Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

grayish hue, it has been in time so much discolored that it now presents a ferruginous appearance.” 1 The loins are represented as covered by a kind of kilt,“ ornamented both on the left side and behind by rectangular, circular, and irregular lines.” Unfortunately these lines are not clear on the cast; hence are not shown in our figure, which also fails to show the full slope of the forehead, which is strongly compressed. The original is in the collection of the Tennessee Historical Society.

We see in this image the fillet or "handle," as Jones called it, but comparatively shorter and narrower than that of the Bush image. This also differs from the other in two important particulars. Here the head is entirely bare, while in the other it has a covering either of hair or some slight cap, either of cloth or skin, though seemingly it is the hair. In this figure, which represents a female, there is a short dress about the loins, while the other (a male) is entirely nude. The strongly retreating or sloping forehead, indicative of frontal compression, is a very distinct characteristic of the Etowah specimen, though not clearly shown in our figure.

In plate iv of his Antiquities of Tennessee, General Thruston presents figures of three stone FIG. 5-The Perrine image, from

Illinois. One-fourth size. images in the collection of the Tennessee Historical Society, which he informs us are " by the photo-mechanical process, and are therefore more accurately presented in the picture than by any description we could give of them." Two of these figures represent females and are very distinctly of the type of the Etowah specimen. The lower portions appear to be incomplete; the heads are bare and show the same sloping face, the closed eyes, and the same circular outline; the nose of the one at the right of the plate is also of the same form. Whether the "fillet” is present in these does not appear from the figures or from the author's statement in regard to them. They are sitting figures, the position being apparently the same as that of the Etowah specimen, and the left figure appears to be similarly clothed. The latter is from Trousdale county, Tennessee, and that on the right from Smith county, in the same state.

[graphic]

1 Antiquities of the Southern Indians, p. 433.

Another stone image, belonging to the same type, is shown in plate xi (reproduced from figure 240 of the Twelfth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology), representing front and side views. This, which represents a male, was found by the side of a skeleton, which lay in a large boat-shape clay vessel in a mound on Long Island, Roan county, Tennessee. We see here the oblique face and substantially the same position as that of the Bush image. The hair in this case appears to be gathered at the back of the head, somewhat in the form of a chignon. The height of this specimen is 14 inches. The image in Colonel Tumlin's possession in 1859, above mentioned, appears to have had the hair arranged in the same form as this specimen; the posture, however, if correctly described by Colonel Jones, was somewhat different, and bore a resemblance to the specimen found by Mr T. M. Perrine in Union county, Illinois. This, of which a side view is shown in figure 5, was obtained from a mound. The right hand of the figurine rests on the right knee, which is drawn up nearly to the chin, a feature not shown in the illustration. In this it is evident that the head-covering is the hair. Instead of the fillet or strip on the back, a long triangular space running from the top of the head to the middle of the back is marked off by an incised line. The oblique forehead or indication of frontal compression is a prominent feature here as in the others we have mentioned. The figure is taken from the cast now in the National Museum.

[merged small][merged small][graphic]

IMAGE FROM MOUND NUMBER 3, LONG ISLAND, ROANE COUNTY, TENNESSEE

[graphic]

THE VIGESIMAL SYSTEM OF ENUMERATION

CYRUS THOMAS

As the vigesimal system is a factor of considerable importance in the study of the ancient civilization of Mexico and Central America, especially in regard to the native calendar of those regions, it is interesting to know to what extent this system of enumeration has prevailed in other parts of the world. As a step toward bringing together the data on this subject, the writer presents the following notes :

Although, as is well known, the people of Malaysia and southeastern Asia use the decimal system, yet there are some indications that the vigesimal system was formerly in use, at least at one point, in the latter region. Aymonier discovered, by an examination of the inscriptions at Bakou and Loley in Cambodia, an account of which is published in the Journal Asiatique for 1883, evidence of two systems of enumeration; one of these, which appeared to be the most recent and generally used, the decimal system; the other and more ancient, the vigesimal system. The examples he gives in the original characters make this so clear as to leave no doubt on the point. There are characters for each of the nine digits, for 20 and for 100. The character for 20 is distinct, and not two tens. In order to indicate 37, there is, first, the character for 20, then for 10, and last for 7. The 40 is two twenties; 50, two twenties and ten; 60, three twenties ; 80, four twenties ; 98 is four twenties, ten, and eight; for 384, three hundreds, four twenties, and four. A mingling of the two systems is apparent in some of the examples given by Aymonier, but the evidence of the ancient vigesimal system is too clear and distinct to permit of doubt.

Whether further evidence on this point has been obtained from the ruins of Cambodia the writer is unable to say, as he has not had access to the most recent publications on this subject. There are, however, a few facts which indicate the use of the vigesimal system in ancient times in Malaysia or southeastern Asia, or both.

Although the Malayo-Polynesian question is still considerably tangled, it is generally admitted that both the language and

« AnteriorContinuar »