Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/68

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and the Javanese aborigines erected temples to appease the fire-giants, and from the solid rocks sculptured prodigious statues in their honour. In one spot 400 ruined shrines have been discovered, with altars, and images—all apparently built to propitiate the fire-gods.

It is very risky to draw inferences from mere descriptions of any sort of art, but so far as I can make out, these would appear to be the productions of the true aborigines, ere Hindu influence prevailed, leaving its mark in those marvellous Buddhist ruins at Borrobudua and Samarang, which we so unfortunately did not see, on our way from Singapore to Fiji.

It is, of course, possible that the platforms and sculptures of Easter Isle may simply have been an extraordinary development of the marai—i.e., the tomb-temple, which was the accepted form of ecclesiastical building throughout the south-east Pacific. They varied considerably in form, some being great pyramids erected on a stone platform; while on other isles (as, for instance, on Huahine, in the Society Isles) there are stone terraces, built irregularly, right up the face of the hill, with spaces left between them. On one of the principal platforms a row of tall monoliths stand upright, just as did the images on the Easter Island terraces. On Huahine these are called "the stones of dividing," and are said to have been set up as memorials of the division of land among the various tribes, each stone representing the title-deeds of a clan. To this day each tribe recognises its own stone, and, beholding it, recollects its unwritten legend,—just as at the present day in Fiji a messenger who is charged with a dozen different errands, will carry in his hand a dozen small sticks or leaves, and in fancy makes each stick represent a message. From this imaginary notebook he will read off each detail with unerring accuracy.

Whatever faint resemblance may suggest itself between the irregular terraces and monoliths of Huahine, and the equally irregular terraces and statues of Easter Isle, it is hardly conceivable that such vast energy could have been expended on a mere memorial of tribal divisions, especially where there was so little land to divide. Perhaps Easter Isle was a sort of Iona—the Holy