Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/765

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745
THE EVOLUTION OF DANCING.

The natives have stories of the awful consequences that follow if a man or woman intrudes upon a dancing party or place. The Eskimos build large houses for dancing, "which are devoted to spirits."[1] One evening a woman with more curiosity than prudence entered the sacred house. She touched the tornaq, or spirit of the house, and "all of a sudden she fell down dead." According PSM V41 D765 The whizzer.jpgFig. 5.—The Whizzek. to Mr. Derby, the Indians of the upper Xingu dance within a feast-house or "flutehouse," and "any women who should venture to enter this house would die."[2] A rattle is used by these Indians to call the dancers together, and to warn away the women. In Brazil, some tribes make a loud noise on "jurupari pipes," which answer the same purpose. No woman is allowed to see the pipes. Again, a little instrument known to English boys as the "bull-roarer" is used in mystic dances. In Australia, the turndun (as the bull-roarer is there called) is never shown to women, who flee and hide themselves when the sound is heard.[3] Wherever found, be it in Australia, in Zululand, or in New Mexico among the Zuñis, the bull-roarer is regarded with religious awe.

Another feature of these medicine-dances is the habit of daubing a candidate with, clay, paint, or dirt of any kind. As to the meaning of the practice there is a difference of opinion. The daubing is meant sometimes to be weird and grotesque; sometimes totemistic, when animals, plants, and stars are represented. In the Young Dog's Dance, above mentioned, the braves were painted red over the whole body, and, among other decorations, on the pit of the stomach a black ring, which "represented themselves—their life"—so Mr. Grrinnell interprets it.

Then there is the habit of wearing masks and odd costumes. Some of the masks represent the human face; others are fashioned after the totem; others, again, are nondescript. The Aleuts, says Mr. Dall, "had the usual method of dancing with masks on during the progress of the several sorts of ceremonies."[4] For ordi-


  1. Sixth Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, p. 597.
  2. Science, Sept. 7, 1888, p. 118.
  3. It is a flat piece of wood tied to a string, and, when whirled around, causes a peculiar muffled roar. Kamilaroi, etc., by Howitt, p. 268.
  4. Third Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, pp. 138, 141.