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high cheek bones, thick lips, etc.-and dislike what we consider beautiful. But the likes of these races regarding personal appearance have no more to do with a sense of beauty than their dislikes. It is merely a question of habit. They like their own faces because they are used to them, and dislike ours because they are strange. In their aversion to our faces they are actuated by the same motive that makes a European child cry out and run away in terror at sight of a negro-not because he is ugly, for he may be good-looking, but because he is strange.
Far from admiring such beauty as nature may have given them, the lower races exercise an almost diabolical ingenuity in obliterating or mutilating it. Hundreds of their visitors have written of certain tribes that they would not be bad looking if they would only leave nature alone. Not a single feature, from the feet to the eyeballs, has escaped the uglifying proc"Nothing is too absurd or hideous to please them," writes Cameron. The Eskimos afford a striking illustration of the fact that a germ of taste for ornamentation in general is an earlier manifestation of the esthetic faculty than the appreciation of personal beauty; for while displaying considerable skill and ingenuity in the decorations of their clothes, canoes, and weapons, they mutilate their persons in various ways and allow them to be foul and malodorous with the filth of years. One of the most disgusting mutilations on record is that practised by the Indians of British Columbia, who insert a piece of bone in the lower lip, which, gradually enlarged, makes it at last project three inches. Bancroft (I., 98) devotes three pages to the lip mutilation indulged in by the Thlinkeet females. When the operation is completed and the block is withdrawn "the lip drops down upon the chin like a piece of leather, displaying the teeth, and presenting altogether a ghastly spectacle." The lower teeth and gum, says one witness, are left quite naked; another says that the plug "distorts every feature in the lower part of the face"; a third that an old woman, the wife of a chief, had a lip "ornament" so large that by a peculiar motion of her under-lip she could almost conceal her whole
face with it"; and a fourth gives a description of this "abominably revolting spectacle," which is too nauseating to quote.
DE GUSTIBUS NON EST DISPUTANDUM (?)
"Abominably revolting," "hideous," "filthy," "disgusting," "atrocious"-such are usually the words of observers in describing these shocking mutilations. Nevertheless they always apply the word "ornamentation" to them, with the implication that the savages look upon them as beautiful, although all that the observers had a right to say was that they pleased the savages and were approved by fashion. What is worse, the philosophers fell into the pitfall thus dug for them. Darwin thinks that the mutilations indulged in by savages show "how different is the standard of taste"; Humboldt (III., 236) reflects on the strange fact that nations "attach the idea of beauty" to whatever configuration nature has given them; and Ploss (I., 48) declares bluntly that there is no such thing as an absolute standard of beauty and that savages have "just as much right" to their ideas on the subject as we have to admire a madonna of Raphael. This view, indeed, is generally held; it is expressed in the old saw, De gustibus non est disputandum. Now it is true that it is unwise to dispute about tastes conversationally; but scientifically speaking, that old saw has not a sound tooth in it.
If a peasant who has never had an opportunity to cultivate his musical sense insisted that a certain piano was exquisitely in tune and had as beautiful a tone as any other piano, whereas an expert musician declared that it had a shrill tone and was terribly out of tune, would anybody be so foolish as to say that the peasant had as much right to his opinion as the musician? Or if an Irish toper declared that a bottle of Chambertin, over which French epicures smacked their lips, was insipid and not half as fine as the fusel-oil on which he daily got drunk, would not everybody agree that the Irishman was no judge of liquors, and that the reason why he preferred his cheap whiskey to the Burgundy was that his , nerves of taste were too coarse to detect the subtle and exqui
site bouquet of the French wine? In both these examples we are concerned only with simple questions of sense perception; yet in the matter of personal beauty, which involves not only the senses, but the imagination, the intellect, and the subtlest feelings, we are asked to believe that any savage who has never seen a woman but those of his own race has as much right to his opinion as a Ruskin or a Titian, who have given their whole life to the study of beauty!
If an astronomer-to take another illustration-were told that de astronomia non est disputandum, and that the Namaquas, who believe that the moon is made of bacon, or the Brazilian tribes who think that an eclipse consists in an attempt on the part of a monstrous jaguar to swallow the sun-have as much right to their opinion as he has, he would consider the person who advanced such an argument either a wag or a fool. Only a wag or a fool, again, would argue that a Fijian has just as much right as we have to his opinions on medical matters, or on the morality of polygamy, infanticide, and cannibalism. Yet when we come across a dirty, malodorous savage, so stupid that he cannot count ten, who mutilates every part of his body till he has lost nearly all semblance to a human being, we are soberly asked to look upon this as m merely a "difference in the standard of esthetic taste," and to admit that the savage has “as much right to his taste," as we have. The more I think of it, the more I am amazed at this unjust and idiotic discrimination against the esthetic faculty-a discrimination for which I can find no other explanation than the fact already referred to, that most men of science know so much less about matters of beauty than about everything else in the world. They labor under the delusion that the sense of beauty is one of the earliest products of mental evolution, whereas their own attitude in the matter affords painful proof that it is one of the latest. They will understand some day that a steatopygons "Hottentot Venus" is no more beautiful because an African finds her attractive, than an ugly, bloated, blear-eyed harlot is beautiful because she pleases a drunken libertine.
What makes the traditional attitude of scientific men in
this matter the less pardonable is that—as we have seenthere is always a simple, practical explanation for the predilections of these savages, so that there is no necessity whatever for assuming the existence of so paradoxical and impossible a thing as an esthetic admiration of these hideous deformities. Thus, in regard to the nauseating lip "ornaments" of the Thlinkeets just referred to, the testimony collected by Bancroft indicates unmistakably that they are approved of, perpetuated, and aggravated for two reasonsboth non-esthetic-namely, as indications of rank, and from the necessity of conforming to fashion. Ladies of distinction, we read, increase the size of their lip plug. Langsdorff even saw women "of very high rank" with this "ornament" full five inches long and three broad; Dixon says the mutilation is always in proportion to the person's wealth; and Mayne relates, in his book on the British Columbia Indians, that "a woman's rank among women is settled according to the size of her wooden lip."
INDIFFERENCE TO DIRT
That savages can have no sense of personal beauty is further proved by their habitual indifference to personal cleanliness, the most elementary and imperative of esthetic requirements. When we read in McLean (II., 153) that some Eskimo girls "might pass as pretty if divested of their filth;" or in Cranz (I., 134) that "it is almost sickening to view their hands and faces smeared with grease and their filthy clothes swarming with vermin ;" and when we further read in Kotzebue (II., 56) regarding the Kalush that his "filthy countrywomen with their lip-trough often awaken in him the most vehement passion, we realize vividly that that passion is a coarse appetite which exists quite apart from, and independently of, anything that might be considered beautiful or ugly.
The subject is not a pleasant one; but as it is one of my strongest arguments, I must be pardoned for giving some more unsavory details. Among some of the British Colum
bia Indians "pretty women may be seen; nearly all have good eyes and hair, but the state of filth in which they live generally neutralizes any natural charms they may possess." (Mayne, 277.) Lewis and Clarke write (439) regarding the Chinook Indians: "Their broad, flat foreheads, their falling breasts, their ill-shaped limbs, the awkwardness of their positions, and the filth which intrudes through their finery-all these render a Chinook or Clatsop beauty in full attire one of the most disgusting objects in nature." Muir says of the Mono Indians of the California Mountains (93): "The dirt on their faces was fairly stratified, and seemed so ancient and so undisturbed it might also possess a geological significance." Navajo girls usually evince a catlike aversion to water.' (Schoolcraft, IV., 214.) Cozzens relates (128) how, among the Apaches, "the sight of a man washing his face and hands almost convulsed them with laughter." He adds that their personal appearance explained their surprise. Burton (80) found among the Sioux a dislike to cleanliness" which nothing but the fear of the rod will subdue." "In an Indian village," writes Neill (79), "all is filth and litter. Water, except in very warm weather, seldom touches their bodies."
The Comanches are "disgustingly filthy in their persons.' (Schoolcraft, I., 235.) The South American Waraus "are exceedingly dirty and disgusting in their habits, and their children are so much neglected that their fingers and toes are frequently destroyed by vermin." (Bernau, 35.) The Patagonians "are excessively filthy in their personal habits." (Bourne, 56.) The Mundrukus "are very dirty" (Markham, 172), etc.
Of the Damara negroes, Anderson says (N., 50): "Dirt often accumulates to such a degree on their persons as to make the color of their skins totally undistinguishable ;" and Galton (92) "could find no pleasure in associating or trying to chat with these Damaras, they were so filthy and disgusting in every way." Thunberg writes of the Hottentots (73) that they "find a peculiar pleasure in filth and stench;" wherein they resemble Africans in general. Griffith declares that the hill