Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/611

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

such simplicity of illustration. This interesting-specimen was recently found on an island in the Susquehanna Valley, and certainly is a most striking example of effective portraiture by means of a few lines and dots.

Having shown how a stone surface was altered to produce either a purely ornamental or a pictorial effect, let me offer now some striking examples of how the artistic efforts of the Indian showed themselves in carving in other substances than stone. This was, of course, a much more difficult matter. Stone is, if not PSM V41 D611 Delaware indian carved antler.jpgFig. 9.—Carved Antler. Delaware Indian. too hard, easily shaped by hammering, its surface yielding to constant hammering with another stone. To shape a bit of wood is another matter, but that the Indian was abundantly capable of this, I offer Fig. 7 as evidence. Here we have an instance of the artist's skill in more than one direction. As we look at the illustration, we see the human face grotesquely represented, and at the same time the portrait is equally good, or almost so, of a barn owl (Strix pratincola). To accomplish this the artist must have had a clear conception of many of the rules of his profession.

Fig. 8 brings us, perhaps, to the highest point reached by the Delaware Indians in artistic effort. Here we have a portrait of an Indian, it may be, and at any rate a correct representation of the Indian countenance. This and the preceding, having metal and porcelain about them, were certainly made after European contact, unless we can suppose that the eyes originally were bits of copper, and these becoming detached, were replaced, in one case, with bits of sheet silver, and in the other with small white beads. This is not altogether improbable, and that the objects themselves really antedate the Columbian discovery. They are certainly very old.

Perhaps more striking than either of the wooden carvings is that represented in Fig. 9, which is an example of carved antler, where we have a combination of representations, all realistic, and absolutely perfect in their way. The human face is a marvel of