Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/404

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354 Reviews.

At the time when Mr. Stow came in contact with the Bush- men they were already too much broken up for it to be possible to recover much of their social organisation and behefs. We learn something of their beliefs as to 'Cagn — the mantis god — and a future life ; a myth of origin is given, and there are hints of initiation-ceremonies and secret knowledge possessed by kinship groups or societies. How far these were connected with certain animals must be a matter of conjecture, but it is of interest to note that their caves were decorated with animal paintings which gave a name to the inhabitants ; these caves were the residence of the great chiefs, and those who acknow- ledged their authority received the same animal name. The lot of the Bushman in a future life depended on a due observance of rites, such as the amputation of the little finger ; and though nothing in the nature of ancestor-worship was found, they were in the habit of apologising to the dead, saying that they wished to remain a little longer in the world. Their cave-paintings, mentioned above, and rock-sculptures excited Mr. Stow's interest, and he attempts to base on these two practices a division of the Bushmen into painters and sculptors. It is quite possible that different local groups differed in their style of decoration, for it is clear that painting is not adapted to open-air residences. Mr. Stow does not say how far the area occupied by his sculptor tribes contains caves which were left unadorned ; but if local conditions determine the change from cave to kopje dwellings, we can attach no racial significance to the distribution of paint- ings and sculptures.

A long account of Bushman dances is given ; they were largely mimetic, but a sexual element was not absent. Mr. Stow was unable to discover how far they were connected with religion. Some of the dances seem to have been in honour of or to propitiate Kaang or 'Cagn, who is represented as punishing certain offences ; but the harvest of facts with regard to religion, marriage, and social organisation is lamentably small compared with what it might have been had Mr. Stow lived a hundred years earlier.

Of the Hottentot beliefs we learn but little. An interesting custom is, however, recorded as to the succession to the chief-