Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

to suspect that this picture is not the most ancient form of this symbol. There is a picture found on one of the Sikyatki bowls, . which leads me to suspect that they also were intended to represent a sky deity; but it is very difficult to decide whether this does not also represent the Heart-of-the-sky god or possibly that both are identical. ?

There seems to be no serious doubt that the cult of the rain cloud was strong at Sikyatki, as we find the symbolic Rain-god figures represented on several vessels. On a flat bowl, which was apparently a medicine bowl, we find five of these symbols on the sides, as in modern medicine bowls. The hemispheric rain-cloud figures were not detected on ancient ware.

It would seem from the existence of pictures of a plumed snake that the serpent cult had a place among the prehistoric people of Tusayan, and we may conclude that it had much the same significance then as now. Of animistic deities, if we judge

. from the ancient paleography, the Sikyatkians recognized the giant elk, deer, mountain lion, porcupine, various birds, the frog, tadpole, butterfly, and dragon-fly. As most of these are members of the modern Hopi Olympus, we are justified in concluding that they had a similar status in prehistoric mythology.

Sikyatki paleography reveals the fact that of all parts of the body the human hand was the only organ recognized as an important decorative element, and one of the most beautiful food bowls in the collection is adorned with a picture of the left hand, well brought out by spattering the surrounding space with color. As there are five instances in which the hand is used for decorative purposes, there can be little doubt that this organ was associated in the prehistoric mind with conceptions of deep significance.

That the Sikyatkians had a complicated ritual, with many points of similarity to that which is still practiced at Walpi, is indicated by many identical ceremonial objects which were found in the cemeteries. What the nature of these ceremonials was

1 It is a suggestive fact that none of the ancient pictures from Sikyatki represents any of the numerous Katcina masks, so common in decorations today.

2 In curious relationship with the crescent, as if associated with the moon. Note similarity of words for moon and this animal.

3 On the rafters of kivas impressions of the hand in adobe have still a decorative character. The figure of the hand surrounded by spattered pigment has been noticed in cliff-houses. Compare also the hand figures in Yucatan ruins.

we can only conjecture, but a ray of light may be obtained by a study of the objects which rewarded our search. Among the prayer emblems made and consecrated in all the great ceremonials at the present day, the prayer-sticks hold a most important place. These prayer-sticks, called pahos, are symbolic prayer offerings of certain religious societies, and are made in prescribed form and adorned with symbolic appendages. The character, form, coloration, and appended objects vary with the societies which make them, and they may be regarded in a way as characteristic. I have elsewhere indicated their peculiarities and described the elaborated rites performed when they are manufactured and consecrated with incantations.

The revelations of the necropolis' of Sikyatki show that the use of the prayer-stick is prehistoric in Tusayan, and the many forms of these ceremonial objects which were found indicate that there was no less variation in their character in ancient than in modern rituals. Some are similar to those now manufactured, others are very different, and while the former may be interpreted by a knowledge of the modern ritual, we are at a loss to know the significance of those which have become obsolete.

From the number of these objects which occur in burials we must regard them as prescriptively mortuary in character, while their difference in form may be indicative of the sacerdotal society to which the defunct belonged. The most common shape is a simple stick painted green, with a flat facet at one end and a ferule midway its length. These resemble more closely the pahos of the Flute society than of any other priesthood, which is suggestive when we remember that the Flute people claim to be the oldest in Tusayan. The group of gentes called the Kokop or Firewood peoples, to whom the folklorists of Walpi ascribe the settlement of Sikyatki, still make a prayer-stick very similar in form to several found in the mortuary bowls in this ancient cemetery.

It is likewise interesting that the one priest? whose duty it is to make the characteristic votive prayer-stick to the Death god, Masauwûh, in the Snake drama exactly reproduces one of the ancient wooden prayer-sticks from Sikyatki in form, length, and color. As if to give even more significance to the persistency of this survival, he claims ownership of lands near Sikyatki on the ground that he inherited it from a maternal ancestor who was captured at that place when it was destroyed. These many resemblances, taken in connection with the great conservatism of the Hopi ritual, lead us to suspect that the God of Death, Masauwûh, held a similar place in the prehistoric mythology that it does today.

1 I discovered cemeteries on the north, west, and south of the pueblo, but failed to find any, where I most expected, on the east.

2 Nasynî weve, obiit 1894. Katci, of the same phratry, made the corresponding paho in 1895.

A discussion of the various forms of prayer-sticks from the Sikyatki cemeteries would lead to a too special consideration of the subject, and it is enough here to say that they reveal a complicated ritual as far-reaching in the prehistoric as the modern treatment.

It is customary in the celebration at Walpi of the great September festival or woman's ceremony, called the Lalakonti, to place on the altar a symbolic object representing an ear of maize. This is called the kaütuhkwi or maize-mountain, and is made of clay in the form of a gigantic ear of maize, in the surface of which is embedded a mosaic of different-colored seeds-of maize, melons, and the like. A similar object is likewise used in the great ceremony of November, called the Naacnaiyá. In excavating the necropolis of Sikyatki we found an object of unburned clay, which the Hopi priests declared to be the same which, except that the seeds had long ago decayed, recalled the maize effigy which I have seen several times in modern presentations of the ritual. There can, I believe, be no doubt that the use of this efligy was prehistoric, and that its present survival is not due to foreign influences in historic times. Considerable interest attaches to the finding of this clay effigy at Sikyatki from the facts that similar objects are still made in the New Fire ceremony at Walpi (see my account of Naacnaiyá, p. 213), and that Sikyatki was inhabited by the Kokop, the so-called Firewood or Fire people.

Every visitor to the modern Tusayan towns has noticed one peculiarity in the coiffure of the maidens of those pueblos. Up to the time of marriage the hair is worn in two whorls, one above each ear, in the fashion so often photographed by visitors to Moki. The Tusayan villages are, I believe, the only ones in the pueblo region where this custom is preserved, although in the more modified pueblos, like Zuñi, the custom is still kept up in certain religious personifications of maidens.

1 Fragments of cobs of maize were found in one or two of the food bowls, but from them the kernels had disappeared. That maize wils cultivated in prehistoric Tusayan is, I think, without doubt, but I do not find any figure of its leaf or plant on the Sikyatki pottery.

From well drawn pictures on Sikyatki food bowls we learn that this style of coiffure is much over three hundred years old in Tusayan. It was doubtless likewise as old elsewhere--at Zuñi, for example, where the present Hopi mode of hairdressing was in vogue as late as early Spanish times—but these more modified villages of the other provinces have long ago abandoned its use.

Of personal adornment in prehistoric Tusayan we may mention necklaces of cedar berries, and others of turkey bones cut in sections, highly polished, and stained green. These have long been abandoned in the inhabited pueblos, but in his beautiful memoir on the cliff-dwellers of the Mesa Verde the late Dr Nordenskiöld illustrates segments of wild-turkey leg-bones strung on leather strings and apparently used for ornaments.

The turquoise was highly prized, and the well polished, carefully perforated beads made of this stone indicate either barter with eastern Pueblos or visits to or migrations from the (to them) extreme east. Alarcon in 1540, from the neighborhood of the mouth of Gila river, heard of Zuñi, but before him the beautiful shell, Oliva angulata, had made its way by barter from the Gulf of California to Sikyatki and been buried in its necropolis. In prehistoric times as in ceremonials today, the spire of one of these shells had been cut into a conical bell and tied with others to the end of a rod to be used as a rattle with which to beat time to sacred songs.

Sikyatki weavers, like those of the cliff-dwellers of Tsegi canyon, made cloth in which they wove the feathers of the bluebird and eagle, and a portion of one of these fabrics, for which, if we may trust folktales, Tusayan was once famous, was buried in an old grave.

Of the problematic objects found with the dead in Sikyatki cemeteries, the most interesting are the disks of kaolin which occur near the head. The significance of these objects is not clear to me, but it is suggestive that similar fragments of kaolin were likewise buried in graves of the cliff people many miles to the north. In Nordenskiöld's able work, by far the best description of these interesting people ever written, kaolin is mentioned as a mortuary object of the cliff-dwellers of Mesa Verde. It would appear that the fragments found by the talented Swede show no signs of having been artificially worked, but in some instances were carefully wrapped in husks, as if highly prized.

It is well known from the researches of others that smoking formerly had a deep religious significance among American aborigines, and I have pointed out elsewhere its survival as such in the Tusayan ritual. In prehistoric Sikyatki the same was undoubtedly true, and several peculiar pipes occur in my collection from the graves. In all instances these were straight tubes, like cigar-holders, approximating the form of that ancient pipe which the Antelope chief, Wiki, smokes in the Sixteen-song celebration of the Snake dramatization. The so-called old pipes which are now smoked in kiva ceremonials, but which have the general form of a European pipe, are in my belief old but innovations in historic times.

Of the several geometric figures used in decoration which prehistoric pottery shares with that from the northern states of Mexico, there are two which may be mentioned as highly significant. It was customary for the Sikyatki potters in drawing a band of color around a jar, food bowl, or dipper to leave a break at one point, so that the encircling band or line was not continuous. This break has been variously explained, but it is interesting to know that it is also characteristic of pottery from the ruins of the Gila valley. It would be strange if this exceptional manner of drawing was independently evolved and not derivative.

In the same category may be placed the peculiar ornamentation of ladle handles. Ancient Tusayan ladles are sometimes decorated with alternate parallel longitudinal and transverse colored bands unconnected with one another. Precisely the same form of ornamentation occurs on ancient dippers from the Casas Grandes. These and several other similarities in the ornamentation of pottery may have arisen as independent evolutions, but it seems more probable that there is some connection of derivation. The absence of copper in Sikyatki burial places is in line with what might have been suspected, but does not prove that it was unknown. When taken in connection with the fact that there is no authentic legend of working any metal current

« AnteriorContinuar »