Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/263

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237
A Solution of the Gorgon Myth.

that in the dim ages of antiquity they may have had ultimately a common origin, most likely by way of India and the Malay Archipelago. This is the deliberate opinion of General Forlong,[1] and even if evidence is wanting, the coincidence is so extraordinary as in itself to need study and explanation.

First, in Six (Tab. III., Fig. 9), is a Medusa's head from Layard's Nineveh, which at once strikes one as a precise representation of the typical goggle-eyed, gaping-mouthed idol of Polynesia. So evident is this, that except for the description by Six accompanying it, one would at once have taken it to be an ordinary modern South Sea god. Again, in the pottery of Peru we find heads bearing the special characteristics of the Medusa. Fig. 25 is from Wiener's Perou p. 618.[2]

Fig. 25.

This is but one of several examples in which, not only is the mouth of the Gorgon type, but, I venture to suggest the tentacles also may be indicated by the scrolls on each side of the head. As evidence that these heads are not merely a fortuitous coincidence in the New World, we find also in Wiener's book crude representations of animals in bronze, almost identical with those found in ancient Etruria, such as may be seen at Bologna and in the Kircherian Museum (cf. Evil Eye, p. 145). At the Paris Exhibition of 188g there was more than one horned idol from the South Seas bearing a singular likeness to the Old World Gorgon. I am even bold enough to suggest that in finding traces of the Gorgon Myth in distant Polynesia we have possibly found a solution of the much discussed myth of the New Zealand Manaia.

  1. See Short Studies, p. 122.
  2. See also Evil Eye, p. 166.