-wig. With 
the imperfect cutting-tools at their disposal, the shaving of the head was no light 



matter ; and there were few among the achievements of civilization which the 
Polynesians had cause to prize so highly as scissors and razors. In Micronesia 
the head-ornament consists almost everywhere of a long narrow wooden comb, 
with ten or twelve teeth, decorated about the handle, and at times furnished with 
a rich feather-ornament. The long hairpins serve also to allay the irritation of 

frequent insect-bites. The 
curly hair of the Gilbert 
Islanders is frizzed up with 
a stick till it stands out in 
a crown. On Mortlock 
Island the head -ring is 
covered with fibres after 
the manner of a brush ; 
while on Nukuor the head- 
dress is formed of a long 
plate of wood, broadening 
towards the top. This sort 
of thing, however, must no 
doubt be regarded as a 
dance -ornament or a reli- 
gious emblem. The ances- 
tral statues often carry a 
similar adornment. Actual 
head-coverings are not usual, 
or are permitted only at 
night, or out of the country. 
In the Carolines, as formerly 
in Hawaii, European hats 
are directly imitated. On 
Fakaafo in the Tokelau 
Islands, Hale saw boat- 
men wearing eye -shades 
of closely-plaited material 
bound on to their foreheads, 
just as weak-sighted people 
wear them with us. 

As with tattooing, so 
feather ornaments extend 
back from the domain of secular fashion to that of religion. Birds are among 
the sacred animals, and this is especially the case with that bird which in its red 
tail-feathers affords the article most sought for ornamental purposes among the 
Polynesians, the Tropic-bird (Phaethon). At one time no article of commerce was 
in such demand in the Society Islands. The feathers were stuck on to banana- 
leaves, which were bound on the forehead ; and even on the coco-nut fibre aprons 
of the dancing-girls. The most valuable head-dresses were made of feathers. 
Other objects of wide distribution were the supple necklaces of twisted string, 
in which coloured feathers were twined. In the Marquesas and on Easter 
Island fcathcr-diadems were also worn. But it was in Hawaii that feather- 

A man of Ponape in the Carolines. (From a photograph in the Godeffroy 
Album. ) 



ornament reached its greatest development and its highest value. The feathers 
of Melithreptes Pacifica were luxuries which forty years ago were permitted only 
to the most distinguished people. Helmet-shaped head-dresses were decorated 
with yellow feathers, quite reminding one in their shape and colour of the head- 
gear worn by Buddhist priests. 

Trifles of the most various kind find employment for decorative purposes. In 
its shells of man}' colours the sea provides copious material. Flowers and tendrils 
are worn in tasteful style round the neck, in the hair, in the ears, even in the 
nose. Knotted strings oi piindanusA&aS. or coco-nut fibre serve not only for purposes 
of divination, but, as on Ule, for the reckoning of time ; and many chiefs wear 
them for that purpose round their necks. Or are we to see in this a kind of 
record of memoranda {Dili) such as the chiefs 
carry in Pelew ? To these superstition adds 
shells and bones of particular shape, human 
bones, human teeth ; even millipedes are strung 
together for necklaces. Pendants of birds' 
bones and ear-ornaments of albatross-skin were 
favourite modes of adornment with the New 
Zealanders. On Tongatabu the natives used 
as ornaments the iron nails which Cook had 
brought for trade-purposes ; one nail was the 
price of a hen. In Tonga chains were made 
of long thin leg -bones, alternating with small 
brown snail-shells, and from them hung a large 
mother-of-pearl shell. Single teeth, birds carved 
from sperm-whales' teeth, black and white beads 
made from shells, are also hung round the neck. 
Combs made of the stalks of plants, bound close 

and evenly round the upper end with finely-plaited fibres are among the most 
beautiful productions of Tongan art. In Hawaii the ornaments are either for 
the feet, thickly set with dogs' teeth, snail-shells, or beans, or else armlets made 
of carved pieces of bone or tortoise-shell, all of one size, fastened into a flexible 
whole by doubled threads passed through them. Similar strings with closely- 
ranged disks of shell, divided by smaller disks of a black nutshell, are used as 
money and also occur as foot and arm ornaments. 

In Micronesia also garlands of fresh flowers, red and yellow, play an important 
part in feminine adornment. A shell, a circular piece of mother-of-pearl or 
tortoiseshell, little polished disks of Conus shell, all strung on a thread of human 
hair, form the favourite gaud of the Gilbert and Marshall Islanders. On Pingelap 
bits of red Spondylus shell are liked for necklaces ; elbow-rings of Conus and 
Nautilus shells are worn on Yap. 

A Polynesian with all his jewellery upon him gives the impression of being 
overlaid with varied hues. But the taste for colour, in the absence of staring 
mineral pigments, was formerly much better developed than it is now that 
European traders have taken to dressing these people in their stuffs at so much 
a yard. Both sexes among the Polynesians are graceful ; nor is coquetry 
unknown. On Sundays the Samoan women put on a long and ample chemise- 
like garment, always of a bright colour, which suits them charmingly. When 

Breastplate of mother-of-pearl set in iron, 
and with sling of human hair — one-fourth 
real size. (Christy Collection. ) 


they go to church they add a tiny straw-hat, decked with flowers and ribbons of 
many colours, stuck as much as possible on the side of the head. For dancing, 

I. Woman of Ponape\ 2. Woman of the Paumotu Islands (From photograph in the Godeffroy Album). 
3. Women of the Society Islands (From photograph in the Dammara Album). 

masks arc worn ; also a peculiar car-ornament, and skirts of leaves so dry that 
as they move to the tune a rustling sound arises. Red paint is also freely 


employed, and they carry paddle-shaped dancing-wands. The Polynesians belono- 
to the batter-clad races; they have advanced far beyond the point of mere coverino- 
and gone in the direction of luxury. For this reason their bark stuffs, tapa and gnatu, 
and their mats form the largest and most valuable part of their property ; in some 
districts mats are a recognised form of currency. In many cases a skirt is worn, 
girt about the waist and falling to the feet ; the Tahitian women used to wear a 
cloth over their shoulders with an opening for the head in the middle, and, in 
addition, a skirt made of finer stuff. Both sexes wore another cloth wound turban 
fashion round the head. In the Friendly Islands the dress was simpler; the 
skirt of the men was twisted up in a great bunch behind often very short ; that 
of the women tied below the 
breast, and as a rule not ac- 
companied by the cape. Simi- 
larly in Samoa and the neigh- 
bouring islands the dress of 
men and women consists of a 
piece of cotton cloth wound 
round the hips and reaching to 
the knee ; leaves are frequently 
employed for the same purpose. 
In wet weather the bark cloth 
is often replaced by a mantle 
of long broad leaves which 
hang down in a fringe ; on 
solemn and festive occasions 
the natives put on a fine mat 
of plaited fibre. The inhabit- 
ants of the eastward islands 
are scantily clothed. The 
Easter Islanders, when first 
seen by Forster, were either 
quite naked or with an inade- 
quate apron hanging from the 
girdle. In the Society Islands, 

Oll the contrary, the luxury of Samoan lady with hair dressed high. 

clothing acquires a symbolical 

significance. The war-clothes there consist of three poncho-like garments put on 
one over another : the undermost a long white one, over that a red, and outside 
all a short brown one. A dense envelopment of the whole body in as many 
cloths as possible stands for a sign of a peaceful reception. In the time of 
Cook and Forster the Tahitian dancing-girls wore a piece of brown stuff closely 
wrapped round the breast. About the hips was a pad of four layers of cloth, 
one upon another, alternately red and white, bound close with a cord whence a 
mass of white cloth hung to the feet. The dress of the New Zealanders consisted 
of skirt and mats ; these were fastened on the right shoulder in men, on the left 
in women, the men wearing in addition a flax belt from which hung the mere and 
battle-axe. Head and feet remained as a rule uncovered, though some tribes 
on the middle island had flax sandals. What the axe of greenstone is as a 

( From the Godeffroy Album. ' 


production of male industry, the mat is in the case of the women. From flax 
alone they prepared twelve different mats. Besides this, rugs were made of, or 
trimmed with, the skins of dogs and birds. The only distinction of rank, other 
than tattooing, was shown by the mats. Every tribe had at one time some 

Man of the Ruk Islands. (From the Godeffroy Album. 

special pattern of these, the differences consisting in the preparation of the fibre 
and in the ornamentation. 

The clothing of the Micronesians is less copious. In the northern Pelew 
Islands we find men going quite naked. On Nukuor any clothing beyond the 
absolute requirements of decency is allowed only at night and outside the reef. 




The Mortlock and Ruk Islanders are at the other end of the scale with their 
poncho-like mantles woven of musa and hibiscus fibres and having the hole for 
the head bordered with shell ornament. On the other hand, on Ruk the boys 
do not obtain the mantle and therewith the privileges of male society until a later 
age than that at which the girls are clothed with the apron. Here the list of 
a chiefs wardrobe consists of mantle, belt, ear-ornaments, and rings of nutshell 
two necklaces, armlets, and breast- 
ornament. A Caroline Islander of 
the old style wears in the first place 
a shirt made out of narrow strips of 
coco-palm leaves reaching almost 
to the knee, over which the men on 
festive occasions put a second of a 
pretty yellow colour, broad in the 
fibre and longer. Sometimes Caro- 
line Islanders who have become 
Europeanised, continue to wear the 
skirt under their shirts. Besides 
this it was formerly the custom with 
both sexes to wear a belt supporting 
a band made of banana fibres gaily 
coloured which passed between the 
legs. Among the inhabitants of 
Kushai this formed the only clothing. 
This product of Caroline industry 
was woven on a machine in which 
the weft was contrived by a laborious 
knotting together of various coloured 
threads, while partly the same threads, 
partly also red woollen yarn, were 
employed for the warp. On the 
Mortlock and Ruk Islands broader 
girdles of I 5 to 25 strings were worn, 
with little disks of nutshell arranged 
on them. According to Kubary's 
reckoning, not less than 12,500 of 
these were required for a girdle of 
twenty strings, so that among these 
islanders the girdle is among the 
most highly-prized articles of clothing. 

Equally valuable used to be the girdles made only to order by the people of 
Pelew, from opercula of a rare tridacna shell, and the chains known as Milt, 
made of sixty-four tortoiseshell plates. 

While the men have often remained faithful to tradition, the dress of the 
women has been altered much more owing to the intercourse with white people. 
They wear coloured cotton pocket-handkerchiefs both round the waist and also 
poncho-wise over breast and shoulders. The stuffs made of strips of palm leaf 
and bast have almost disappeared. 

Combs from Tonga — one-fourth real size. (British Museum.) 

Bone comb from New Zealand — one-third real size. 
(British Museum.) 



The weapons and utensils of the Polynesians are remarkably varied and 
abundant ; but among the Melanesians we meet with a still more copious display 
of inventiveness and artistic ingenuity. The absence of iron is especially noticeable. 
When Europeans first came into contact with Polynesians, they found them 
compelled to make up for the want of metals by using stones, bones, and shells. 
Few of the Polynesian islands possess metallic ores. On the coral islands this 
might be expected, but it is also true in most cases of the volcanic formations. 


Man of the Ruk Islands, (from the Godeffroy Album.) 

But the level of culture among these races is such as to make us believe that if 
they had discovered the raw material they would have advanced to the use of the 
metals. With stone, bones, teeth, wood, they have achieved all that was possible. 
The implements of navigation and fishery, the boats and hooks, are perfect of 
their kind, and show evidence not only of cleverness but of the inventive faculty. 
Unlike the Australians and Bushmen, as soon as they get iron they know what to 
do with it. Naturally, iron was also converted to purposes of ornament ; and as 
the value of glass beads had already dropped considerably, iron ware of all kinds 

Coco and Sago Palms. 



remained the leading article of European trade. They made it available at first 
in the forms to which they had long been accustomed, putting pieces of iron hoop 
into their axes in place of Tridacna shells, as shown in the cut on p. 208, but 
retaining in other respects the customary form of the implement. On Ponape, 
where we can date the end of the Stone Age about the beginning of the twenties 
of the present century, iron blades were still always fixed in the lemon-wood 
handles as the stone had been ; but the old stone ones were kept, as sacred relics, 
in the most secret corners of the house. 

For all heavy implements, especially hammers, adzes, and axes, stone was the 
most valuable material. It was less so for spears, and stone arrowheads were never in 

Obsidian axes from Easter Island — one-third real size. (British Museum. ) 

use. In Polynesian and Melanesian stone-axes we are struck at once by the fact of 
their not being perforated, and by the rudimentary workmanship of the outline, 
though careful rounding and polishing are not unknown. Even with the choicest 
material and the most careful workmanship these axes do not go far beyond the 
simple wedge ; and thus we seldom find them ground either hollow in the neck for 
attachment, or to a curve in the sides. The simplest on the whole are the New 
Zealand axes or adzes ; often plain rectangles, with the edge ground not in a curve, 
but angular. Even in the very large and handsome axes from Hawaii the cutting 
is rough so far as the rows of string which fasten the head to the handle extend. 
But the rudest of all are the hatchets of the Easter Islanders, resembling rather 
knives, " knapped " from obsidian or lava, very broad in the blade and short in 
the handle. The axes of New Guinea and the neighbouring islands are often not 
inferior to these in size, but are more rounded ; being fastened not on but 
into the handle. The Hawaiian axes, 8 to 16 inches long in the blade, are 
in size and shape more like those of New Zealand, but are flattened off where 
they are laid against the helve. Long, narrow, chisel-like stone blades are also 
found in this region ; while the large ornamental axes of the Hervey Islands have 
thin blades of basalt of a spade-shape, often somewhat curved. The fitting of the 
axe was everywhere essentially similar. Those which Cook brought from Tahiti 



consisted of a wooden handle with an appendage like a heel projecting behind ; the 
stone-axe, flat above and two-edged underneath, is attached to the front part, which 

Polynesian implements : i. Axe from Hawaii — one-sixth real size. 2. Adze with carved helve, probably from 
New Zealand. 3, 4. Hatchets from the Marquesas and Society Islands — one-sixth real size. 5. Obsidian 
spear-head from Easter Island — one-third real size. 6. Pair of compasses from the Society Islands — one- 
fourth real size. (1, 3, 4, 6, Christy Collection ; 2, 5, British Museum.) 

falls away at a slant, by means of a string which is first wound round the handle, 
then crosswise over the blade and the projection. Much care is devoted to the 



winding of this string, notably by the 
Hervey Islanders ; though, except in 
the case of ornamental axes, the handle 
is not much smoothed. Of Micro- 
nesian axes the greater number have 
blades of shell, chiefly from Terebra 
maculata and Tridacna gigas ; the 
broad back-bones of tortoises are also 
used. Curiously enough the Micro- 
nesians, as on Ponape, overlooked 
their admirably adapted stone, never 
getting beyond shells. In the Marshall 
Islands the adze with semicircular 
shell-blade was preferred to the iron 
adze for hollowing out canoes. The 
polishing of the blade with sand or 
pumice is the task of the old men. 

Thrusting -spears seem to have 
been formerly regarded by the Poly- 
nesians as their chief weapon. They 
were sometimes made of wood with 
the point hardened in the fire ; some- 
times strengthened with stone blades, 
the tail-spine of the sting-ray, splin- 
ters of bone, or sharks' teeth. For 
a long time they were twice the 
height of a man ; where casuarina 
wood was lacking coco-palm was 
used. Spears were given away with 
great reluctance ; they were wrought 
and adorned and ornamented with 
special care. Spears were equally the 
chief weapons of the Micronesians ; 
they were armed with barbs made of 
sting -ray spines, human bones, the 
snout of the garfish, or sharks' teeth, 
but they are never so artistic as in 
Melanesia. These weapons serve for 
thrusting at close quarters : shorter 
spears sharpened at both ends were 
used for throwing ; a spear thrower 
of bamboo is recorded from Pelew. 
Purely wood weapons include the 
sword of the Pelew Islanders, and 
the pahu, or dagger of hard wood, in 
Yap of reed, 20 inches or rather 
more in length, spatula-shaped in the 
handle, and gradually tapering, thence 


Maori chiefs insignia and sceptres — one-eighth real size. 
(Christy Collection. ) 


carried in a sheath of vegetable fibres ; angular stone blades from 8 to 1 6 inches 

long afforded ponderous hand weapons. 

Next to the spear the chief weapon is the club, generally made from 

heavy iron -wood. Its 
ornamentation makes it 
an interesting produc- 
tion of Polynesian art. 
It formed the main 
strength of the Tongans, 
the most beautifully exe- 
cuted type being the 
paddle shape, which ap- 
pears to have become 
obsolete even in Cook's 
time, round in the handle, 
flattened above, often 
brought into a four- 
cornered shape by the 
strong accentuation of 
the middle rib, and either 
cut off square at the end 
or running out in an 
elliptical point. The 
whole club from the 
handle to the point is 
covered with carving, 
which either passes 
round in one spiral 
band, or forms a series 
of chequers divided by 
the side edges and the 
middle ribs, or else laid 
over and over each other 
in simple cross bands. 
The ornaments consist 
of straight or zig-zag 
lines drawn close to- 
gether, a roughly indi- 
cated human form being 
nearly always present. 

I. Quiver and arrow, said to be from the Society Islands — one-eighth real size ^tars an O Crescents Olteil 

(Christy Collection.) 2. Wooden dagger from New Zealand — two- appear as well as fi CT UreS 

sevenths real size (British Museum). 3. Spear set with sharks' teeth, from - _ . , . 

the Gilbert Islands — one - fifteenth real size (Munich Ethnographical °i rishes and tortoises. 

Museum). 4. Saw, said to be used also as dagger, of ray-spine, from Thev have a shank to 

Pelew — one-third real size (Berlin Museum). . , 

hang them up by. Beside 
these richly carved clubs smooth ones are also found quite fiat, paddle-shaped, with 
a ring below the blade, and others of a simple mallet-shape with short handle. 
" Paddles of honour " is a name given to paddle-shaped objects 6 feet long and 


more, either carved in cross bands like the clubs, or sculptured in a fashion which 
reminds one of elegantly chipped flint instruments. The Marquesas Islanders 

i. Wooden swords from Pelew and Hawaii — one-fifth real size (British Museum). 2. Bow and arrow from the 
Friendly Islands — one-third real size (Christy Collection). 3. Saw of ray-spine, said to be from Pelew — 
one-third real size (British Museum.) 4. Bone spear-head — real size (Christy Collection). 

are distinguished in the manufacture of these beautiful clubs ; the blade of their 
paddle-shaped clubs, like almost every production of their artistic dexterity, con- 
tains a fantastically executed human countenance. But the most beautiful 


Hawaiian wicker-work helmet — one-fourth real size. 
(Berlin Museum. ) 

also were converted into 
sceptres of honour were 
conspicuous for length 
and decoration. They 
vary in shape between 
staff and paddle, the 
simplest being cylindrical 
staves with jagged longi- 
tudinal lines. They end 
in a more or less compli- 
cated knob, in the spirals 
and twists of which may 
always be detected eyes, 
or even a human figure. 
Axes, pipes, daggers, 
flutes, are often in no 
way inferior in ornament- 
ation to these decorative 
objects, and yet they 
must have been in use. 
They show how the 
whole life and action of 
Polynesia was imbued in 
a dignified manner with 
religious images, symbols, 
and ceremonies. In the 
way of tools we find 
sharks' teeth set in a 
wooden handle serving 

tokens of 

paddle -shaped clubs were certainly 
made by the Hervey Islanders, who ex- 
aggerated the delicate cell-carving of 
the Tongans to the verge of the finikin. 
The Tahitians and the most closely 
allied tribes devoted much trouble to 
the polishing of their weapons. 

The axes of the Hervey Islanders 
with perforated handles, or the over- 
elegant clubs of the Tongans, were 
obviously designed in the first in- 
stance as insignia of rank, and can 
only exceptionally have been used 
in fighting. The ceremonial axes of 
Rarotonga and Tahiti may also have 
been originally to some extent in use, 
and have been, with their symbolically 
worked handles, preserved after the 
owner's death as a memorial. Spears 
rank ; among these the New Zealand 

Small weapons with sharks' teeth from Tonga, dagger and baler from Hawaii, 
and gourd bottle from New Caledonia. (Vienna Museum. ) 


for graving tools, also wooden bows with similar teeth at both ends for use in 
drawing circles. 

Small weapons of sharks' teeth, intended for the cutting up of prisoners, 
served to gratify the horrible passion for torture ; and were also employed in 
the self-lacerations practised by mourners in token of their grief. Perhaps we 
should reckon among these the implement made of the sting of a ray, shown in 
the illustration on p. 210, equally available as file or dagger. Weapons of sharks' 
teeth reached a fine development in the Society Islands and in Hawaii. The 
kind of forked sword made from a three-or-four-forked bough of casuarina, and 
set with these teeth, was regarded as the most terrible weapon. The Berlin 
Museum possesses a club from Yap, made of the bones of the whale, and set 
with rays' spines. The population of the Gilbert or Kingsmill Islands, by con- 
sistent progress in this particular direction, acquired a peculiar style in the 
manufacture of weapons, demanding both industry and dexterity. One might 
suppose they were a powerful race living in a constant state of war. The fitting 
of their weapons with sharks' teeth, which were fastened on with strings of coco-nut 
fibre twisted with human hair, appears like a further development of the weapon 
found among the Malays, consisting of the saw of the saw-fish. The necessary 
counterpart to this weapon-making skill is the armour. Closely plaited. of string, 
coarse and thick, this must have been painfully heavy to wear, but was necessary 
if only to weaken the moral effect of the sharks' teeth. A helmet made from the 
prickly skin of the Diodon or porcupine fish completed this original equipment. 

Bows and arrows were in Cook's time used only for hunting or in sport ; and 
now they hardly exist in Micronesia and Polynesia. The bow of the Friendly 
Islands, which was only used to shoot rats, is yet a very fine weapon. It is as 
high as a man, beautifully made of polished firm wood, and fitted with a strong 
twisted string ; but its companion the quiver has quite disappeared, and the 
number of arrows is reduced to one. The Pelew natives use, for pigeon-shooting, 
bows of mangrove wood with a string of fibre. In New Zealand, language 
indicates a former acquaintance with the weapon. 

In the Gilbert Islands, Paumotu, and Easter Island, bows are entirely absent ; 
and in the Hawaiian group they appear to have been re-introduced only in the 
course of the present century. It is, however, incorrect to say that, owing to 
the gradual cessation of hunting in these islands with few animals, weapons of 
long range held no place in Polynesian strategy. Next to the spear and the 
javelin the sling is the most frequent Micronesian weapon ; slings of plaited 
twine, like those of Melanesia, are known in the Mortlock and Caroline Islands. 
Next to them come short throwing-clubs. In the Marquesas the sling made of 
coco-nut fibre, throwing stones, polished or angular, as big as hen's eggs, is among 
the most dreaded weapons. Clever slingers were in high esteem, and formed a 
special troop in the Tahitian army. At favourable moments they would advance 
beyond the mass of the host, and let fly at the enemy with loud shouts. 

In many parts of Polynesia the variety of offensive weapons diverted attention 
from any care for defensive armour and other means of protection ; battles had 
a ceremonial character, and the object of weapons was to make a warrior seem 
prouder and more terrible. Unfortunately we have no accurate description of 
the Tahitian equipment. The greatest value was attached to the head-dress. 
Among the Hawaiians this was an elegant helmet of feather -work ; among 


the tribes of the Austral Islands, of a fantastic shape. To attack the wearer of 
a conspicuous head adornment was reckoned a heroic action ; his fall often 
decided the engagement. Another article of Tahitian uniform was a collar 
decked with feathers and shells, which served as a breastplate. Parkinson saw 
Gilbert Islanders ready for fight, with the hard dried skin of a ray wrapped 
round breast and belly under their coco-fibre armour, and on the top of all as 
much cordage as could be got on. They themselves, with their ray-spined spear 
20 feet long, did not advance, but only stimulated the fighters. In Tongatabu, 
Forster found a large flat breastplate made of a round bone, probably that of 
some kind of whale ; it was 20 inches in diameter and beautifully polished. The 
Marquesan adornment of the same kind consists of pieces of a light cork-like 
wood, tied into a half-ring, fastened with resin, and set with red abrus-beans. 
Among poorer races this breastplate seems to be replaced by a shell. In the 
flat shell, often ground to a tooth-shape, which many Polynesians wear hanging 
on their breasts, we may perhaps recognise a reduced form of this. 


Distribution — Traces of an earlier more extensive distribution in the Indian Ocean — Colour ; Skull ; Hair ; 
Bodily build ; Resemblance to Negroes — Alleged race of Dwarfs — Relation of Papuas and Negritos — 
Misunderstanding of the name Alfurs — Character and mental qualities of the Melanesian population. 

CROSSING the eastern boundary of Melanesia, we at once come in the Fiji 
Islands across a plainly negroid race, the traces of which to the eastward we have 
already mentioned (see p. 147 sqq.). Beyond the region defined as Melanesia, it is 
found in the interior of India and Ceylon. In the Malay Archipelago it extends 
westward as far as Timor ; when we get to Lombok we find Malays. To one 
particular group, the Negritos, may be with much probability assigned an extension 
to east and north formerly much wider. The inhabitants of the interior of the 
Philippines, who live in a state of warfare with the Malays who invade the coast 
districts, belong to this group. The Aborigines of the Andamans are nearly akin, 
and some profess to point to traces of the race in the Mariannes and in Micronesia. 
Qurtrefages found his so-called "Mincopie-Type "even in the Japanese skull, though 
in an attenuated form. Remains of negroid tribes are also said to be known in 
the interior of Malacca and in India. This dispersed and fragmentary occurrence 
of the dark element has suggested to many observers the view that we should see 
therein an earlier population of these and neighbouring regions, for which the 
continent of Southern Asia formed a bridge between the Indo-Pacific and the 
African domains of the Negro. Upon this the lighter men were superimposed in a 
broad layer, leading on the mainland to every possible degree of crossing. Here 
also we must guard against any cut-and-dried notions with respect to the relations 
of ever-shifting races. The Papuas made forays against Asia, and came in great 
numbers as slaves to Ceram and the Eastern part of the Malay Archipelago. In 
this way we may explain in some measure those races not woolly-haired, but crisp or 
curly-haired, which, starting from Ceram, have made their way among the straight- 
haired population. The name Alfuros or Alfurs has nothing to do with these 

(i-3) Necklaces of shell and beans, with limpet-shells. (4 and 5) Ear-pendants, with dolphin's teeth. (6 and 7) 
Ear-buttons of whale's tooth. (8) Necklace of tortoise-shell. (9) Neck ornament. (10) Necklace. (11) 
Wooden fillet for the head. (12) Ear-button made of a ray's vertebra. (13, 14) Armlets of black wood and 
whale's tooth. (15) Neck ornament. (16) Necklace of shell-disks and whale's tooth. (1-7, Marquesas; 
8 and 15, Friendly Islands; 9, Hervey Islands; 10, 11, Society Islands; 12, Easter Island; 13, 14, 
Hawaii ; 16, Nukuor. ) 

To face page 214. 



Papua-like and Negrito-like elements. Thus, without speaking of the dark races 
everywhere as a primitive population, we may at least denote them as probably 
the older. 

In the colour of the skin dark tints prevail without quite reaching the depth of 
much Negro colouring. The nearest to this, perhaps, is the colour of many 
Solomon Islanders ; manifold admixtures of lighter elements are the cause of the 
frequency of various shading. In Western Fiji, in the New Hebrides, Malicollo, 
and New Britain, the dolichocephalic form of skull prevails. The dark crisp-haired 
population of negroid exterior in the Malayan Archipelago and New Guinea 
are said to be brachycephalic, as are the so-called Mincopies of the Andamans. 
According to Krauser the Fijian skull is highly prognathous. At one time it was 
alleged that their hair grew in tufts, in which it was sought to find a distinction 
from the African Negro ; now it has been discovered that the hair is distributed 
pretty evenly over the scalp, and only assumes the tufted appearance when it 

New Guinea girl. (From a Photograph in the possession of Herr W. Joost, Berlin.) 

becomes long. Individual hairs are coarse, wiry, and of elliptical section ; on the 
face and body the hair seems to be stronger than in Negroes. 

The frequent occurrence of small individuals is a curious feature in the negroid 
population of the Indo-Malayan region. In many tribes they form a decided 
majority, and are clearly distinguished from the others. The average height of 
the Papuas of New Guinea and the neighbouring islands is between 5 feet 5 inches 
and 5 feet 8 inches. The Fijians even, especially in the upper classes, are often 
taller than the whites ; on the other hand, for the Andaman Islanders the standard 
is from 4 feet 6 inches to 5 feet ; for the Negritos the average is 5 feet. The 
measurement among the Kanjhars of South India is for men 5 feet 1 inch to 
5 feet 3 inches ; the Veddahs of Ceylon 4 feet 9 inches to 4 feet 1 1 inches ; the 
Paliars of Travancore about 5 feet 3 inches ; the Kardars of the Anamalai 
mountains from 5 feet 1 inch to 5 feet 5 inches. 

The resemblance to Negroes which predominates in the total of the phenomena 


is constantly being insisted on ; 260 years ago Tasman expressed it by saying 
that they only differed from Kaffirs in having less woolly hair. Observers like 
Finsch and D'Albertis take every opportunity of rejecting the notion of a special 
Papuan race ; the prevailing type of the Melanesians is only a slight variation, 
recognisable by the greater abundance of hair on the face and body, and by 
peculiarities in the features. In the larger archipelagos the natives display various 
departures from the type which may be referred partly to Malayo-Polynesian 
crossing, partly to the influence of their surroundings. Not to mention Fiji, with 
its patchwork of races, the New Hebrides unfold before us a real book of patterns. 
On the Southern Islands the inhabitants are better developed than in the north ; 
on Tanna they are handsomer, bolder, and of finer character than elsewhere ; on 
Api they are lean, ugly, and very tall ; on Erromango they are very short. Even 
in maps of the sixteenth century there appear off the coast of New Guinea Islas 
de Mala Gente side by side with Islas de Hombres Blancos. Thus it is impossible 
to speak of a geographical division of these dark races into one group of eastern 
dolichocephalic Papuas and one of western brachycephalic Negritos, for the 
conditions under which the latter dwell are even less favourable to the production 
of unalloyed characteristics. 

With their widespread distribution we shall expect to find them dividing up 
into sub-races. Here we are justified in inquiring into the relation which they 
hold towards the Australians. Certain points of agreement are obvious — 
dark skins, pronounced hairiness, beards ; besides this we have relationship of 
language. We may admit the variety of the Australian race, and that 
Australia has probably been invaded by elements from New Guinea and 
Polynesia. It is not the case that the woolly-haired Australians are confined to 

the north or north-east ; there are many Austra- 
lians who come nearer than the Papuas to the 
mixed Polynesian breed. Independently of the 
differences and transitions called into existence by 
Polynesian immigration, leanness of the arms and 
legs, bad proportions, an ill-nourished condition, 
are noticed as approximations to the Australian 
type. Besides this we find also physiognomies 
reminding us of Indians, Jews, or Europeans. 

Great confusion has arisen from the application 
of the name Negritos, especially to the inhabitants 
of the Philippines, a mixed dark race with 
straight hair. One view with regard to these 
Negritos may be summarised in the statement 
that they are for the most part brown men, with 

TOY „J. / 11 11 n • 1 . 1 • 

Album.) curly (seldom woolly) or even straight hair — a 

race of the mountains, the forests, and the chase 
and departing from the Malayan race-type in respect more of their social and 
geographical position than of any anthropological marks. 1 When the Spaniards 
came to the Philippines they found Malays on the coast, Tagals more inland ; 
and in the mountains, the Aetas, who were driven back and decaying. Con- 

[Dr. Meyer, the most recent authority on the subject, holds a totally different view. See his Die Negritos 
der Philippinen.] 



sidering the wide diffusion of Negroid elements, it is not astonishing if they have 
mingled in this socially inferior group of races ; they are found also in other 
regions in which both Malayoid and Negroid elements are included. The darker 
population in the east of the Malay Archipelago at least reminds us, in a certain 
hybrid character, of the Negritos, as found in Halmahera or Gilolo, and the 
interior of Great Nicobar. In the Malay Peninsula the Negroid element reappears 
more clearly. On other islands of this region, too, we meet with a race, 
swarthier than the other inhabitants, slim and tall, with woolly or crisp hair, 
living in the mountain districts of the interior. They were known as Harafara 
or Alfurs. But if the distinctions between the tribes who have been driven back 
into the interior and those who live on the coast are often, even in small islands, 
as great as those between 
Bushmen and Hottentots, 
the effects of social and 
political distinctions take 
precedence of distinction of 
race. The Orang Pango-ano; 
and Orang Semang in the 
interior of Malacca are de- 
scribed as little men, mostly 
dark, with crisp hair. Maclay 
compares them with the 
Negritos of the Philippines, 
and speaks of " men of pure 
Melanesian blood among 

A claim to form a group 
by themselves is made also 
by the small races diverging 
in many respects from the 
Papuan type, who live in the 
western part of this area of 
diffusion. The Andamanese 
may pass as their typical 
form. The face has a bene- 
volent, gentle expression ; the forehead is arched ; the eyes are round, and set 
horizontally ; the nose is small and straight ; the lips not strikingly prominent. 

In India dark men are numerous, extending far to the north. The assumption 
that we have here to do with a great racial struggle in former times has been 
strengthened by the poetical exaggerations of tradition, which draws a sharp 
contrast between the combatant races, as black and white ; deriding the flat and nose- 
less countenances of the dark foe ; and even depicting them as apes. But thorough 
research has always tended to lighten the dark colour of this race, and raise their 
level of culture. Indeed, the important and talented race called Tamils belong 
to this group. Some have thought fit to reckon the blended little race known as 
the Veddahs of Ceylon among the most degraded of the earth ; but the more 
evidence comes to hand, the clearer it becomes that they are not even so dark 
as many Tamils ; that, as regards the face, the distinction is small between them 

Fijian lady. (From Godeffroy Album.) 



and the highly-civilized Cingalese ; that their hair is not at all the woolly hair of 
the Negro ; and that their language is an Indian dialect full of Sanscrit words, and 
alloyed with Dravidian elements. 

Must we then perhaps look for the real negro element in the small crisp- 
haired men or black dwarfs 
who are said to live in trees 
in the Athrumalli mountains 
of South India? Jagor has 
drawn these tree dwellings 
(see p. 1 08), but they only 
serve as places of refuge, 
otherwise these ill - famed 
people live in regular villages. 
If in the descriptions of them 
it has been again and again 
pointed out that they live on 
products of the jungle, eat 
mice, dwell among the 
branches, worship demons ; 
nevertheless social debase- 
ment and anthropological 
degradation remain quite 
distinct things, and if the 
Kaders, the Nairs, and other 
mountain tribes of South 
India are depicted as thick- 
lipped dwarfs, the example 
of the Veddahs shows us how 
much these random descrip- 
tions can be depended on. 
Even the fact that some of these tribes file their teeth to a point, while 
others live in polyandry, and observe the Tamil custom of inheritance through 
the mother, or that men and youths live separately in one great house, need not 
give them any lower a place in our eyes. Traces of these customs run through 
all mankind, even the traces of cannibalism in the mountain tribes of Assam are 
not astonishing. A more important fact is that some of them have used stone 
weapons and utensils even to our own time, and in connection with this we 
remember that traces of the Stone Age, probably recent, are found in the whole 
region of the eastern Indian ocean, where iron now has the upper hand. Some 
of the dark races of India have quite recently made advances which are still 
compatible with relics of their former savage forest life. The Santals of Lower 
Bengal have not only learnt to till the ground, but have adopted the plough, and 
in the course of a century have from hunters and brigands become a peaceful 
people of more than a million souls. The Khonds, who dwell farther to the 
south, no doubt carry on their agriculture still in a semi-nomadic fashion, some 
communities migrating every fourteen years ; but they have become peaceable 
and have abandoned their human sacrifices. The 46 million Dravidians of 
South India include, beside some poor nomadic tribes, a great majority of races 

Fijian gentleman. (From Godeffroy Album.) 


who may t>2 reckoned as props of Indian civilization in the same sense as the 

The difference between the Melanesian character and the Polynesian has often 
been noted. It lies essentially on the Negro side. Their bodily resemblance is 
paralleled by a mental one. The Melanesian is more impulsive, more frank, 
noisier, and more violent than the Polynesian. In cases where he appears in 
less favourable light, the key to many contradictions is to be found in a pride 
which at one moment is elated, and at the next has a keen scent for anything 
like injur}-. Those who know the Fijians best depict them as the vainest of all 
men. A casual utterance will cause a 
woman to sit down in the public place M 
of a village, shed tears without end, and fill 
the air with lamentations and a flood of jj| 
scolding and threatening language. The ! 
cry will be heard from the top of a hill, jjj 
" War, war ! will no man kill me that I may jj| 
go to the shade of my father ? " All rush to H 
the spot and find a man in the depths of 
grief because his friend has cut off a yard 
or two from a piece of bark cloth belonging I 
to them in common. Suicide is not uncom- 
mon. Closely connected with pride is 
swagger, often shown in the compilation of 
fantastic pedigrees. The arts of diplomacy 
thrive in this soil ; these hot-blooded natures 
have a capacity, which one would hardly 
suspect, for clothing themselves in an im- 
penetrable etiquette. The forms of good 
manners are strictly observed. 

The frequency of theft is well known, 
but it is chiefly directed against strangers. 
Native plantations are to natives inviolable ; 
yet so powerful a motive is covetousness, 
that the plundering of a grave is no uncom- 
mon event, even when nothing more than a 

few rags is to be got by it. It sometimes happens, however, that a person 
caught in the act of committing this crime gets burnt or buried alive. 

Revenge may form the most important duty in life for a Melanesian. If a 
man is injured he puts up a stick or a stone where he can see it, to keep him 
constantly in mind of the duty of revenge. If a man abstains from food or 
keeps away from the dance it is a bad sign for his enemies. The man who goes 
about with his head half-shaved, or, in addition to this, allows a long twisted 
bunch of hair to hang down his back, is thinking of revenge. Sometimes a 
bundle of tobacco hangs from the gable, which is only to be smoked over the 
corpse of an enemy, or the bloody clothes of a slain relation preserves the 
memory of an unatoned deed. Nor is there any lack of friends to keep a man 
in mind of his duty with songs either lamenting or censuring. Open violence 
is not the only means of appeasing revenge. Hired assassins are employed, or 

Woman of the Anchorite's Islands. 
Godeffroy Album. ) 

(From the 



magical devices with sticks, leaves, or reeds, are adopted. A dead man often takes 
a whole generation with him ; his wives are throttled, and his mother often 
shares the same fate. Treacherous and bloodthirsty acts, such as have earned 
a bad reputation for the Solomon Islanders in particular, may often be referred 
only to expiation for some injustice suffered. There is no abstract word corre- 
sponding to our " Thanks," it is even regarded as good manners for the person 
who receives a present not to betray any feeling. People when they meet greet 
each other with words like, " You are staying," " Go on " ; rubbing of noses is 
only found among the Polynesians, kissing was originally unknown. The Banks 
Islanders use as a familiar greeting a sounding smack with the hand. 

Woman of the Anchorite's Islands. (From the Godeffroy Album.) 

The degrees of activity and prosperity are numerous. In Mallicollo and 
New Caledonia the people are poor and lazy. On the other hand those of Fiji 
and New Britain are proud of possession and greedy for gain ; quite ready to 
beg of strangers, but clever in trade. Our ethnographical museums possess an 
astounding wealth of works of art from certain favoured spots ; of which we need 
only name Astrolabe Bay and the little D'Entrecasteaux Islands. Though out- 
ward appearance is indistinguishable, there are poor people, well-to-do people, 
rich, very rich, just as with us. The saying is, as Finsch tells us, " He is worth 
ten or more rings of diwarra" We have already contradicted the unfounded 
assumption that the Melanesians are an altogether weak, backward-driven group 
of races ; and need here only recall a remark of D'Albertis concerning the 
inhabitants of Hall Sound in New Guinea, who have come but little into contact 
with civilization : " We may have many reasons for calling them savages ; but 
they live in a state of relative comfort and good fortune which one might almost 
denote as culture." 

Dull and barren stupidity does not characterise the mental endowment of the 



Musical instrument from New Ireland — one-third 
real size. (Godeffroy Collection, Leipzig. ) 

Melanesians. German observers have drawn special attention to the capacity of 
the Bismarck Islanders for education. In judging of their intellectual nature we 
must overlook neither the acuteness of 
their senses nor their inventive faculty. 
These " savages " find tools, twine, packing- 
materials, where the white man is at a 
helpless standstill. To their keen prac- 
tical eye Nature seems a storehouse of 
useful articles, where what they require 
at the moment is constantly at hand. 
Figurative language is everywhere in use ; 
and by means of obsolete or borrowed 
words it has attained the position of a 
regular poetic dialect. In the Banks Islands 
almost every village has its poet or poetess, 

whose performances do not remain unrewarded. Death is often referred to as 
" sleep," and fluids that have become set as " sleeping " ; they speak of dying as 

a sunset, and denote ignorance by " the night 

of the spirit." For modesty they employ the 

term by which they indicate the 

gentle half-tones of evening light. 

To reef the sail is to fold the wing. 

If their feeling for Nature is less 

than might be expected when we 

look at their noble landscapes and 

their beautiful flowing seas, their 

poetry and their 

art make free 

use of these in 

description and 


Apart from 
its didactic, pro- 
verbial, brief 
terms of phrase 
which betray 
keen observa- 
tion and wit 
rather than 
fancy, Fijian 
poetry finds its 
most character- 
istic expression 

i. Spatula for betel-lime from New Guinea — one-half real size. 2. Drum from Pigville in the SO-Called 
in New Guinea — one-eighth real size (Christy Collection). 3. Drums from Amboyna Mabo o name* 
in the New Hebrides (after Codrington). meise, a name 

which implies 
both song and dance. To only a few elect is it given to invent these ; and 
those allege that they are carried in their sleep to the spirit-world, where divine 


beings teach them a song with the appropriate dance. The ideal of the Fijian 
poet is regular measure and every verse ending with the same vowel. This he 
seeks to obtain by arbitrary abbreviations and lengthenings, by the use of 

expletives, omission of 
articles, and other poetical 
licenses. Seldom, however, 
is a poem achieved like that 
recorded by Mr. Williams, 
consisting of eighteen verses 
all ending in an. In the 
historical and legendary 
ballads the disposition to- 
wards exaggeration often 
takes a grotesque form ; 
nor are interpolations often 
lacking, to bring in some 
quite irrelevant bit of 
coarseness which for the 
general public constitutes the main attraction of the poem. The ballads are 
chiefly sung at night, with the inevitable dances ; but so great is the love of the 
Melanesians for song that they sing at their field-work or when rowing or 
walking about. As a rule one sings a verse and the chorus repeats it. 

Melanesian music on the whole resembles Polynesian. Musical instruments 
are absent only from the smallest islands. The prevalence of the drum in all forms 
reminds us of Africa. A small 

Carved coco-nut from New Guinea — one-half real size. (Christy Collection. 

drum, made from a bamboo with 
a slit in it, and beaten with a stick, 
is carried especially by the women, 
in order to announce their ap- 
proach on occasions at which they 
are excluded. From New Ire- 
land we have a peculiar wooden 
instrument from which a vibrat- 
ing tone is extracted by drawing 
the flat hand alone it. The 

New Hebridean ornament (enlarged). 

people of New Britain had pan-pipes varying in size and number of pipes ; Jews' 
harps of bamboo are also found in the Solomon Isles. There, too, on festive 
occasions, bands composed of twenty men perform, more than half of whom play 
wind instruments, reeds fastened twenty-three in a row, and straight flutes of 
bamboo some 3 feet long by 2\ inches thick, from which they extract two or 
three tones with chords of thirds or fifths. The others beat large bamboo 
drums with a stick. The principle of the Melanesian drum is a bamboo cane 
or a hollow stem with a narrow slit on the thin edges of which it is beaten. 
Each of these drums is one size smaller than the next, and gives a note 
different by an octave from that of the next. The flute is forbidden to women, 
— indeed superstition says that they die if they see it, and the same with the 
bull-roarer. Among the Tugcri a signal whistle is found, made from a small 
coco-nut, with several holes bored in it. 


The dances often agree even in details with those of the Polynesians. At 
funeral festivities they dance round a drum with a human countenance to represent 
the departed. Sometimes the 
dancers consider themselves to 
be ghosts ; dancing is also a 
diversion of ghosts. The indi- 
vidual movements consist of 
bowings and swayings, or 
jumping up and down ; but 
they also have mimic war- 
dances, executed by two ranks 
of men armed with spear and 
shield. Masks are worn at 
these, and if they are beast 
masks we get an idea very like 
that of the Dance of Death. 

The Melanesians are often 
spoken of as among the races 
who cannot count beyond 
three or five, but numerals for 
ten are found everywhere, and 
in New Britain the money 
reckonings extend to sums 
which would make us look for 
numbers higher than a hundred. 
A kind of knotted cord-writing 
and similar aids to notation 
are also not absent here. 

In the calculation of time and the observation of the heavens, some groups 
of the Melanesians have much the same knowledge at their command as the Poly- 
nesians have. In New Guinea the year is divided by the changes of the 
monsoon ; months and longer periods are distinguished according to the labours 
of the field ; but we find also a division according to the position of the Pleiads, 
the reappearance of which in the northern heaven betokens the return of spring. 
A large number of constellations denoted as the Boat with its Outrigger, the Bow- 
bender, the Bird, the Hunting Brothers, serve to obtain bearings in navigation, 
and to indicate the time of night. We have already spoken of the navigation of 
these races on p. 166. 

Of writing we know only traces, in the picture-writing as scratched by the 
New Caledonians on bamboo, or engraved by the Fijians as well as the Tongans 
in the shape of little figures among the ornamentation of their clubs. 

Bit of etched design on a coco-nut, from Babel in the Solomons. 
(After Codrington. ) 


Clothing — Tattooing and painting — Dressing of the hair — Ornament — Great number and variety of weapons 
— Spears — Clubs — Stone clubs — Axes- — Bow and arrow — Smaller weapons — Defensive armour. 

The clothing of the Melanesians seems to justify Peschel's law that clothing varies 
among men inversely as the darkness of their colour. The darker Melanesians 



are in general less clad than the lighter Polynesians. Their ornament is all the 
richer and more various, and the woolly hair especially brings with it a greater 
variety of hairdressing. We find men in 
Melanesia very scantily clad, and there are 
not lacking trustworthy reports of some who 
are completely naked. The Adamic costume 
of the men in the Banks Islands, however, 
standing in sharp contrast to their skill in 
weaving mats, places them very low in the 
estimation of their neighbours, though among 
these also, so far as they are Melanesians, 
limited clothing is the rule. Where clothing 
is more complete we are sure to find traces of 
Polynesian and Malayan 
influence. The foundation 
of the Melanesian man's 
dress is a belt, either 
platted or made of bark, 
passing from the hips 
between the legs ; while 
the women wear One or 
two aprons of fibre from 
grass, palm, or pandanus 
leaves. These elements 
recur everywhere, and the 
idea of what is becoming 
and respectable in cloth- 
ing is essentially concen- 
trated upon them. But 
the notions of modesty 
are extremely various. 
The people of Massilia 
on the Finsch coast wear 
a broad bark girdle pass- 
ing twice round the body 

Wigs of human hair worn in battle, from Vanna Levu. 
Museum. ) 

(Frankfort City 

Of a higher kind of dress, which may be called 
that of the Polynesian colonies, 
Fiji affords the best examples. 
Here the tapa material renders 
a richer style of clothing possible. 
The wrapping which passes be- 
tween the thighs is of such 
breadth and length that it ex- 
tends to a couple of hundred 
feet. The usual measure is of 12 
to 20 t feet; it is wound several 
times round the loins in such a 
way that the ends hang down to 
the knee in front, and lower behind. In West Melanesia, also, tapa is indeed 

Head-dress like an eye-shade from New Guinea — one-fifth 
real size. (British Museum. ) 


22 S 

made in the Southern Solomon Isles from the paper mulberry ; in the New 
Hebrides and New Guinea from the sacred fig-tree. Instead of the printed 
pattern, as shown in the cut on p. 183, we here find the stuff streaked with 
colour and moistened with the tongue or teeth. 

The tattooing in Melanesia is only in isolated instances of the artistic character 

Fiji warrior in a wig. (From the Godeffroy Album. 

found among the Polynesians. It has more affinity with the Australian type of 
cicatrised wounds than with the Polynesian punctures, and it is often not applied 
until the age of maturity. Among the light-skinned Motus of New Guinea we 
find tattooing in patterns recalling those of Micronesia. On the south coast of 
New Guinea Miklouho-Maclay found even the shaven scalps of the women covered 
with tattooing. Where there are indications of a mixture of Melanesians with 
Polynesians, it has been thought that the races may be distinguished according 
to their respective methods of tattooing. For example, in the islands off the 
eastern point of New Guinea, in the Solomon Islands (where the cicatrised 




tattooing has been observed only in Bougainville, Isabel, and the Southern 
Islands), and in New Ireland. Men and women are often differently tattooed : 
in girls tattooing indicates that they have reached nubility ; in men, the slaying 
of a child is one of the things announced by the tattooing of the breast on one 
side. In tattooing, also, East and West Melanesia represent the extremes which 
in the central parts are mingled. 

In Fiji the puncturing with the four or five-toothed instrument is limited 

to women, and in them to par- 
ticular parts — the lower part of 
the body and the thigh, the 
corner of the mouth, and the 
finger. It has a religious sugges- 
tion, and is enjoined by Ndengei. 
But here, too, cicatrices appear in 
conjunction with it, produced as a 
rule by means of shells. In cer- 
tain localities of West Melanesia 
the other kinds of tattooing are 
almost excluded, or at all events 
reduced to a minimum. Among 
other mutilations of the body, we 
get distinct reports of circumcision 
only from New Caledonia, the 
southern New Hebrides, and Fiji, 
which appears to have been the 
starting - point in comparatively 
recent times of its extension west- 
ward. In Finsch Harbour it is 
performed with much festivity, the 
women being banished into the 
forest until their boys' wounds are 
healed ; afterwards the patients go 
to live there. The custom of 
cutting off joints of the finger in 
times of mourning or sickness is 
almost universal. To go with the 
whole or half of the face and the 
breast painted with red clay is a 
practice usually confined to men, 
as also is that of blacking the 
body with a kind of earth which 
Old women also are occasionally seen blacked ; 

In warlike enterprises 

Nose-ornament, breastplate, and arm-ring of boar's tusks, from 
New Guinea — one-eighth real size. (Christy Collection.) 

gives a lustre like black lead 

among the Motus this is said to be a sign of mourning 

face and body are painted in stripes of white, yellow, red, and black ; in Fiji 

this custom has been brought to a high point of art ; the not very cleanly Maclure 

Papuas are reported to smear their bodies with clay. 

In Melanesia all hair is sedulously plucked out from the body, while the 
treatment of the hair of the head with caustic lime is quite as general as in 


Polynesia, at times carried even further. In Fiji the crisp black hair is towzled 
up, and great pains are expended upon colouring it with charcoal or lime ; then it 
sometimes surrounds the head in a strong turban-like pad, or else reminds the 
observer of a full-bottomed wig, as also in New Guinea ; while at times it hangs 
down in the form of numerous thin strands or wisps. On the other hand, in the 
Anchorite and Solomon Islands the hair is in some cases shaven, in others plaited 
into top-knots stuck together with gum, and often coloured red, black, yellow, or 
white, but constantly adorned with feathers, flowers, shells, or tastefully ornamented 
cones of bamboo. White parrot's feathers stuck on the top of the head are signs 
of rank ; in Malicollo the hair is dressed in porcupine fashion, wisps as thick as 
the quill of a pigeon's feather being wound round with the bast of a kind of 
creeper ; artificial wigs are also prepared from the coloured fibres of plants. In 
Fiji, persons of eminence have private hair-curlers, who are occupied for hours 
every da}- in the preparation of the wigs. The geometrical accuracy of the 
individual details, the rounded softness of the outlines, the symmetrical dyeing 
with shiny black, dark blue, grey, white, red, yellow, have often been mentioned 
with eulogy. Beside hairdressing, head-dresses of various descriptions occur ; the 
Hattams of New Guinea wear a little cowl with coloured feathers woven in, and 
Cook found among the naked New Hebrideans small caps of woven mat. In 
Fiji a turban of white masi, from which a piece of cloth falls down at the back, 
or two lappets over the ears, is indispensable for a man of rank. Open-work caps 
made of a piece of matting adorned with strips of dark bast are customary in New 
Ireland and New Hanover ; woven eye-shades are found in New Guinea. 

A great part of the wealth of these races consists of ornaments, and since 
these find extensive employment as a medium of exchange, trade tends to 
increase the production of them. The greatest amount of ornament falls to the 
share of the men ; the younger women wear little, the elder go almost unadorned. 
For instance, the eye teeth of the dog are held in special esteem among the 
Melanesians ; but, while the man covers his entire breastplate with them, the wife 
wears at most one or two in her ear. Ears, nose, and lips are bored to receive 
ornaments. The Papuas of Hood Bay wear a band of pearls at either end of a 
thread which is passed round the head. In Makira, Rietmann saw a young 
flying-fox used as a lady's ear-ornament, with one foot attached to the lobe of the 
ear. Among the Tugeri, pigs' bones some 8 inches long are worn in the nose. 
Polynesian influence is probably to be seen in Sikayana, if, as alleged, nose and 
ear ornaments are not in use there. In general, the employment of shells in 
ornament diminishes as we proceed eastward. In Fiji, as to some extent even in 
New Britain, whales' or cachalots' teeth turn up as the article of ornament or 
value that is most in demand. They occur often in entire necklaces. Corre- 
sponding to these is the employment in New Britain and elsewhere of shell-money 
in the form of gigantic ear-pendants. 

Melanesians wear white arm-rings, some 4 inches thick, of Trochus shell ; in 
New Guinea these serve the further purpose of receptacles for the cassowary-bone 
daggers. They are laboriously ground out on sharp splinters of coral-rock. The 
Solomon Islanders wear spiral bands of a liana which comes from Buka, on 
the left arm, as a protection against the recoil of the bowstring, and also as 
insignia of a chief ; they wear, too, combs made of the stiff reddish-brown stalks 
of a grass, woven together with fibre in elegant patterns. Feather-ornament 


displays great luxuriance in New Hanover, and much taste is shown in the 
combination of forms and colours with vegetable fibres and beads on sticks. For 
example, a delicately-formed face in feather-mosaic will be seen forming the head 
of a hairpin. In New Guinea the work is on a larger scale, and loses in elegance, 
even when it consists of an entire bird of paradise on a stick, as is found at 
Astrolabe Bay. In Tagai, pouches of varnished palm-leaf are made to preserve 
these costly adornments. Favourite gauds in Simbo, Ulakua, Choiseul, and 
Guadalcanar are plaited frontlets with large white shells, or chains similarly worn 
of porpoise's or dog's teeth. A rosette of yellow and red cockatoo or parrot- 

Shell plaques for adorning the breast and forehead : i. From the Solomon Islands — one-third real size, 
the Admiralty Islands — one-fourth real size. (Christy Collection. ) 

2. From 

feathers, frequently smartened with shells, is bound on the forehead, and serves at 
once for ornament and for defence ; it often consists of a thin polished piece of 
Tridacna gigas, on which is laid a piece of open work in tortoise-shell. Among 
the Admiralty Islanders disks of shell appear in great numbers as breastplates, 
hung from the neck. Both in form and material these ornaments testify to great 
assiduity, to which the high esteem in which they are held corresponds. They 
extend from Madagascar to Hawaii, and have found their way into the heart of 
Africa. From them taste evolves every sort of combination. Simple necklaces, 
plaited from variegated straw or bast-fibres, or made from teeth, even human 
teeth, berries, fruits, and so forth, are found, as well as more costly kinds. 
Among New Guinea ornaments boar's teeth play the most prominent part ; in 


the northern parts of the island the naturally-curved tusks being the decorative 
objects most in demand. Compared with these the neck-threads of plaited grass, 
even with small shells or seeds strung on them, are inconspicuous ; but the chains 
of human teeth, dogs' incisors, or cut shells often produce quite an elegant effect. 
In the Solomons, chains consisting of twenty to twenty -five pieces of various 
coloured shells, mingled with human teeth, or of little shells strung at regular 
distances on coco-nut fibre, are highly esteemed. In these instances the transi- 
tion from ornament to currency is not remote. On Florida, in the Solomons, 
a string of red, white, and black shells seven yards long or so is the price of a 
wife. At Finsch Harbour beads of small polished snail-shells are worn round 
the neck, in New Britain round the hips, in the Admiralty Islands as aprons. 
Finger-rings of silver, pinchbeck, or gilt brass have been introduced by traders. 
The Solomon Islanders carry tobacco and other small articles in their plaited 
arm-bands ; while in Nissan the people invariably carry their betel-lime in a 
small coco-nut or gourd fastened by a short string to the left little finger. 

Men are seldom seen in Melanesia without weapons. Every group of islands 
has its own patterns, though the actual weapons — spear, bow, and club — are 
everywhere the same. They are, however, unequally distributed, or else other 
weapons of more limited distribution occur. The weapons of Melanesia 
unquestionably are some of the choicest productions of dexterity and taste found 
among the lower races, as our plate of Melanesian and Micronesian weapons and 
utensils will show. Their neatness, variety of form, and actual number are 
wonderful. It is an unexplained departure from the rule that, on the single island 
of Api or Tasika in the New Hebrides, no weapons are carried. 

In Melanesia, again, the most esteemed and most generally-used weapon is 
the spear, the forms of which, as Strauch says when speaking of the Admiralty 
Islands, are as various as the faces of the inhabitants. Plain but carefully-worked 
javelins, as found in New Caledonia, may be regarded as the simplest representa- 
tives of this weapon ; thongs of plaited tapa are used in the manipulation of them. 
But the most finished productions of the New Caledonian armourers belong equally 
to the spear-class. Curiously enough it is not the " business end " of the weapon, 
but the shaft, to which the greatest attention is devoted. The fundamental type 
remains a staff, reaching sometimts a length of 10 feet, and pointed at both ends. 
The modifications consist merely in the addition of a carved human head, repeated 
as often as four times, below the point ; or in wrapping the shaft in the same 
region with whitish tapa or bat's hair ; a stick wound with string, and with a long 
string attached to it, is bound into this ; while, in addition to the wooden point, a 
ray's spine is let in to form a secondary point. In New Britain they wind simple 
bast round it, and attach a tassel of vegetable fibre, ornamented with feathers. 
The butt is sometimes provided with a hexagonal knob, or terminated with the 
bone of a cassowary or a man. Of these spears there are two of larger size 
intended for throwing. In New Ireland the brown polished carved kind are more 
frequent than in New Hanover, and near Port Sulphur we meet with spears 
decked with feathers and human bones like those of New Britain. As a rule 
the spears are slim and pliant ; but a broadening of the head, accompanied with 
perforation, occurs, especially in Fiji, under various patterns. On the whole, 
however, where the spear is ornamented the head remains simple. Here, again, 
the Solomon Islands show the most advanced development. Besides spears 



Weapons from the Admiralty Islands : 1, 2. Spears with obsidian 
heads. 3. Javelin with the same. 4-8. Spear heads. 9- n. 
Obsidian knives. 12. Knife of mother-of-pearl shell. 1-3, one- 
tenth, 4-T2, one-sixth of real size. (Christy Collection.) 

ornamented with pieces of 
mother-of-pearl fixed in mastic, 
the islanders have their spear- 
heads artistically carved from 
human arm-bones or the lower 
jaw of the toucan. New 
Guinea possesses both spears 
pointed with cassowary bone 
and simple sharpened shafts. 
The former are heavy war- 
weapons, for thrusting, 10 feet 
long or more ; the latter light, 
and intended chiefly for fishing. 
Unornamented spears with 
points toothed like saws, 
either two or four-edged, repre- 
sent hunting or fishing imple- 
ments rather than warlike 
weapons, and form the transi- 
tion to the fish-spears with four 
or five barbs, attached to a 
heavy, roughly -worked shaft 
by means of plaited palm- 
fibres. Spears with opposite 
rows of barbs occur only in 
Fiji and the New Hebrides. 
There the heads are perforated, 
forked, jagged, wavy, lami- 
nated — in a word, wrought 
into every sort of shape. Fre- 
quently they consist from end 
to end of fine wood, which 
exactly in the heaviest places 
is carved into a piece barely 
attached. Spears of this kind 
are intended more as orna- 
mental weapons, to gratify the 
bearer's pride, than for the foe. 
In the Admiralty Islands 
the abundance of obsidian and 
bitumen affords the means for 
a development in the manu- 
facture of stone weapons, 
which in one direction supple- 
ments the general level at 
which the inhabitants of New 
Guinea and the neighbouring 
islands stand in respect of this 



art. Here, too, spears have reached an extraordinary perfection. The head 

consists always of the choicest pieces of a granular striped basalt, and is attached 

to the shaft by means. of a copious layer of bitumen and string wound close with 

great care. The bitumen bed which gradually thins off towards the handle is 

either decorated in simple geometrical lines with the spaces coloured black, red, 

and white, and set with little 

shells, or perforated with a 

diamond - shaped opening. 

The shaft is always rough, 

just as it grew on the tree, 

and frequently weak also. 

From New Caledonia to the 

New Hebrides, the Fiji 

Islands, and from New 

Guinea, we get missile 

spears with long points of 

hard wood or bone. On 

the shaft we may often 

notice appendages which 

may be of use in hurling it. 

In some parts of New 

Guinea, as Venus Point, 

Hatzfeld Harbour, and up 

the Empress Augusta river, 

we find throwing - sticks. 

The throwing-thong of New 

Caledonia arises from the 

same idea. 

Clubs are among the 
most popular weapons in 
Melanesia ; like the spears, 
they find their greatest 
development in the east- 
ward islands, particularly 
in Fiji and the Solomons. 
Certain parts of New Guinea, 
as Maclure Gulf, possess no 
clubs. These weapons serve 
for striking or for guarding 
arrows and javelins, and in 
general they form the accompaniment of every expedition. Hence their double 
position as insignia of rank and weapons. They are often so heavy and shape- 
less, and yet wrought with such an expenditure of labour, patience, and ingenuity, 
that they must be intended for some purposes other than fighting only. The clubs 
of celebrated warriors in Fiji used to have names of honour or pet names ; in their 
shapes some seem to be connected with the four-edged Tongan type, others with 
the paddle-shaped weapons of Tonga and Samoa. A peculiar form is the 
imitation of a flint musket, lock and all ; another is a point projecting from a 

New Caledonian clubs, and a painted dance club (a) from the New 
Hebrides. (Vienna Museum. ) 


prickly fruit. In New Caledonia the most frequent form of club is the simplest, 
namely a bludgeon merely taken from a knotty branch. The first stage towards 
finishing lies in the making of a sharp edge round the knob, the next in childish 
striped ornaments ; or a favourite plan is to jag the end in a star shape. A 
peculiar club is one in the shape of a bird's head, which here replaces that used 
in Mota to open bread-fruit. But in all an easily recognisable difference from 
those of Fiji and Tonga is formed by the grip which thickens abruptly at the 
handle end. Together with this goes the splicing of the handle with string, ribbon, 
palm fibres, even dry fern. In the case of the richest or most distinguished 
persons the throwing-cords are fitted with reddish brown knots. This ulti- 
mately led to the reddish brown shaggy ornament as found also on spears. In 
recent times it has been imitated by means of imported red wool, even by 
miserable shreds of cotton, a melancholy symbol of the decay of the old glory of 
the Kanakas. The clubs in the Solomon Islands depart very little from the 
paddle form ; they have a projecting middle line resembling the rib of a leaf, and 
a handle with a shoulder. Further decorations, such as ears at the sides of the 
paddle blade, or a sharper shoulder where this passes into the shaft, are of a 
modest character. Another type has arisen through the bending of the blade 
whereby either the middle rib is thrown into strong prominence, or an opportunity 
is given for more delicate ornamentation by means of zig-zag lines, or a spike-like 
angle juts out from the vertex of the curve. The handles are decorated with 
ornaments of every kind, carvings of squatting idols, pretty woven work of coloured 
bast in tasteful patterns ; while in the fiat straight clubs the blade is polished 
smooth and sharpened at both edges, and the handle bound. Clubs from the New 
Hebrides have a plaited sling, so that they can be carried over the shoulder ; while 
in New Britain we find rings of fibre or plaiting which are said to be mementos of 
slain enemies. In New Guinea and New Britain we meet with a weapon like a 
" morning star," half club, half axe ; upon a sharpened staff, a yard long, a disk- 
shaped stone is fitted near the upper end, and above this a bunch of red and yellow 
feathers. This reminds us of the star-shaped stones with a hole through them 
found in Peru ; besides these, clubs occur without a stone ; others have a three- 
cornered sharp-cut head. There are also round ones of black heavy polished 
wood, with engraved ornamentation about the head ; and fiat ones made of an 
equally heavy browner wood cut into the shape of a spoon handle. 

The Melanesian axes are not perforated, and remind us also in their shape 
of the Polynesian stone blades. They are often beautifully ground. They are 
often fastened upon or into the helve by regular crossed layers of rush or string, 
but sometimes, especially ia West Melanesia, the helve itself is perforated, and 
so a new form arises with the blade as a rule narrower and rounder. Besides 
stone, shell also occurs in a similar shape as a material for the blade in Santa 
Cruz and New Guinea, in the Torres and Banks Islands. Iron was no doubt 
occasionally imported before the European epoch ; and in western New Guinea 
intercourse with the Malays has made it common. How quickly it takes hold 
we may learn from the fact that from New Guinea to Fiji, up to the present day, 
no article of trade is in such demand. It is interesting also to notice that even 
the natives who have only been for a few years in frequent contact with Europeans, 
imitate the iron axe in wood, even to the trade mark, while their stone axes have 
lost the handle, and have been degraded to the rank of pestles. In a similar 




IO, II. 
12, 13- 

Obsidian javelin : Admiralty Is- 

Paddle : Solomon Islands. 

Chief 's spear : New Caledonia. 

Mancatcher : New Guinea. 

Lances: New Britain. (The handle 
of 5 is made of bone, probably 
that of the cassowary.) 

Arrows : Humboldt Bay. 

War mask : New Caledonia. 

Arrows : Humboldt Bay. 

Lances : New Hanover. (12 of 

14. Spear with point of cassowary bone : 

New Guinea. 

15. Mace used in dances: Bougain- 


16. Sword-club : New Britain. 

17. Club, handle covered with grass 

matting : Solomon Islands* 

18. Obsidian javelin : Admiralty Is- 


19. Jade axe : New Caledonia. 

20. Breast ornament : New Caledonia. 

21. Necklace of cachalot's teeth : Fiji. 

22. Breast ornament : Humboldt 


23. Prickly helmet : Kingsmill Is- 

24,25,26. Masks: New Ireland. (25 used 
as decoration of a temple.) 

27. Mat with woven pattern : Mort- 

lock Island in the Carolines. 

28. Calabash for betel-lime : Ad- 

miralty Islands. 

29. Frontlet : New Guinea. 

30. Cap : New Caledonia. 

Printed "by the Bfbliosrra-pMsches Institut. Leipzig'. 





way must have arisen the musket 
shape for clubs and the like. In 
some axes the blade is set at an angle 
with a view to more convenient work- 
ing when hewing" out the interior of 
the canoes. Fijian axes are in the 
Polynesian style, but not so large. In 
the New Hebrides and the Solomons 
we have smaller wedge-shaped rounded 
stone hatchets, sometimes wider, some- 
times narrower, tending in one place 
to the oval, in another to the triangular 
shape. In Isabel and San Christoval 
the blades are from 2^ to 8 inches 
long, of a greenish gray colour, tri- 
angular or tongue -shaped, with a 
ground edge. The tongue and oval 
shapes appear in an extreme form in 
Xew Caledonia. For the broad and 
quite circular hatchets jade afforded 
the material. Artistically pretty pat- 
terns are either stitched or woven into 
the binding of the- handles. New 
Ireland has ceremonial axes with 
beautifully carved helves. 

Bows and arrows are frequent but 
not universal. With some gaps in its 

/ 1 

i \ 

£ f 


i ! 









Bow from the Solomon Islands (Berlin Museum). 
Guinea — one-tenth real size (Christy Collection). 
(Godeffroy Collection, Leipzig). 

2. Bow and arrows from North-west New 
3. Arrow-heads from the Solomon Islands 



distribution, the possession of the bow distinguishes the Melanesians from their 
neighbours to north, cast, and south ; yet without entitling us to speak of the 
bow as a characteristic of the Papuan race. The forms are like those of Eastern 
" Indonesia." They are long bows with strong, slightly bent, often fluted, staves 
of bamboo or palm-wood ; the string of vegetable material, usually rattan, is 
firmly looped to the ornamental end, and fastened in New Guinea with a pad of 
rattan, in the Solomon Islands with resin. In New Ireland and New Caledonia bows 
and arrows are not in use ; but in New Britain, Port Sulphur, the southern islands 
of the Solomon group, the New Hebrides, the Banks and Loyalty Islands, they 

are known, and in some 
parts are common. In the 
New Hebrides especially 
they are highly developed. 
The arrows of the Solomon 
Islanders are the finest 
of any. They are made 
= ' of a reed, with a head of 

Dagger of cassowary bone, from North-west New Guinea — one-fourth real 
size. (Christy Collection. ) 

hard wood, either simply 
sharpened to a point 
or else artistically carved 
into barbs of wood, bone, or teeth, in imitation of the spear-heads. The shaft is 
decorated with elegant hatched work, put on so as artfully to indicate the knots in 
the reed. The place where head and shaft join is bound with bast, the point fre- 
quently covered with a yellow wrapping, it is said, to denote that it is poisoned. 
It is a curious instance of division of labour that all the beautifully wrought 
arrows of the Solomons are carried from the little island of Nissan in the extreme 
coast of the group, together with pigs, to Buka, and thence traded off for boats, 
arrows, and earthenware. In Ugi and Biu near San Christoval arrows are used 
having rings of palm-leaf at the butt-end of the shaft, and no notch to take the 
string. In the Admiralty Islands small arrow-like javelins are hurled with a 
thong. A Melanesian bow of uncertain origin in the Vienna Museum is bound 
with bast at both ends, to prevent the string from slipping; this being made of 
twisted liana and strengthened in the middle with bark. We are reminded of the 
rattan pads in New Guinea bows. 

As a rule the arrow-head is smooth, but barbs are also met with ; in fish-arrows 
as many as four. From this to fish-spears is a short step. Arrows with a shell 
for head are used in Malayta to stun birds. In the Banks Islands ornamental 
arrows serve as a medium of exchange. Somewhat exceptional is a quiver of 
bark and rattan -plait from New Guinea. Poisoning of arrows is believed to 
occur. In the New Hebrides cadaveric poisons and euphorbia juice are used, 
while in New Guinea the Hattams smear their arrow-heads with a dark brown 
vegetable poison called umla ; which, however, must not be confused with the 
use of resin as a protective varnish for wooden arrows. Experiments with 
poisoned arrows have often failed to produce any result, and in many cases the 
"poisoning" must be regarded only as a magical rite. Deadly effects are also 
ascribed to arrow-heads of human bone, and orders for these articles are still 
given freely. One of the appliances of archery in the New Hebrides is a wooden 
hand-guard some 5 inches broad. This is slipped over the wrist like a ring, and 


J 35 

protects the hand from the recoil of the bow-string. The spiral liana bandages 
a foot long used in Buka, and the plaited " braces " covering half the forearm 
found on the Fly River, doubtless have the same purpose ; while the braces and 
greaves of plaited bast in the Anchorite Islands are as much ornamental as pro- 

The natives of New Britain, the New Hebrides, New Caledonia, and Fiji, use 
slings for missile purposes. In New Caledonia and Niue the carefully wrought 
sling-stones, of a pointed oval shape, are carried in a net bag, fastened at the 

i. Carved dance-shield from east New Guinea — one-fifth real size. 2. Shield from Teste in New Guinea — 

one-tenth real size. (Christy Collection.) 

lower end by buttons, and hence easily emptied. The sling is a simple cord, 
doubled in the middle to form a seat for the stone. It is unknown in New 
Ireland and the Solomons ; while in Tanna the boys use slings where their elders 
employ bows and spears. The Fijians have also short throwing-clubs, with a 
deeply shouldered head, like the induku of the Kaffirs. The killing-clubs of 
Malayta are stronger weapons of the same kind, having a carved handle, with a 
lump of pyrites at the lower end contained in a web of bast. To this class 
belong the instruments like staves, over a yard long, used in New Caledonia, 
originally nothing but pointed cudgels with a grip for the hand. 

Even before the age of iron, knives and daggers were used in hand-to-hand fight- 
ing, either formed of broken-off spear-heads or poniards of bone. Those from the 

I. Wooden shield, bound with plaited rattan, 
with black and white pattern, from 
Friedrich-W'ilhelm's Harbour. 2. Carved 
shield from Hatzfeld Harbour. 3. 
Wooden battle-shield from Astrolabe Bay. 

4. Wooden battle-shield from Tro- 
briand. 5. Motu-motu shield from 
Freshwater Bay. One-twelfth real 
size. (Berlin Museum of Eth- 
noloffv. ) 


Admiralty Islands are conspicuous by their breadth at the point where the blade 
passes into the artistically engraved handle. The so-called daggers made of ray- 
stings are really files. Not uncommonly the handle itself is pointed like a 
dagger. The poniards of bird-bone (mostly a cassowary's leg-bone), frequent in 
New Guinea and the neighbourhood, are simple enough ; the thick end with the 
joint serves as grip, the other being split and worked to a point. Ornament is 
rare, and limited to very simple scratched work, owing to the hardness of the 
bone. A finish, rare among races in this stage, is given by wrapping spear-heads 
and knife-blades in sheaths of palm-spathe, as shown in the cut on p. 230. In 
conclusion we may mention the caltrops, used in Fiji and New Guinea, made of 
sharp splinters of bamboo stuck in the ground. 

The employment of defensive arms is limited. In Fiji, the New Hebrides, 
New Ireland, New Hanover, and the Admiralty Isles, shields are wholly absent. 
Among the Solomon Islanders we first meet with elongated shields of plaited 
reed or bamboo ; the reeds placed longitudinally and woven together with fibre, 
while decorative patterns are woven in with black fibre, and pieces of mother-of- 
pearl often applied in regular figures. The grip and guards for the hands at 
the back are made of strips of palm -leaf. An extraordinary development, 
reminding us of Central Africa, is found in the shields of eastern New Guinea 
and the islands to the east, where specimens occur of great size, weighing up to 
22 lbs. and beautifully decorated ; circular, oval, or rectangular, flat or hollow, 
made of wood or plaited, together with the narrow Malayan kind from -Salawatti. 
The ornamentation is original, being sometimes symmetrical, sometimes the reverse. 
The narrow Moluccan shields with shell-trimming have been imported, but have 
spread no further. Cuirasses are found on the north and south coasts of New 

No race possesses such a luxuriance of fancy in the case of weapons 
and similar articles whose purpose is narrowly limited. In the ceremonial 
axes of New Ireland the stone blade completely disappears beneath the acces- 
sories ; faces, lizards, birds, remind us of the masks coming from the same 
region. Social relations, religion, festivals, partially explain this ; they presume 
the existence of numerous insignia of rank, and as may be easily understood, 
weapons were the first things selected for this purpose. . Much feeling for form, 
much industry must have gone to the making of the decorative axes from the 
D'Entrecasteaux Islands, shown on p. 182, with their large finely-ground stone 
blades. Without a comparative survey of allied objects, it would often be 
impossible, even in the case of those which by reason of their curves or sharper 
indentations look like flaming swords or horrible instruments of torture, to 
decide whether these weapons were evolved from clubs, paddles, or swords. But 
when the passion for ornament assumes such dimensions as we see in the repre- 
sentation on p. 2 3 5 of a carved wooden shield from New Guinea, we are reminded 
of the exuberant fancy of nature in shaping sea-monsters or creeping plants. 
There is all the flavour of the tropics in them. 





Similarities and coincidences in labour and implements of labour — Hunting and fishing — Agriculture and its 
implements — Food and stimulants, betel, kava, tobacco — Architecture and plan of villages 

As good wood-carvers the Micronesians surpass many of their kindred in the 
East Pacific Islands. They know the trick of patiently adding to their dishes 
coat after coat of resinous lacquer till a durable skin is formed. Their wooden 
ware consists of plates, bowls, and great dishes, all painted a beautiful red, and inlaid 
with mother-of-pearl ; flat plates and deep bowls are found in the very poorest 
abodes. The people of Fakaafo carved cylindrical boxes out of single pieces of 
wood, with covers or even close-fitting lids, in which they keep their fishing- 
tackle. In Pelew every native is expert in the handling of his little axe ; but 
house and boat-building is carried out by masters in the craft. This multifarious 

Wooden dish from Hawaii. (British Museum.) 

dexterity of the Micronesians is the point where the introduction of European 
goods has caused the greatest falling off. 

But the productions of Polynesia also testify to great handiness, and expert 
craftsmen hold a good position. In Tonga and Samoa carpenters are regarded 
as artists, and form a guild with sacerdotal rank. The perfection of the methods 
of labour led to the division of labour. Thus in Hawaii there were builders and 
roofers, boat-builders and carvers, whose productions were articles of trade. 
Armourers and net-makers sometimes also formed separate trades. Cook notices 
the chiefs' ava-cxxps as the most remarkable pieces of carved work in " Owhyhee " ; 
they are perfectly round, 8 to 1 2 inches in diameter, and beautifully polished, 
and have little human figures in various attitudes as supporters. Quite a peculiar 
style of execution appears in a Hermes-shaped idol from Hawaii, now in the 
Berlin Museum, made almost in life-size from the wood of the bread-fruit tree, 
with pegs of hard wood let in forming dots. It is quite a mistake to assert that 
the Polynesians have no pottery. The Easter Islanders are skilful at it. On 
Namoka, Cook found earthenware pots, which seemed to have been long in use, 
and the Tonga group produces porous vessels. In Micronesia, too, pottery has 
been known from early times. 



Of the mode in which the bark-cloth, known as tapa or guatu, is prepared 
Mariner gives the following account : A circular cut is made with a shell in the 
bark above the root of the tree ; the tree is broken off, and in a few days, when the 
stem is half-dry, the bark and bast are separated from it. The bast is then cleaned 
and macerated in water, after which it is beaten with the ribbed club on a wooden 
block. This beating enlivens a village in Tonga as threshing does in Europe. 
In half an hour the piece will have changed in shape from a strip almost to a 
square. The edges are snipped with shells, and a large number of the pieces 
are drawn separately over a semi-cylindrical wooden stamp, on which the pattern, 
worked in coco-fibre, is stretched and smeared with a fluid at once adhesive and 
colouring. On each a second and third layer is placed ; and the piece, three 
layers thick, is coloured more strongly in the parts which are thrown into relief 
by the inequalities of the bed. Others are annexed to it both at the side and 

Mats from Tongatabu. (Vienna Ethnographical Museum. 

the end, until pieces a yard wide, and 20 to 25 yards long, are produced. For 
printing their kapa (as they call it) the Hawaiians used sticks broadened at the 
end, and carved with figures in relief, and drew lines on the stuff with a wooden 
comb. Some of the most remarkable patterns of Polynesian tapa from that 
portion of Cook's collection which is now at Vienna, are represented on our 
coloured plate. The tints are black, white, and reddish brown ; the patterns, 
with the exception of a dotted one which seldom occurs, are rectilinear. European 
influence has unluckily not improved them. Mats from the Gilberts and 
Marshalls show a special pattern for each island, 1 displaying a relatively good 
standard of taste. The women of Micronesia, in Ruk, Mortlock, and Nukuor, 
weave a fabric from the fibres of a Musa and a Hibiscus. The looms, or rather 
frames, are like those of the Malays. The Gilbert and Marshall Islanders are 
clever at weaving mats ; the inhabitants of Ponape sew their mats ; the women 
of Ponape understand basket-weaving, while the ropes which their husbands make 
from coco-fibre are famous. From the Gilbert Islands come charming covered 
baskets and fans of different sorts. The long tough fibres of the PJwrmium tenax, 
which grows from 6 to 10 feet high, stimulated the Maoris to the weaving of 
mats, affording a substitute for tapa of many and various descriptions. Bast 

1 [So to this day many Alpine valleys have their own pattern for home-spun and home-woven cloth, recog- 
nised sometimes even in quite remote districts.] 



Stone pestles from Hawaii — one-fourth real size. 
Vienna Museum. ) 

(Cook Collection, 

mats with borders of feathers woven in are made in Samoa. Cook brought 
some of the prettiest plaited work from the Tonga Islands : pouches, wooden 
vessels covered with plaited work and the like ; large mats are designed with 
stripes of dark-coloured bast and adorned with trimmings woven on. A charac- 
teristic Tongan object is 
the fly whisk, which is at 
the same time one of the 
king's insignia. The fans 
of plaited bast also show 
pretty shapes ; they belong 
to the toilet of Polynesians 
of all ages. A great 
variety of straw plaiting 
is produced at present in 
Hawaii. Interesting also 
are the netting needles, one 
of which exists in the Cook 
collection at Vienna, with 
a net of human hair still 
wound round it. A strong 
wooden needle, some 16 
inches long, with an eye, was used for the same purpose. For ornaments, 
mother-of-pearl was the favourite material to work ; it makes a particularly vivid 
impression when it is employed in glittering natural beads, or lies in broad plates 
on the breast. Tortoise- 
shell is split into discs 
of extraordinary thin- 
ness, while valuable 
chains and girdles are 
composed of the coloured 
opercula of certain shells. 
The laborious putting 
together of them from 
numerous small pieces 
is a particularly favourite 
task. Feather -weaving 
reaches its highest pitch 
in Hawaii. One might 
say that in the case of 
the hideous feathered 
idols of the Sandwich 
Islands the work is much 
too fine in comparison with their ugliness. 

Earthenware vessels from the Fiji Islands. 
Leipzig. ) 

(Godeffroy Collection, 

The red feathered head shown in the 
coloured plate of Polynesian ornaments, with its wide skate's mouth full of teeth 
and goggle eyes, is made of plaited reeds and string, into which thousands of 
little red and yellow feathers are so cleverly worked in tufts that they quite con- 
ceal the substratum. The red feathers on the Greek-shaped helmets are from 
Depranis coccinea, the yellow from MoJw fascicidatus. 



Among the household utensils of the Hawaiians are pestles called penu, 5 to 
8 inches high, made of basalt, smooth and beautifully worked, with a flat rubbing- 
surface and handles of various shapes. With these bread-fruit, taro, and bananas 
are ground, on a block having four feet and the upper side slightly hollowed. 
Primitive oil lamps are formed of conical bowls hollowed out in lava. Lastly, 
we must mention the preparation of the turmeric powder, to which is ascribed 
an importance amounting to sanctity as an embellishment for body, clothing, 
and utensils. In Nukuor the roots are ground by four to six women in special 
public buildings, they are then allowed to stand in water ; on the following 
morning three young coco -nuts and three old soma nuts are offered by a 
priestess with prayer, after which the dye which has settled down in the water is 

Carved spatulas for betel-lime from Dorey in New Guinea — two-sevenths real size. (Christy Collection 

collected, baked into cakes in coco-nut moulds, wrapped in banana leaves, and 
hung up in the huts till required for use. 

The industrial activity of the Melanesians is in some points behind, in many 
others in advance of that of the Polynesians. Weapons reach their highest 
development in the Solomon Islands ; the artistically beautiful spears of Fauro 
have been spoken of with full justice. New Caledonia, parts of New Guinea, 
and the Admiralty Islands hold in many respects a lower position ; while many 
natives of the southern and central Pacific have no knowledge of pottery. From 
New Guinea to the Fiji Islands vessels are freely made of clay mixed with sand. 
This art is absent in New Ireland and New Britain, but reaches its highest point 
in Fiji. Finsch mentions villages on Hall Sound in New Guinea, where one 
stock understands pottery and another does not. On the north coast Bilibili 
does a thriving trade as the centre of this industry in Astrolabe Bay by exporting 
its manufactures. In the New Hebrides the potter's art must have died out ; 
in Vate not one complete pot is now to be found, but only potsherds. This 


Utensils from Hawaii (Arning Collection, Berlin Museum) : i. Calabash-carrier of coco-nut fibre. 2, 3. Cala- 
bashes with pattern burnt in, stoppered with conus shells. 4. Beaters of kanila wood. 5. Stamping sticks 
for tapa. 6. Oil lamps of lava. 7. Decoration for chiefs, a sling of human hair with carved cachalot's 
tooth. 8. Necklace of similar teeth from Fiji. 9-12. Straw plaiting, probably a modern importation. 
1-8, one-fifth to one-sixth ; 9-12, one-half real size. 


retrogression has been set down to the immigrating Polynesians, who have 
introduced the custom of cooking with hot stones. The highest points to which 
the earthenware industry has developed are found in New Guinea and the Fiji 
Islands, which are precisely the extreme points of its distribution. The Mela- 
nesians do not know the potter's wheel, but they burn their vessels cleverly in the 
open with dry grass and reeds. The Fijian tools are a ring-shaped cushion (in New 
Guinea the upper part of an old pot), a flat round stone, and four wooden mallets. 
With this they make vessels which are quite as symmetrically formed as on the 
wheel. A shining glaze is given by rubbing them with resin while still hot. 
In New Guinea pots are painted black, white, and red, with figures of birds and 
fish ; the shapes have extraordinary variety. The cooking vessels are simple but 
elegant urns, sometimes of. considerable size. Ornamented covers are not un- 
common, handles at the side are never found. Among the smaller drinking vessels 
are found some made of two or three fastened together, with separate spouts, and 
having also a common spout in the hollow handle ; also oval and spindle-shaped 
flasks with one opening, and boat-shaped ones with two. The decoration consists 
of impressed dotted or zig-zag lines and ribs, which Finsch, from his observations 
in New Guinea, states to be trade marks. Pots the size of casks are used there 
to keep sago. The wonderful wealth of forms is based not so much on recollec- 
tion of the very similar South American shapes as on immediate imitation of 
Nature. Here, as among almost all races, the task of making pots is left to the 
women, and it is only the wives of fishermen and sailors who appear to devote 
themselves to it. May we see in this a case of migratory industrial tribes 
resembling the smiths of Africa ? 

Bark-cloth is prepared in all the Melanesian groups. Besides the paper 
mulberry, which is cultivated, the following trees supply the bast : Ficus prolixa, 
F. tinctoria, and Artocarpus incisus. The loom is unknown ; the woven stuffs 
from New Guinea found in our collections seem to be a Malay importation. 
In New Guinea they merely beat soft the bast stripped off the india-rubber 
tree; but Fiji produces pieces 150 yards long, of stuff coloured in patterns, by 
means of the blocks shown on p. 183. It is hard to say how far to the westward 
the Polynesian and Fijian method of preparing tapa extends, since it is an article 
of trade. In New Britain the tapa is thicker, and obviously more coarsely 
manufactured ; nor is it printed, but painted, so that, as in New Guinea, the 
patterns are larger and more continuous throughout the stuff, from being drawn 
and not impressed. The use of a rule, too, permits the designing of wonderfully 
regular squares. 

The art of plaiting is diligently practised. For the coarser mats coco-nut fibre 
is employed ; for the finer, pandanus leaves and rushes. An intelligent Fijian can 
always tell you from which island a mat came. The coarser kinds are used as 
floorcloths and hangings to the huts ; the finer as sails, or sleeping-mats, or for 
children. Floor-mats are 5 to 8 yards in length, sail-mats 100 and more. 
Sleeping-mats are of two kinds — a thicker to lie on, and a thinner for covering ; 
one of the most valued sorts has a pleat running through the middle of each strip 
of plaiting. Borders are worked on with designs in darker bands ; white 
feathers and scraps of European stuffs are woven in. One of the prettiest 
productions of the art is the women's liku, a girdle woven from strips of the bast 
of the wau-tree (a kind of hibiscus), with the fibres of a root that grows wild, and 



blades of grass. Soft mats arc made by plaiting the stalks of a fibrous plant into 
one, and removing the woody portions by bending and beating. Bags and 
baskets are admirably woven ; fans, too, are made either of palm leaves 
strengthened at the edge and vandyked, or woven from bast. But superior to all 
these are the string and the cables — the best from coco-fibre, the inferior kinds 
from the bast of the zvau-tree. In the Fiji Islands these are tastefully made up 
into balls, ovals, spindles, etc. Comparison with New Caledonia shows how high 
East Melanesia stands in this art. One has only to look at a New Caledonia fan 
beside one from Fiji. But in New Guinea, again, very elegant woven articles of 
all kinds are produced. 

Wood-carving again, of which we have seen specimens in the weapons, stands 

Wickerwork (basket, pouches, and fly-whisk), from Tongatabu. (Cook Collection, 
Vienna Ethnographic Museum. ) 

highest in East Melanesia, though the west can also (as seen in the cut on p. 241) 
show remarkable work. Individual districts are poor in this respect : in the 
Banks Islands, for instance, hardly any carved human figures are to be seen. All 
the larger groups have their own subjects. The most wonderful fancy is shown 
in the appendages to houses and boats. In these simple artists there is a strong 
tendency to pass from imitation of Nature to conventionalised forms, so that this 
imitation is never very successful, especially where, as in Fiji and the New 
Hebrides, the human form is so rarely copied. One may see this in the 
representations of the human face, in which the nose appears as a line, falling 
downwards and forwards from the projecting forehead, with strongly distended 



nostrils, and ending in the mouth, a cross line sharply cut back. In some New 
Guinea masks this evokes a reminiscence of Ganesa and his proboscis. In Fiji 
this fancy is fused with the far better proportioned geometrical designs of Tonga. 
In San Christoval figures are better drawn than anywhere else, and in Isabel we 
find really artistic engraved work. We may notice also one characteristic 
production of Melanesian art : the ever-recurring grotesque heads of the New 
Caledonians. The carved head with large nose and a kind of bishop's mitre on 
the top, as shown on p. 252, is a type which we find in a larger form by itself, as 
an idol. This religious sculpture shows a close affinity with idols from other 
parts of the South Seas, in connection with which we may recall the resemblance 
of the spear-heads to the knobstick of the Hervey Islanders as shown in the plate 
of " Polynesian Clubs." 

To the same branch of art we may refer the carved wooden masks. These 

Polynesian fan and fly-whisks, insignia of chiefs, probably from Tongatabu. (Cook Collection. 

are often trimmed round the lips with red beans, and fitted with wigs of real 
hair ; and are carried at dances, dressed in feather clothing. All these carvings 
are executed with firm, strong cuts in palm wood. Lines in relief are 
coloured black, the general level red, and depressed parts are white. From New 
Ireland come examples of masks made by sawing off the face of a skull, just as 
in Peru ; and with these are connected the ruddle-painted skulls of New Britain. 
The flexible tortoiseshell was formerly the favourite material in south-eastern 
New Guinea and in the Torres Islands for masks with wild arabesques and 
appendages like trunks and combs. Still earlier, indeed, it was much more worked, 
being used even for hats ; now they have got to use tin masks in New Guinea, 
where formerly, in Kaiser Wilhelm's Land particularly, a vigorous style in masks 
used to prevail, corresponding with that of the carved woodwork generally. 

In trade the activity of the Melanesians is by no means insignificant, stimu- 


lated and instructed as it no doubt is by the trading of the Malays in New Guinea, 
and by that of the Tongans in Fiji. It was owing to this foreign trade that the 
natives of Hood Bay came unarmed to meet Mac Far lane's schooner, or that the 
Papuas of Ansus have become honest brokers between the Malays and the 
mountain tribes. This, too, it may be which has caused the Fijians to establish 
and level market-places at suitable points of their coasts ; while the Fijian trading 
people of Levuka, Mbotoni, and Malaki have formed themselves upon the example 
of the Tongans. But even in Central Melanesia there is a lively traffic. Individual 
islands of the New Hebrides manufacture various weapons ; thus the pointed 
weapons of Tanna come from Immer. In the Solomons, Malayta builds canoes ; 
Bougainville mints shell-money ; Guadalcanar makes rings and wooden dishes. 
A valuable article of export from New Ireland are cuscus-teeth, perforated for 
fillets and necklaces. All these peoples were acquainted with trade and barter 
when first visited by Europeans ; among some of them iron was found, which 
could have been introduced in no other manner. They rushed only too readily 
into commerce with white men. When the Gazelle visited Blanche Bay in 1877, 
canoes full of natives eager for trade swarmed around them ; but in 1889 Rear- 
Admiral Strauch found the bay almost empty. The people had nothing left to 
exchange. Money transactions play an important part, for rank and dignity are 
graded upon money. In New Britain its purpose is served by disks of shell strung 
on fibre ; in the Banks Islands by the points of shells similarly strung ; in the 
northern New Hebrides by long narrow mats which are more valuable in 
proportion as they are older and more smoke-blackened. Sperm-whales' teeth, 
which are valued as ornaments, represent large capitals in Fiji ; just as do, in the 
Solomons, necklaces of dolphins' teeth, and armlets formed from rings of shell. 
Santa Cruz treasures red parrots' feathers ; and Melanesia, in the Banks Islands, 
the feathers round hens' eyes. Similarly, in former times, the red hair below the 
ear of the flying-fox was used as money in the Loyalty Islands. Accumulated 
capital is represented also by the masses of tapa, of which the Fijian chiefs are 
so proud that on festive occasions they will wind 200 yards and more of it round 
their persons. What is even more, Codrington tells us that the Banks Islanders 
have organised a regular system of credit. 

In Micronesia the position of currency is taken by stones, bits of glass or 
porcelain, fragments of enamel, and beads. In the Pelew Islands, whence this 
seems to radiate, seven sorts are distinguished. First, brack or barak, of which, 
in Semper's time, the whole group did not contain more than three or four pieces. 
The most valuable was made of terra-cotta, in the shape of a bent prism with 
sides ground somewhat hollow, hard, fine-grained, and with almost a glassy lustre. 
Kubary gives a picture of a brack worth forty-five shillings — a polished fourteen- 
sided polyhedron. Second, pangungaii or bungau, a red stone, polished like brack, 
perhaps jasper. It was preserved in the treasure-chest of the King of Korror, 
or buried on account of its value ; in Aibukit the wives of great men wear it on their 
necks. Third, kalbukub or kalcbukub, agate in a particular shape, or in some 
specimens, hard enamel. Kubary says : " Only very few chiefs possess a single 
kalebukub, and I was the first white man that ever had one." While these three 
kinds of money go only among the chiefs, the four others, kaldoir, kluk, adelobber, 
olelongl, circulate among the common people. For a bit of the last-named, 
consisting of fragments of white or green glass, you can buy at most a handful 



of bananas, or a bundle of native cigarettes. In the kluk class are found polished 
enamel beads, the production of a much higher ability than any with which we 
can now credit the people. The different classes are not, however, very sharply 
graded ; large kluks outweigh inferior kalebukubs. With the exception of the 
most valuable, which are never brought out, all serve equally for ornament, 
and so are perforated. Marks of rank are also a measure of property. Thus in 
Pelew wealthy persons wear as an armlet the kltlt, or atlas vertebra of the rare 
Halicore dugong. The purchase of the klilt is a political requirement, with 
which even- new chief is expected to comply. Since only the king can confer 
this, Semper calls it " the Order of the Bone." The same writer heard a pretty 
story at Aibukit in Pelew : Once upon a time a boat floated up, the occupants 

Wicker fans from the Gilbert or Marshall Islands (British Museum 

of which were the seven kinds of money. They had set out from their own 
island, Ngarutt, to seek new countries. They had floated about in the ocean for 
a long time without finding what they wanted, and at last they came ashore here 
on Pelew. Off the harbour, Brack, who as the most important was lying stretched 
out on the platform of the boat, told the next in rank, Pangungau, to go ashore 
and have a look at the island. Pangungau, as lazy as his sovereign, gave the 
order to Kalbukub ; he passed it on to Kaldoir ; he to Kluk, and so on till the 
much-enduring Olelongl, who had no one to send, had to go. But as he did not 
return, after a while Brack renewed his order. This time Adelobber went off 
grumbling, and he, too, did not return. Then Kluk was sent to fetch them both ; 
but he also stayed on the island ; and so it went on till Brack was deserted 
both by his common people and by his nobles. " So he went to fetch them 
himself, but he too liked the look of our town," said the narrator ; " and so all seven 
stayed and took up their abode. Brack does nothing but eat, drink, and sleep, 
and the higher in rank always sends his inferior on errands ; and thus it is," con- 
cluded the narrator with a sly laugh, " that, just as with us men, the big money 
sits quiet at home, and the smaller has to be smart and run about, and work for 
himself and the swells too." 



In the Carolines we meet with a similar development of currency. Here the 
most frequent unit, called fe, consists of large pieces, like millstones, of a pale 
yellow granular limestone, from i foot to 2 yards in diameter, and weighing up 
to several tons. Their value depends upon their size, workmanship, and so on, 
and from a few dollars to 1 000 or more. Every year many people go in gangs, 
on board European vessels, to Pelew, where they find the raw material. Since 
the working requires many hands, and the transport is expensive, these stone coins 
usually remain the property of the whole commune ; very few find their way into 
private hands. This kind of money being somewhat unwieldy, other forms of 
coin come into use for commercial purposes : in the first place pearl-shells, or sar, 
strung on a cord ; then rolls of matting, ambnl, of coarse work and various value, the 
largest from £j to ;£i 1. A further form of money, gau (clearly the same as the 

Wooden bowl for food, from the Admiralty Islands— one-eighth real size. (Christy Collection.) 

bungau of Pelew), is made from various polished stones and pieces of shells twisted 
off, which can be strung into necklaces till wanted. These are found only among 
the chiefs. Plaques of nutshells and seashells strung on long cords of coco-nut 
fibre, black and white alternately — an arrangement of which, either in pieces of 
the same size or tapering towards the ends, the art of Oceania is as fond as were 
the ancient Americans — -form money and neck ornaments for the Gilbert Islanders; 
polished beads of coco-nut shell, bracelets of tortoise-shell, spondylus armlets, are 
currency in Mortlock. How necessary a currency is may be imagined when we 
know that the Mortlock Islanders, though they weave themselves, import 
particular kinds of woven goods from the Ruk Islands. 

The importance of these new coinages is not only economical — their age and 
their rarity gives an almost sacred character to some, while in the case of others 
the difficulty of obtaining them, and the power which they impart, invest them 
with political influence. Offences against chiefs can often only be expiated 
by the sacrifice of a piece of money which represents the whole wealth of a 
family ; and then the family, losing with it the credit based upon it, drops several 


J 49 

steps in the social ladder. Thus money is, to put it briefly, next to religious 
tradition, the basis of political influence and the standard of social position. The 
coinage also plays an important part in the inter-tribal festivals. Every island 
of the Pelew group gives from time to time a ruk, at which the representatives of 
a certain number of allied islands bring to the government a fixed contribution 
in native money. The visiting chiefs pay their host according to their rank. 
Besides this mulbckcl, there are other niks, in which only the small places of a 
district join with a view of showing friendship and good fellowship. 

In general the economic life of the Melanesians gives the impression of a 
moderate activity under favourable natural conditions. Melanesians from the 
eastern parts, when serving on European plantations or on board ship, show an 

i. Bamboo drinking horns from New Guinea — one- third real size. 2. Carved gourd, used for betel-box, 
from the Trobriand Islands — one-third real size. (Christy Collection. ) 

amount of efficiency exceeding that of the Polynesians. In New Caledonia the 
conditions are less gratifying, the indolence and poverty often reminding us of 
Australians. Both sexes take part in labour. Of the mode of life in New 
Guinea, D'Albertis has drawn a picture which would be well fitted by the motto 
festina lente. The natives as a rule get up early, but sleep for several hours in the 
course of the day. When their toilet is completed the men occupy themselves 
during the cool morning hours in making twine for their nets. The women clean 
the huts, fetch water, and cook the first meal, which is eaten in common : the 
men trim the meat cleverly with their bamboo knives ; then most of them leave 
the village and betake themselves to the field — the men armed with their spears, 
the women with pouch-shaped nets and carved clubs to knock down dead wood 
from the trees. They have four meals a day, consisting of bananas, yams, taro, sago, 
and bread-fruit, kangaroo, and even meat and fishes. But they also eat snakes, 
iguanas, frogs, the grubs of various insects, fresh-water tortoises, and lastly, with 



great gusto, a fresh-water mollusc called ebe, the shells 
of which they use for the most various purposes, and 
therefore always carry about with them. 

Both Polynesians and Melanesians display an 
artistic tendency in their simplest articles of daily use. 
In reference to New Guinea, Hugo Zöller says : " You 
will be guilty of no exaggeration if you speak of a 
real art industry among the Papuas " ; both peoples 
have attained a similar point, but the ornament of the 
Melanesians is richer and fuller of fancy. It is 
attractive to trace out how and in what their produc- 
tions show the typical differences that have their 
roots in the spirit of the people, or rather in the spirit 
of the race. In Papuan ornament the predominant 
element is the curved line, and that either in parallels 
or freely interlacing. It runs especially into spirals, 
but also into waves, crescents, ellipses ; individual 
groups of ornament are separated by zig-zags and 
straight lines. The concentric curve is always recur- 
ring in the fantastic beaks of their ships, or in the 
carved shields, paddles, and mallets ; it has a decided 
advantage over any attempts at copying Nature. In 
this New Zealand resembles New Guinea most ; now 
and again efforts towards geometrical arrangement are 
seen in paddles, the blades of which are divided by 
two straight lines into four equal portions, variously 
coloured. It appears still more in the wooden moulds 
for the decoration of earthenware vessels. But it is 
in the east of the island world that it may claim the 
highest development, especially in the Tonga and 
Samoa groups, which herein also show affinity. 

The tools with which artistic work was done were, 
before the introduction of iron, exceedingly simple. 
The stone axe was the only implement for shaping 
posts and planks, or for felling trees, and together 
with sharp shells it served for the execution of the 
larger ornament, figures, wooden dishes, etc. Carved 
and engraved work was done with shells and rats' 
teeth fixed in hard wood ; shells, again, and the 
spines of sea-urchins or rays, served for boring, while 
smoothing was done with files from the skin of a ray 
and pieces of coral or pumice-stone. The shell-axe 
was as a rule more frequent in the west, the stone 
. : axe in the east ; but iron has created an equal 
revolution everywhere. Skilled workmen as they 
% -io - _ — - -— .^.- -^.— were, the islanders recognised at once the advantage of 
Carved bamboo box from Western j ron too i s . fr ut at fi rst t h ey preferred sheet iron in the 

New Guinea — three-fourths real .... . 111 

size. (Christy Collection.) form of plain hoop iron to all other, since it could be 



. -v 

Chisel and shell auger, from New Britain. (Berlin Museum. 

set and fixed just like their old stone axes. It was only in the environs of Geelvink 
Bay, which were visited by the Malays from Ternate, and by Dutchmen, that the 
smith's art found a footing in pre-European times ; otherwise throughout the 
length and breadth of the district, as far as Hawaii and Rapanui, iron and the 
other metals had either never been known or had disappeared ; Schouten and 
Tasman never mention them. 

Owing to the larger number of land animals in Melanesia, increasing as it does 
westward, hunting still plays an important part. In New Guinea many villages 
subsist mainly upon it, and in 
districts where certain birds of 
paradise are found, the right 
of hunting them is reserved 
for the chiefs. Meanwhile, in 
the Polynesians we have a 
branch of mankind to whom 
not only all the influences of 
pastoral life, but also the 
bracing effects of the chase, 
have remained unknown. In 
Hilo, indeed, ducks are cap- 
tured by means of floating sticks, fitted with baits, and weighted with stones, 
and small birds are caught in Tahiti ; otherwise there is no hunting of any 
importance. Who can say whether the total impossibility of finding game to 
provide an outlet for the desire to slay and torture, for ambition and active 
impulses, has been as responsible for the incessant wars and the cruelty of man 
towards man as the lack of larger animals' flesh has been an incentive to 
cannibalism ? The decay of projectile weapons must in any case be connected 
with this. Fishing, on the other hand, is all over the region pursued with energy 
and diligence ; it takes a distinct place in the weekly division of labour. In New 
Guinea the custom is to fish by detachments on fixed days, and to distribute the 
catch equally among all members of the tribe. The appearance of a shark puts 
whole villages into commotion ; in time of peace distinguished persons take the 
command of fishing expeditions just as in time of war they lead troops. The 
most perfect implements that the Polynesians generally possess are employed in 
this work. The New Zealanders used to make nets 500 yards long, requiring 
hundreds of hands to handle them. Hooks of every size are manufactured from 
birds' bones, tortoiseshell, sea-shells, and hard wood, and fitted with artificial baits 
made of feathers or bright pieces of shell. Those used in the capture of sharks, 
a popular article of diet, are as much as 20 inches long. It is only in New 
Caledonia and some parts of Western Melanesia that the fishing is limited to what 
can be done with arrows, spears, and nets. In general the fish-hooks of the 
Melanesian isles are excellent ; even white men prefer them to the European steel 
hooks. Boat-builders, as we have mentioned, were sacred ; but the manufacturers 
of ropes, fishing-lines, and fish-hooks were reckoned at least as important persons. 
Property in these articles was so abundant that in the early times they were 
frequently a medium of exchange against European goods. The strongest hooks 
were composed of three pieces : the body consisting of a semicircular finger-shaped 
piece of the bone of the cachalot or sperm-whale, the flat under side of which was 

2 5 2 






inlaid with mother-of-pearl. On its upper side the tortoiseshell hook was fastened 
with string — the point in the larger specimens being pierced for a string to hold 
the bait. When these tortoiseshell hooks became blunt or 
broken they were able to do further service in necklaces. We 
may mention here the simple but ingenious Tahitian arrange- 
ment for carrying fish — a strong cord with a boar's tooth at each 
end. For the shark-fishing, large lumps of bait are used ; for 
the flying fish, an obtuse-angled, sharp-pointed piece of bone. 

In New Britain they employ 
also standing fish-traps made 
of plaited work, and hand-nets 
which are held from a moving 
boat with the hilt - like end 
dropped into the water. For 
the same purpose the Fijians 
make a kind of floating bow- 
net from the long stems of 
climbing plants, plaited through 
with coco - palm leaves. In 
Trobriand a kind of rattle of 
coco-nut shells half cut through 
serves to entice the sharks. 
Vegetable poisons, especially 
one from a climbing glycine, are 
used for stupefying the fish ; 
sleepy fishes, such as sharks, are 
said to be taken in Fiji with 
nooses. A great number of 
ceremonies and festivities are 
connected with the turtle-fishery. 
This is carried on by means of 
weighted nets, which are thrown 
into deep water close outside 
the reef, in such a way as to 
form a semicircular fence and 
block the way of the turtles 
returning from the land. The 
animals are driven into these 
nets by shouts, but the main 
work is to get them on board. 
For this purpose people are 
required of conspicuous dex- 
terity and strength to dive at 


i. FisWng float from the Solomon Islands-one-eighth real size the cri tical moment and drive 
(Christy Collection). 2. 1-loats, sinkers, baler, and war-spears, 
from New Caledonia (Vienna Museum.) the animal to the surface ; when 

it is fairly on its back in the 
boat, loud blasts of the shell trumpet announce the joyful intelligence. D'Albertis 
saw skulls of turtles hung up in the temple of Tawan as offerings. In stormy 



weather the Hawaiians put out in their little fishing boats to catch dolphins, 
and man\- a fisherman going too far in pursuit of the school — the position of 
which is indicated by the birds in the air — has been cast away and lost. 

In the matter of breeding animals, the first mention must be made of pigs. 
Wherever these occur they take a prominent position. They are pampered : 
in Tahiti and New Britain the little ones are suckled by women, and fed by old 
women ; or, after the fashion of capons, literally stuffed with bread-fruit dough. 
The\' are slaughtered at high festivals, and reserved exclusively for the upper 
classes. Next to the pig, the dog is the only domestic animal of any size. The 

A New Zealand trawl-net. (Munich Ethnographical Museum.) 

breed is a small one resembling the breed of the Negroes, with no bark. In New 
Guinea, New Zealand, Samoa, and the Society Islands they were bred for meat, 
being quite useless for hunting. The common fowl is the most widely distributed 
of all : in Tonga they ran about wild in flocks ; while in Easter Island they were 
the only domestic animal. None of the native birds have been regularly 
domesticated, though in Easter Island the sea-swallows, sterna, were found so 
far tamed as to sit on men's shoulders. In Tongatabu the islanders carried pigeons 
or parrots on sticks, and on the south coast of New Guinea cockatoos were kept 
in almost every village. But these have naturally no economic importance. 

Agriculture is almost everywhere indigenous ; even on the most barren coral 
island at least a few coco-palms are cultivated. It is most highly developed 
on islands like Tonga, where soil and climate are not too favourable, but at the 
same time not niggardly, so that labour is repaid but not allowed to flag. The 



Society Islands and Samoa, more prodigally endowed by Nature, stand some- 
what lower, and the inhabitants are more indolent. Lowest of all are poor 
islands like Easter Island or the smaller Paumotus, with little area and a scanty 

rocky soil. Yet even 
there plantains, sugar- 
cane, sweet potatoes, 
yams, taro, and Sola- 
num, were found in 
cultivation ; unpro- 
ductiveness is the 
exception, the more 
favoured regions the 
rule. Here we find 
fenced fields, terraces with earth artificially banked up on steep slopes, and 
arrangements for irrigation, especially in the cultivation of taro, trees for giving 
shade, and garden flowers, even beds laid out ; all which is a sign that the 
cultivation of the soil has advanced far. Even on Easter Island, G. Forster 

Shnrk-trap with wooden float, from Fiji. (Berlin Museum. 

Smoked fish from Massilia in East New Guinea — one-sixth real size. (Berlin Museum). 

found an irrigation trench a foot deep around every plantain, while in Tonga he 
walked in an avenue of four rows of coco-palms 2000 paces in length, 
diligently weeded and manured. Cultivation is correspondingly dense; one 
of the special advantages of Samoa to which Pritchard draws attention is that 
you come every mile or two upon a grove of coco-palms or bread-fruit ; and 
the first visitors to Tongatabu depicted it as one great garden. In this 
way their descriptions excited among their contemporaries the liveliest longing 
for these fortunate islands. In Micronesia, where fishing prevails, agriculture for 
the production of the chief article of food, taro, is carried on only in the larger 
islands, such as the Pelews. The men cultivate betel, tobacco, and turmeric, 
while the women of all classes, from the lowest to the highest, even kings' 
wives, make it a point of honour to keep their taro - patches in the finest 
condition. The task of the men is only to attend to the artificial irrigation of 
the plantations, which are in low marshy places, and to set out the young plants ; 
the women have to keep the ground weeded, and take the plants up as required. 
Besides taro, the New Zcalandcrs cultivate, among crops originally introduced 
from the north, the sweet potato — this with religious ceremonies — and the bottle- 



gourd ; and of native plants a fern with edible rhizomes, and the New Zealand 
flax (Jthormiutn tenax). 

In western Melanesia agriculture is on the whole less advanced. Great part 
of New Guinea is uncultivated. Yet even here in individual cases it stands hieh. 

Cuttle-fish baits from the Society Islands, two-fifths real size. (Christy Collection, Berlin Museum.) 

In the south-east among the Kerepunus, and on Astrolabe Bay in the north, the 
fields are kept like gardens ; the soil being turned by men in a long row armed 
with pointed sticks, and then levelled by the women and planted with bananas, 
sugar-cane, yams, etc., in long strips. Clearing and fencing is done by all in 



"■■1/" 1 

, Polynesian pots and implements (the two calabashes for betel-lime, from the Admiralty Islands) ; 

also a shell horn — one-fifth real size. (Christy Collection.) 

■common, in exemplary style. If the arable lands are far off, little huts are put 
up for temporary occupation. Among the western islands, New Britain and the 
New Hebrides deserve the highest praise. There, as well as in the Solomons, 
the extensive plantations lie always in the neighbourhood of the habitations, and 
frequently are arranged, for the sake of irrigation, on terraces one above another. 


On the steep slopes of Meralava, in Aurora, and in other islands, field rises above 
field, and every patch gets the full benefit of the irrigation. As in New Guinea, 
so in New Caledonia, the nutritious bread-fruit of the east is unknown, which 
implies a serious deficiency in the food-supply of the people. In little Mota 
(Banks Islands), on the other hand, Codrington found sixty names for varieties 
of bread-fruit, and eighty for yams. But the agriculture of the Fiji Islands takes 
a higher rank than even that of Polynesia. Here more than anywhere the taro 
or dah\ unquestionably the most nutritious of all Melanesian food-plants, is the 
staff of life. One kind is grown on dry ground, but the normal sort is the 
Polynesian ; for which the soil is worked into a mortar-like consistency, and 

Covered vessel in shape of a bird, inlaid with shell, from the Pelew Islands. (British Museum.) 

deeply trenched, before receiving the young plants. After the yam, which 
stands second, the next root-crop to be mentioned is the anai or masave, the 
sweet root of the //-tree (Dracczna terminalis or cor dy line ti). In a few districts 
only, as Leper Island, is the banana the chief fruit ; though the Fijians have 
thirty varieties of it. Sugar-cane, and the yakona plant, from the chewed roots 
of which the intoxicating drink kava is prepared, are planted in great quantity. 
We find, too, whole nurseries of the paper-mulberry, most or malo, from the bark 
of which the material called tapa is made. In the New Hebrides and Banks 
Islands no single village is without its flowers and aromatic herbs. In all the 
archipelagos of the equatorial Pacific, the coco-palm is one of the most important 
plants. Even on uninhabited islands it is sedulously tended ; and it forms, with 
the fruit of the pandanus, the chief food of the low islands, as the Paumotus, 
which are poor in vegetables. 



On how insecure a basis, however, the life of these islanders rests is shown 
by the only too frequent times of dearth. Among articles of diet the chief place 
is taken by vegetable products and the spoils of fishing, and great groups of 
these races are wholly vegetarian. Dietary laws forbid the eating of beasts or 
plants which are atuas of the tribe. Where pigs and dogs exist, these delicacies 
are reserved for the upper classes or for festive occasions. Contrary to our usual 
ideas of the diet of these tribes, the fat and blood of the pig are among the 
dainties served at the banquets of the chiefs. " No Greenlander was ever so sharp 
set upon train-oil as our friends here," says Cook, of the Maoris ; " they greedily 
swallowed the stinking droppings when we were boiling down the fat of dog-fish." 
Rats are eaten as a rule only by the common people, in Tahiti only by women. 
Most birds are reckoned sacred. Among vegetable articles of food the chief 
is bread-fruit ; then faro, yams, and sweet potatoes. Bread-fruit is sometimes 
eaten fresh-baked, sometimes leavened ; Fiji being the only part of Melanesia 
where the latter is usual. The taro is 
washed to remove the acrid part, and the 
flour that remains as a sediment is kneaded. 
By letting the dough ferment the Poly- 
nesians obtain pot, their favourite food, 
resembling slightly sour porridge. It 
will keep for a long time ; and baked yam 

In Tahiti the 

only so long as ,' 

fruit. We have i 
nut, and its 


Another vessel of the same material. 
Museum. ) 


will keep for a year, 
sweet potato is eaten 
there is no ripe bread 
already mentioned the 
great value as a food supply. In the 
smaller Polynesian Islands the entire 
stock of vegetable food is provided by 
coco and pandanus - palms, with taro. 
Kababo, or pandanus -meal, dried and 
roasted, forms, when pressed together, 
a valuable preserve. Here we may men- 
tion the famous earth-eating habit of the 
people of New Guinea and New Caledonia 
eat great quantities of a greenish steatite, 

and magnesia, which is kept in dry cakes with a hole through them 
not do it for hunger, but for pleasure, and after copious meals. 

In regard to the manner of preparing all these food-materials, it is a significant 
fact that most of the Polynesians and many of the Melanesians possess no 
earthenware vessels, and still less any of metal. They boil their water in wooden 
vessels by dropping in red hot stones ; but they do not use this for cooking, only 
to make shells open more easily. Cooking with hot stones was formerly more 
frequent, but has become unusual ; coco-nut milk is boiled in the fresh shells over 
the fire. The most common method is to lay the food between hot stones. It 
indicates a certain progress when we find the stones, after heating, sprinkled 
with water, the whole covered with leaves and earth and so left to itself. Since 
the days of Cook and Forster many Europeans have extolled meat steamed in 
this way far above our roasts. Simple roasting or broiling at an open fire is 


The truth of it is that the former 
the latter of a clay containing iron 

They do 


pronounced a method of dressing fit only for persons in a hurry or for slaves. 
Cooking is the duty of the men in Pelew, of the women in the Mortlocks. 
European travellers in Hawaii have been amazed to see a fowl tied up in a 
bundle with a hot stone, to be produced cooked at the next halt. They eat in 
the open air, sitting on the ground, which is strewn with fresh leaves ; hot food 
being carried wrapped in banana leaves. The Polynesians use no salt, but 
season their complicated fish and meat dishes with sea-water. The art of salting 
pig-meat is said to be known in Hawaii. In many parts of Melanesia salt is 
only known as a delicacy. To carve and distribute the meat is not held un- 
worthy of the highest chiefs. Special formalities are observed in eating ; yet 
within the limits of these there is room for an unseemly degree of avidity. In 
most places men and women must not eat together, nor either partake of what 
the other has prepared. With almost equal anxiety they avoid eating out of 
the same vessel with another. In ordinary times they take two meals in the 
day ; but if a great quantity of food has been provided, they sit at it, with 
occasional interruptions for dancing, play, and so on, till it is all devoured. 

Among agricultural implements the chief place is taken by the primitive 
stick, cut slanting at one end like a pen, and of about the length of a hay-fork. 
The men who break up the ground with these are followed by boys carrying 
sticks to break the loosened clods still smaller, and at last the earth is, if neces- 
sary, rubbed fine with the hands, and piled up in little mounds, in which the 
seeds or cuttings are placed. Among the Motus of New Guinea six or seven 
men stand one behind another with a light pointed beam, which they run into 
the ground, heaving up at the word of command a huge clod of earth. Weeds 
and brushwood have in many places previously been removed by means of a 
narrow paddle-shaped sharp-edged tool of hard wood, about 2 feet long. Some 
weeks later the roots are grubbed up with a kind of hoe, which the workman 
uses in a stooping attitude, almost level with the ground. 

The only original stimulant used in the eastern islands is the kava or ava, 
the fermented juice from the chewed roots of Piper metliysticum. The first 
Europeans considered that the use of it had increased rapidly. Even at that time 
it was productive of great mischief, causing dimness of sight and weakness of 
memory. Yet there are islands where temperance prevails, and even in Melanesia 
it is partaken of in very varying amounts. Some drink it like coffee, others 
carouse from gigantic bowls inlaid with mother-of-pearl. The mode of preparing 
kava is as follows : a shallow bowl of hard wood resting on three short feet is 
placed on the ground, girls and women lie in a circle round it, break off small 
pieces of the dried kava root, put them in their mouths, and, when thoroughly 
chewed, spit them into the bowl ; water is added, the drink is stirred, and the 
beverage is ready. In Fiji it is said that this method of preparation comes from 
Polynesia, and that formerly the pieces were cut. Coco-nut shells, or, as in 
Tonga, four-cornered cups made of plantain leaf, serve as drinking-vessels, and 
are drained with much enjoyment. The drink is a dark grey dirty-looking brew 
of a by no means pleasant bitter taste. In the kava carouses of the Arii in 
the Society Islands, all the excesses of intoxication were to be observed up to 
the point of homicide and murder. The mode of calling together those who 
were to chew and those who were to enjoy the drink ; the songs which accompany 
the pressing out of the chewed root ; the prayers when the water was poured on ; 


and, finally, the song which celebrates the chiefs first draught, all point to an 
idea of sanctity as connected with this indulgence. Thus in Vate kava is drunk 
only in the worship of the spirits who dispense health ; in Tanna it is drunk as in 
Polynesia, women being excluded, and a special place allotted to it. Kava drink- 
ing becomes less as we go westward, and therefore is perhaps of Polynesian 
origin. At any rate this kind of pepper was probably introduced into some 
Melanesian Islands from the east. The people of New Guinea also drink kava 
or kau, but the practice is not universal, and takes place only on festive occasions. 

The drink is not unknown in Micronesia ; it is, however, obtained, not by 
chewing, but by crushing the roots. The mass, after damping, is packed in strips 
of hibiscus and wrung out. In Ponape ava, which once was sacred, is now drunk 
like water. In Melanesia also the preparation by crushing is found. Among 
many Polynesian races kava afforded the basis for poisonous drinks ; a popular 
poison among the Hawaiians was made by mixing with it the leaves of Tephrosia 
piscatoria, Daphne vidua, and the common gourd Lagenaria. That the consump- 
tion of spirituous drinks was originally almost or quite unknown, is distinctly 
asserted in regard to New Zealand, New Caledonia, the Loyalty Islands, Waigiu, 
and Humboldt Bay. In a few places, as Guadalcanar and New Georgia, a kind 
of palm wine is made, the juice being drawn off by incisions in the unopened 
flower. We find the same in Micronesia, where the people of Ponape even 
distilled a kind of brandy from palm wine. The plague of brandy imported 
from Europe has, under the influence of the missions, happily been less diffused 
in the smaller islands than in Australia and New Zealand. 

Coco-nut juice serves as the ordinary drink, the nut is held high, and the 
juice allowed to flow into the mouth, and the same mode of drinking is customary 
from other vessels ; to touch the nut with the mouth is considered unmannerly. 
As kava came in from the eastward, so did tobacco and betel from the west. 
We can indicate New Guinea and its neighbourhood as the central point of both. 
Both travel in close conjunction, tobacco having spread with extraordinary rapidity ; 
for instance, in a few years it has overrun the Admiralty Islands. and New Ireland. 
Towards the end of the eighties the limit of tobacco passed exactly through 
Normanby, now it is cultivated on all the larger groups of the Pacific Islands, 
and in many places it already grows wild. In east and south-east New Guinea 
it is smoked with a piece of bamboo, through the small opening of which the 
smoke is drawn from the bowl and swallowed ; this intoxicating practice is known 
as bau-bau. In the Woodlark, Trobriand, and Laughlan groups, the natives pro- 
fess to have smoked through a reed before the arrival of the Europeans. This 
was filled with the smoke from the leaves of a certain bush, and then passed 
round the circle till it was emptied. This reed has been mistakenly regarded 
as a weapon. The Papuas are great smokers, and A. B. Meyer mentions as a 
peculiarity of theirs that, after puffing out the smoke through nose or mouth, 
they form their mouths to a point, and draw in the air with a noise, so that he 
could always hear when a Papua was smoking in his neighbourhood. Clay pipes 
have long been manufactured at various spots among the islands, and the Maoris 
understood how to carve them of stone in the same artistic fashion as is shown 
in their most original utensils. Betel extends as far as Tikopia, further east it 
has been diffused in quite recent times by means of labourers who have emigrated 
•or been exported as far as Fiji, but is not yet found in the New Hebrides or 



New Caledonian hut (Qu. sacred) after a model ; doorposts and roof-ornament 
supplied from originals in the Berlin Museum. 

the Banks and Torres Islands. Where it 
cannot be got, as, for instance, in Isabel, 
they use an aromatic bark. The western 
Melanesians all chew betel. Wherever 
it occurs the teeth are black, and the 
traces of red saliva speak of the existence 
of natives even in the desolate Finisterre 
mountains. Betel nuts are given as pre- 
sents to guests ; areca nut, pepper leaves, 
and lime are used just as among the 
Malays, and betel pepper is carried in 
long ornamented gourds with a small 
opening through which to introduce the 
long narrow spoon. Betel boxes and 
spoons are among the most sedulously 
wrought utensils in New Guinea and its 
neighbourhood. It is curious that the 
words for these requisites in the Admiralty 
Islands are very unlike the Malay names, 
while those of the Yap Islanders who 
belong to the west Micronesians, among 
whom betel chewing is rare, remind us 
of those used in the Admiralty Islands. 

The houses of Oceania show Malay 
affinities. They are four-cornered and 
most frequently rectangular, long and low. 
The long roof of palm -leaves, 
rushes, or boughs, often resembles 
an inverted boat or an elongated 
bee -hive. The ridge is car- 
ried by lofty poles, and 
the eaves rest upon 
shorter posts, the walls 
consisting of reeds or 
mats fixed between 
them. In carefully built 
houses the roof is formed 
of rafters and sound 
timbers, covered with 
mats of banana - leaf. 
The larger houses stand 
on stone foundations in 
the shape of raised plat- 
forms. In Polynesia, 
and the extreme east of 
Melanesia, especially 
Fiji, the houses fre- 
quently stand on mounds 



of earth 3 to 6 feet high, the height being proportioned to the owner's claims 
to importance. In Samoan huts, the roof, made of round bent timbers thatched 
with sugar-cane or maize -leaves, rests upon a number of shorter posts, the 
intervals between them being filled up with blinds of plaited palm -leaf. In 
the Friendly Islands the plan departs curiously from the rectangular, the section 
below the boat-shaped roof being 
pentagonal ; and the same in 
Easter Island. In Hawaii the 
different character of the material 
has led to a variation in style. 
The boat -form is maintained for 
the roof, and the frame -work is 
the same ; but the roof itself, made 
of thick layers of grass, is carried 
down to the ground, creating real 
grass huts. In the Melanesian 
Islands this form is retained with 
few exceptions. We find it in New 
Guinea, where the huts are on posts 
forming an oblong of 1 3 to 3 3 feet 
by 13 to 22 feet ; and in the 
Solomons, where the average length 
of the family dwellings is 45 to 
70 feet, with a breadth of nearly 
40. Here the roof, projecting and 
supported on posts, is thatched 
with sago and coco-palm leaves, 
and the side walls, about 3 feet 
high, are woven in pretty patterns 
of dark and light bamboo. Often 
a veranda is built on to the narrow 
side where the entrance is, and 
gives a touch ' of elegance to the 
whole edifice ; while the roof, made 
of leaves laid close together, evinces 
even more careful work. The 
Fijian buildings also to some ex- 
tent fall under this rectangular 
style. Besides those which are characterised by the long roof- tree we find a 
second class, of which the ground-plan is a circle or an oval, and its external 
mark the conical or even bee-hive roof. This is indigenous especially to New 
Guinea, to some of the groups in the Torres Straits, to New Caledonia, and the 
Admiralty Islands ; also to Fiji and the Solomons. The whole thing often looks 
just like a hay-rick. The temples differ from the huts only in size and internal 
fittings. An advance towards embellishment is seen in the fashion of planting a 
fiery-red dracaena near the huts. 

The Polynesian house shows no tendency to soar on high, but grows only in 
length, even when it is already some hundreds of feet long. Thus, however elegant 

Roof ornaments and shoring-props from New Caledonia. 
(Vienna Museum. ) 




the general appearance may be, nothing of architectural importance is arrived at ; 
and the building, even though erected with care and amid special rites, is light and 
not durable. Ruins of habitations are seen only where a stone foundation has 
been laid. The Hawaiians were the last to give up their grass-huts — long after 
they had adopted Christianity together with European clothes and utensils ; but 
even seventy years ago their chiefs were having stone houses built. The per- 
sistence of the Polynesian house in less elevated forms explains the value attached 
to the roof. When a Samoan village in time of war is fearing an attack, the 
people take off their precious roofs and carry them to a place of safety. The 
roof of a New Caledonian house is richly adorned with bunches of leaves and 
shells. Under the peculiar conditions of the Maoris the Polynesian style under- 
went the greatest variation among them. The ground-plan was the same, but the 
house had firm wooden walls, with only a small door and narrow window in the 

front, which faced east- 
wards. The roof-tree was 
carried over a porch, and 
the roof thatched with 
rushes or coarse grass. 
This simple type can be 
materially enriched by 
carvings. These adorn in 
the first place the main 
pillar, which is in human 
shape ; also the supporters 
of the porch, the gable, and 
often each individual piece 
In the less genial districts they have winter houses 
half underground. In winter a fire is lighted inside, and when the coals have 
ceased to glow every opening is closed air-tight, till with an external tempera- 
ture of I 5 or so the interior is up to 8o° or go\ This no doubt is one of the 
causes of their disorders, for besides the exhalations of humanity there are also 
tobacco-smoke and the odours of drying fish, the New Zealanders' "national 
perfume." On the other hand, the neighbourhood of the huts is kept clean, and 
in the palmy days of the Maoris a village would always give the impression of 
tidiness and comfort. 

Here and there in Polynesia stone buildings have been found which have 
been taken to be habitations. The caves in heaps of stones which are among 
the curiosities of Easter Island were perhaps places of refuge in case of war. 
They exist also on other islands. In Isabel, villages defended by palisades for 
the reception of fugitives have been laid out in the heights of mountains difficult 
of access. They are called Tcitailii, and from the sea look like little forts. In 
Hawaii the boundaries enclosing the villages were marked by walls a yard high. 

Although as regards the form of the house it is immaterial in itself whether it 
stands on the ground or on piles, on dry land or in the water, yet pile-building in 
Melanesian dwellings has been carried to an extent found nowhere else ; and even 
where it is not, as it often is, seen in its extreme development, it forms a charac- 
teristic feature of life and scenery. Whether on dry ground or in the water, the 
house is built on piles. Speaking of the village of Sowek on Geelvink Bay (of 

Mats from Tongatabu. (Cook Collection, Vienna.] 

of wood inside and out. 



which we give a coloured illustration), where some thirty houses stand on piles, at- 
tached by tree stems to each other, but not to the shore, Raffray says : " We have in 
fact a perfect pile-village, just like those which science has reconstructed from the 
prehistoric period." The yet neater huts in Humboldt Bay similarly rest on piles 
a yard out of the water, but are connected by bridges. The roof rises to a height 
of nearly 40 feet, and forms a steep six or eight-sided pyramid. The houses more 
in the interior of New Guinea are likewise built on a similar plan ; and although on 
dry land, stand upon lofty piles which, with their sloping stays, present a highly 
original type of architecture as shown in the cut. They hang like eagles' nests, 

House in the Arfak village of Memiwa, New Guinea. (After Raffray.) 

some 50 feet in the air, on their thin swaying trestle-work, looking as if every 
puff of wind must sweep them away. These airy dwellings are entered by means 
of slanting tree-stems with steps nicked in them. 

Constant hostilities have given rise to a special architecture in New Guinea 
and the Solomon Islands. Huts, known as bako, adapted to hold some twelve 
people, are attached to the branches of huge trees at a height of 80 to 100 feet. 
The stem below is stripped of all unnecessary branches, and perfectly smooth. 
Ladders made from liana or bamboo, which can be drawn up, serve to climb into 
these tree-huts, in which stones and spears are stored. At the foot of each tree a 
second hut is built, to live in during the day. 

The size of the buildings is the expression of social conditions. Where one 
family inhabits the house, as in Polynesia, they are small, becoming larger in 



proportion as the family groups adhere to the old custom of a common dwelling. 
Large houses belonging to individuals are rare. In Fiji, where the houses are very- 
fine, the old customs had been much weakened by the prosperity of the aristocracy 
of chiefs even before the English annexation. As regards size, and in other respects, 
the architecture of the Solomon Islands comes nearest to that of Fiji, the New 
Hebrides standing a stage lower. The chiefs' houses, the capacious assembly and 

guest-houses, the boat- 

Stool from Dorey in New Guinea — one-seventh real size. 
(Christy Collection.) 

houses, are carefully built 
and adorned with carved 
work, painting, and skulls ; 
while large pots, orna- 
mental bowls, plaited work, 
and here and there fire- 
arms form the most highly- 
valued decorations. In 
New Guinea the village 
halls, called marea, are 
specially notable. Even 
in the pile-villages they are 
found in a reduced form. 
In New Hanover and New 
Ireland they are buildings 
of moderate size, 1 2 feet 
by 25 or 30 feet ; so, too, 
in New Britain, where the 
roof of palm -leaves, pro- 

jecting a little beyond the outer walls, has on either side a kind of turret, on the 

top of which is a bundle of reeds. It is in Micronesia that the assembly or 

club-houses are most conspicuous. In Yap, Pelew, and Mancape in the Gilberts, 

two kinds of houses are 

universally distinguished 

— the family houses, 

blais, and the great 

houses or bais. The 

building of the great 

houses is a political 

matter, and as such 

entrusted to consecrated 

artificers. They are 

rectangular buildings, 

standing alone : in the Carolines on a stone foundation ; in Pelew on a platform 

of beams, upon which the polished floor immediately rests. Here the principle 

of pile-building is employed on dry land. In contrast to the care with which 

foundation, floor, and walls are treated, the high steep roof seems neglected, 

no doubt because violent storms frequently take it off. The common hall has 

generally six similar openings the entire height of the wall, from a yard to a yard 

and a half in width. These, like the doors and windows, can be closed with 

lieht screens of reed or bamboo. Verandahs contribute to the comfortable 

New Caledonian head-stools. (Vienna Museum. ) 



character of the houses. In the case of the club-houses of New Guinea they are 
often covered with hangings of leaf fibre. The low door has often a porch of 
its own. 

In the interior of the Polynesian huts apartments are arranged by means of 
woven work and matting stretched from wall to wall ; in the smaller houses at 
least a sleeping place is divided off. The carving on timbers and pillars, the 
reed panelling or mat 
tapestry on the walls, 
the cords of various 
colours with which 
the rafters are bound, 
hanging down from 
the roof, lend a cheer- 
ful and pleasant char- 
acter to the interior of 

the better houses. The floor is carpeted with mats ; near the central pillar is a 
hollow where the domestic fire burns. This central pillar is the place of honour 
where the master of the house and his head wives sleep, and where weapons 

Carved and painted rafters from common halls (bais) in Ruk. 
(Godeffroy Collection, Leipzig. ) 

1. Gourd bottle from the D'Entrecasteaux Islands — one-third real size. 2. Head-stool from 
Yap — one-fourth real size. (Finsch Collection, Berlin.) 

and utensils hang in tasteful arrangement. Less comfortable is the fitting up of 
Melanesian houses, in particular of the pile- buildings, the floor of which is 
formed by cross timbers hardly as thick as the arm and often half a yard apart, 
rendering a certain amount of dexterity necessary to step over the gaps. In 
the actual living rooms on either side of the corridor, bamboo rods more closely 
laid form the floor. There are no windows, since it is thought that ghosts 


do not come in through the doors but through openings in the roof. Boards 
covered with a mat form the bed, the hearth is of basket-work with a thick layer 
of earth on it ; long thick pieces of bamboo with the joints perforated for holding 
water, sacks of matting, javelins, bows, arrows, spears, have their appointed places. 
In Tahiti there used to be regular stands for utensils, also shelves, and a long 
boat-shaped framework on which the dishes were placed at meals. In Samoan 
huts at the present day a chest stands on the floor in which clothes and small 
objects are kept. Chiefs even had a chest of drawers, and similar articles of 
furniture have been introduced elsewhere in the course of Europeanising. Among 
the house furniture of the Tongans, the headstool of hard lancewood is never 
absent ; the Samoans use as a support for their heads a piece of bamboo half a 
yard long, as thick as the arm, and with short legs. In Yap, the Marshall and 
Solomon Islands, and no doubt elsewhere, a billet serves. In Fiji, as in Tonga, 
Samoa, and Tahiti, this has become a regular stool. In Yap these stools have 
faces carved at either end. Seats are of European introduction, and have estab- 
lished themselves only in the huts of the chiefs. Even in the Christian churches 
men and women sit upon large mats with their legs doubled under them. The 
artistic tendency shows itself also in house architecture by the picturesque forms 
given to the gables, often as much as 40 feet high, of the roofs, which reach far 
down, often saddle-shaped and woven with carefully-worked thatch. The reed 
walls, often entirely concealed on the outside by the roof, display on the inside 
pretty patterns. Where there are three layers of reeds the inner one lies 
horizontally, and the crossings of the others are utilised to produce these patterns. 
A master of difficult patterns is a man in great demand. Much trouble is 
expended in Micronesia in the adornment of the club-houses : the exterior is 
painted and inlaid with shells ; in the interior red ochre is used on the walls, and 
the floor is varnished with vegetable lacquer. The principal decoration consists in 
winding the reeds with string ; also in the carving of the timbers and walls with 
hieroglyphics of mythical signification. 

The relation between houses and ships exercises a remarkable influence upon 
the nature of the carved and painted ornaments, perhaps upon the whole style. 
The walls of the house are made by preference from the planks of old vessels, and 
bowed outwards. The roof is shaped like a ship, and the whole house is like a 
boat turned over and placed on props. Images of ancestors on the gable or at 
the side of a house call to mind how the whole house was consecrated from the 
foundation upwards. Small monuments in the neighbourhood take the form of 
miniature houses. If one considers that a large house is fastened together only by 
cords ; that the boards, some 6 inches wide, and the massive beams were hewn with 
shell axes and finely smoothed ; that the planks of the floor are even polished ; 
that the holes were made with sharks' teeth gimlets, we may get an idea of the 
amount of labour expended upon such a building. These works are eloquent 
witnesses of the height which craftsmanship, art, and comfort have attained where 
the age of stone still prevails. 

A small number of houses — some twenty or thirty — form a village at a 
favourable spot on the shore, by preference at the mouth of a river, where fresh 
and salt water are at hand. Villages are rare further in the interior, and then 
only on heights ; on the shore they are apt to be hidden behind a belt of forest. 
The mode of life points, indeed, to the sea ; in former times it may have been 


otherwise. Everywhere in the hills we find traces of deserted villages, but the 
present inhabitants know nothing about them. Perhaps the assemblages were 
once larger ; now a village of more than 500 inhabitants is a rare exception. 
Life in these villages is very varied, often idyllic ; each dwelling stands separate, 
surrounded by gardens and fields, or under the shade of lofty trees. Paved roads 
are frequent : in Yap they are a yard or two wide and paved with slabs of stone, 
broadening out in the neighbourhood of the club-houses into a paved place of 
assembly. Here, and by every old house, flat stones are sunk into the ground as 
seats. It is in Fiji especially that we hear of well-laid roads and other public 
works. There a canal called Kelimoosu has been cut through the delta from Bau 
to the river Wainiki in order to shorten the passage for strategic purposes. New 
Caledonia shows remains of ancient aqueducts, and in Espiritu Santo the village 
streets are to this day laid with flints and provided with conduits. A light breath 
of historic life sweeps with a gentle melancholy round these villages, and round 
the solitude of the superfluous fortifications on the hills and the stone pyramids 
which stand man-high in the stone circles of the Nan^as. 


The family — Birth— Dedication — Education — Courtship and weddings — Position of women — Marriage — 
Mother-right — Tribal organisation — The state — Classes and ranks — Aristocratic type of public life — The 
prince and the nobles — Limitations of sovereign power — Court ceremonial — Warlike character — Castes belli 
— Militär}' organisation — Modes of fighting — Sieges — Sea-fights — Treaties — The Malo — Respect for law — 
Laws of taboo — Punishment of those who violate taboo — Removal of taboo. 

Among the Polynesian races, the birth of a child is accompanied by an invocation 
of the gods on the part of the husband or father ; while the woman's mother, or 
one of her near relations, performs the duties of midwife. First, the family deity 
is called to aid ; but if labour is protracted, the husband's or mother's own 
private god. Dedicatory rites have already taken place during pregnancy. At 
the moment of parturition the names of all the gods are recited in succession, and 
the one whose name is uttered as the child comes into the world is regarded as 
his tutelary deity. Similarly the ToJiungas of New Zealand, after aspersion, 
watch the movements of the child, and select as its secret name that word of their 
invocation which coincides with them. After the birth, the chief ceremony is 
the cutting of the cord. This is performed in Samoa, in the case of boys, upon 
a club, to make them brave ; while for girls, one of the boards is used upon which 
the tapa is beaten, that she may be an industrious housewife. In Fiji the cord 
is solemnly buried. As in New Zealand, where children are purified and named 
eight days after birth, with invocation of the tutelary god, and sprinkling with 
water, the Morioris of Chatham Island give the name amid hymns from the priests, 
water being poured on at the same time ; and they further plant a ma/ieu-tree, in 
order that the child may grow like it and flourish. Among the Melanesians, 
simpler customs prevail. A hut is built for the lying-in woman, and some female 
relation suckles the infant. Continence and purification are enjoined upon the 
husband also. In Fiji and the New Hebrides neither of the couple eats flesh-meat 
or fish after the birth, for fear of making the baby ill ; nor must the father, for 



a month after the birth of his first child, do any hard work. The couvade occurs 
distinctly in San Christoval, where " father-right " is the custom. Infanticide is 
widespread, and abortion is extensively practised, often merely on account of pique. 

Chief's wife of Papua, Samoa. (From a photograph in the Godeffroy Album.) 

but often also from vanity — the woman not caring to have children until the third 
year of her marriage. In some parts of the Solomons and the New Hebrides 
all children even are killed at birth, and substitutes purchased. If the child is a girl, 
it has generally more prospect of being kept alive where inheritance goes in the 
female line, and where it will carry on the family succession. The birth of twins 



is not regarded as actually injurious, though there is a disposition to look upon 
them as uncanny. If the children are once allowed to live, everything is done for 
them with due care. Not only the parents but the relations make them presents. 
Little children who are living after their parents' death are -adopted by others ; 
if they are older, natural ties, as well as the laws of inheritance, are honestly 
observed in the traditional way. 

The most important epochs in life have their own religious consecration. 

Tongan ladies. (From the Godeffroy Album. ) 

God is closer to man than is always the case with us Christians. In Saa, and on 
the Leper's Island, toy bows are offered, a week or ten days after birth, on behalf 
of the boy, that he may be strong ; mat-fibres for the girl, that she may be 
industrious. The participation in this of relations on the father's side is a 
significant infraction of mother-right, which in other respects is jealously guarded. 
In Hawaii, the child at weaning is brought from the mother-house, Noa, to the 
father-house, Jlua, and thereby falls under the taboo to be presently mentioned. 


Thereupon the mother sacrifices a pig to her family god, while the father offers 
ava and implores health for the new scion. At the entrance upon manhood their 
consecration is repeated in more severe forms, and attended by customs of a 
hardening nature. A general fast is held in the family. The grandfather, 
between whose soul and that of the next generation but one a closer affinity is 
deemed to exist, rouses the first-born grandson from his sleep, and initiates him, in 
a hut set apart for the purpose, into the mysteries handed down from past times ; 
or the ToJmngas of the tribe teach the rudiments of the traditions to such as show 
themselves of capacity, especially to the sons of Ariki or chiefs, dwelling meantime 
in the forest, in a house of leaves. The fasts are terminated by eating the pith of 
the toia-toia, in order " to cork up the secrets " ; followed by a second aspersion. 
After this the youth is fit for marriage. Yet another consecration takes place 
later, when the youth, now ripe for his first campaign, stands naked by the river- 
side, and is sprinkled with water by the priests, calling upon Tu. Women and 
boys are not admitted. 

In education the influence of the family is less than that of the village 
community or the tribe, as we may see if we consider the frightful extension of 
infanticide in pre-Christian times, at the bidding of these authorities. It was 
favoured by the ease with which marriages could be dissolved, and the exagger- 
ated view taken of the devolution of the father's position upon the son. Immedi- 
ately after birth the first-born boy is invested with his father's name and dignity 
and henceforth takes precedence of him. While the boy is in his minority, this 
produces no practical results, the father exercising all authority in his son's name. 
But the child must sometimes be felt -to be a burden ; for which reason those 
freest of free people, the Ariis or EJiris of Tahiti, recognise no children. Connec- 
tions cutting into and cutting up families contribute still more to cause estrange- 
ment between parents and children — adoption especially. In the Gilbert Islands 
the parents select the adoptive father or mother, who, when these are people of 
means, intrude themselves even before the child is born. It is the adoptive 
father who arranges the marriage of his fictitious offspring, and in whose house 
the young couple live. In this way complete transpositions take place within 
the family. It must, however, be said that in communities of lax morality 
adoption makes the descent of children more secure than the recognition of the 
true children, born under corrupt conjugal relations, can do. The inequality of 
the sexes has a profound effect upon family life and the increase of the race. 
The reasons that have been assigned for the smaller number of women are the 
murder of female infants, and the greater mortality of the adult women by reason 
of too early child-bearing, overwork, and privation, the violence of the men, and 
licentiousness. The proportion is often quite abnormal : in Hawaii it reaches 
one woman to four or five men. 

In Melanesia circumcision usually takes place on the appearance of the 
beard. On attaining puberty, or sooner, the youth leaves the parental hut and 
avoids his mother and sisters, sleeping in the common hall, which, except at 
marriage festivities, no woman may enter. The ceremonies at the initiation 
of the nubile girls are simple, in Samoa no more than a feast with presents. The 
whole course of life is different where girls are betrothed from their birth, and 
are brought up from childhood in the house of their intended. In Isabel it is 
even the custom for a girl to live in the bridegroom's family till she is full-grown. 



In Fiji, when that time has arrived, the bridegroom comes to the house of the 
parents, offers some whales' teeth as a present, and takes the long-engaged bride 
to be his wife. Here, as in the Banks Islands, any anticipation of his marital 
rights is jealously guarded against. If the girl goes wrong she is severely 
punished, even put to death ; and her seducer, if he is caught, shares the same 
fate. A custom hard to explain is found in the Solomon Islands, in New Britain, 
and New Ireland — -that girls on reaching puberty are locked up for some months 
in little huts of their own, entrance 
being allowed only to old women. 
The ceremonies of courtship 
are conducted on the familiar lines. 
The courting is done on the young 
man's behalf by relations or friends, 
who bring the symbolic presents 
to the house of the girl. These 
are in Samoa food, in New Britain 
heavy strings of money, carried on 
spears. The acceptance of these 
signifies a favourable disposition ; 
but as this form of courtship is 
addressed not to the family but 
to the tribe, the final decision 
rests with the tribal chief. At 
the wedding an exchange of gifts 
takes place, the settlement of 
which often gives rise to some 
hard bargaining. The bridegroom 
gives a boat, weapons, pigs ; the 
bride mats and bark -cloth. In 
Samoa both tribes used to assemble 
for the wedding festivities in the 
public place of the village. The 
bride, followed by her friends and 
playmates, well oiled, carrying 
flowers and dressed in their best 

mats, walked along a mat-strewn path to the middle, where sat the bridegroom 
awaiting her. She took her place facing him, on a snow-white mat, while the young 
women brought the wedding presents, singing as they went. In the days when the 
chiefs still took a pride in the virtue of their daughters, inquiry into this followed ; 
and great was the applause which greeted chief and tribe if no stain could be shown 
on her character. The bridegroom's friends then escorted the bride to her future 
home, where she passed some days in seclusion. This first solemnity would seem to 
have been only provisional, and the next five or six months a period of probation, 
since at the end of that period a second festive gathering was held, and the marriage 
sealed by a renewed exchange of presents. In Melanesia too this exchange but 
thinly concealed the purchase of wives. The price advanced by the father is repaid 
by the son ; and in the Solomons a widow is at the absolute disposal of her deceased 
husband's relatives, in the event of her marriage-price not being refunded. The 

Old Tongan woman. (From the Godeffroy Album. 



necessity of refunding this is often the only ground of abstention from hasty 
divorces. Among the better-to-do classes of the more advanced stocks, like the 
Fijians, cases occur, though exceptionally, of marriage of inclination. The acquisi- 
tion of wives by capture still occurs, and the capture can be made good by the 
payment of an indemnity to the relations, in case the woman is content with her 
husband. Fights of a " pretence " kind, however, take place between the bride's 
and the bridegroom's friends, even where there is no trace of compulsion ; and 

a slight resistance on the bride's 
part is regarded as good manners. 
In various parts of West 
Melanesia marriage is celebrated 
with ceremonies of a religious 
character. Thus at Dorey, on 
Geelvink Bay, the couple join 
hands sitting before an ancestral 
image, and eat sago together 
under the exhortations and con- 
gratulations of their friends ; she 
offers him tobacco, he presents 
her with betel. During the first 
night the newly -married pair 
must sit up together while the 
relations partake of a copious 
and solemn meal ; after which 
the young husband takes his 
wife home. In New Britain the 
couple are sprinkled with coco- 
nut milk, the nut being broken 
above their heads. The wedding 
revel with music and dancing is 
seldom forgotten. 

A man frequently takes two 
wives, or more, if his establish- 
ment allows. Among poor tribes 
like the Motus, on the other 
hand, monogamy is universal ; 
but divorce is so easy that a 
kind of " successive polygamy " 
arises. When the wife is done 
with she is laid aside or bartered away. In the Gilberts a man can demand the 
sisters of his wife in marriage, and is expected to marry his brother's widows. The 
overplus of women among the Naiabeis of New Guinea decides the point, no less 
than does in other cases the more usual overplus of men. Peculiar family or- 
ganisations not uncommonly show traces of polyandry. In the New Hebrides, for 
example, there is a kind of convention in cases of widowhood, that two widowers 
shall live with one widow ; the children belonging to both. Dearth of women has 
lately given rise to something similar in the villages of labourers in Fiji, reminding 
us of the limitations of permitted marriages caused by the veve or veita system to 

Princess Ruth of Hawaii. (From a photograph belonging to 
Professor Büchner, Munich. ) 


be mentioned presently. In New Ireland and New Britain widows are claimed as 
common property by all the men. But the re-marriage of the widower is opposed 
by all the female relations of the deceased wife : at first sportively, by using every 
possible form of annoyance to make the man keep at a distance, and then in 
earnest, if he does marry again, by destroying his house, goods, and crops. 

Generally speaking, in the simpler conditions of Melanesia, morality stands 
in many respects higher than in Micronesia. Finsch says of New ^Britain : " The 
exemplary modesty and respectable demeanour of women and girls strikes the 
traveller coming from 
Micronesia in a specially 
pleasing way ; and seems 
hardly compatible with 
the universal nudity." In 
some islands, as Florida, 
the chief maintains public 
women, whose earnings 
go to him ; but elsewhere 
nothing of the kind is 
known. Adultery is in 
many islands punished 
with death, or (in more 
recent times) with a fine. 
Jealousy is a great cause 
of contention, both public 
and private. But at cer- 
tain seasons an ancient 
custom relaxes every tie. 
At the Nanga festival in 
Fiji the women are the 
willing prizes of whoever 
can catch them in a race ; 
and at the same time all 
taboos of articles of food 
are taken off. 

So far as it turns upon 
the distribution of labour, 
the position of the women, 

especially in the Polynesian region, is higher than among many other races. 
Where labour itself is more highly valued its distribution between the sexes is 
fairer. In Tonga almost all work, even that of cooking, fell to the men ; the 
women only preparing tapa by way of entertainment among a circle of neigh- 
bours, accompanied by the men beating time. In Hawaii it was the same. 
Both work together in the fields, but fishing is the men's affair ; though 
women take part in diving for shells. Among the more needy tribes more is laid 
upon the woman, and with nomads she is the beast of burden. In New 
Zealand the women held formerly a higher position. They were not excluded 
from the discussion of public affairs, not even from councils of war ; they even 
went with the men to battle. Husband and wife ate together, and the mother 


Women of Ponape' in the Carolines. (From the Godeffroy Album 


got as much obedience from her children as the father. Only in certain tribes 
destitution produced exceptions. Nothing in all this is altered where " mother- 
right " is valid ; for though the children follow the mother, the father is still the 
head of the family, and his wedded wife does not belong to " his side of the house/' 
but remains " at the door." As in affairs of daily life, so even in higher matters 
two views of the woman's position are in dispute ; and here too we find that the 
higher view is taken in some Polynesian groups. But even in the Melanesian 
Islands we meet with both not far apart. In the northern New Hebrides women 
seem freer than in the southern, and in some parts of New Guinea her position 
in the family is described as one of high esteem. But in Polynesia the notion 
that contact with her is defiling, excludes her from closer association with men 
at meals, at public worship, and at festivals. In Tahiti men and women have 
their separate priests ; in other islands the women have none, and even a life in the 
next world is not allowed to them on the part of the men. In Melanesia the 
women may not enter the common houses of the men, nor the boat-houses, which 
are of the nature of temples. Yet again the Maoris ascribed prophetic gifts to 
the oldest woman of the tribe, while in Tonga there were priestesses who, after 
drinking ava, were possessed and prophesied. In Micronesia their social position 
has unmistakably risen. Here it is quite contrary to good manners for a hus- 
band to beat his wife or use insulting words to her in public. In Pelew, if the 
woman insulted belongs to the Ajdit stock, the fine imposed is equal to that for 
homicide, and if it cannot be paid the culprit must fly the country. The greatest 
insult that can be offered to a married man is any ill word of his wife ; and no 
one must mention the name of another man's wife in public. A social organisa- 
tion exists here for women corresponding to that of the men, and running almost 
parallel with it. Just as the chief of the men in Pelew must belong to the family 
whose seat is Ajdit, so the eldest woman of this family is the queen of the women. 
Beside her stand a number of female chiefs, with whom she keeps an eye upon the 
good behaviour of the women, holds her tribunal, and gives judgment without any 
man being allowed to interfere. So too the women are divided into leagues, called 
Klobbergoll. If these lack the important attribute of the male unions, — community 
of labour, participation in the wars, common dwelling in the bais, — they have the 
right to levy taxes at festivals and on the death of the military king. Among 
their duties are the management of the decorations at festivals, including the 
dances, of which the men openly admit that only the women understand the 
meaning. The men are strictly warned off the women's bathing-places ; exactly 
for which reason these spots are selected for lovers' rendezvous. In this case the 
man is under the protection of the lady and her friends. A great auxiliary to 
these tendencies, which prevail in so many districts, towards giving a higher 
position to women, nay, even to the widespread " mother-right," is that loosening 
of the marriage-tie which has progressed to the point of decomposing society. 

No tic in the whole life of the Polynesians appears to be weaker than that 
of marriage. Small reasons arc enough to undo it, and its undoing is taken 
very easily on both sides. This goes so far as to make the wife's position one of 
simple thraldom, where she is regarded as the man's property and no more. When 
Europeans in Polynesia wish to secure the favour of native women the)- have first 
to make a present to the husbands, who will hand over their wives, compulsorily 
if need be. In Hawaii a kind of incipient polyandry arises by the addition to the 

:,/•.;; w^jWM^m 


establishment of a " cicisbeo," known as Punah'ia. Thus in Tahiti women of easy 
virtue could call themselves Tedua, which was also the name of ladies of the royal 
family. Very often the main object of matrimony appears to be not at all the 
procreation of children, but the husband's comfort ; or, at best, the guardianship 
of the wife, or some question of money. Besides this, not only the constraint of 
exogamy, but — at all events in the higher classes — political objects have to be 
considered. One thing detrimental to marriage is the view that it is not seemly 
to display the wife to the world as being in confidential relations with her husband. 
Men never allow themselves to be seen on the highway with their lawful wives, 
though with a paramour they have no objection. If a stranger stays in the house 
the wife keeps out of the way. Even the number of children, which is kept as low 
as possible, is affected by this corrupting influence. It arises in great part from the 
tribal organisation with its union of men, involving necessarily the exclusion of 
the family ; and even if the family exists beside it, it becomes corroded at the 
base. The more the system of men's clubs develops, the weaker are family ties. 
If a girl at ten or twelve years old has not found a husband, she goes as an 
armengol) or doxy, to a bai, and becomes the paramour of a man who keeps her. 
Until she can find some one to marry her — a matter of simple agreement — she 
can go from one bat to another. Often the opposed interests of the wives and 
the irregular partners lead to quarrels ; and for this reason the paramour has a 
hut of her own built for her in the neighbourhood. Nothing, however, shows 
more clearly the way in which the superior force of social organisation breaks 
through the barriers of Nature than the fact that the married women do not 
object to maintain the girls of the bai, — another proof of the subordination of 
family to tribal interests which the mode of courtship has already exemplified. 
External life, too, is not family but village or tribe life. The Polynesians are 
sociable, but it is pre-eminently a masculine society ; and domestic happiness is 
not unaffected by this. In this matter the Negroes are much better. 

Owing to the twofold organisation of exogamic society in Jiapus or veves a whole 
list of restrictions, prohibitions, menaces, ramifies through families, and produces a 
deep influence on the life of these races. The tie by which all men and all women 
of two different " sides " are connected, is closer than the marriage-tie. Breaches of 
it are rarely committed and then severely punished. Alliances between people 
who are " of us " are as bad as incest. The stern law extends even to newly-born 
children, and twins of opposite sexes fall victims to it. The relation to the 
parents-in-law T has peculiar limitations. The man never utters the name of his 
father-in-law, and avoids taking down objects that may happen to hang above his 
head or stepping over his legs. The mother-in-law is avoided as much as possible, 
and herself avoids looking at her son-in-law ; intercourse is only permitted at a 
distance and with mutually averted faces. If they meet casually, they keep out of 
each other's way. Mother and son-in-law, and often brother and sister, are careful 
not to tread in each other's footsteps. If one has walked on the shore, the other 
does not go there till the tide has obliterated the prints. Towards a brother-in-law 
the relation is as in the case of a father-in-law ; neither his name nor that of son- 
or daughter-in-law is ever uttered, but mutual intercourse is not forbidden. In 
Leper Island and in Fiji brother and sister may not talk to each other. What 
wonder if the domestic life of a Melanesian family is governed by mistrust, jealousy, 
and aversion ? Other things, too, tend to sap family life. Women during preg- 



nancy remain separate from their husbands ; infanticide, polygamy, adoption, 
have a ruinous effect. The popular philosophy of Fiji says that it is usual 
for a wife to hate her husband, rarer for a husband to hate his wife, rarest 
of all for a woman to hate the man by whom she has had a child before 
marriage. Superficial friendliness is common, but few are conscious of any 
deeper feeling. There is only one natural feeling which lives here as else- 
where, and often enough breaks down all barriers, and that is maternal love. 
Even this is flawed very soon in Fiji by the bad bringing-up of the boys ; the 
father teaches them to beat their mother, and not be cowards enough to do what 
a woman tells them. 

The practice of shutting off a tribal group by the exclusion or subordination 
of marriages cut of the tribe has no doubt political importance, but has never had 

a favourable effect on the family. Where the 
societies connected through the mother are able to 
keep themselves clearly distinct, they are based on 
a cleavage in the tribe, as in the case of exogamy. 
Typical cases are the Maori //«/«-system, and the 
East Melanesian veve. Hapu signifies the womb, 
in the sense of that which bears the family within 
it. Every hapu has its tutelary god, who is figured 
as a bundle of reeds ; it cultivates the land in common, 
intermarries, and inherits by " mother- right." The 
oldest member represents its rights, especially in 
the event of a partition or division of land. Not- 
withstanding that the hapu is subdivided into whanau 
or families, all the members claim relationship with 
their chief, and bear a common name, which they 
profess to derive from the most remote ancestor. 
Owing to intermarriage within the hapus, together 
with "mother-right," the hapu- organisation does 
not run parallel with the village -divisions ; as a 
rule, several hapus are found co- existing in one 
village or pah, while the same hapu will be distri- 
buted among various villages. Another division, 
iivi, exists among the Maoris, embracing all who 
came over in the same boat. The name signifies " bone," and thus a deeper 
foundation, similar to that of the hapu is not excluded. In Melanesia the 
term " one side of the house " signifies the same thing as hapu, or the two 
veve (mothers) into which the whole tribe is divided. In Fiji it is veita " root." 
The children always belong to the mother's family ; the husband's nearest 
relations, by whom his own family is carried on, are his sister's children. A 
man must always marry a wife from the other group. The two families 
again branch off into four, and these again into several subdivisions. All 
who bear a common name regard themselves as blood-relations, and marriages 
between them are incestuous. This tie is often the only one that holds, and 
thus it acquires political importance. Here, as everywhere, the exogamic groups 
possess cognisances, or, as we might say, family arms ; most often animals or 
plants, to which they believe themselves to be in some way related. Among the 

Fly-whisk, from the Society Islands — one- 
sixth real size. (Christy Collection.) 



Melanesians this symbol is called tamanin or ponto, " resemblance " ; amoiF the 
Polynesians atua. They wear it both in their tattooing and in the ornamentation 
of their weapons. Inanimate objects also, paddles, nets, whisks, are among these 
signs, said to have been granted by the gods ; and their protective power is 
honoured by solemn dances. Prohibitions in respect of what may be hunted 
or eaten are connected with them. That similar relations may at any time 
come into existence is shown by 
the sudden cessation of all banana- 
planting in Ulawu, after an influ- 
ential man had announced on his 
death -bed that he was going to 
turn into a banana. 

The sacrifice of the family, as 
if it were a transitory appearance 
on the surface of the unchangeable 
tribe, comes most clearly to view 
in the regulations as to property 
and inheritance. The husband can 
take nothing of his wife's property, 
while when he dies she only keeps 
what he has given to her. The 
brother of the deceased is the rightful 
heir, while in marrying she loses 
nothing but her name. The right 
of the female line is valid in the 
succession ; but the right of the 
male line has already tried here 
and there to acquire validity, or 
has even achieved it to a large 
extent. Property and rank are 
conferred by the mother ; the king's 
successors are the male offspring of 
his sister. Thus in Tonga, in the 
chiefs' families a high rank was 
assigned to the elder sister or 
aunt, in the reigning family indeed 
higher than that taken by the 
Tuitonga. In Fiji the brothers 
first succeeded, and failing these, 
the sons. Xo married princess 

could attain to this rank. Thus, in Pelew the king's wife is never the women's 
queen, for it is forbidden to marry in the same family ; but the women's titles 
are like those of the men attached to seniority. Thus, in order to avoid any 
interlacing of the two spheres of sovereignty, the chief may not marry any chief's 

The children inherit their mother's home, which often leads to chaotic com- 
plications. Relationships by the female side, on which the pedigrees rest, fuses 
with the atua-system ; the alleged sons of the same mother may not injure each 

Fly-whisks (chiefs insignia), from the Society Islands - 
one-fifth real size. (Christy Collection. ) 



other, but also must not marry into each other's families. It is indeed a gift of 
the gods. Kubary gives the following extraordinary account of the relations 
existing in the Palau or Pelew Islands : "The King of Molegojok, with which 
Korror is at hereditary feud, is a native of Aremclunguj, while the King of Korror 
comes from a Molegojok family ; both have to fight against their own homes. 
Rgogor, the most powerful chief of Korror, is the son of a native of Ngiwal ; 
while Karaj, the first minister of Angarard, and Iraklaj, the 
King of Molegojok, are sisters' children, and yet in opposite 
political camps." 

Class-divisions among the Polynesians are, by reason of 
taboo, as sharp as in the most thorough system of caste. 
They fall into those which participate in the divine, and those 
which are wholly excluded from it. The aristocratic principle 
is seldom carried to such an extreme as here, where a stern 
psychology remains inexorable even beyond the grave. In 
Tonga the native people, in contradistinction to the immigrant 
nobles, are regarded as having no immortal souls ; while the 
souls of nobles return from the next world and inspire those of 
their own order for the priesthood, so that the connection of 
the tabooed class with the gods is never interrupted. The 
boundary between these two classes is not everywhere alike, 
though the divisions into chiefs, freemen, or slaves runs through 
all Polynesia. In the Marquesas the untabooed class comprises 
all women with their male attendants, as well as singers and 
dancers ; in Rapa indeed all men were sacred, and had to 
be fed by the women. Of the men of rank the greater number 
are connected by ties of relationship, the memory of which is 
preserved by professed genealogists, with the aid of pedigree- 
sticks. The remembrance goes far back. When the palace 
in Hawaii was dedicated none were admitted save those who 
were connected with the sovereign in the tenth or some less 
degree. Nobility carries practical advantages in the shape of 
high posts of state. There are oligarchies, where the smaller 
chiefs take their part in the government by performing inferior 
services as diplomatic envoys, intermediaries in secret matters 
chief), from Pelew is- f council, and such like. The child of a chief belonging to 

lands — one-eighth real 17 -,., r , < i 1 -n • 

size. (British Museum.) the Ehri, born ot a low-class mother, is put to death. .But in 
some cases a man can overstep these boundaries, as in Tonga, 
where clever craftsmen from among the people are raised to the tabooed class 
as Tubunas. Outwardly, social intercourse displays itself in pleasing forms. 

In Micronesia the division of classes is equally into nobles, freemen, and slaves. 
The first, with the priests, are the most influential, the freemen the most numerous ; 
the two often coincide or break up again into definite classes. Since, however, in 
many cases property gives higher rank than birth, there are nobles who, as owners 
of a district, rise to the position of little kings. Where, as in the Mortlocks, a 
population of 3 500 is divided into ten tribes and sixteen states, the road from the 
chief to the noble is naturally as short as that from despotism to oligarchy. 

In East Melanesia the classes correspond with the Polynesian divisions. In 

Fly whisk (insignia of a 



Fiji we find the distribution by businesses, as in Tonga. Here there are individual 
tribes who earn" on a distinct trade — sailors, fishermen, or carpenters. There are 
even special villages of fighting-men, fishermen, carpenters, physicians, artists in 
hair, potters. The most despised of all classes arc the coolies. Even in New 
Guinea every Motu village is distinguished for some one industry, one for its 
women's dressmaking, another for its shell orna- 
ments, others for pottery or coco-palm planting. 
In regard to the certain existence of slavery in 
these districts there is room for doubt. It has 
always been lightly assumed. In the west, where 
the feeble political structure does not allow of 
warfare on a large scale, slavery is often absent ; 
but in the Solomons we meet with it, accompany- 
ing a more vigorous development of chief's 
authority. It used to prevail even more exten- 
sively in Fiji where successful risings of slaves 
even took place. 

An essential part, it not the very nucleus of 
the state, must be sought in societies, embracing 
the greatest number of the freemen in the bond 
of common interests or the practice of a kind of 
freemasonry. With their secret influence and 
their public festive gatherings, they are one of the 
most significant features in the life of these races, 
especially the Melanesians. Their objects are of 
a partly political, partly economic kind, and the 
religious pretext is often solid, but often also 
threadbare. In the Banks Islands and New 
Hebrides members of the leagues called supwe or 
suque hold quite the place of the chiefs. Their 
importance is in inverse ratio to the strength of 
the constitution ; and at the same time the influ- 
ence which each one exercises is measured by his 
rank or class. Those at the top decide who shall, 
after due payment, rise into another class ; who 
shall be excluded, and so on ; the essential distinc- 
tion between them and the chiefs being all the 
less from the fact that in other islands the chiefship 


is often elective and limited by a council of elders. Paddies (chiefs insignia) from NewZea- 

J land — one -sixth real size. (Christy 

In the popular tales, the poor orphan boy, favoured Collection.) 
by fortune, who elsewhere would marry the king's 

daughter, here attains the highest rank in the suque. Thus in different ways a 
powerful bias to aristocracy makes itself felt. The best-known society of this kind 
was the Ehri or Areoi of Tahiti, who formed a league traced back to the foundation 
of a god. A grand master presided over each of the twelve classes, the seven grades 
of which were distinguished by their tattooing ; and all were bound in a close 
comradeship. Being warriors, they must remain celibate ; and if they should have 
children, these must be killed. Their lands are tended by slaves. Even the first 



Europeans found the league degenerated ; it went about like a dramatic troupe, an 
example of low immorality. Every race of Micronesia is broken up into closely 
united societies. Among the nobles this takes the character of a retinue ; and one 
may occasionally recognise in it some connection with inheritance in the female line. 
Thus in the Ralick Islands the ruling chiefs belong to one clan, their sons to 
another ; the chief must marry into the clan of his sons, and descent is reckoned 
by the mother. The Micronesian bats, both of freemen and bondmen, appear at 
the same time as phalansteries, with the object of organising labour. These have 
been compared with regiments, and the obligation to enter them with compulsory 

service. All boys must be entered in 
their fifth or sixth year. One union, 
however, never comprises more than 
from thirty-five to forty individuals prac- 
tically of the same age, so that an older 
man belongs to three or four bais. If 
an}' one gets a rise in rank, he must 
pay a sum of money to each person 
belonging to the same. There is also 
a women's union; but they have no 
house of their own. 

This arrangement recurs in a similar 
form in Melanesia. We find its earliest 
forms in the West : New Britain has 
its Duk-duk ; New Guinea and New 
Caledonia something akin. Everywhere 
some kind of ghost business comes in ; 
it is even implied in the names. The 
masquerades are said to represent ghosts; 
and the strange noises that proceed from 
the strictly unapproachable holy places 
have a terrifying effect. The suque became at last a social and public institution, 
but formerly it was said to secure for its members a life in a beautiful place, 
while the souls of non-members remained hanging to the trees like flying-foxes. 
The initiated learn nothing beyond dances and songs, and how to mask them- 
selves and how to behave. Less indecency than rumour whispered seems to 
have prevailed in these conventicles. Women and children are excluded ; only 
in the nangas of Fiji are women admitted, as is natural. In the tamata of the 
Banks Islands what we may call a lively club-life has been developed. Formerly 
hard tests involving physical pain were attached to admission ; but now every- 
thing seems to have become much gentler and more cheerful. In the Duk-duk 
of New Britain a secret society assumed the character of a " Vehme," and at last 
exercised a real reign of terror with its extortions and executions. 

Chief among the institutions which are independent of, and work counter to, 
the systems known as Jiapu, veve, kema, etc., stands the family. In Micronesia it 
recognises one head as the common centre of all the widely-scattered members, 
each of whom is named after his place of abode. This is managed by the eldest 
like an entailed property, attached to his name and title, and inherited by the 
next eldest. The chiefs tutelary god is conceived to be attached to this house, so 

Chief of Tae in the Mortlocks. (Godeffroy Album. ) 





that it often receives more veneration than the chief himself. While he is alive 
he has another house built for his wife and children, since after his death they 
have to make way for his eldest brother, or the eldest 
son of some former head of the family. 

As regards the distribution of property, the Pacific 
Islands offer a picture of great variety. Between 
common possession and private ownership lies the 
curious apportionment of real property, which under 
" mother-right " devolves jointly, even to the crude form 
existing among the Kenias of Florida, who on the death 
of a member devour all his goods. In general, here as 
elsewhere, Melanesia offers the simplest conditions ; in 
Polynesia the transforming forces of the political develop- 
ment in the direction of monarchy, and the husband's 
power of independent acquisition, have had their effect, 
and that again more in the east and north than in the 
south. Even before the inroads of Europeans the feeling 
for ownership had brought about distinctions ; thus in 
small districts like the Gilbert Islands, the laws of 
individual property and inheritance are not very different 
from ours, allowing for the encroachment of adoption, 
while social position is essentially determined by property 
in land. But there are a number of institutions which 
tend to level the differences, as admission by purchase 
into the higher grades of the secret societies, the yearly 
suspension of all rights of property during the great 
festivals, or, in Samoa, the parties of pleasure among 
friends and relations, at which the sucking-pig plays an 
important part, and which resulted in so much extra- 
vagance, leading to insolvency, that in 1888 King 
Tamasese found it necessary to put a stop to them. 1 

Ownership in the soil is respected within the close 
community of the village, but not always beyond its 
limits. The soil is everywhere divided into village- 
lands, fields, or gardens, and waste. The former are 
accurately known, parcel by parcel, while to the last 
there is no clear title ; though in Fiji its alienation by 
the chiefs seems to have been felt as an infringement 
of the common rights of property. The sale of land 
was not at all usual in pre-European times. In view 
of the facts that the land of the " two sides " often lies 
mixed up in small plots of ground, so that land which 
the father has reclaimed is to be found all among the 
mother's hereditary domains, and that the rights to fruit 
trees and to the soil may be vested in different persons, 

Feather Sceptre from Hawaii. 
(Christy Collection.) 

1 [For an account of these, see Stevenson, A Footnote to History, p. 2. He says nothing about 
any prohibition on Tamasese's part. Perhaps it extended only to the districts owning that puppet-monarch's 
authority. ] 


the problems of conveyance are often insoluble. There is no private property in 
land, only a usufruct through the family which cultivates its piece. Only what a 
man has cleared and tilled with his own hand and the help of his children remains 
his own and passes to them. Claims to rent on the part of the chiefs do not seem 
primitive. But at the present day, if in the Solomon Islands a subject omits to hand 
over to the chief a portion of his profits from the harvest, or the fishery, or of booty 
taken, he commits a delinquency. In Fiji, military services, which took precedence of 
all others, led in the event of a success to new grants of land, with all the inhabitants 
as slaves ; entailing fresh obligations on the recipients. In many cases the entire 
relation of subjects to a prince became one of gifts on the side of the former only. 
The conditions of property among the Maoris perhaps correspond most nearly to 
a primitive state of things. We may suppose that no individual possession was 
valid here, each regarding the common land as his own. In other places a 
wounded man could claim a title to ground on which drops of his blood had 
fallen. Hunting and fishing grounds remained common property. In Melanesia 
sons could enter as heirs upon property left by their father on condition of in- 
demnifying his nephews by gifts of pigs, teeth, or shells. If he left only daughters, 
the nephews of the male side inherited in preference ; and under this law the 
children's property was several, while in the case of nephews and others inheriting 
under mother-right it remained collective. Among the Maoris the strict rule 
seems to have been broken in this respect, that tribal property was inalienable. 
According as the husband lived with the wife's tribe, or the wife with the hus- 
band's, the children followed. But the maternal tribe always claims the child 
of those who pertain to it, even when they have married into another. The loss 
which a tribe undergoes by the transference of children born within it, and their 
property, to the mother's tribe, the latter endeavours to supply by gifts of land. 
But since the children generally marry in the same tribe, the land never passes 
out of the tribe's ownership. Class and tribal organisation with the Polynesians 
forbids a distribution of the soil among families, but it could not, in the event of 
the great development of a chiefs power, prevent the tribal right from being 
administered by an individual. Thus in Hawaii tribal rights of ownership have 
become transferred to the chief, and his subjects either cultivate a portion of the 
land for him, or else have to offer him the first-fruits of every harvest, or render 
compulsory service two days out of seven. Till quite recently he even received a 
quarter of all wages earned by his subjects. They belonged to the land ; and the 
lower classes were treated as serfs, bound to the soil. A proof that this depend- 
ence was patriarchal, and not felt as oppressive, is furnished by the fact that the 
sudden abolition of it through Christianity has been indicated as one cause of the 
decrease of the population. In Tonga also a similar system has grown up, while 
in the Gilberts the population is divided into Tokker, landowners ; Torro, people 
who are allowed to enjoy the usufruct of the land ; and Bei, landless varlets, whom 
the lord can make into Torro by a grant of land. The owners govern almost 
exclusively, even where there are nominal kings. Almost everywhere in Polynesia, 
indeed, the larger landowners generally exercise influence on the government. 
The Bei, though distinguished neither by clothing nor way of life, seldom many 
into the higher classes. 

The laws of taboo (Japu, in Melanesia tambii) have developed, especially in 
Polynesia, in so partial a fashion, that they have passed beyond the limits of a 


religious ban, and hamper all free movement as much as does caste among the 
Indian races. Only the law of taboo does not merely divide mankind by im- 
passable gaps, it simply cuts the entire world in two, and that so sharply that 
the whole excluded portion of mankind was constantly in danger of missing the 
sacred boundary. Everything on earth, with the exception of men, falls into the 
two classes of moa or sacred, and noa or common. Everything upon which the 
power of the taboo is conceived as ipso facto resting belongs to the first, since it 
is the property of the gods and of privileged men, or always reserved for these. 
To the second belongs whatever is taboo-free, and so allowed to be used by all 
men. But in addition to this, taboo can be transferred by mere external contact. 
It is nevertheless possible to enfranchise by 
certain ceremonies that which has been tabooed, 
and thus also to set men free from it. If, in 
consequence of this, the political and social im- 
portance of the notion of taboo disguises its 
religious nucleus, this exists none the less. We 
have here before us a conception which has 
grown out from the religious sphere, the use of 
which in the art of government early secured it 
an extension into the political domain, which 
is no less subtle than unscrupulous. Besides 
the gods, the forces of taboo are also at the 
disposal of men who are possessed of the god- 
like spirit, though, as it appears, not in the same 
degree. Every one else and almost all women 
were excluded from it. We may easily see that 
among these races who bring the divine and 
the human into extremely close relations, the 
operations of taboo, originally a divine force, 
must penetrate intimately all earthly conditions ; 
so intimately, indeed, that in unhistoric minds 

the idea might easily become established that taboo was in reality invented 
only for social and political objects. In any case it is very easy to be misled. 
By means of taboo personal property is secured ; at one time that which 
belongs to a noble, and therefore tabooed, person cannot be used by others ; 
at another time he, as the conveyer of taboo, is in a position to taboo 
the property of others. . It works beneficently if, under fear of a bad harvest, 
the crop is tabooed with a view of preventing famine, until such time as 
the chief removes the taboo from the fields. In Tonga, as well as in Hawaii, 
it was the custom, when great festivities were celebrated with immoderate 
extravagance, to lay a taboo on certain produce ; every landowner can in this 
way protect his own piece of ground from persons lower in rank ; or even such 
fishing -places as are reckoned private property. The fact that taboo is so 
frequently laid upon articles of food, is due to the further reason that everything 
connected with the tutelary deity of a tribe in animal form — the atua — must not 
be touched by those that belonged to the tribe. The soul-eating of the gods, a 
religious method of expressing wonder at the enigmatic process of digestion, plays 
equally a part in this, and, lastly, selfishness is not without its effect. Thus, in 

King Lunalilo of Hawaii. (From a photo- 
graph. ) 



the western islands, there were forests, roads, beaches, which were tambu. Un- 
doubtedly, in the later times of religious corruption, taboo was shamelessly 
misused for the selfish objects of priests and chiefs. Thus once upon a time 

Samoan warrior in fo/a-clothing. (From the Godeffroy Album) 

King Kamehameha I., who more than anyone else profited by this power to 
serve his political ends, laid a taboo on a mountain near Honolulu, because he 
took the quartz crystals found there for diamonds. When Hawaii in 1 840 


tabooed for the space of five years all the herds of oxen which were being 
unmercifully decimated, taboo became a measure of government. The old sacred 
taboo becomes a police regulation. Formerly its influence cannot have been so 
extensive, since divinity was limited to the kings ; now it has been spread over all 
the business of life. 

Even where the custom itself has become remote from its religious origin, the 
penalties for breach of taboo have retained a religious character. Thus, too, the 
strongest trespasses against taboo obviously lay in the religious direction. Desecra- 
tions of temples were the greatest sins. The penalties, indeed, fall mostly upon 
the lower classes and the women ; for persons of rank there are means of averting 
ill consequences. The old faith is falling to pieces ; while it still stood unbroken 
Polynesian religion often demanded what was impossible. In Tahiti nobody 

Ear-button and war-amulet of whale tooth, from the Marquesas — two-thirds real size. 

(Christy Collection.) 

might sleep with his feet turned towards the mawai ; in New Zealand the mere 
looking at a corpse involved taboo. Sick people were tabooed because the illness 
was caused by an atua, new-born children because they belonged to the gods, 
women in child-bed on account of the child, and corpses because the soul hovered 
round them. Whoever had taken up a dead man might not touch food before 
the priests had made atonement for him by reciting the hymn of creation. Thus 
breaches of taboo could easily be committed by inexperienced Europeans, and 
therein lay a main cause of serious conflicts. Let us just imagine how, from the 
spiritual and secular centres of these races, taboo spread as a burdensome and 
threatening epidemic. In New Zealand it could even be incurred by the naming 
of any article belonging to a person of rank. If in any village a strong taboo 
prevailed, owing to the tattooing of some lads, the whole village was tabooed. 
In Tahiti, when a man of rank fell ill, the whole district of which he was the 
head was declared taboo by the priests. Universal silence must reign, no boat 
might sail, no food be cooked, no fire lighted. Taboo enters into the life of the 
lower classes in so burdensome a fashion as to produce a universal oppression, which 
the priests and chiefs well understood how to turn to political account. 



mitigated by a 

of detail indicate that here and there the inconvenience was 
tacit understanding. Taboo-free persons were required to feed 

those under taboo, and 

captured in war were 
very useful, since hav- 
ing passed out of the 
authority of their own 
tribal tutelary spirit, 
and not come under 
the new one, they 
were incapable of vio- 
lating a taboo. There 
must also be some 
means of removing a 
taboo, since otherwise 
it would spread by 
contagion until all the 
free-will and uncon- 
strained action of a 
people was stifled. 
The removal involves 
various ceremonies. 
Many of its effects, 
indeed, are indelible, 
and are interwoven 
with the life of genera- 
tions to come, even 
when they are no longer 
understood. Thus the 
names of dead chiefs, 
the spots where they 
have died, large burial- 
places, are tabooed ; 
which explains why in 
even the more thickly- 
peopled islands many 
uninhabited tracts are 
found. Christianity, 
too, has been willing to make use of taboo to enforce its requirement of humble 
and obedient hearts. 

In the society of the small islands, cloven as it is by reason of mother-right, 
caste, and secret societies, and with a powerful priestly class, we seldom meet with 
kings, in the European sense, such as Kamehameha I. Europeans found them 
because they looked for them ; and many first rose to greatness by means of the 
presents received from Europeans and the respect paid by them. In Xew Zealand 
the arikiy or divine chief, instructed by his father or grandfather in the sacred 
traditions, stood high above secular chiefs and priests. He comprised in himself 

Warrior of the Solomon Islands. (From the Godeffroy Album. ) 


the power of both, could put on and take off taboo, or decide the time for field- 
operations, and the places for burials. On the other hand, the spiritual power or 
vni)ia of the chief, if he were not ariki as well, depended on his personal authority ; 
and the mana of the priest, if he again were not also ariki, was only obeyed in 
respect of his relation to the gods. Thus, too, hereditary chiefship is only recognised 
where it is believed that there has been a transmission of the mana. The mystical 

Fijian warrior. (From the Godeffroy Album. ) 

element in this conception exercises a great power over people's minds. When 
a powerful chief in the New Hebrides has his son brought up as a Christian, it is 
taken for granted that the spiritual force which would qualify him for the succes- 
sion vanishes. So again in the Solomon Islands the dignity of a chief is in 
general not hereditary ; but the bravest man is elected to the post by the elders. 
In some other islands, too, the elders have the paramount influence, while the chiefs 
dignity is merely nominal. Similarly the elders are the priests, the mediators 
between the living and the dead, and what is tabooed by them is sacred. 
Practical experience has taught white men that in New Britain and New Ireland 



even the greatness of power which they wish to see the chiefs possess in the 
interests of order is hardly to be artificially created ; and the same in Xew Guinea. 
On the other hand, wherever warlike conditions prevailed, the dignity of the chief 
grew in importance. It was especially so in Fiji, where we have a completely 
military organisation, under which the villages tributary to one chief, and governed 
by chiefs of lower rank, were divided into official districts. The appellations of 
the chiefs also point to their military character. Often they appear merely as 
doughty warriors who, if they do not spring from a family of the rank of chiefs, 
have been adopted into one on account of their courage. Saturated as this life 
is with religion, and military as is its character, a splitting of the kingship between 
a peace-king with shadowy power and a war- king was sure to follow. Thus 
beside the head of the state another figure often towers up, whether the war-chief 
or, as in Radack, the commander of the great ship. In Samoa the chiefship has 
undergone a development in the direction of aristocracy ; in Hawaii, in that of 
monarchy. In the Samoan party-fights, which since 1876 have come into contact 
with European politics, the electoral chiefs always came to the front, while the 
king appeared dependent on them. In the neighbouring Gilberts the preponder- 
ance of landowners has created a sort of plutocracy. They recur in Hawaii as 
Alii, and in Kamehameha's monarchical constitution they held a modest position 
as the " assembly of chiefs," with different ranks of taboo. A representative 
intermediary between king and people appears in some form even-where ; the 
fono of Samoa, the aJia-alii of Hawaii, show it in various stages of development. 
It has a strong tendency to assume the character of a secret society. Special 
assemblies are called together by the chief or his representative on important 
occasions, especially when war threatens. They deliberate often for days together 
with many ceremonies and lengthy speeches. From this the transition to modern 
constitutionalism or its imitation was not difficult. The constitution of Kame- 
hameha III. ordained that the heir to the crown should be nominated by king 
and chiefs acting together. Failing this the chiefs were to do what was necessary 
in conjunction with the representatives of the people. Here again the aristocratic 
principle corrects the patriarchal, and thus the high pitch which despotism has 
reached rests more upon the pressure of class and caste than upon the over- 
powering will of a single man. Its profound effects can only be explained in 
this way ; only in this way could it permeate all conditions of life. In any case 
the effects were far less upon the privileged than upon those who had no rights 
— the oppressed ; and thence also came the sadly rapid decay of this society. 

An element which is often overlooked among the state institutions of the 
Oceanians is the small size of their territories. On the lowest stage of the 
formation of states, we find little communes, or little groups of communes, allied in 
blood, which vegetate under their own village chiefs or elders. In the largest part 
of Xew Guinea, even these dignitaries are lacking ; social and family relations 
embracing also political, and every village on the whole forming a state of itself. 
In the Ruk group, they speak of thirty-nine tribes and seventy-three states. Since 
there is no room for the development of a power founded upon extensive posses- 
sion in land and people, it is less the actual conditions of power than traditions, 
personal relations, and political intrigues, which decide matters in the island groups. 
A certain order of the lands, in point of rank, is traditional from old times ; only 
one larger archipelago formed a single state, and how often did that fall to pieces ? 




«J ^ 
. O 
B U 

The very largest islands, New Guinea and New Zealand, 
never possessed a single state of any importance. 

As in the case of class organisation, so also in the govern- 
ment, there is a patriarchal air. The people are very sensitive 
on the point whether the king takes trouble, or utilises the 
advantages of his office to his own profit. Thus in Kubary's 
time, the King of Korror was deposed for his avarice. In 
Tahiti, strangers might see the king putting his hand to the 
paddle in his own canoe, and the meanest man could speak 
freely with him. These are the humanising effects of nature 
which bestows her gifts with equal freedom on rich and poor, 
and of the small scale on which everything was constructed. 
But traces of an anarchical time emerge even more strongly 
than those of the patriarchal. Before the nomination of a 
successor, an interregnum as a change from the preceding 
and subsequent hard times of compulsion is wont to loosen 
all political restraints ; it is a legalised anarchy. 

The high position of the prince is expressed in a number 
of ceremonies, putting him on a level with the gods. External 
insignia are reserved for him in the first place. In Hawaii 
feather- mantles and necklaces of whales' teeth ; in the 
Admiralty Islands double chains of shells ; in the Solomons 
arm-rings of shell, shell trumpets, fly-whisks, and other things. 
Passers-by had to throw themselves in the dust, to bare their 
shoulders or strip altogether ; the king could only be addressed 
when sitting, and replied through a special orator. He was 
greeted by having his hands and feet smelt ; in Hawaii, a 
special court-language was used around the prince, which had 
to remain unknown to the people, otherwise the chiefs changed 
it. Samoa also had its court language. 1 In Micronesia, 
since the name of a chief may not be uttered, he takes when 
entering upon his dignities a name by way of title. In 
Kasaie, this name denotes nothing else than god ; anything 
recalling former names is sedulously avoided. A chief cannot 
eat or drink out of the dish of another, nor may his vessels 
be used by others, or his house be entered by any one uninvited. 
Not only have the commons to observe all this in regard to 
the chiefs, but the chiefs also in regard to their superiors. 
In the Solomon Islands, any one who steps on a chiefs 
shadow incurs death, or at least a severe pecuniary penalty, 
the parallel to the Polynesian exaggeration of taboo. From 
Polynesia, too, comes the practice among Fijian chiefs, of 
keeping court barbers, who by reason of their right of touching 
the sacred hair, come within taboo, so that others have to feed 
them. The heralds of princes are inviolable even in war. 

13 „Q 

Ü £ 
£ P 


o <U 


1 ["For the real noble a whole private dialect is set apart. The common 
names for an axe, for blood, for bamboo, a bamboo knife, a pig, food, entrails, and 
an oven are taboo in his presence." — Stevenson, A Footnote to History. ~\ 



Many obscure practices are no doubt connected with the chiefs position as priests. 
Why does the first chief in Erromango receive a stone with a round hole in it ? 
Why does the consecration of the chief in Anaiteum consist in being drawn round 
a newly felled tree with his crown on ? 

The whole existence of nobles and princes on this earth is often regarded as 
something only transitory, an earthly episode in the lives of these sons of the gods. 
They come from heaven, and destiny holds them fast ; they return only as souls 
to Bolotu ; the threads of their existence are attached on high. What wonder 
then if the same grade of holiness was ascribed to the kings as to gods, and to the 
other nobles in a ratio diminishing according to their rank ? The king, as the bearer 
of taboo, attains an altitude which is dangerous to himself. Originally, he could 
not enter any house belonging to a subject, since otherwise it would be forfeited 
to him. In Tahiti he had himself carried over land which he was too sacred to 
touch. The South Sea races have, however, discovered means of averting, at least 
in some measure, the evil consequences which must have resulted from this system. 

Of all those around the king, his brothers stand nearest to him. Occa- 
sionally, when he entrusts a commission to a son, he gives him his staff and whisk 
as credentials ; otherwise, the king's messenger carries a green bough. A prime 
minister, who, where things are on a small scale, will probably be the commander- 
in-chief, forms a necessary supplement to the sacred sovereign. This post is also 
held by a priest, as in Hawaii. There, without any definite intention to that effect, 
royalty assumed a character with two aspects, which found expression also in 
court ceremonies. Thus it occurred that even when European political ideas 
began to make their way into Hawaii, the constitutional notion of a leading and 
responsible minister was not wholly strange. To the king's suite belong also the 
keepers of the regalia. In Tahiti, the feather girdle and fillet are guarded by 
officials. In Nukahiva the chief is accompanied by his fire-lighter. Kamehameha 
compelled the chiefs of the subject islands to live near his palace, and go about 
with him. The value attached to genealogy made the custodians of tradition 
an important element of the court. In New Zealand, this office was entrusted to 
hump-backed men, in order that if both chiefs, father and son, should fall together 
in battle, the custody of the legends might be safe in the hands of those who 
were compelled to stay at home. 

The exuberant development of trade and finance, especially in East Melanesia 
and Micronesia, was all the more closely allied with politics, from the fact that the 
king used to have a monopoly of the only two sources of wealth — the manufacture 
of coin and trade. Here, as on the west coast of Africa, trade enriched the chief, 
and raised him to a far higher power than he would otherwise have acquired. 

Breaches of law are rare. In their fundamental character they were formerly 
breaches of divine ordinances. For this reason, the penalties are extraordinarily 
severe, and ordeals of every kind play the chief part in judicial proceedings. In 
later times, the opposite came about ; money penalties became universal, and 
formed the chief sources of revenue for the king and the chiefs. But besides this, 
an offence against the laws involved a certain dishonour ; boys and old men were 
not punished, as being foolish people. New laws are announced to the people 
with a flourish of the war trumpet ; a prohibition to enter upon land, or to pluck 
fruit, is signified by spears stuck in the ground, or bundles of leaves tied to 
branches. For private injuries in the Solomon Islands, every man exacts the best 



penalty he can with his own fist ; but if the relatives intervene, the strife is in 
many cases appeased, after long speeches and ferocious gestures, by the payment 
of a fine. In New Caledonia, an adulteress is strangled by one of her own and 
one of her husband's relations. Persons convicted of magic are painted black, 
adorned with flowers, and made to jump into the sea. 

Intercourse between one tribe and another is conducted through inviolable 
heralds, old women for choice. These also act as trade intermediaries on 
'Change. On these occasions the chief gives knotted cords of rattan and reeds, 
— as many as the articles included in the commission, while the length of the reeds 
indicates their importance. White and green, in streamers or boughs, are signs of 
peace ; black and red, in colours or feathers, signify war and death. In New 
Guinea, the leaflets of a coco-palm leaf are partly taken off, then the stem is 
halved, and the halves handed to the parties in token of peace. Individual tribes 
form alliances for other objects ; those of the Fijians are very expensive, for the . 
allies have not only to be fed, but they have a full right to give their orders as lords 
throughout the territory of their friends. The intercourse of daily life is strictly 
formal ; in Pelew, the word mugul, that is, " bad form," is so all-powerful, that 
only the equivalent for taboo can dispute supremacy with it. As with the Malays 
and other races, it is mugul to ask anybody " what is your name ? " though a 
greeting may quite well take the form " who are you ? " The standing question 
by way of opening a conversation is, " no news ? " or " give your news." At parting 
they say simply, " I'm off." In general, these customs are very like those of the 
Polynesians, and in former times perhaps were still more so. Thus the ancient 
form of greeting among the Pelew Islanders, of rubbing your face with the hand 
or foot of the person to be greeted, recurs in the Hervey Islands, together with the 
Polynesian rubbing of noses. So again does the reception of friends, with words 
recited sing-song fashion in chorus. In all circumstances, custom is more powerful 
than morality. It is optimism to take for morality the indignation shown by 
Micronesian girls at trifling violations of custom. 

The number of weapons in use is difficult to harmonise with the gentle 
character belonging to most Polynesian tribes. Yet the predominance of militarism 
is not everywhere merely apparent. The Fijian cannot be described as funda- 
mentally warlike by nature, yet the entire archipelago is seldom free from war. 
It lies in their circumstances and usages, and is the simple consequence of their 
numerous independent lordships. A phenomenon no more unusual than the cack- 
ling of hens by night, is regarded as a warlike prognostic, whereas in Europe we 
at least allow ourselves the time which elapses between one comet and another. In 
Polynesia some races are more warlike than others ; the Maoris might be called 
the Zulus or Apaches of Polynesia. War, as a necessity, passes like a red, very 
red thread, through the whole life of Marquesans, Tahitians, and Gilbert Islanders. 
The military renown of the small Paumotu Islands was such that Tahitian chiefs 
fetched mercenaries thence. The very narrowness of the space contributed to de- 
velop such conditions ; the smaller the states the more embittered and unconcili- 
atory their politics. An inexhaustible source of hostilities is an accusation on the 
part of one family group that another has done despite or injury to their dead ; 
breach of promise of marriage is another. Therewith naturally the general pros- 
perity suffers, not only that of natives but also of foreign settlers, so that it has 
always been the effort of the missionaries to bring about a union of the different 


districts. But it has been in vain ; the tendency to small states had sealed the ruin 
of Polynesia long before the people had thought about European culture and the 
excess of it. Herein lies one of the impediments which has compelled the roots 
of Polynesian culture to spread laterally instead of vertically ; we need only think 
of the way in which the New Zealanders have split up. 

To the frequency of wars conduced also the standing organisations of the 
military character. Kamehameha I. founded a special army the name of which was 
"eating on foot"; that is, akvays ready for battle. In the Society Islands and 
elsewhere, a warrior caste existed as a permanent suite to the chiefs. In every 
district may be found a village whose inhabitants possess the right in war time of 
opening the battle. The post in the vanguard is highly esteemed as a post of 
honour, since it secures a special authority in times of peace and a conspicuous 
share in all festive enjoyments. On all the great islands there are specially war- 
like tribes, — on the north coast of New Guinea the Mansuari, in Fiji men who 
adopt a celibate life. The very frequency of naval wars gives rise to a certain 
organisation, since the guidance of the war-canoes can only be entrusted to practised 
hands. In sea encounters, boats which belong together are indicated by some 
common sign — a bundle of palm leaves, a strip of tapa, or a picture of an animal 
on the same material. In just the same way people fighting on land wear some 
sign by which they may be recognised, and these are changed every two or three 
days in order to avoid ruses on the part of the enemy. They paint particular 
figures upon their bodies in black, white, or red, wear a shell round the neck or 
the arm, or dress their hair in some peculiar way. 

But in their opinion every war has sufficient ground ; battle is to them the 
best solution of a mass of contested questions, and their final arbiter is the god of 
war. Violations of the rights of property, annexation of land, fishing and hunting 
in disputed districts lead to wars, still more do violations of taboo, marriages 
between persons belonging to hostile tribes, murder, adultery, witchcraft, and, most 
frequently of all, personal insults and blood feuds. Whole generations labour to 
wash away spots on the honour of their forefathers, while to nourish the sentiment 
of revenge is one of a chief's first duties. The Navigator's Islands testify that envy 
of the success of a peacefully working tribe may contribute its fair share to the 
kindling of ever new wars. That among the causes of war women have their place 
can be all the more understood from the fact that a fundamental rule is " Once a 
chief's wife always his wife." Wars of succession are also recorded. 

Lastly, a further ground of quarrels is to be found in the complicated feudal 
relations. Connected with this is the fact that in kingdoms so small as these all 
personal relations are thought more of than would be the case in larger states, to 
which further importance is given by the manner in which social ties are 
indebted for their vitality to the half monarchical, half oligocratic constitution, 
so that the dissolution of personal relations must also, as observed by Semper, 
relax the political relation of states to each other. It is in the nature of these 
people neither to break wholly with each other nor to unite with each other 
frankly. What prevails is neither open war nor undoubted peace ; small causes are 
sufficient to evoke a tendency in one or the other direction. 

In Polynesia war is conducted with formalities no less strict than those which 
govern peaceful intercourse, and within their limits it often proceeds in a fairly 
harmless manner. As a chronic evil it became converted into a settled institution. 

Printed "by the Bibliographisches Institut. Leipzig 




Head-stealing is partly the object, partly the symbol of warfare. It can never 
degenerate into aimless murder ; and it is rarely that more than one man is killed. 
Both sides know quite well what is taking place, and cunning on one side is met 
by precaution and indefatigable vigilance on the other. This kind of warfare is 
recognised by the Micronesians as a chief institution of their political life, for the 
further reason that it is essential to the provision of means for meeting state- 
expenditure. The head chief pays with his own money. He has considerable 
outgoings at his accession, and must defray those of all the muz's, ruks, and other 
festivities. But the country pays no taxes, and the expenses must be met somehow. 
That is the use of the war-dance. The head chief travels through friendly districts 
with a head which his warriors have secured, executes the war-dance, and receives 
for the performance a fee proportionate to the size of the country. But, in order 
to prevent too great a drain of money in any one direction, the rule is that when 
one village has finished with the head, another has a turn with it. Thus, though 
by a somewhat unusual method, the very usual object of keeping money in circula- 
tion is attained. Head-hunting is common in New Guinea, as, for example, 
among the Tugeris, who cut off the head with a bamboo knife ; and so too in the 
Malay Archipelago. Among the Motus he only who has killed a man may wear 
the half-skull of a horn-bill in his hair. A woman will do ; and there is no 
objection to the employment of treachery. 

Unluckily, where things are on a smaller scale, as in the Marshalls, war 
degenerates into an incessant devastation of fields and plantations. It is therefore 
easy to understand why bullet-proof houses of stone are supplanting huts of wood 
and straw. There is nothing about which the gods are so keen as war : nor is 
anything an occasion of larger sacrifices. Before coming to blows with men, 
it is necessary to come to an understanding with the gods. Temples half buried 
in weeds are tidied up or rebuilt. The greater the sacrifice, the firmer is the 
confidence. Among the Maoris the priests had to decide whether or not the war 
will be victorious. Sticks were stuck in the earth, and if they remained upright it 
denoted a loss, and the war was deferred. In other cases food was cooked for the 
gods and the fighting-men ; then the troops started, followed by slaves and 
women, who had to attend to transport and commissariat. All warriors were 
" taboo." The command was allotted to the boldest fighter, who was also expected 
to be adept in the kind of eloquence calculated to rouse the courage of the warriors 
immediately before the fight. He would spring forward in the front of the line, 
and with glowing words extol the greatness and the fame of the tribe, the favour 
of the gods, the valour of their forefathers ; but while enumerating the injuries 
which had yet to be avenged, he would avoid bringing into prominence the 
dangers of the moment. The excitement rose to the point of fury. The warriors, 
kindled by the discourse, would fling off their mats, smear their bodies with 
charcoal and the sacred red-ochre, adorn their hair with feathers, and dash into 
the war-dance. In this they would expend a good deal of bodily strength, with 
the view of kindling the passion of battle in their hearts ; they crouched down in 
rows one behind another, leapt up suddenly at the word of command, jumped on 
one leg to one side, then on the other leg to the other side, with their meres raised 
aloft, and then leaping off both feet into the air, brandish their weapons, shouting 
their songs in quick time. Old women, smeared with ochre, danced in front of 
the lines. Then the most renowned warriors advanced, and challenged the foe 


with opprobrious language, such as Pritchard heard in Samoa. " You banana- 
eaters of Manono, let Moso twist your necks ! " — " You coco-nut eaters of Aana, 
may your tongues be torn out and burnt." — " Here is my club, to knock down 
those Savaii pigs. Where is the Savaii pig who wants to be killed ? " — " Fry that 
Atua-king, who shall die by my spear ! " — " Here is the man-eating gun ! " — 
" Where are they, that dirty herd who pretend to be men ? " Finally the two 
sides would dash furiously upon each other, and a series of single combats would 
ensue. The event would be decided by the fall or the victory of some one great 
warrior and the consequent retreat or advance of his side. It was seldom possible 
to rally the fugitives ; his back once turned, every man ran for his life. The 
victors returned from the pursuit to the field of battle, and marked with their 
spears the spots where warriors had fallen. The Maoris used to examine especi- 
ally if they had had thefr fists clenched ; if so, they had fallen in the moment of 
victory. Their own wounded they carried away. Then they placed one of the 

Sacrificial knife, available also as an instrument of torture, from Easter Island — one-half real size. 

i Berlin Museum.) 

enemy's dead aside as an offering to the gods, and laid the heads of the others at the 
chief's feet. The wounded were tortured and clubbed to death. 

Gunpowder has changed the style of fighting. The islanders, with their dislike 
of danger and preference for attacking only when they have a manifest advantage, 
took very readily to fighting at a distance and promiscuous shooting from ambushes 
all day long. The art of taking cover developed more rapidly than that of attack- 
ing. In Fiji they fought around fortresses made of wooden palisades : the women 
and children having been removed, before the siege began, to a place of safety. 
Spears were thrown and stones slung from side to side, even red hot stones to set 
fire to the woodwork, but the besieging party seldom arrived at assaults in the 
open. Treachery, stratagem, hunger, intimidation, were the principal means to 
which they resorted. Clever utilisation of natural, advantages in the ground, 
palisades, ramparts faced with stone and loop-holed, and, in the case of fortified 
villages or pahs in the plain, muddy ditches as well, added strength to the defence. 
The chief entrance was flanked by walls in the form of bastions and the gate 
formed of sliding timbers. For naked aborigines a thorn hedge makes an almost 
impenetrable rampart. Within the fortress a sentry was posted in an elevated 
position ; the sign of danger or of a threatening attack was given by drums. 
When the wind was favourable they challenged the enemy by flying banners and 
dragon-like things of many colours in his direction, but a war of this kind often 
ends without bloodshed. Traces of an international law, which has in view the 


mitigation of even this kind of war, may be recognised in the fact that so long as 
their patience holds out both sides spare the adversaries' fruit trees. On the other 
hand, we find no trace of any idea that it is more honourable to win in open fight 
than by means of cunning and ruse, and accordingly there are no limits to the 
artifices which may be employed in war. The rage of the victors often spares 
neither women nor children, and in this respect the greatest atrocities have been 
committed. Even Fiji has its legend of the chief's leap, — a fugitive chief is said 
to have thrown himself in desperation from a rock in the island of Wakaia. 

The objection of the Polynesians to action in the open is marked also in the 
little use which they make of their boats in actual sea fighting. The famous war 
canoes served mainly for transporting the warriors, and aquatic engagements 
only took place when hostile war-canoes met accidentally. The method was to 
upset the opponents' canoe, which rendered it easy to club to death the 
helpless swimming crew. 

As soon as the lust of battle is appeased on either 
side, and the accurately kept debit and credit account 
shows that winnings and losses are balanced, the armies 
take steps towards peace. The intelligence that peace 
is desired is conveyed by neutrals, and either side sends 
as herald some old man related to both and gifted 
with eloquence. The periods of hostilities are con- 
cluded by carouses, though deep down in all hearts 
a secret wish of beginning again at a seasonable moment 
is still active. Treaties of peace are in reality only 
armistices. The Samoan system, known as malo, which 
went so far as to slaythevanquished when he approached Human lower jaw set as an arm- 

• .1 r -L • • rr 1 • t j rmsf, from New Guinea. (Christy 

with signs or submission, to carry on his wile and collection ) 

children, and ravage his fields and houses, or else 

to a gradual ruining of him by extortion, not unfrequently compelled the flames 

of revolt to break out afresh. Whole tribes have been known to migrate in order 

to escape oppression of this kind. In 1848 the whole population of Western 

Upolu removed to the eastern part of the island. 

Many features in the existence of the Oceanians can only be understood 
when we realize the small value attached to human life. This hangs together 
with the over-population of island areas, and has contributed - powerfully to the 
formation of colonies, but it leads also to depopulation, and throws a sanguinary 
gleam over all their social life. Human sacrifices were universal in Polynesia 
before the time of Europeans, and cannibalism was extensively practised. Both 
are closely bound up with religion and war, while human sacrifice is intimately 
connected with the festivals of the dead. In certain sacred functions the priest 
required it. Thus men or portions of men — for example eyes, which were regarded 
as pleasing to the gods — were buried in the foundations of temples ; while at the 
building of war-canoes human sacrifices were absolutely necessary. The gods to 
whom men were sacrificed were various, but the principal were Tangaroa and 
Oro ; the killing was done in Oro's temple, and the victim deposited in Tanga- 
roa's. As everywhere, the largest number of human victims was furnished by 
prisoners of war and slaves. The selection of the victim depended in some places 
upon the priests, who, after some time passed in the temple, came to the people 


and indicated the victim whom the deity desired. The Maoris used after a 
battle to collect the bodies of the foe, cut off scalp and right ear for the gods, 
and dig two rows of cooking pits, in one of which the cooking was done for the 
gods only. When the meal was dressed the chief first swallowed the brain and 
eyes of one of the fallen, raw ; then followed his sons or nearest relatives, and 
after them the whole company fell to upon the hideous meal. On these occasions 
gluttony was the rule. What remained over was packed in hampers and sent to 
neighbouring tribes who, by the fact of accepting and consuming the present, 
declared themselves friends of the victors. 

Returning home, the troop bore the heads of its slain chiefs as sacred relics, 
while those of the enemy were fixed on spears. For every chief who had fallen 
the life of one of his slaves was required, while the heads of the enemy were 
stuck on the palisades surrounding the village, and derided. Then followed the 
ceremony of taking off the taboo from the victorious force. Scalp locks were 
fastened to reeds, and with these the warriors executed a dance to the chanting 
of the priest. The business was concluded by the tedious task of mummifying 
the chiefs' heads. These were boiled, smoked, and dried in the air ; brain, tongue, 
and eyes were removed, tattooing and hair preserved. The very form of the 
lineaments was often still recognisable. Some tribes in the neighbourhood of the 
East Cape are said to have mummified even entire bodies. Others fixed eyes of 
bright stones in the skulls ; and in New Britain these were on great occasions 
worn as masks by the younger men, that they might acquire the spirit of their 
former owners. Among the Maoris cannibalism was undoubtedly always con- 
nected with revenge, and their wars were always wars of revenge. This trait 
deserves to be remarked as distinguishing their cannibalism from that which has 
assumed either a more everyday character, or one distinctively religious. 

When we find the traditions unanimously affirming that cannibalism was not 
practised among the earlier generations of immigrants, we may no doubt imagine 
it to be one of those phenomena which correspond with a certain retrogression in 
the public life of the community, brought about by internal quarrels ; but further, 
that it came in with the increase of the population, which in many islands led 
undoubtedly to overcrowding. It disappeared and came up again, showing that 
there was always a favourable soil for it somewhere. We are led to the same 
conclusion by considering its geographical distribution. Well-ascertained centres 
of undisguised cannibalism are noticed in places so far apart as New Zealand, the 
Marquesas, the Palliser Islands, and the Paumotus. The Hawaiian and Tahitian 
groups, the Society Islands, and, for a period, Tonga, were free from it during 
the time of the more frequent visits of Europeans towards the end of the last 
century. But throughout Polynesia there exist both objects and legends in which 
traces survive of a time when it extended more widely. When we find that in 
the Marquesas cannibal feasts were preceded by the cutting off of the victim's 
hair, to make arm -rings and necklets of magical potency, we cannot fail 
to see a cannibal significance in the frequent use of human hair to adorn 
spears and helmets, or of human bones and skulls as drinking-vessels ; or 
in the Hawaiian custom of putting the eye of a human victim in the oil 
used to anoint the king. Strong men's bones are available as talismans. In 
New Zealand, fish-hooks were, according to Forster, furnished with a jagged bit 
of human bone. The people also had necklaces of human teeth ; and in 


Hawaii a bone hung round the neck by a string of human hair counted as a high 

The notion of the gods eating souls runs all through Polynesian mythology. 
In Aitulaki a god was called Terongo, the man-eater. Tangaroa caught souls 
with a net or a noose and ate them up. Souls of people who died suddenly were 
devoured by the god. This conception might easily pass into that of eating the 
body with the soul ; and therewith human sacrifices, and, in the uncertainty of 
the boundary between divine and human, cannibalism received a divine justification. 

Among most Melanesian tribes cannibalism is a settled institution, often in 
a very extensive degree. In many places it has, for various reasons, disappeared, 
as in Teste between the visits of Moresby in 1872 and Finsch in 1885. Else- 
where human flesh is in such request that even the remains of a relative who has 
died a natural death will serve for a repast. We find also examples of a recent 
extension of the bad habit by a sort of infection. Thus Saa caught it from San 
Christoval, Florida from somewhere to the westward, perhaps Savo. The Torres 
Islanders bake the heads which they have captured, and eat the eyes and pieces 
from the cheeks. The Fijians used long wooden forks, to eat not only prisoners 
of war, but members of certain particular tribes who were condemned to deliver 
one of their number for a cannibal feast. In the Solomons prisoners were even 
sold for cannibal purposes. Brown the missionary was told in New Britain that 
they retained the custom with the view of intimidating their enemies. When we 
find a human skull with the back smashed in, the brains having been swallowed 
through the opening, we may safely infer cannibalism ; and such are found in 
quantities on D'Entrecasteaux. Cannibalism often merely expresses hatred and 
rage against a slain enemy, just as when a captured foe is burnt alive. A craving 
for flesh meat can seldom be assigned as a cause ; most readily perhaps among 
the indigent natives of New Caledonia. Yet even these go back to mythology and 
declare that men are fishes and therefore eatable. Human sacrifices, with subse- 
quent consumption of the corpse or portions of it, form in Oceania also a main- 
stay of cannibalism. One receives the impression that life in those parts is 
always passed under the foreboding of being sacrificed. Cannibalism has also 
been maintained where it would otherwise have disappeared, owing to its associa- 
tion with skull worship. The Hattams, among whom it is a custom to decorate 
their dwelling-houses with the heads of dead persons, desecrate the graves of their 
neighbours in a shameful way, and at every feast in honour of a newly-captured 
head cannibalism blazes up afresh. 

Infanticide was a recognised institution in Polynesia in pre-Christian times. 
The language has formed special terms for burying alive, stabbing with a splinter 
of bamboo, and strangling. In Tahiti some mothers had killed ten children ; the 
only gleam of light in the blackness of this crime was the strict adherence to the 
law that a child had escaped death if it had lived for even a short interval of time. 
Fortunately there were cases enough where natural maternal feeling got the better 
of convention. Williams the missionary asserts that every time a mother 
murdered a child sprung from a misalliance, she advanced a step in rank, until 
she at length reached a point, corresponding to the number of her infanticides, at 
which she was permitted to let her children live in future. In not a few districts 
of this favoured region necessity was the motive for infanticide, but indolence 
still more so. The natives in justifying the practice frequently approximated to 


Malthusian principles. The dislike of bringing up more girls than necessary was 
an equally prevailing cause. War, the priesthood, fishery, and sailing, were 
regarded as forms of activity to which it paid to bring up boys, and thus the 
disproportion of the sexes was so great that one woman was often wife to four 
or five men. 


Universal animation ; the conception otAiua, Mattet, Ani, Kalit, and the like — Creation of gods — Hero-worship 
— Atua, Oromatna — Gods of the sea, the air, the land, daily occupations — Animation of beasts, plants, and 
stones — Cosmogany and mythology ; views of Nature — Beginnings of metaphysics — Legend of Papa and 
Kaka — Separation of Heaven and Earth — Rangi-Ru and Maui — Maui as deity and animating principle of 
earthquake, fire, and sun- — Hawaiian and Maori Mauis — Wakea — Tangaroa the Polynesian Zeus, god of 
the sun, the firmament, the horizon — Tii as a variation of time — Tane, god of the sky — Hina, goddess of 
the moon — Gods of Olympus and Hades, Hikuleo, Milu, Pele — Hero-gods : Meru, Moso, Oru, Maru — 
Priests ; universality of the office — Priests and chiefs — Priest-kings — Consecration of priests — The priests' 
functions — Temples and places of sacrifice ; various kinds of sacred places — Graves as places of veneration — 
Temples — Lack of genuine idols — Embodiments of gods — The Tii — Stone images — Feather-idols — Graves 
and funeral customs ; stay of the soul near the body and about the grave — Various forms of interment — 
Skull-worship — Sacrifices to the dead — Burying alive. 

UNIVERSAL animation, or the endowment of all things with a soul, is the broad 
foundation of all religion among Polynesians and Melanesians alike ; everything, 
even to the utensils, had a soul or was capable of having one. We must not, 
however, conceive this animation as exclusively of an ennobling kind. The words 
spirit and soul indicate generally any expression of life. The squeaking of rats, 
the talk of children in their sleep, is called "spirit" in Tahiti. But by the system 
of embodying tutelary spirits, souls are consciously imported into objects, and 
accordingly, just as a future life in Bolotu is assigned to the souls of men, beasts, 
plants, and stones, so it is also to the implements of every kind of handicraft. 
Thus this system led to the primitive pantheism which found its most characteristic 
stamp in the conception universal in Oceania of the Atua, Akua, or Hotua. 

Atua in Polynesia indicates the spiritual in the widest sense, tua apparently 
standing here in the sense of the other world : it is God, deified man, spirit, soul, 
shadow, ghost. The word is consciously used in a generic sense just as mana is 
in Melanesia. Codrington says it is a power or influence which is in a certain 
sense supernatural, but expresses itself in any kind of force or superiority which 
man may possess. It has no fixed connection with anything, and can be trans- 
ferred to almost everything. But spirits, whether disembodied souls or supra- 
mundane beings, possess it and can impart it. All the religious rites of the 
Melanesians consist in obtaining mana, or deriving benefit from it. The other 
world can become practically effective for the living, either through the mediation of 
departed souls which wander between heaven and earth, or by the entry, whether 
temporary or permanent, of a god into an earthly object. In this way the tutelary 
spirits who are extraordinarily important in the practical service of the gods, came 
into existence. Their inspiration is desired because they bring to knowledge that 
which they have acquired in their intercourse with the gods of Bolotu. If they 
do not come willingly it is sought to constrain them by prayers and sacrifices, and 
in the last resort, by the incantations of delirious ecstasy. The Polynesian atua 
recurs in the Ani or Han of Ponape, the Kasingl and Kalit of the Pelew, the 



An lit of Kusaie, and the Van's of Tobi. This spirit worship which is directed 
towards creatures regarded as animated, appears in many places to have de- 
generated into pure beast worship. Thus in the Mortlocks the bastard mackerel 
(caratix) is reverenced as the god of war, and the Kurnai see in the Australian warbler 
and the azurine the creators of the sexes. That the animating element is also under- 
stood by Kalit appears from the fact that a Kalit is assigned to dead objects ; 
Semper was asked by the Pelew Islanders about the Kalit that ticked in his watch. 

The Vui of the New Hebrides dwell in a region called Panoi. They stand 
in relation with deified ancestors, and are invoked in case of danger. All serious 
illnesses, on the other hand, are attributed to magic, or the evil influence of the 
Atai or Tamate, who are the souls of the dead, and as such very distinct from the 
Vui. No sooner has the soul left the body than it enters upon its wandering, 
which ends in various ways, according to its rank and deserts. At first it does 
not go far away, and by a combination 
of forces can often be recalled ; to which 
end the relations round the death-bed 
call out, loud and impressively, the name 
of the departing. It is believed that 
immediately after death the soul can be 
recaptured. In a Gilbert Island dirge, 
the dead man's wife calls upon him as 
a bird, which flies ever farther to its 
home and its adoptive parent. 

Wherever the two classes of spirits 
— those which had been souls, and the 
other which had never been in human 
form — were kept distinct, as was the case 
in the greater part of Melanesia, the 
divine worship of particular personalities 
is easily developed from the cult of souls 
in general. The Fijians, accordingly, 
distinguished between original deities 
and deified beings. They prayed to the 
images of departed relations, or arranged 
with living relations to raise them to 
divine honours whenever they should die. 

A man when in danger invokes the spirits of his father and grandfather in 
full assurance that they hear. The souls of old chiefs are deified after their 
death, and invoked by name with sacrifices. A certain gradation is imported 
into this troop of spirits and souls by the distinctions of rank which prevailed 
among their former earthly tabernacles. For this reason the destiny of the 
souls of chiefs and priests which have quitted the earth is materially higher 
than that of the lower classes, since even in life the former were inhabited 
by higher powers, and these will have a yet more powerful effect when 
freed from the bodily husk. Since the souls of chiefs go to the stars, while 
others wait upon or within the earth, the stars are designated simply as the 
souls of the departed. As these take their way upward in the darkness they are 
of course easily seized and dragged about by evil spirits. The origin of divine 

Ancestral image [Korvar) from New Guinea — one-fourth 
real size. (British Museum. ) 



honours in many cases falls almost within the recollection of living people. 
Warriors reverence as a war-god the ghost of some champion whose bones and 
hair have the effect of amulets. Great works, such as the stone terraces of Waieo 
in the Marquesas, were referred to gods, and men who had produced such things 
were raised to the rank of gods. Deification of heroic men was often quite a 
matter of notoriety. Tabuarik, the most respected god of the Gilbert Islanders, 
was formerly a chief. Now he appears sometimes as Hai, sometimes he lives 
above the clouds and thunders, on which occasion the face of his wife may be seen 
flashing through the clouds. Tamatoa, the chief of Raiatea, was reverenced as 

a deity even in his lifetime. 
Even in the legends of the 
great creating gods we find 
indications of the notion that 
they have been men or can 
become so again, and a descent 
from the height of deity is an 
idea that constantly recurs. 

Spirits which never were 
souls appear on a higher level. 
A Banks Islander of the older 
generation explained a vui to 
Codrington as follows : " It 
lives, thinks, has more intelli- 
gence than a man, knows 
things which are secret with- 
out seeing, is supernaturally 
powerful with mana, has no 
form to be seen, has no soul, 
because itself is like a soul." 
They cannot, however, con- 
ceive even a ghost as entirely 
formless, and thus many assert 
that they have seen a ghost 
as vapour, or smoke, or some 
other indefinite form. Ghosts 
of this sort also pass into men ; in Mota nopitu is the name both for a ghost and 
for one possessed by a ghost, while in the Banks Islands good spirits of the nature 
of elves or gnomes are known as nopitu vui. They give gifts to honest men and 
feed the poor ; their presence is betrayed by a tender sound like the song of 
children. Places where they like to resort are rongo — that is sacred, as if they 
were tabooed. And even though they are themselves invisible, this connection 
with something corporeal affords a platform upon which they can be treated 
corporeally. All stones, trees, and animals found in such places are equally rongo. 
The idea is extended also to such animals as appear frequently in dwellings — 
lizards, snakes, and owls ; particular parts of a stream can also, for one reason or 
another, be rongo. The ghost is estimated according to the object in which he 
dwells, and whoever understands this estimate is counted able to mediate for other 
men with the good spirits. He must enter the rongo place alone, and offer sacrifice 

A Fiji Islander. (From a photograph in the Godeffroy Album.) 



there ; as he does this he prays and lays the 
sacrifice upon a stone which is believed to be 
connected with the spirit. At one festival the 
Fijians used to call the water babies, enticing 
them ashore with toys laid on the bank, and 
building little banks in order to make it easier 
for them to climb up. With a similar inten- 
tion in Anaiteum the roads which led from 
the sacred groves to the shore might never be 
blocked by hedges. But if prayer is made to 
a Vui to bring sickness or other evil upon an 
enemy, though he can provide the suppliant 
with ways and means to do it, he never brings 
about the trouble himself, since he is a good 

With spiritual beings in such superabund- 
ance, no striking aspect of Nature remains 
unprovided for, and thus thousands of nature- 
gods come into existence, who are nothing but 
localised spirits or souls. The sea alone is 
ruled by some twenty of them (see woodcut on 
p. 39). Some of them employ the large blue 
shark as their instrument of vengeance. Sharks 
are fed on fish and pigs till they acquire the 
habit of approaching the shore at certain 
times ; and the natives could assure you that 
they came at the bidding of the priest. 
Another famous sea-god is Hiro, originally a 
bold and ingenious native of Raiatea, who 
joined the ancient band of gods so recently 
that until the fall of paganism his skull was 
on view in Opoa. 

Chief among the gods of the air, who are 
often worshipped in the form of birds, are two 
children of Tangaroa, brother and sister. They 
dwell not far from the rock that bears the 
earth ; and any neglect of their worship they 
punish with storms and tempests. They were 
invoked to raise hurricanes when a hostile fleet 
was fitting out. Even at this day many 
islanders believe that in old times evil spirits 
had power over the winds, seeing that since 
the general conversion to Christianity there 
are never such terrible storms as formerly. 
The upper regions of the air are also peopled 
with higher beings. All the heavenly bodies 
were looked upon as gods. When the sun 
or the moon is eclipsed, some offended deity 

Sacred drum with carving, from the 
Hervey Islands — one-fourth real size 
(Christy Collection). 2. Stick calen- 
dar of the Ngati Ranki tribe in New 
Zealand (British Museum). 


has swallowed it ; and he is induced by abundant gifts to set the orb free 
again. They see gods or souls in meteors ; and Lamont mentions the case of a 
boy in Penrhyn who wept at seeing a falling star, believing that the soul of an 
ancestor had appeared to him. Fairies that inhabit the mountains become visible 
in cloud)- weather ; and cloud is the offspring of Rangi, the sky, and Papatu 
Anuku, the wide' plain. Giants with fiery eyes live on solitary islands, like the 
desert volcanic island Manua near Raiatea. In Hawaii are haunted places where 
ghosts go in procession to the sound of the pipe, and whoever hears them dies. 
Prognostications surround the whole of life with a dense network of inevitable con- 
sequences, and superstition has little trouble in discovering the most probable 
connection between cause and effect. Thus the subjection of Tahiti to a French 
Protectorate was foretold by a crack in the post supporting the palace gate. 

Lastly, spiritual beings preside over individual occupations. Special gods 
send the migratory fish inshore at stated times ; special gods are invoked by 
fishermen when they are making nets, going on board, or working at sea. So, 
too, agriculturists, carpenters, house and boat builders, have patterns peculiar to 
their craft. Even games are under the tutelage of five or six gods ; and not less, 
particular crimes and transgressions. The chiefs think it no shame to invoke 
Hiro, as protector of robbers, on their privy raids, which turn out most prosper- 
ously on the 17th, 1 8th, and 19th nights of the month. But when a pig is stolen, 
he often is put off with a piece of the tail, offered with the words : " Here is a bit 
of the pig ; say nothing about it, good Hiro." 

The tendency to multiply parallel conceptions makes the number of the gods 
increase. Thus many members of the heavenly crowd suggest that they are the 
creations of the hieroglyphic languages of the priests, meeting as this does the 
needs of a foreboding spiritually-minded imagination. In this fashion legendary 
figures multiply ; and are gradually impersonified as brothers and sisters, till 
they represent whole families. 

It is difficult to separate the guardian spirits of individuals from those of the 
tribe ; for both are treated alike, and are often essentially the same. The totem 
system comes in here. " One Samoan saw his god in the eel, another in the shark, 
another in the turtle, another in the dog, another in the owl, another in the lizard, 
and so on through every class of sea-fishes, birds, quadrupeds, and every kind of 
living thing, including even several mollusks. A man would eat freely of what 
was regarded as the incarnation of the god of another man, but the incarnation 
of his own god he would consider it death to injure or to eat ; for the god was 
supposed to avenge the guilt by taking up his abode in that person's body, and 
causing to generate there the very thing which he had eaten, until it produced 
death." * 

Beside the function of acting as the outward shell of guardian spirits, special duties 
were allotted, in the history of the gods and of their dealing with men, to animated 
objects. We hear much of the tree of life, by whose topmost branches the gods 
left heaven when descending to earth. In Tonga, the Toa-tree grew up to heaven 
for that purpose. The talking tree is found near the habitation of Ikuleo, the lord 
of heaven ; and if he demands the death of a man, a canoe is sent to fetch him. 
This tree takes the souls ; and when men grew as shoots from the world-tree, they 
received their souls from the height of heaven. Legend reduced the heavenly 

[' Turner's Samoa.] 



growth to a tree from which a man looked into heaven, as in Pelew ; or, as in the 
Banks Islands, made it grow till the divine being, Quat, climbed up it to escape 
his pursuers. Souls of gods, too, are confined in trees. Thus Maui learned from 
his uncle Inaporari, how to recognise in the lower world, by knocking on them, 
the noro-trees in which 
the lives of his brethren 

and himself were im- jjjjj 

prisoned. Among the 
Maoris trees represent 
the god Tane, whose 
children are the birds 
of land and sea. In 
Tahiti, the no -tree is 
planted near temples, 
since the god lives in 
it. From the jagged 
splinters of the aito- 
tree, Tangaroa, the self- 
begotten, created the 
inferior gods before he 
produced men. In 
Melanesia, the Fijians 
venerate trees by throw- 
ing leaves on the spot 
where the last evening 
shadow lies. Besides 
the vesi-tree, the wood 
of which is good for 
canoes,the fig-tree with 
its spreading roots, and 
any coco-palm which 
forks, are regarded as 
seats for the gods, and 
so sacred. The good 
little soul-deities of the 
Veli sing from hollow 

trees. Weapons are Magic dolls made of human bone, votive bunches of hair, and tortoise skull, 

... . , . from a temple in the Admiralty Islands — one-fifth real size. (Christy 

rubbed with certain Collection.) 

leaves to ensure suc- 
cess ; but in Vate, leaves are buried near a house in order to cast a shade 
over it and cause illness. In the New Hebrides the pandanus receives special 
reverence. At sacred dances the neophytes appear shrouded in bunches 
of pandanus, and crowned with garlands of the same. In Micronesia, too, 
sacred trees are reverenced ; for example, in Bygor, coco-palms standing in 
enclosures, because the Am descend on to their tops. In Pelew, the Kalit 
who created the names of the chiefs, and dwelt originally within the earth, 
is embodied in great forest trees. A bush that grows before the king's house 
in Korror passes for the last scion of a plant brought from a submerged spirit 




land ; and at Tapituca in the Gilberts, New Year's sacrifices are offered under 
an old Mawairi-trce. 

Birds appear in the Mani-legend as bearers and guardians of fire ; and also 
in a legend of the creation of man. Men were formed by the snipe or the lark, 
who was sent to earth by its father Tangaroa, during the process of scratching 
up worms. A Samoan legend makes the souls of men in bird shape be brought 
down by the same birds. The seeds of useful plants are brought to earth 
by a bird from the gardens of the moon. The New Zealander regarded 

the cockatoo as sacred ; while it was 
a bad omen if the tarata -bird flew 
over a column of warriors on the 
march. The owl caused absolute 
terror. Various other birds were also 
sacred in Polynesia as the bringers of fire 
and souls ; and in Tahiti the heron and 
the otatare-birA. Red feathers symbol- 
ised the fire which the Creator places in 
all living beings. One who knows Fiji, 
says: " If you would sketch an appro- 
priate emblem of the old Fijian religion, 
you must select a fine pandanus, beneath 
which is sleeping coiled up a mighty 
snake, while hard by a cock with fine 
feathers is crowing to wake the sleeper." 
This bird, the harbinger of day, the 
herald of sunlight, the bird of the sun- 
god, is the same for destroying which 
the sons of Ndengeh aroused the wrath 
of the fathers of the gods to such a 
pitch that he sent a great deluge on 
the earth. Great white shells adorned 
his legs, and so numerous were his 
beautiful feathers, that by plucking one 
wing only you could cover the whole 
mountain-top as with a cloud. In the rest of Melanesia, next to the zvaran 
lizard, the buceros, hornbill or rhinoceros bird, is the most frequent subject of 
sculpture. In the Hamburg Museum is a carving, in which he is taking a child 
from its mother's body with his ripping beak. 

Among animals, the pig is the most distinguished in fable. Giants from Tahiti 
embarked in rafts to fight the man-eating pig in Eiva ; or Hiro, born of the sun, 
slew it. Pigs were the most costly victims for sacrifice, and only the priests might 
enter their styes. In Nukahiva a stone image of a pig's head was found in 
company with human bones. Besides these, we find fabulous animals. The 
subject, at once oceanic and amphibious, of an animal living on the land and 
with a serpent or eel-shaped extremity reaching to the sea, occurs in Fiji and 
elsewhere in Melanesia, in the form of tailed gods, as in the souls of the chiefs 
lying in prayer before Siuleo. 

Here, as in Australia, lizards are involved in a special cycle of legends, bringing 

Ancestral images from Easter Island — one-tenth real size. 
(Munich Museum.) 


them into close connection with the divine figure which strikes its roots deeply, 
the god of earthquake. In Fiji he lived in a cave, and when he was driven thence 
by incantations the giant lizard which he kept in a cage as a plaything remained 
behind till it was killed by the chief Tara. With it the legend connected an 
earthwork built in the form of a great lizard, on the river Waitio. On a campaign 
a green lizard is counted a bad omen. The Atuas like to appear in the form of 
lizards. Lizards creep through the openings of the body and bring illness ; and 
so among the Maoris the lizard god Mokotiti causes headache. Tare was also 
spoken of as dwelling in a lizard. Among the Melanesians, snakes were, of all 
animals, the most revered, and some places in Fiji were actually famous for snake 
worship. On the other hand, the Hattams of New Guinea preferred the snake to 
all other animals for food. Among the temple idols of the Papuas in Waigu, 
the crocodile also is found. Idols, shark below and man above, were set up on 
houses in the Solomon Islands, to avert evil influences. Skulls of those valuable 
food animals, the turtles, were kept in the temples. From Easter Island we have 
fish-headed idols, as shown on p. 50 ; and in Florida large eels are favourite 
places of residence for the souls of the dead. 

Lastly, we must refer to the widely-spread cult of stones. In Melanesia, 
hardly any sacred place is without its holy stone. The splintered and cloven 
rocks of the coast gave rise to legends of all sorts, which in many cases sound 
like an echo of those which we know in the west. Rocky wastes are shown as 
the battlefields of contending gods, or the places where, overtaken by daylight 
in the task of creating islands, they were obliged to leave the materials lying 
about. Gods were made the constructors of the great stone figures on Easter 
Island. Herewith, in islands where stone idols abound, legends were connected ; 
as in Tokelau, where the first man sprang from stone, and manufactured a woman 
out of sand, inserting a rib ; or as in Tonga Levu, where a " dolmen " built by 
Tangaroa indicates the direction in which the gods travelled to Vavau and 
Hapai. In the Gilberts, sacrifices are offered on one stone in a stone circle, this 
being wreathed with the innermost leaf of a palm. Fishermen worship upright 
stones, and idols may be made only of a particular sort of rock. "Rain-stones" are 
put in the fire when it rains too much, but wetted in time of drought. Some saw 
in stones the petrified remains of fish left behind by the great flood. Stone idols, 
wrapped with cloth, are venerated in Micronesia, many of them being brought 
from a distance. In a stone of this kind dwells Tuitokelau, who is revered as a 
god. In Mota, little stones are a remedy for evil of every kind. Circumcision 
may, in Xew Guinea, be performed only with freshly-manufactured stone knives ; 
though a bamboo splinter is allowed in cases of necessity. In the Pelews, 
Kubary found an idol of black volcanic rock. Small ancestor-images of stone 
were placed by the fishermen on their nets for luck. In Fiji, cliffs are the birth- 
place of the good Ndengeh ; in Pelew, the last remains of submerged spirit- 
islands, whence the giant forefathers of the present population, the Kalits, came 
into the land. Magic treasures often lie under them ; or, as below a reef in 
Korror, the kossol-root, which, laid on the prow of a canoe, of itself guides the 
voyage to its end. 

Reverence is also paid to the sea ; everything connected with it — as naviga- 
tion or shipbuilding — is highly esteemed. In Nukuor the priest strikes eight 
blows with a consecrated axe on the tree from which a canoe is to be built, and 


it may not be felled or worked except in the three months elapsing after the 
death of the spiritual chief of the tribe. The people of Ponape hold a peculiar 
feast at which all boats built in the previous year are dedicated to the gods. 
The paddle that marks a grave represents the noblest activity of the man, as the 
spindle that of the woman ; and not corpses only, but persons dangerously ill or 
decrepit from age, are exposed in boats. In Mortlock the highest honour is paid 
to the god of the sea, by the conveyance to him of those who have fallen in 
battle, while those who have died naturally are buried in the ground. 

Under the breath of the universal tendency to animism which penetrated 
through mankind and Nature, gods and idols sprang up in crowds, and bore the 
Oceanian mind into a labyrinth of supra-terrestrial and sub-terrestrial conceptions. 
A racial feature appears in this luxuriant formative impulse. It is not by chance 
that Polynesia and Madagascar have a great extent of theogony in common, in 
the form of an extremely polytheistic mythology in one region, of exuberant 
fetishism in the other. And even if but a small fraction of these spirits soared to 
the heights of divine honours, while the great mass remained attached to the soil, 
yet the total was large. The list made by the missionaries in Raiatea contains 
nearly a hundred names of gods. Whether certain ones rose out of the mass 
depended on how the tribe lived. In a more distinct order, among the world of 
gods, we see a reflection of the stability of tradition. Thus in general more gods 
are found in the east among the Polynesians, more spirits and ghosts among the 
Melanesians and Micronesians to the west. Just when Christianity reached 
Polynesia, they were in the thick of a brisk process of god-manufacture ; new 
shoots, new blooms, sent forth by their excited fancy, found a more secure footing, 
partly in the more firmly crystallised cosmogonic legends, partly in a system of 
hierarchies and relationships, which naively spiritualised conditions prevailing on 
earth. Where the tendency to discuss genealogical traditions on fine evenings 
in places of public resort prevailed, as in New Zealand, time brought about 
organised methods of recording (see woodcut on p. 303). In such cases theology 
gains a firmer consistency than in districts where life is lax, and traditions 
and the priesthood have no organs. 

The highest gods were bound together by a common origin from Chaos or 
Po, anterior to all existence ; these were called the offspring of Night. Then 
demigods and heroes, as well as even men of high birth, made their way into 
the circle, with the result of obscuring Polynesian mythology. These late-promoted 
were often just the most considered in the realm of gods, even though they might 
be locally limited. On the other hand, to one only belongs, in the highest measure, 
a profounder connection with cosmogony ; this is Tangaroa, who is revered even 
in remoter islands, as Taaroa and Kanaloa. A Raiatean legend gives a grand 
picture of his all-pervading power ; how at first, concealed in an egg-shaped shell, 
he hovered around in the dark space of air, until weary of the monotonous move- 
ment, he stretched forth his hands and rose upright, and all became light around 
him. He looked down to the sand on the sea-shore, and said : " Come up hither." 
The sand replied : " I cannot fly to thee in the sky." Then he said to the rocks : 
" Come up hither to me." They answered : " We are rooted in the ground, and 
cannot leap on high to thee." So the god came down to them, flung off his 
shell, and added it to the mass of the earth, which became greater thereby. 
From the sherds of the shell were made the islands. Then he formed men out 


of his back, and turned himself into a boat. As he rowed in the storm, space 
was filled with his blood, which gave its colour to the sea, and, spreading from the 
sea to the air, made the morning and evening glows. At last his skeleton, as it 
lay on the ground with the backbone uppermost, became an abode for all gods, 
and at the same time the model for the temple ; and Tangaroa became the sky. 

In other traditions he appears as the Polynesian Neptune ; and he was also 
worshipped as the guardian of those who went to sea in dug-out canoes. 
Lastly, as the giver of the model for the temple, he was the patron of artists. 
It is indeed obvious enough for a maritime people to make the god of the sea 
the father and the first of the gods. While it is under his supreme sway that 
creation develops from plants through reptiles to men, these last were finished 
by the god Naio, and brought nearer to the gods themselves. This Naio, who 
arranges the revolution of the sun and the fixity of the earth, leads ultimately 
to the Maui of New Zealand. By this addition of subsidiary or assistant gods, 
Tangaroa's position as time went on got obliterated. He was called the Un- 
created, the Survivor from the age of Night, and hymned as follows : — 

Taaroa like the seed-ground, 
Taaroa, rocks' foundation, 
Taaroa, like the sea-sand, 

Taaroa, widest spreading, 
Taaroa, light forth-breaking, 
Taaroa rules within us, 

Taaroa all around us, 
Taaroa down beneath us, 
Taaroa, lord of wisdom. 

The places where he was publicly worshipped were but few. With his wife, by 
whom he had a son and a daughter, who in their turn had two sons, he is the 
first to emerge from Chaos ; and embracing the rocky soil he begat land and 
sea. But when the forerunners of the day — the dark -blue and light-blue sky — 
came to him, begging a soul for the earth, he bade his son Raitubu to carry out 
his will. He, by merely looking at heaven and earth, produced all that is in 
earth, sky, and sea. 

In Tangaroa's gigantic creative force, which allows good and evil to proceed 
from it indiscriminately, the root of his transformation to an evil principle may 
already be seen. In Tonga he eclipses the sun, and meets us in Hawaii as the 
evil spirit among the four chief deities. In Fiji, tagaloa means the odour of a 

In connection with Tangaroa another divine figure represents the man-forming 
side of his creation ; many traditions record Tii as the father of the human race, 
with his wife as the mother of mankind. Sprung from the alliance of a descendant 
of Tangaroa's with the sand of the shore, he himself formed his own wife, and 
their children were the patriarchs of the human race. In Opoa, two Tiis — one of 
the land, one of the sea — are said to have taken human bodies, and to have peopled 
the islands, hitherto inhabited by gods only. But some held that Tii and Tangaroa 
were one and the same being, like the sun by day and by night. Some again 
asserted of each alike that he was the first man who, living on after his death, 
was called by the name ; whence also the spirits of the departed had received 
this appellation. This legend looks like an extension of the notion, which is 
spread all over Polynesia, of Tangaroa the creator ; he and his wife were made 
to have inhabited and peopled all the islands in succession. Tii is in more ways 
a benefactor of the human race, by raising the heaven above the earth, by 
mutilating the earthquake god, by bringing fire, and creating man. Thereby he 
is closely linked with Maui ; and consistently with this we meet him in the 
Society Isles as god of light, sprung from the sun and moon. 


Thus did mythology develop from cosmogony, and here too it owes its 
existence mainly to a dim impulse towards knowledge. The impulse towards 
an arrangement of the conceptions of the next world has contributed something 
to it. Lords of heaven and hell were needed. Thus the eternal mirror of 
anthropomorphic impulse casts upon the deep shining sky, and upon the 
wide horizon of its island home, magnified and distorted 
human figures as bearers of the creative and destructive 
forces of nature. And they who there act and suffer 
gigantically are genuine Polynesians all the while. Efforts 
after dominion and power, jealous claims to honour and 
possession, inexorable vengeance for neglect, are common 
to all ; not one is adorned with moral pre-eminence, 
surpassing wisdom, or spontaneous goodness ; crimes of 
every sort find example and encouragement in the spirit- 
world. Thus even the highest beings are drawn down to 
earth by the polytheism which makes them in the likeness 
of men. Only in the beginnings of creation is the impulse 
to express in an image some inkling of the origin and inter- 
dependence of beings preserved. Creation begins in pro- 
found metaphysical depths. Here mythology goes near to 
bring forth science. Poetry and legend struggle to explain 
the riddle of the world, but in vain. Yet it is a brilliant 
testimony to the intellectual ability of the Polynesians. If 
their development in other domains had kept pace with it, 
they would have been a race of high distinction ; but at 
bottom the limitations of a life confined to the islands 
recur everywhere within their wide sea-horizon. The very 
beginning of cosmogony followed the course of natural 
development : the central point of the world came into 
existence by land being cast up from the primeval bottom, 
and later -discovered islands were fished up by heroes. 
Moreover, the whole is permeated by the view that the 
primitive forces of Nature, from which, personified as gods, 
the world of phenomena has come forth, are always striving, 
in pursuance of a process of development which is originally 
included in them, to swallow it up again. 

Although the existence of the gods had a beginning, 
it knows no end : so they hold in Tonga. Earth, heaven, 
all things, are of themselves divine ; and therefore Po, 
the Night, is placed at the beginning. Po was in labour 
for ten nights, and on the tenth appeared Kaka, father of Rangi and Papa, from 
whom sprang Tane, with his eight brothers. The nights had special names, to 
which the priests gave a profound interpretation. Similarly, among the Maoris, 
creation commences with the night. After untold periods desire awakes, then 
longing, then feeling. Thought follows upon the first pulse of life, or the first 
breath drawn ; and upon thought, mental activity. Then springs up the wish, 
directed to the sacred mystery or great riddle of life. Later, from the material 
procreative power of love is developed the clinging to existence, permeated by a 



Idol from New Zealand 
— one - half real size. 
(Christy Collection. ) 


joyous sense of pleasure. Lastly, Aiea, the universe, floats in space, divided by 
the difference of sex into Rangi and Papa, Heaven and Earth ; and individual 
creations now begin. Bastian asks in reference to this towering structure of 
thought : " Did some disguised Anaximander or Pythagoras wander this way ? " 
In every phrase, as we may say, are found resemblances with Asiatic or American 
cosmogonies. There is no need to refer to the Egyptian Ru and Buto, sun and 
night ; every cosmogonic idea of the Oceanians has relatives east and west of the 

Papa, the Earth, and Rangi, the sky, lay in close contact with each other. 
From the attempts of poetry to explain their separation, and the consequent 
vaulting of heaven, sprang the whole legend of the gods, taking one form in 
Tahiti, another in Tonga, yet another in Samoa. A more localised variation 
brings us from Ru-Rongo, the god of heaven, to Tangaroa. Kaka, brother to 
Papa, the earth, represents the sky, or the light, in contrast to her. In Hawaii 
he appears as Wakea, and Papa's husband, who, in conjunction with her gives 
birth to many generations of gods, notably the series of the Mams. Diving into 
the depths of the sea, he united himself with the sea-goddess ; and after he had 
returned to land, the Jlloa-birds begotten of this union lighted on his shoulders. 

Metaphysical interpretations of what preceded the creation of earth are only 
conceivable among Polynesians of a large community, where a regular priestly 
order rendered a strict tradition possible — as in Hawaii, the Society Islands, or 
New Zealand. Where the lore was handed on only by the mixed society of the 
secret leagues, the history of creation remains wholly in the region of fable or 
legend. No doubt the outlines show faintly through, and some names recur ; but 
in details the conception has changed. It is with an interest born of old 
acquaintance that we find carpenters and artists in Mortlock worshipping the 
zenith under the name Lageilang as their most special patron-god ; by his nature 
he must be Rangi. Still more familiar, as we go east, is the notion of the sky 
as found in the Gilberts, according to which it was a spherical shell lying close 
to the earth, which a hero helped the gods to push higher. His sister, in the 
form of a cuttle-fish, supported him. Brother and sister appear otherwise, in the 
process of creation, as representing the male and female principles — as in the 
Mariannes, the Carolines, Pelews, and elsewhere. 

The character of the Melanesian variations on Polynesian legends of the gods 
is that of a jocose, almost anecdotic lowering of them to humbler spheres. What 
is myth in Polynesia here becomes fairy-tale, losing thereby in grandeur, but 
gaining in human affability. The primitive inhabitants of the islands, who 
correspond to the Kalits of Micronesia, are no giants, but helpful gnomes ; and 
their chief, Marawa, still shows treasures hidden in clefts of the rocks to poor 
people who confide in him. Sportive turns are in accordance with the cheerful 
nature of these curly-haired folk. In the New Hebrides they say of the creator, 
that he first made men go on all fours, and pigs upright. But this annoyed the 
birds and reptiles, and they called a meeting, at which the lizard was foremost in 
demanding a change, while the wagtail strongly opposed. The lizard forced his 
way through, crawled up a coco-palm, and jumped down on the back of a pig, 
making it drop on to its fore-legs. Since then pigs go on all fours, men upright. 
But the value of these traditions is quite misunderstood, if, as for obvious reasons 
the missionaries are apt to do, we see in these spirits, who at bottom are 



cosmogonic figures, only the heroes of fairy tales. The Polynesian legend of the 
fishing up of the land from the depths of the sea takes the following form in Yap : 
Mathikethik went out fishing with his two elder brothers. First, he hooked up 
crops of all sorts, and taro ; then the island of Fais. His hook is kept by the 
priests ; and since, if it were destroyed, Fais also would disappear, the inhabitants 

-__~"— "- F ' (i. ;, * '\ i" l"'^ 1 ''&;[$fmßt-: ^M S^ - - ?- 

Tahitian idols, carved in wood — one-tenth real size. (London Missionary Society's Collection. 

of that island are in constant subjection to the menaces of the Yap chiefs. Thus 
can a great piece of cosmogonic imagery sink to the level of trick and superstition. 
The connection of creative activity with sun and moon, still so clear in 
Polynesia, has become in Micronesia quite legendary. In Pelew they relate how 
a man and his wife, tired of staying in that island, went to the stone in Eymelijk 
whence they sprung, and called on the moon. It approached, and they climbed 
on to a serpent's neck, and so reached the moon, where they may now be seen. 
Other sun and moon notions take a similarly odd form. When the moon wanes, 
sorcerers are eating it in dough. The sun shines at night in another country. 
Once upon a time four men in Pelew, seeing the sun setting, leaped hastily into 


a canoe. They went on till they got to the denges-txee, and the sun asked what 
they wanted. The people said, to visit him ; and he told them to let their canoe 
drift, and plunge down after him. The islanders did so, and found themselves 
in a strange country, in a well-built house, where the sun entertained thern. The 
viands served in the dishes were tiny in size, but got no smaller with eating. At 
length the people prepared to depart ; but as their canoe had floated away, the 
sun took a thick bamboo-cane, an article hitherto unknown in Pelew, and shut 
them in it. He bade the bamboo float to Ngarginkl ; the men arrived there 
safely, and became the four highest chiefs. But the bamboo floated away to 
Ngareko-basango, where there are thickets of bamboo to this day, but none on 
Peleliu. In remembrance of their deed, however, the people of Ngarginkl are 
allowed to fetch bamboos from thence. 

The birth of the creator from stone or from the earth is the starting-point of 
Fijian and New Hebridean cosmogony. Ndengeh's priests point out a rock, 
which rises from a river at the foot of the hill which he inhabits, and say it is his 
father. The interpretation is to be found in the connection between father 
Heaven and mother Earth. Thus among the Banks Islanders the supreme god, 
Qat, emerges from a stone, which was his mother ; and then with the help of his 
companion, Marawa, creates the rest of the world. Marawa is invoked with Oat 
in all emergencies, and may easily be recognised as the legendary Maui of New 
Zealand and Hawaii. Qat was doomed to be slain, but succeeded in climbing a 
nutmeg-tree. He had hardly reached the top when, by the arts of his hostile 
brothers, the tree grew higher and higher, and became of such circumference that 
Oat could not have got down again, had not Marawa, seeing his friend's difficulty, 
blown to earth a thread, or a hair from his head. Here we have the sun ; and 
the tree of heaven is the same as that by way of whose top, in another story, 
the whole group of Tongaros saved themselves from a hostile spirit. 1 

Islands where volcanic eruptions and earthquakes are common must be just 
the places for myths to weave themselves in abundance about the force of the 
hidden fire. To this a life-generating effect was ascribed in the Marquesas ; and 
corresponding veneration was paid to Maui as creator of the world. After 
Nukahiva was raised up from the nether world by divine force, a woman gave 
birth to the sea as well as to the germs of beasts and plants ; while men and 
fish, who were enclosed in caverns, were ejected by a volcanic explosion. The 
fusion of fire below and above the earth into a single god of earthquake, fire, and 
sun, is not far off, when the theogonic position is so lofty ; the ever-varying and 
mobile nature of fire, of heat, opens an immeasurable field to fancy. Maui, the 
Hawaiian Prometheus, who fetches fire from the sun, is in Samoa the earthquake- 
god as well ; in Raiatea, the creator of the sun ; in the Marquesas, of everything 
that has life. So, too, a reason for his lofty position is offered by the separation 
which the Maoris make between Ru, their god of earthquakes, and volcanic fire, 
and the fire-god, Manika, who dwells in all living things. Here Maui is the 
fire-bringer and the animator. Around him is spun a network of legends of 
Promethean and Titanic character. The word maui means " broken," " beaten " ; 
when Maui fetched the fire, one of his arms was struck or twisted off by the 
earthquake-god, Tati. This occurs in the most various versions. His brothers, 
multiplied Mauis, appeared in a twofold form, as demigods and inhabitants of 

1 [The Tongaros are Qat's brothers. Marawa is occasionally a spider.] 


earth. But the fire-bringing was Maui's performance, of which legend specially 
loved to treat. After he had obtained the fire by means of red-feathered birds, 
he completed his Promethean career by overcoming his father Kane, whom evil 
spirits had set at enmity with him, and Kane's brother, Kanaloa, in a riddle- 
guessing contest, attacking them, and vanquishing a whole host of spirits besides. 
Kane and Kanaloa fled from the temple and went aloft ; but Maui, as he was 
about to follow, suddenly felt himself struck in the breast by a missile. There- 
upon he lost all his supernatural power, and soon after died of sickness like a 
mortal man. What, a sheaf of universally current thoughts and images have we 
here ! In the Society Islands Maui is brought otherwise into connection with 
the sun. He is there made to be the priest, who, wishing to finish divine service, 
caught the hurrying sun by its rays. In Hawaii, when the sun had taken refuge 
in Tahiti, he brought it back, and cut off one of its legs to make it move slower 
and dry his mother's washing. Lastly, we even find him as a god akin to 
Proserpine, for whose return from the underworld prayers were offered every year 
at the harvest-festival in Nukahiva. 

Fire was everywhere brought to earth against the wish of the gods. In Ulea 
a god who has been pushed out of heaven obtains it by threats from an old 
woman, Mafuike, and brings it to Fakaafo, where till then the food had been 
eaten raw. Since then fire, as being sacred to the god of day, may only be 
lighted at night for fishing purposes or at confinements. In Tokelau and Pelew 
the legends commemorate the making of fire by rubbing two pieces of wood. 

To this series of great Polynesian gods belongs Tane or Kane, who stands 
in the closest relationship with Rongo, Rangi, or Ru, the heaven, or bearer of 
heaven. After earth and heaven were sundered, Tane adorned the heaven with 
stars, and set up the deformed among his children on earth as trees. He appears 
thus as assistant and finisher in the work of creation. Another legend represents 
him as the maker of the first man, or of the beings who preceded. A yet more 
essential function in the Maori legend is that in fulfilment of which he discharges 
the important duty of separating his parents, Rangi (heaven) and Papa (earth), 
and raising the former aloft. When after this he went up to heaven to seek a 
wife, he found that there was only one woman there, and his father Rangi advised 
him to go back to his mother. From her hip he formed his wife Hine, on whom 
he begat a daughter. Recognising her father in Tane, this daughter fled, ashamed, 
to his brother, and in her anger with Tane transformed herself into the Titaness 
Hineanitepo (night), while Tane remained on earth. While Tane was searching 
everywhere for his daughter, he found his brother Rehua, the all-quickening fire, 
in the tenth or highest heaven. This visit to the fire seems to connect Tane 
with the Promethean Titan Maui, especially as he also sought the water of life 
as a protection against Maru, and is reckoned the father of birds ; two features 
which he has in common also with Tangaroa. In Tahiti, Rehua was a real star- 
god, the star of the New Year, who produced the Twins as well as the Pleiads, 
and is considered lord of the year. The morning star, the guide of shipmen, is 
the son of Heaven, while the evening star was designated as the son of the Sun, 
falling stars as Atuas, and the Twins as sons of men, who in their fear of being 
separated made their escape to heaven. 

Closely bound up with their tangled structure of mythologic notions, yet 
forming a world of themselves, arc the Polynesian conceptions of a hereafter ; a 


somewhat ennobled reflection of the life on earth, and yet much nearer to the 
present world than to that of the gods. It is only the lord of the underworld 
who comes into the same line of reverence with them. He is Ikuleo, or Hikuleo, 
Maui's younger brother, lord of Bolotu, the nobles' heaven, and god and guide of 
their souls. Near his palace bubbles up the fountain of the water of life, which 
awakes the souls of departed princes to renewed youth, quickens the dead, heals 
the sick. Or he dwells in a cave on Bolotu, unable to go further from it than the 
length of his own tail, which has grown into the ground. Here he carouses with 
his wives and children, compelling the souls of chiefs and Matabulns to wait on 
him. A thirst after souls is one of his chief characteristics, but an emigration 
led by Tangaroa's sons carried off some of his subjects, and he endeavoured 
accordingly, by summoning the ghosts of chiefs, to attract them back from Tonga. 
He had a special fancy for the first-born of the noblest families ; and once such 
a mortality took place among these that Hikuleo had to be chained up in the 
earth by Maui, and in heaven by Tangaroa. He appears in Samoa, as Siuleo, 
at the head of the fighting men, whom he leads to victory if he is disposed to 
accept their sacrifices favourably. In Hawaii we know him as Milu and Wakea, 
two aspects of the same ideal. From the legends told here of him and his 
attendant shades we may form a sort of mosaic picture of the Polynesian Hades 
and Paradise. Milu's kingdom in the lower world will last for ever, and has 
existed from the beginning ; but persons apparently dead have brought back 
intelligence of it, as the Hawaiian legend related on p. 41. It is level and fertile, 
also fairly light ; everything grows of itself there. In Milu's palace court are 
facilities for enjoyment of every kind. The best-looking women who arrive are 
selected by Milu for himself, and are then tabooed to the other Akuas. Another 
ruler of the underworld is Wakea ; his kingdom was founded later than Milu's. 
Each kingdom is tabooed, and no one can go from one to the other. Before Wakea 
became a god, he was a sovereign on earth ; Milu was also a man, but not so 
good. Down below Wakea rules over the higher souls, Milu over the lower. 
Departed souls are borne away in the direction of the setting sun, to Kane's 
islands. There they either leap from a rock into the sea, or disappear through 
a hole in the ground. A place in Oahu, near the West Cape, has been said to 
be the spot ; probably with a reminiscence of the similarly situated sacred spot 
in Pelew. But the souls do not come at once into the next world ; they wander 
some time on the frontier, and if they are only apparently dead can return to 
the upper world. For this reason the recently departed soul is an object of fear, 
since its semi-corporeal apparition is enough to frighten one into madness. In 
Milu's kingdom the souls amuse themselves with noisy games ; in Wakea's a 
solemn peace reigns. The place where the wicked are tormented, which is 
represented as the night of the everlasting death, and as a dark deep place at 
the back of the heaven where the stars are hung, may well have been imported 
from some foreign school of thought. 

In Hawaii, legends of a fire-goddess, Pele, belonging to the nether world, 
were called forth by the mighty scale of the volcanic phenomena, and grew into 
a cycle of myths in harmony with the Hades-legends. Superficial observers, 
regarding her as the most powerful of all the gods, ascribed to her not only the 
volcanic fire, but also the Hawaiian deluge. When Pele started upon her journey 
to Hawaii, which in those days was a monstrous desert waste, with the same 


mountains as now, but with no fresh water, even no sea, her parents gave her 
the sea to carry her boat. While she was sailing to Hawaii, the flood rose till 
only the highest mountain-tops were visible ; but the sea shortly went down again 
till it reached its present level. Pele, with her terrible brethren, the lord of 
steam, the lightning, the thunderer, the fire-spitter, the boat-smasher with fiery 
eyes, the sky-splitter (a sister), and the rest, retired to the mountains. In the 
roar of the lava-waves the Kanaka hears their voices. Pele often changed her 
quarters ; driven out by the sea-god Moana, she now dwells in Kilauea, the only 
volcano of the group that is at present active. Even after the conversion of the 
islanders to Christianity the crater of Kilauea long remained under strict taboo. 
Even in the most recent times strangers have noticed their native guides, with 
bared heads, throwing into the lake of fire little offerings like glass beads, coral, 
shells, etc., with the salutation Aloha Pele ! while the hair-like threads of glass, 
" Pele's hair," which are found only in the crater of Kilauea, may serve as a 
memento of the once mighty goddess. 

The fancy of the Melanesians did not soar to such grand achievements in the 
decoration of their Elysian fields ; but it furnished the road thither with many 
and various obstacles. The Fijian name Mbulu points to the Tongan Bolotu ; 
and even the Hawaiian ball-game is reproduced in New Caledonia as a game 
played with oranges by the souls at the bottom of the sea. The first thing on 
the road to Hades is a city through all the houses of which the souls roam, for 
which reason the doors all open the same way. Then they have to pass in front 
of a giant, who tries to get them all with his great stone axe. Those who are 
wounded have to haunt the mountains as ghosts for ever ; those who escape the 
giant, after being acquitted by Ndengei, get permission to enjoy the odour of the 
human sacrifices. Souls of unmarried men come off worst. Nangga-Nangga lies 
in wait for them, and as soon as he has caught them, heaves them up in both 
hands and throws them down upon a rock, where they are broken in two. For 
this cause it was usual among the tribes in Fiji to strangle widows, because the 
god regards male ghosts, who come without women, as bachelors. If the wife 
is the first to die, the husband cuts off his beard, and lays it under the left armpit 
of the corpse as proof of his existence. The fighter who guards the entrance to 
the next world is met with elsewhere in Melanesia. In the Hades of the Vate 
Islanders Salatau tries to hit those who enter on the head with a club. No 
doubt it is the same spirit who in Fiji, under the name of Samujal or Suma, and 
Ravujalo, lies in wait for souls to eat them with his brothers. The souls of 
common people succumb, those of nobles get to Mbulu. These go to the upper 
part of a mountain, and find at the top of a precipice a father and a son with a 
paddle in their hands. If they question them, they are thrown over, and have to reach 
the next world by swimming. Why the paddle, if the souls have to swim after all ? 
The meaning of the ferryman of souls has been forgotten ; though it is not so 
in Fiji, where the souls' places of embarkation lie to the north-west, and where 
it is believed that the rustle of the west wind can be heard all the way from 
Galongalo, the place of the swimming. After the death of their king the three 
eldest men of the tribe go with cloths in their hands to the bank of the river to 
escort the soul. There they call aloud for the ferryman, and wait till they see 
an extra large wave roll in upon the shore, the token of the invisible canoe. 
Immediately they turn away their faces, and cry : " Go on board, lord." Then 



they hasten thence with all speed, for no living eye may look on the embarkation. 
The corpse is buried in the usual way. 

Souls which are excluded from the next world, either perish or come back 
to wander restlessly about the earth, like those who were wounded in the fight 
mentioned above. The same fate awaits those who cannot hit the tree of 
Takivelajawa with the whale-tooth that is buried with them for the purpose, and 
according to Fijian legend, untattooed women also, and avaricious people. This 
dangerous way of souls is moreover divided into stations, at each of which the 
soul dies once again. In the belief of the Solomon Islanders, the avaricious, mur- 
derers, and other sinners undergo a purification by being turned into ugly rep- 
tiles, snakes, toads, and the like. Similar traces of dim notions about future 
rewards and punishments are to be found everywhere. But it was certainly no 
original conception of the Fijians that souls have to come before Ndengei's 
judgment seat. 

Usually souls go with the sun into the ocean, to reach the next world at his 
rising on the following day. This is why the promontories whence they venture 
their leap into the darkness, lie on the west of the islands. 

Where two souls were distinguished in every man and every object, as was 
the case among the Fijians, namely the shadow and the reflection, it is the dark 
one only that goes to the lower world, while that which is compared to a reflec- 
tion remains about the grave ; in this way the return of the dead in dreams is 
explained. Another conception sets a limit to the soul even in the next world, 
since it makes annihilation follow upon the highest stage of the life in Mbulu. 
But this annihilation is personified, and in another tradition assumes the character 
of the chief of the souls in Mbulu, who is thus probably conceived as a soul-eating 
god. Others, however, make the souls remain in their place until the earth has 
been destroyed by fire and renewed. 

The Melanesian doctrine of ghosts and gods is in its main features very like 
the Polynesian. It is not too much to say that the foundation of Melanesian 
mythology is woven of Polynesian threads ; only peculiar features are woven in, 
and often rest upon a weakening-down of threads and colours already in existence. 
Considering the great variety of gods in the oceanic regions, little importance 
can be assigned to the pre-eminence of any one. Name and dignity of the 
supreme god change from one island to another. It is only in the tales of the 
creation and of the nether world that more stability is to be observed. In Fiji 
the recognised chief of all gods and men is Dengeh, Tengei, or Ndengei. He is 
said to have at first moved about freely, but then in the form of a snake to have 
grown into the earth with his ringed tail. In that he resembles the Tongan lord 
of the place of spirits and Dianua the lord of spirits in New Caledonia. Since 
then he has become the god of earthquakes, storms, and the seasons. They say 
that whenever Ndengei shakes himself fertilising rain will fall, delicious fruits hang 
on the trees, and the yam fields yield an excellent crop. But Ndengei is also a 
god of wrath who declares himself in terrible fashion. He punishes and chastens 
his people, now by destroying the crops, now by floods ; he could indeed easily 
wipe out mankind from the earth, for since he has lived in the bowels of the earth 
he has been tormented with so insatiable hunger that he would like to take 
in and swallow the whole w T orld. The gods in Fiji fall into different classes 
according to the degree of their relationship to Ndengei. As in Polynesia, people 



speak of the divine family — father, son, and daughter. Mautu-Maui, Ndengei's 
assistant in creation, is called the " bread fruit " and " the son of the supreme god." 
Ndengei has several sons besides who receive prayers on his account ; his grand- 
children are territorial gods, his distant relations subordinate tribal gods. Among 
them are symbolisations of properties or endowments, reminding one in their 
crude luxuriance of India ; mechanical dexterity with eight arms, wisdom 
with eight eyes, Waluwakatini with eighty stomachs. The two ferrymen of 
souls also, and Rokomutu, born from his elbow, are mentioned as Ndengei's 
children, for whom the legend of creation and the deluge offer the more obvious 

Men were made of stones or earth by the creator god and his attendants, or 

Sacred place in Dorey, New Guinea. (After Raffray. ) 

else they are simply the successors of the gods themselves, and of them a woman 
always appears first and then a man, from whose union the remaining heavenly 
and earthly beings come into existence. In the Banks Island, Qat forms a being 
by weaving supple twigs, and suddenly becomes aware by its smile that he has 
produced a woman. Where Ndengei appears as the creator of men, his son 
Mautu ( = Maui) is beside him as assistant. He made the first human pair from 
the eggs of the snipe, Kitu ; his son developed them further till they were capable 
of reproduction. In Micronesia, also, the creation of man took place from 
inanimate stone, unless he was immediately connected with the gods by a fall due 
to sin. In Fakaafo, the first man, having proceeded from stone, made the arms 
and legs of his consort, I vi, from clay, and enclosed one of his own ribs in her 
body, and from them all other men sprang. In Pelew the divine couple, Irakaderngel 
and Ejluajngadassakor, created mankind, he producing the men, she the women. 
The modest creatrix hesitated to show her work, while the creator let his be seen 
freely. Since then all women wear a skirt of pandanus leaves, while the men go 


naked. The want of mental harmony prevailing between the two sexes is also 
referred back to this early time, for as the creating couple kept laying their creations 
pair by pair together on one side, it befell that many did not suit each other and 
disagreed. The first created beings were moreover pure Kalits, giants in body 
and strength, and rich in capacities which are lacking to the men of to-day. The 
inhabitants of Ascension consider that the stone monuments of their islands were 
built by these. 

From among the gods of the second rank the god of war most frequently 
takes his place beside the highest and the oldest, although the character of a hero 
is clearly stamped upon him. His variations, also, are remarkable ; in Samoa, 
Meru appears as the god of thunder and lightning, and passes into the war god 
Meso, or Moso, who again reminds us of the Tahitian Oro. Although in later 
times he was worshipped in the place of Maui as the finisher of creation, he is 
nevertheless human in his origin. In New Zealand Maru sends the rain and 
earthquakes also, he is recognised in the red planet Mars, and worshipped in the 
South Island as god of war to whom the slain are offered as sacrifices. Next to 
him the gods of the field and the harvest had the chief practical importance. Some 
of their attributes could be transferred to Tangaroa, Tu, or Tane, and worshipped 
with and in these. There were propitious and mischievous gods ; in Tonga one 
was worshipped at the time of planting and the time of harvest, another was 
prayed to at the irrigation of the fields. But the goddess of the wind overthrew 
the plantations if she was not duly honoured. In New Zealand the image of 
Tiki, the first man, was venerated at the time of harvest. 

In conclusion, let us draw attention to one of the host of heroes. A mighty 
figure meets us in Tawahaki, patriarch of the Maoris, whose acts were so illustrious 
that a daughter of heaven was willing to be his wife. After the birth of a child 
she fled back to heaven, and Tawahaki climbed up after her by a cobweb. But 
his brothers-in-law wounded him, and in revenge he called forth a flood ; or, as 
one tradition has it, stamping in his anger, he broke the crystal covering of heaven, 
and the flood burst out. In the other legend, the hero, having been healed of his 
wounds by his wife Hirepiripiri, prayed that the flood might descend and 
annihilate his foes. Since that time Tawahaki has been propitiated at funerals 
as the conductor who brings the souls of dead chiefs from earth to heaven. We 
meet with earth-stampers also in Tonga. Huanaki and Fao swam from Tonga 
to Niue, stamped on the island to make it rise higher, and by a second stamp 
called forth the plants from which the first human pair sprang. 

The condescension of female dwellers in heaven to earth-born heroes recurs in 
another form in many Polynesian legends. The daughters of Langi, the lord of 
heaven, feeling lonely in their empty house, made ready to set off and satisfy 
their curiosity by a nearer look at the folks below on the earth. Just then the 
sons of the prince were gathered at a festive kava-dr'mk'mg when the goddesses 
drew near, and soon by the charm of their beauty kindled a bloody quarrel. The 
fearful uproar was heard in Bolotu, terrifying the gods in their assembly-hall ; and 
Langi hastened with all speed to punish the disturbers of the peace. But the 
eldest daughter had already, in the wild hurly-burly, been torn to pieces by the 
infuriated rivals, and the enraged father himself struck off the head of the youngest. 
This was hurled into the sea and became a tortoise ; an animal which, since that, 
chiefs are forbidden to eat. 


The legend of the Fall, by which men, once godlike, became mortal, recurs in 
varying forms all over the world. Formerly an old man merely stripped off his old 
skin and appeared again in a new and rejuvenated form ; but in the Solomon and 
Banks Islands all men became mortal in the following manner. An old woman 
threw her skin, in the usual way, into the water, but it caught and hung in a pro- 
jecting bush. With her youth renewed the mother returned home. But as her 
children declined to recognise her, the old skin had to be looked for, whether or 
no, and put on again. Since then every one has died. In Lifu, death came into 
the world with the islanders' best fruit, the yam. The sons of the first man had been 
turned into animals, and one of them, the rat, brought up to the surface, through 
a hole, a yam-root from the plantations of an old gentleman residing at the centre 
of the earth. This was planted, and then men began to die, their lives being 
required in compensation for the stolen provisions. We are reminded also of the 
Fall, when the god Nobu, having created men, deserts Erromango for ever. In 
Yate they relate how the inhabitants, during the absence of Nugerain, one day 
burnt his great store of pearl-shells, and were condemned to die as the penalty. 

To the fall of man corresponds a period of general decadence and degrada- 
tion among the gods, in which the transformation of the chief god into bestial 
shape plays so important a part that one may see therein a justification of the 
apparently senseless worship of beasts. In Fiji they relate how Ndengei, looking 
once upon a time into a clear brook, was astonished to see how ugly he was. For 
this cause he assumed the form of a serpent. " If," said he, " I remain an ugly 
man, I shall be despised ; but if I am a serpent, every one will fear and obey me." 
The preference shown for a beast-idol probably is due to a later growth, of the 
nature of a throwing-back. The purer and higher worship of a lord fell to that 
of a reptile ; fear took the place of heroic courage and wisdom. So too the demi- 
gods are evidence of a corrupter age, which became dissatisfied with the old gods, 
and sought others. In Fiji a chief betook himself one day to the mountains, and 
cried : " Who will be my god ? " No voice replied, and he went down to the sea 
and repeated his cry. Then a serpent answered " I will be thy god." The chief 
was ready to recognise the serpent, and became its priest. But even in the serpent 
form the worship was not permanent, for when Ndengei, with the end of his 
serpent-body petrified into the foundations of the earth, had lain down to sleep in 
the cavern of Raki-Raki, he was only visited by his old servant Uto ; and as the 
worshippers grew more and more lukewarm, he generally came with empty hands. 

A Deluge-legend recurs in many places, but unconnected so far as appears 
with other mythologic conceptions of the same kind. Sometimes the supreme 
deity originates the flood, sometimes heroes open the way for it. The Ndengei of 
Fiji is also the Melanesian Neptune ; and his relations to Tangaroa and Maui, 
the sovereigns of the sea and producers of floods, agree with this. When 
Ndengei, in those days a great chief, was dwelling on the seashore, a war with 
Tangaroa arose. Then he let the sea in from the north over all the low country and 
drowned the invader, while he himself took refuge in the mountains. On another 
occasion he flooded the whole country, because his twin sons had killed his 
favourite bird, a cock with beautiful feathers. He lastly banished the twins to 
the Reva district, where they became the patron gods of such as build canoes ; 
and for this reason ship carpenters hold an almost sacred position, as in Tonga. 
In the Pelews the Deluse-lesrend is told as follows. The old woman called 



Milath, who brought forth the four great lands, lived, at an advanced age, in the 
country of Xgareksbukt in Ejrraj. Once on a time the people there had killed 
one of the seven Kalits, and his friends in their course through Pelew came to 
Milath's house. She invited them in in friendly fashion, and asked what they 
wanted. The searchers explained that they were the friends of the missing man. 
The old woman gave them food, but also imparted the sad news that he had been 
slain by the people of her country. Then the friends in their wrath decided to 
destroy the whole land, with the exception of Milath, and advised her accordingly 
to make herself a raft of bamboo. This she was to keep in readiness attached by a 
long cable of lianas to an anchor in front of her house, and shortly before the full 
moon put much victuals on board and sleep there, for a great flood was coming. 
The old woman did as she was advised, and then the water flooded all the dry 
land ; only the raft with old Milath remained afloat. But presently the cable of 
liana proved too short, and Milath was carried away by the flood and drowned. 
She drifted lifeless against a rock, and her hair got entangled in the boughs of a 
tree, where she was found by her friends. According to some, the body was 
changed into a stone, which is still to be seen ; but others say that it was revivified 
by a Kalit woman who took her form, and that she bore to the men who had 
taken part in the search those five children from whom the population of the 
Pelew Islands is descended. The Banks Islanders tell a somewhat similar tale. 
Otherwise these floods are not always of the nature of judgments. Ndengei 
indeed causes one when he turns round. Here, as everywhere, legends of migra- 
tions are mixed up with the floods, and thus even historical migrations of the 
Pacific races connect themselves therewith. 

The service of the gods is not exclusively the priests' affair ; but they occupy 
a pre-eminent position in consideration of their holding intercourse with the highest 
among the heavenly beings, and attending to their sanctuaries and sacrifices. 
Nothing is more sacred than matters connected with the gods ; temples, idols, 
sacrifices, feasts, and whatever is used thereat, animals, trees where the gods are 
wont at times to stay, and the like. In Tahiti the custom by which the king, as 
the most sacred member of the community, entered the house of a god at its 
dedication for the first time unattended, has been transferred to Christian churches. 
Even' man's immediate worship was paid to the god of his family. To this 
family-god the father of the household prays before the fire at the time of the 
evening meal ; and at family feasts the eldest offers the ava-bow\ to the gods of 
the household. But the child is dedicated at birth to the communal god whom 
the priest serves. He appears in the form of an animal, whose movements the 
priests interpret as omens. Lastly, the priests serve the great gods of the nation, 
being themselves chiefs or closely attached to the chiefs. Thence arose the state- 
ment, due to misunderstanding, that private persons served their gods in person, 
chiefs through the priests. 

These priests are in Tonga distinguished by the name " set apart," since they 
are men with a special kind of soul. Their posterity are regarded as similarly 
endowed, and thus the priesthood is always hereditary in a family standing over 
that of the chiefs, or the chiefs are themselves hereditary priests. A certain 
character of Dei gratia extends even to the village headmen. In Samoa the fire 
may not go out, even at night, in a chief's house. Whoever would not bring the 
due first-fruits to the chief of his village was overtaken by disasters, for the chief 



shared the taxes with the Ait us. In time of war high chiefs remain in the 
village to assist by their prayers ; but on serious occasions the priest is taken into 
the battle to curse the enemy. In Hawaii one member at least of a chief's family 
received consecration to the priesthood. The priest is possessed by the souls of 
the dead, and his family god is his helper. Beside this inspiration a great deal of 
valuable traditional knowledge belong to him, the most important parts of which 
go back to the very highest gods, and form a source of great influence. If a 
priest can succeed in getting possession of any small portion of another man, he 
can by art-magic exercise power over him, so the good and ill of their fellow-men 
is in the priest's hands. For this reason the chief's pocket-handkerchief carrier in 
Hawaii is never allowed to go far away. Relics of dead persons afforded the 
most important means of magic. In Mare a tuft of a priest's hair, his eyebrows, 
bones, finger and toe-nails ; in New Caledonia his finger-nails ; in Tonga bone 
figures in human form ; in Samoa tapa which has been worn by renowned ancestors, 

are talismans. But the most highly- 
valued article is the skull, which is 
prepared, preserved, and venerated in 
the most various ways. A man's 
hair, nails, etc., slowly burnt in a 
certain mixture, react on him so as 
to cause illness or even death. If a 
piece of a dead man's bone is wrapped 

Love charm, from New Guinea — one-fifth real size. . . . . 

(Christy Collection. ) in leaves and laid in the way, while 

a verse is sung, the person for whom 
the magic is meant will be visited with boils, eruptions, and so on. The Maori 
priests kill their enemy by putting a stone for a heart into his image. Beside 
the priests there were sorcerers in New Zealand, astrologers in Hawaii. In the 
latter country the sons of Hina, the Polynesian Selene, were instructed in magic 
by their mothers. Great value was set upon knowledge in the priests. Their 
name Tohunga, literally " interpreter of tokens," was applied in New Zealand to 
any person conspicuous for achievements in any line, whether canoe-building or 
spear-making ; he was a learned man. All the toJiungas in a New Zealand tribe 
regarded the most learned as Tino Tohunga, the highest of all, and he lived with 
the ariki or chiefs. Where there were no bards, as in the Marquesas, the priests 
were the guardians of historical tradition, as for instance the Kahunas of Hawaii. 
The social position of the priests was different in different groups. Out- 
wardly they were distinguished by their tattooing (of wavy lines on the forehead, 
among the Maoris) and their long staff. Priest-kings, or ariki, formed among 
the Maoris the top of the social structure. They did not go to war, but left that 
duty to a selected chief of their kindred. They retained the power of laying on 
taboo, even if the chiefship had been transferred to another ; and boasted of being 
sprung from an older branch of the common family tree. None but the ariki 
knew the sacred songs. The place where he sat had to be avoided, or tabooed, 
and to touch his hand was a capital offence. In Tonga, the eldest niece of the 
Tuitonga was a priest-princess, ranking with, and in some respects above, the prince. 
In other cases, those who were permanently inspired were priests only, even when 
they were only honoured servants. Boat-builders, as servants of Tangaroa, had 
priestly privileges ; and in Oahu a chief was a'; once priest, schoolmaster, fisher- 



man, and maker of wooden bowls. Among the Marquesans, the atuas or o-od- 
like prophets were at the head of the tabooed ranks ; next to them came 
hereditär}- chiefs ; then the tuas, who prophesied amid convulsions, and after their 
death received sacrifices as atuas ; the tokunas who offered sacrifices in accordance 
with tradition ; the oulious or juoas, assistants of the sacrificing priest ; the toas or 
leaders in war ; and lastly the natikahas, who uttered the curses. In Hawaii, 
also, the priest took precedence of the prince. Disputes about the sanctity, or 
the privileges of the priests, have very often occasioned splits in the tribe and 
migrations. Migrations of idols carried by the priests form an interesting part of 
the Polynesian migration legend. In order to maintain 
his place, or rise higher, the priest had to offer sacrifices 
in no small number. Among the Maoris, the tohungas 
lived in celibacy, but the chief priest of the tribe had to 
marry in order to keep up the succession. Besides this, 
the consecrated tauiras had to fast, and lived apart from 
the rest with the priests, round the temple. 

Yap, Nukuor, and other Micronesian islands, have a 
priest-chief, and priests as distinct from sorcerers. In- 
visible Kalits pass for oracles by a fraud, at the back of 
which are the priests. They possess houses in a number 
of districts, each inhabited by a woman who is per- 
manently dedicated to them. Many obtain great in- 
fluence through intercourse with sacred animals. Lastly, 
the taboo-system contributes here also to the creation 
of limits, whereby the priests keep the power of inter- 
fering in every relation of life. In quite small tribes, the 
eldest person undertakes the management of worship, 
while in larger communities he has beside him a priest, 
who is doctor, weather-maker, and sorcerer. He must 
have the faculty of going into an ecstatic state. Tradi- r::::'.';'.:""'. - ••- 

tion is preserved in the family, and in his conjuration the Article employed in Meianesian 
priest turns for inspiration first to his ancestors. If he rites, for holding objects of use 

i-iii 1 • m ™agic — one-half real size. 

has ancestors in whom others believe, he is doubly quah- (Berlin Museum.) 
fied to be priest. 

The priests draw omens from the sky, from the barking of dogs, the crowing 
of cocks, etc., or from their own oracular implements. Before a war, the Maori 
priest prophesies by putting up carved sticks on a sand-heap, according to the 
number of the friendly and hostile tribes, and throwing at them with a bunch of 
strings tied together ; the forecast is propitious if the sticks fall up hill. Before 
any undertaking, the Maori used to deliver magic sentences. Every chant has 
its rhythm, and is divided into verses, so that it may be propagated more easily 
from one generation to another. Other songs have an expiatory effect. The 
mata, or vision, is a mirror of the future. Nightly visions are interpreted as the 
soul's journeys into the spirit land ; and for this reason dreams serve to prescribe 
tribal decrees. In Hawaii, the priest, when prophesying, made the symbols of 
thunder and lightning with his stone axe, by way of calling upon the god of the 
sky for aid. 

The consecration of the priest took place with great ceremonies. In New 



%i*{ •,**'' 

Zealand, where there was a kind of school of the 
priests, the candidates stood under a covering of 
boughs with one foot in the water, the other on 
land. The secret science of the priests was im- 
parted to their disciples by the head of the records ; 
this law demanded extraordinary attention. A 
single wrong word in conjurations might spoil 
everything, and even be fatal to the priest. Com- 
mune and tribe were no prouder of their god than 
of his tried and tested priest. 

Where things are on a small scale, the priest is 
doctor as well ; but where men are assembled in 
larger numbers, as in Hawaii, Tonga, or New 
Zealand, there is a class of priests specially occu- 
pied with medical practice. One of their chief 
duties is to get some information from the deity 
about the patient's illness ; to this end the priest, 
sitting near the sick man after conjurations, ad- 
dresses inquiries to the deity, and receives his 
answer in a shrieking voice. Sicknesses which 
cannot be cured by the priest are described as 
coming from forefathers. In the administration of 
justice, the priest's duty consists in discovering the 
criminal by secret means. They look for him in 
the water ; if they cannot catch sight of him they 
make fire by rubbing, and utter a curse over it. 
In this way they endeavour to find those who have 
caused perplexing cases of death by magic arts. 
■ ; :I Most ordeals also are in the hands of the priest ; 
• in Hawaii, the suspected person must hold his 
: ' hands over water, and the water must not tremble 
in the vessel while the priest looks on him. 

Dances and songs are indispensable parts of 
divine service, especially at the feast of the bread- 
fruit gathering. In this either they use dancing 
staves, or the operation consists only of harmonious 
movements of the arms and legs. Semper heard 
of loose dances practised by the women of Pelew, 
it was said on moonlight nights, in honour of a 
female deity, but he was kept in the dark on the 
subject. Dances are held to the accompaniment 
of songs recited by girls, in honour of fortunate 
Human figure of shells ami hermit- head hunters. On these occasions it is usual to 
crabs, used as a tempie-pmament in pa int the legs and all the upper part of the body 

New Ireland — one-eighth real size. , . . r . . r , , 

(Berlin Museum.) red, but a good part ot the veneration ol the gods 

consists in silence. Gods who possess no temple, 
must not be disturbed by noisy movement or shouting. When Rongala 
descends upon the island of Fais, there must be neither talking nor noise. The 


inhabitants draw near to the forest only in festal garments and softly. Sacred 
places are of many kinds ; one must not always expect buildings, the whole 
world is animate, and all Nature may be regarded as a temple. Places are 
sacred only by reason of the spirits that are dwelling in them ; where the 
conditions were simple, the priest's house, in which the fire might never go 
out, was the locality for sacred transactions ; every grave is holy of itself, and 
in all these places there was a right of asylum. The soul-worship, customary 
here, gave rise to places of adoration, where in course of time the cult of other 
spirits could also find a footing. Places devoted exclusively to the adoration 
of the gods as a rule existed more in the eastern group of islands, but these 
also were originally only places of burial. Since, at the death of any eminent 
person, no new burial place was made, but the interment took place in the 
sanctuary of an ancestor, the sanctity attaching to a place mounted up. Large 
octagonal stone buildings with steps were rare, and were devoted only to the most 
illustrious ; while in more recent times they seemed to have ceased. More usually 
rectangular mounds of earth were erected, 10 to 14 feet in height, surrounded at 
the bottom with a low wall. The level top was often paved, and one or more 
pretty shrines stood upon it, their floors carefully laid with small pebbles ; these 
covered the grave. On one of the longer sides, two or three high steps led to the 
level top, which was surrounded on the other three sides with a wall or a hedge. 
On it stood altars resembling high platforms, and also images of the gods, some 
of which were also usually fastened to the surrounding walls. There were single 
houses for the priests, and even sacred trees. In those times, too, the images of 
the chief gods were not in the temples, only on solemn occasions they were 
brought from the priests' house into the temple by sacred bearers who were not 
allowed to carry on any other occupation. In Micronesia, enclosures and buildings 
of wood and stone, frequently coinciding with burial places, serve as places of 
adoration, called Marae, and Amalau. Mausolea of this kind in the interior of 
Rotuma, consist of stone buildings like dolmens formerly used for graves ; they 
are octagonal near Metalanim in Ponape, made like three boxes, one inside 
another, or in cellar-like excavations filled with bones ; there are similar buildings 
in Ualan. Other sacred stone erections take the form of a small step pyramid, 
ascended by a stair, and with a summit crowned by an upright stone. In the 
Pelew Islands, the Kalits dwell in octagonal wooden huts, inside of which a small 
partition of boards is set up, while the priest, through whom the spirit speaks to 
men, lives outside. It is just the same in Fiji, but here the old fashion is giving 
way to modern times. Semper even saw Kalits dwelling in simple huts. Among 
the Melanesians, again, the sacred places are graves, spots where the skull and 
other remains of ancestors are preserved, and solitary places in forests on the 
shore, on mountain tops, in caves, which spirits like to visit. The nearest 
approach to temples are the common meeting-houses. In the Solomon Islands 
these are called sacred houses — the name " devil's house " is naturally the offspring 
of European fancy ; but they are never used exclusively for religious purposes. 

A far-reaching influence was produced on the life of these races by the fact 
that they made no special images of their gods, but regarded them rather as 
only temporarily embodied in arbitrarily selected things. Fetishes of this kind 
were, however, not absolutely necessary for intercourse with the gods. Prayers 
uttered in a low tone with a whispering movement of the lips were, as with us, 


directed up to heaven, and in Hawaii customary language drew a contrast between 
the worship of idols and speech addressed to invisible beings. The idols were only 
reverenced when the god had taken up his abode in them, and the priest could 
obtain this by prayer and sacrifice. The choice of objects was quite arbitrary, 
it might be matting or wood, but only the sacred wood of the tree Casuarina 
cquisctifolia, and only if this could not be obtained that of CalopJiyllum, Ficus, or 
Cordia. Stones were employed very frequently, roughly worked wood-blocks 
with a human countenance recognisable at a pinch, and frequently with the 
sexual parts indicated in an exaggerated degree ; blocks of stone similarly 
worked, even imposing statues, as on Easter Island, and giant stone figures ; 
spirits of the sand and of the rock are the nearest approach to our idea of an 
idol. But as a matter of fact, these are often less revered than some perfectly 
arbitrary figure — a bit of wood bound round with string, or a twig of banana 
tied up with coco-nut fibre. We must not see an " idol " in every carved image ; 
for figure-carving is an art, carried on con amove and with great ability. In the 
stone figures we may possibly assume the survivals of a former cult, holding a 
closer relation to mythologic and historical conceptions than does that of shape- 
less lumps of wood. In the west we are obviously much nearer to the origin of 
these figures. If a Papua has died, his son carves a figure, sets it up in the house, 
and calls upon it in difficulties ; when the sculptor himself dies, his son makes 
an idol of him, and throws away the now useless grandfather. In the Duke of 
York Island (New Lauenburg) have been found double idols, supposed to repre- 
sent an ancestral married couple. These figures of souls conventionalised can 
easily pass into regular idols. The idols from Dorey in New Guinea, 6 to 8 
inches high, represent unquestionably a sexless being, standing with its arms 
supported on an ornamental trellis (as in the cut on p. 301). This development 
converts the domestic ancestral figure into a public institution. In the Solomon 
Islands crude carvings of this kind support the roof of the assembly hall. In 
the far-famed Hawaii feather idols, the idea of the mythological bird (for instance, 
the sacred alae bird) lay no doubt originally at the root of the representation. 
In Tonga the patron god of a tribe was symbolised by a folded mat with red 
feathers ; in New Zealand red feathers were strewn about to ensure fertility. 

Idols were set up in spots where immediate help was expected from them. 
Along the roads in Hawaii stones wrapped in grass are pointed out as local gods; 
and on mountain-paths sacrifices were offered before upright stones to avert a 
fall. To this class belong also the gods' footprints in stone, to which legends 
have become attached even in comparatively recent times. Near Taupa in New 
Zealand a chief left his footstep on a rock ; and the prints of a chief who had 
been slain by Kamehameha were pointed out to Birgham. The temple precinct 
was a recognised asylum wherever social relations were at all advanced, and 
herein temple and grave coincide. In Hawaii, asylum might be sought near the 
grave of the kings, and similarly in Tonga a chief's burial place was holy ground. 
Also the capability of affording protection passed in both cases from the place 
to the priest who served it. In Ranai an asylum was formed diagonally across 
the island, by a simple process. The priests allowed fugitives to pass under their 
staves, which they then crossed against the pursuers. 

Where the souls of ancestors held the front place as objects of veneration, 
sacrifice and prayer were devoted to them ; elsewhere spirits were the objects of 



these. But prayers of themselves reckoned as oblations — traditional forms, of 
which the meaning had often been long forgotten, but which had always passed 
by inheritance, and were even imparted for payment to the ignorant. Interces- 
sory hymns, well composed and often very 
long, were distinguished from short invoca- 
tions, the productions of the moment. They 
were held pleasing to the god, and even 
replaced the sacrifice. Fison notices, with 
regard to Fijian prayers, that petitions to the 
prejudice of an enemy as a rule balanced 
those for the suppliant's own profit. 

In funeral customs the main underlying 
thought is the sacredness of the corpse by 
reason of the neighbourhood of the soul, 
even after its departure. But this only holds 
good for the relatives ; strangers have no 
scruple about injuring a dead body. All 
dealings with the soul, which has been taken 
up to the gods, are most easily carried out 
in the neighbourhood of the body. For this 
reason, in New Zealand the priests sing over 
the body to assist the passage of the soul 
upwards at least to the eighth heaven ; and 
on the assumption that the soul must be 
invited, if not compelled, by prayer or magic 
to leave the corpse, they stroke this with a 
whisk, and shake it. Visits paid by souls 
of living people are often hindered by putting 
on a mask, which would cut off the soul's 
return. Souls which neither remain united 
with the deity, nor can be propitiated by 
sacrifices, roam about the houses at night 
as ghosts. These wandering souls may be 
heard in the rustle of the leaves and the 
surge of the waves, or seen by moonlight as 
white phantoms. Souls of persons who had 
died at a distance were enticed by spreading 
a white cloth, and if a grasshopper or an ant 
came to the call, it was deemed that the end 
had been attained. Old age often obtained 
reverence from a wish to be on good terms 
with the soul which was soon to depart. 
The deeper meaning of the widespread 
custom of sending wives and servants to 
accompany the dead into eternity, lay in the 
wish to give the departed soul an escort, or to send at least one soul as protec- 
tion, in case it stood in need thereof. In this way a mother, grandmother, or 
aunt was strangled when a child died, that the infant soul might not be 


Child-mummy on the bier used for burial, from 
Torres Straits — one-sixth real size. (Berlin 
Museum. ) 


unprotected. Provision also had to be made for the fights which, as we have 
seen, take place on the road to Hades. It is only after several days, when it 
may be assumed that the soul of the corpse has been turned into a spirit, that 
the mourning begins ; its object being even to this day to start the spirit upon 
the road into the next world, which it is perhaps unwilling to take. In view 
of the possibility of a periodic return, care is taken to renew the noise at stated 

Great variety prevails in modes of interment. In the west the body is kept 
at hand as long as possible ; and at least portions of it, especially the skull, and 
above all the lower jaw, are prepared for permanent conservation. On the Maclay 
coast of New Guinea the corpse has usually to be dried before the fire in the hut. 
In other islands it is hung up in mats between the branches of trees until the 
soft parts have decayed away, after which it is laid symmetrically with other 
skeletons in a cave on the seashore. Children's bodies are merely hung up in 
basket under the roof. Burial within the hut is customary in Fiji. Among the 
Motus of Port Moresby the only sign of mourning is the incessant beating of 
drums for three days. When this is over, the grave is dug in front of the house, 
the dead body laid in a mat, and a little hut built over the grave. After a time 
the grave is opened, the corpse taken out and smeared on the elbows and knees 
with red ochre, while the widow smears herself with the decaying flesh. Then 
the dead man is put by again, and the little sepulchral house is gradually pulled 
to pieces, so that no trace of the grave is left. All these proceedings are 
accompanied by carousals. 

In Tonga the corpses of eminent persons were washed, ornamented and oiled, 
and watched by women. At the actual interment the relations, clad in torn mats 
and wearing chaplets of the leaves of the z)?-tree, carried the body into its house, 
and buried it there in its clothes, often in a chest or little boat, and its most 
valuable possession with it. Then all, loudly singing, went to the shore, made 
baskets of coco-palm leaves, and poured white sand therein, with which they filled 
the upper part of the grave. The men remained for twenty days in lightly 
constructed huts near the house of mourning, the women within, both occupied in 
sacred offices. On the twentieth day, all w r ent again to the shore, fetched black 
and white pebbles in newly-made baskets, and paved the sepulchral house there- 
with. In Tahiti the entrails were removed and the cavity filled with cloths dipped 
in essential oils. The body was then kept till it fell to pieces, when the bones 
were buried, and the skull set up among the family. In the Marquesas, the 
notables were buried in the marais, in a sitting posture, with the knees drawn 
up, and the head pressed down between the legs, and the hands passed under 
the knees. Funeral feasts were held, the invitations to which were carried by 
richly-clothed messengers. 

There is an immediate relation between the dignity of the soul of a dead 
person and the treatment of his body. The lower classes seem often to have 
taken little trouble about their dead. In Hawaii a common man buried his dead 
in a crouching posture, wrapped in cloth, in a cave or in the ground ; sometimes 
in a house. Food was put beside him. In New Zealand the slaves were thinly 
covered with earth ; or in many cases thrown to the dogs or cast into the sea. 
In some districts it is said to have been usual to burn them. In Mangaia the 
custom obtained of wrapping the dead in white stuff and throwing them into one 


3 2 9 

of two deep holes, according to their rank in society, the entrance to the nether 
world being different for persons of high degree and for the common herd. But 
in the higher classes the corpse was generally mummified, and exposed to view 
for a certain time in the temple or the dead-house. For the purposes of embalm- 
ment the entrails were removed. In Hawaii the flesh was carefully separated 
from the bones and burnt ; while of the bones themselves part were deposited in 
the family heiau as objects of divine honours, part distributed among friends. A 
kind of embalming also took place in Hawaii, and was not unknown in New 
Zealand, where burial customs most resembled those of Tahiti. There people's 
own houses often served as graves, the remains of the dead being allowed to stand 
in chests ; otherwise they were interred. Children's bodies were also hung up in 
chests among the boughs of a tree. Indispensable articles were the kehui — the 
word means " forbidden," and passes into " taboo " — wooden posts, painted red, 
with carved faces, which stood round like sentinels. 

Only in certain small outer islands were variations found. In the Gambier 
Islands the mummies were laid out wrapped in mats and cloth tied up with 
strings and put away in mountain caverns. In Falefa chiefs were preserved in 
a hut or in a cave laid upon a double canoe. In Mulgrave the dead were laid 
out upon stones covered with coco-palm leaves and afterwards buried in the family 
vault. Isolated cases of the disposal of the body by launching it out to sea in 
a canoe were obviously a variation of the custom of placing a conveyance at 
the disposal of the soul for its journey into the other world. In the Gilbert 
Islands a widow sleeps under the same mat with the corpse of her deceased 
husband until the head drops off the body ; the skull is then cleaned, and she 
carries it about with her constantly, as is also done with the skull of a beloved 
child. This cult of skulls is also found elsewhere in Micronesia. In Yap the 
dead are never buried in the neighbourhood of the sea, the inhabitants of the 
mountains never anywhere but on mountain-tops. Adults were placed in a sitting 
position with knees drawn up, children and young people lying down. A curious 
combination of land and sea burial is found in Kusaie where the bones after 
burial are dug up, cleaned, tied in a bundle, and sunk in the sea. 

Where interment is usual the skull is often separated from the body. Owing 
to this A. B. Meyer was enabled to acquire many human skulls by barter, since 
the Papuas did not hesitate, after exhausting their own store of slain enemies' 
heads, to plunder their relatives' graves ; yet they could not at first make up 
their minds to hand over the lower jaw. Thus reverence for human remains has 
its limits, and yet these Papuas in West New Guinea always avoided handling the 

Great differences also occur within the much narrower limits of other archi- 
pelagos. On some islands in the Solomon group the corpse is thrown into the 
sea to swim away to the beautiful land in the west ; in Anaiteum it is only the 
body of the supreme chief that is interred. Before they are thrown into the sea 
female corpses are clothed with their girdles, and males have the face painted. In 
other islands the bodies are wrapped m mats and taken into the mangrove thickets, 
where they are exposed to the air until the head can be easily separated from the 
trunk. The head is then prepared and the rest buried in the common burying- 
place. In San Cristoval and other places, the dead are laid upon a high stage, 
and a trench is dug underneath to receive the flesh which is sliced off by the 



mourners ; skull and finger-bones are taken away as heirlooms, and a hut or 
pyramidal framework covered with leaves is erected over the trench ; graves of 
children are strewn with flowers. 

While in Tanna the corpse is laid in a boat-shaped coffin, in New Caledonia 
paddle and spear arc set up on the graves. Here ornaments are put with the 
body, but if not the whole skull at any rate the lower jaw is preserved as a relic, 
and so in New Ireland, Duke of York's Island, and Vate. In the last-named island 
trees in the neighbourhood of the graves are cut in a peculiar fashion. 

The outward indications of the grief of the mourners go as far as self-injuries 
and mutilations. In Tonga, when the king's mother died the chiefs descended 
from her branded their temples, and at the death of the high priest it was usual to 
cut off a joint of the little finger. The Tahiti women used as soon as they were 
married to fix sharks' teeth in a wooden handle with which to wound themselves 
when mourning for their husbands. On these occasions they, with their friends, 
invoked the soul of the departed. In Tahiti also, the chief mourner wore clothing 
made of the shroud, while the others went with their clothes torn and sprinkled 
with dust, and the neighbours who came to lament had a sham fight with the 
household of the departed in order to the due performance of the common lamenta- 
tion. Funeral fights were also held in Mangaia, where all the friends of the 
deceased went about the island in strange clothing to attack the ghosts of other 

The practice of burying alive is widely extended, it was extensively used as a 
means of infanticide, but old and sick people sought of their own free will to be 
buried. In the case of new-born children a fire was lighted over the grave to 
stifle the soul. In Vate, when old people are to be buried alive, a pig is tied to 
their arm, which is afterwards consumed at the feast and accompanies the soul into 
the next world. In the Fiji Islands it is also customary to strangle, and the cord 
is regarded there as a great kindness in comparison with the club. If a chief in 
the Solomon Islands dies his wives are strangled in their sleep ; it would be a 
shame for them and an insult to the dead man's memory if they were to marry 
men of lower rank. The same end is frequently allotted to the wives or nearest 
relations of an ordinary man ; even in death he must be surrounded by those who 
love him. In Anaiteum the women are said to wear the ominous cord round 
their necks from their wedding day. 

South Australian Native Women. 
(From a photograph.) 



Australia, forming the south-eastern border of the great mass of land belonging 
to the " old world," looks south towards uninhabited regions, east towards the 
Pacific crowded with islands, numerous indeed but forming collectively only a 
small surface of land. Its position reminds us of South Africa. Those sides of the 
divisions of the earth which look out into vacancy were historically dead until a few 
centuries ago oceanic navigation brought to them trade and colonisation from afar. 
Australia, the most insular of all the quarters of the globe, has received a larger 
share than all the others of that culture-stunting gift — vacant coasts. Its situa- 
tion, open on three sides, forbids us to doubt that in so far as Australia has any 
recognisable relation with other parts of the earth, it can only be with Asia and 
the island world, — what little intercourse it had in the pre-European days, and 
the immigration of certain plants and animals, all point to this. This justifies 
us in claiming Australia as part of the old world, which can do no harm, especially 
from an ethnographic point of view. With great probability as regards its human 
population, with absolute certainty in respect to our modern culture, Australia 
may be regarded as the most south-easterly portion of the old world, as a depend- 
ency of Asia. If Ave consider the question of distances, the inhabitants would, 
without navigation, be confined to their quarter of the earth, but with even primi- 
tive navigation they could reach Asia and more immediately the eastern parts of 
the Malay archipelago. Their civilization will therefore have an isolated character ; 
but where there are deep-lying connections with the outside world, we shall have to 
direct our inquiries towards Asia. 

Even if Australia has more peninsulas than America and Africa, its coasts in 
compensation form the most desert portions of the land. Along the east coast runs 
a chain of mountains, the only marked watershed from the North to the South Cape. 
Similarly, the moderate elevations of West Australia rise near the coast. A great 
part of the north and north-west is a plain sloping up gently from the sea, and 
reaching its maximum height of 1600 to 2000 feet in a distance of 50 or 60 
geographical miles. Rivers of similar fall flow down the slope, and often in the 
heavy tropical rains overflow their banks widely. The Barcoo, flowing along with 
a slight gradient and endless windings, is capable of watering a full third of the 
interior with its tributaries, that seldom have any water in them. But the South 
Australian lake region, towards which it bears its waters, does not rise very far 
above the level of the sea. The characteristics of its desert shores are sand hills 
between the lakes and on their banks, stony flats resembling the sea-shore and 
soil impregnated with salt. There is only one river system of considerable import- 



ance, that of the Murray, the sources of which occupy the whole region on the 
western slope of the mountain range from New South Wales to Queensland. 
In the north and north-west, where there is more rain, watercourses are numerous, 
but there is no stream. In the west and interior, we find no doubt plenty of 
watercourses on the maps, but none in reality. They are merely creeks and 

mmw m 

Eucalyptus Forest in South Australia. (From the account of the voyage of the " Novara"). 

water-holes filled by rain during a small part of the year. We shall see how 
closely the life of the natives is bound up with these transitory watercourses and 
springs, and how insecure, owing to this dependence, is their entire life. The most 
promising collections of water dry up with extraordinary rapidity. The change- 
able direction of the streams, even in the larger river beds, makes the habitability 
of wide districts, if no permanent precautions are taken for damming up super- 
fluous water in the wet season, a matter of uncertainty. The rapid change from 



wet to dry causes wide tracts to become barren and desert. Even the lakes are 
subject to this, and the maintenance of old lakes or creation of new ones has 
become one of the most prominent necessities in the cultivation of Australia. 
Wide districts are impregnated with salt, and perfectly sweet water is a rarity. 
" Good water," says one of the missionaries from Hermansburg, speaking of the 
lower Barcoo, "that is, understanding it in the Australian sense ; for what at home 
we call bad water, passes here for good." The abundance of salt, by limiting the 
vegetation, produces in the interior landscapes which resemble barren coasts ; salt 
lakes with islands consisting of sand dunes are among the characteristic features 
of West Australian landscapes. 

The climate of Australia is predominantly dry ; the moist breezes which blow 
from other zones upon the north and south-east portions, cannot prevent the 
fundamentally dry quality of the trade-wind climate from prevailing over the 
entire continent. If Africa was limited to the region north of a line drawn from 
Cape Yerd to Cape Guardafui, we should have in the northern hemisphere the 
counterpart of the climatic conditions of Australia. On the south coast, a climate 
like that of the Mediterranean prevails, with sharply-defined dry and wet seasons. 
Between 30 and 18 South latitude lies a band of desert plateau corresponding 
with the Sahara, while in the north we have the rainy season of summer coming 
in when the sun is overhead. While in New Guinea, in the neighbourhood of the 
Equator, the rainy time extends over the greater part of the year, we find in 
Tasmania rain at all seasons as in Central Europe. Thus there remains in the 
north and south a considerable quantity of sufficiently fertile land, and to call 
Australia desert is going too far ; the effect of drought is confined mostly to the 
plateau formation. But even where the total amount of water which reaches the 
earth is not absolutely small, it is often unfavourably distributed. As we go inland 
from the well-cultivated coast, the fields and pastures of the flourishing colonies 
of South Australia, Victoria, and New South Wales, are only too often visited by 
the most ruinous droughts. 

The very appearance of the landscape in this region expresses dryness. Dry- 
ness and stiffness are the distinguishing marks of the Australian flora, even in the 
most favoured districts where lofty forests rise on the banks of permanent streams. 
The flora, though considerably richer than in Europe, is more uniform and less 
expressive. Australia is poor in forests ; trees when growing in masses have here 
the character less of forest than of grove. The wooded grass country is a posses- 
sion of Australia no less beautiful than useful. In the south-east and the north 
prairies of a considerable extent are found, and upon these the most extensive 
and most important branch of Australian industry is maintained. As the country 
becomes dryer, the grass thins away into isolated tufts, and takes the form of 
steppe, which gradually passes into desert as barren rock appears, or as the ground 
becomes impregnated with salt. The Australian steppe, in its most inhospitable 
form, is the scrub ; the region covered with inpenetrable bushes where the surface 
is covered thick with a tangle of ericacece and proteacece, with trees rising out of them 
here and there. The ordinary height of these bushy steppes, which cover many 
square miles, is always more considerable than that of our heaths. The forest 
savannah has been extolled as the blessing of the country, the inland scrub is its 
curse. Leichhardt, Sturt, Stewart, wandered round the scrub for weeks, nay months, 
without being able to find any way through it. Another steppe, overgrown with 


the spinifex, Festuca irritans, affords a friendly and homelike picture of fields of ripe 
corn as far as the eye can reach, but in reality belongs to the most desolate and 
dangerous regions, for the grass-like stalks are dry and contain no nourishment, 
standing sharp and stiff. If then in estimating the capacity of Australia for 

culture, we can call it 
hardly accessible plains 

rather a great steppe country than a waste, yet these 
must be for a long time, and notoriously were for the 
aborigines at any time, a great 
hindrance to movement and to 
the production of food. Where 
the steppe thins away and dries 
up to a desert among sand dunes, 
salt, or rocky plains, its appear- 
ance is seldom so hopeless as in 
the great deserts of the old 
world ; it is hardly anywhere 
denuded of vegetation. Its 
counterpart is to be found in the 
lesser Kalahari ; the Sahara is 
incomparably barer, but there 
we find not merely an alterna- 
tion of rock plateaus and sandy 
plains, lofty mountains and deep 
depressions, uninhabitable regions 
and groups of oases, but above 
all whole nations, peoples of 
various race and speech, towns, 
villages, herds, roads, trade, and 
intercourse. The Australian 
desert suffers from the most 
tedious monotony, but has the 
advantage over Sahara in its 
more limited extent. 

The wealth of Australia in 
food products must not be judged 
from the fact that no single in- 
digenous plant has become an 
object of agriculture. We do not 
yet know all its articles of food, but some of them are things of which we should 
never have believed it possible to make use. Of vegetable food-stuffs, Grey 
adduces for South Australia alone twenty-one different roots, dioscor'ecc, orchids, 
ferns, a typJia^ and others ; four kinds of gum or resin, seven fungi, several fruits ; 
among them a sago palm, and lastly the flowers of the Banksia with abundance 
of honey. In the north the list is larger, being materially enriched by others ; 
sago palm, cabbage palm, the shoots of the mangrove, which are pounded, fer- 
mented, and eaten mixed with an indigenous bean, the grain-bearing marsiliacece, 
the roots of nympfaza, and several fruits. The North-west Australians know how 
to deprive the sago fruit and the orchid bulbs of their poison. It is true that the 
root of the so-called Australian yam is small, and the eucalyptus gum has not 

.1 (a is ilia Dru m mondii 


much nourishment ; and we must also admit that Australia is remarkably poor in 
the plants which take away something of their natural poverty from other steppe 
countries, such as the various species of cucumber, gourd, and melon, and the 
various bulbous plants. But the fact that the Australians of themselves never 
reached the agricultural stage, depends not so much upon their flora as upon the 
degree of their civilization. So again, the fauna of Australia has not produced a 
single domestic or useful animal. Those who know, declare that the mammals 
which would be first in demand are too wild ; the dingo, which is the only 
Australian mammal accessible to taming, was in all probability imported tame, 
and afterwards ran wild. But with the poverty of vegetation, the fauna which 
will live in a wild state is poorly represented here. Significant also is the rarity 
of fish and other eatable aquatic animals caused by the deficiency of water. The 
South Australians first learnt from Europeans to eat oysters ; the West Australians 
eat four or five kinds of snakes, some poisonous, and three kinds of lizards. The 
grub of a beetle which lives in the grass palm is also much fancied, and birds' 
eggs are eagerly sought. The only parts where the larger mammals, especially 
kangaroos, still abound, are the broad grassy plains in the north and north-east. 
The poverty of the continent in animals has played an important part in the 
exploration of Australia, since no expedition has been able to depend for subsist- 
ence upon hunting. Kangaroo and emu hunting must, on account of the swiftness 
of those animals, have been extremely difficult for the Australians, equipped as they 
were with inferior weapons ; and besides this, snaring must have been rendered 
difficult by the nocturnal habits of by far the larger proportion of mammals. 



Uniformity of bodily characteristics throughout Australia — Mental distinctions — Malay and Negroid forms — 
Woolly and straight hair — Big and little men — Languages — Character and mental peculiarities — Courage — 
Writing — Language of signs — Rock-drawings — Effect of nomadism — Instances of its extent. 

THE prominent characteristic of this continent is the agreement in degree of 
culture, in manner of life, in customs, to a certain extent even in language, and 
that a greater agreement than we find anywhere else in an equally limited area. 
But physically too the Australians have seemed to many modern anthropologists 
to be so little separated that the descriptions which these have given would hold 
good from the Murray to the York peninsula. It is said that they are men of 
medium stature, not badly proportioned in themselves, but lean owing to bad 
nutrition. In their cast of features may be recognised an intermediate stage 
between Negroes and Malays, what is called a hybrid physiognomy. We are 
reminded of the Malay by the straight rather than woolly hair, the prominent 
cheek-bones, the light brown or reddish tint of the skin ; of the Negro by the 
prominent eyebrows, the fiat nose, the thick lips, the prognathous jaws. A 
conspicuous mark is formed by the insertion of the nose, so deeply depressed 
that a line drawn from one eye to the other describes only a slight curve. In 
build they are slim rather than squat ; almost all over the continent it is only in 
well-nourished individuals that arms, legs, and often hips are not too fine. Muscular 



development is not as a rule strong, but the joints show an astonishing suppleness, 
so that the most curious and apparently laborious postures are often adopted 
when resting. They find it quite easy to dodge the flight of a spear by an almost 
imperceptible movement. It must be observed that too little notice has been 
taken in most descriptions of the effects of defective nutrition, so that what is really 
a mark of low civilization has been treated as a racial peculiarity. But we look 
in vain for any really tangible marks such as a sharply circumscribed race ought 
to offer. Some peculiarities are to be referred to the influence of the conditions 
of their life, some have been indicated by the most unprejudiced observers as 
marks of hybridism, while others, as for instance reports about the hair, are difficult 
to bring into any consistency. Whenever the question of the unity of the 

Queensland girl. (From a photograph by C. Günther. 

Australian race has turned up, it has been found impossible to adduce any con- 
vincing proofs of it. 

We should most naturally expect a solution of this question from careful skull 
measurements, but what do these tell us ? The Australian head is one of the 
smallest, but within these limits the variations are great. If we rely upon the 
twenty-four skulls measured by Davis, and the eighteen measured by Topinard, 
the horizontal circumference varies between 19 and 22 inches, and the cubic 
contents of the skull between 66 and 8 8 cubic inches. Davis even records a 
measurement of 102 cubic inches. The marked prognathy, the projecting eyebrows, 
the depression of the root of the nose, and the retreating forehead, Topinard failed 
to notice in five or six skulls out of eighteen. The roof-shaped skull which some 
anatomists have noticed as characteristic is anything but universal ; it is absent in 
more than half of Topinard's list of skulls. With differences such as these, 
Australian skulls would seem to require classification rather than unification. In 
the colour of the skin two extreme types may be distinguished, one quite yellow 
and the other black all over. The intermediate or dark brown is the commonest, 
but in no way nullifies the diversity of the two extremes. We meet with the 



same in the hair ; curly haired Australians have been seen on Murchison Bay, on 
the west coast near Port Essington and on the Bogan River ; microscopic observa- 
tions further are said to show that there are persons here with completely Negro 
hair. But one feature which is unlike Negroes and still more unlike Malays is the 
strong growth of hair on the body, particularly in the beard. The taunt applied 
to beardless people, " You naked cheeks," is one of the challenges always taken 
up by the beardless youth among the South Australians. A hairless Australian 
is an isolated pathological accident. 

The most important question in these circumstances is that of the geographical 
distribution of the various types, and no more positive answer can be obtained to 
it than to any other suggestion as to the affinities, differences, and origin of the 
Australians. The earliest reports in no way authorise us to see the lighter type 

Young Queensland man. (From a photograph by C. Günther). 

on the Malayan side or the darker in the opposite direction. Tasman in 1644, 
and Dampier in 1686, found dark, woolly-headed people on the north-west coast ; 
and it is no contradiction to this if Grey and Usborne found among them individuals 
of a light copper colour, with smaller heads, moderate-sized eyebrows, and well- 
proportioned limbs. In 1770 Cook saw in Endeavour Bay, on the north-east 
coast, chocolate-brown, straight-haired, well-built men, with noses not strikingly 
flat and not very thick lips. Among the aborigines of the south-east there were 
women as light as mulattoes. Dumont D'Urville notes certain tribes in the 
neighbourhood of King George's Sound as belonging to a more nobly-formed race. 
Similarly, Hombron and Flinders establish far-reaching distinctions between 
Australians of a higher and subordinate class. Stokes, one of the most experienced 
of all Australian travellers, sums up his judgment in the phrase : " The Australians 
vary as curiously as their soil." Stuart and Leichhardt are astonished by the