Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/151

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143
NOTES.

front rank of such institutions. In this they feel that they have succeeded in a greater measure than is perhaps commonly recognized by the people of the city. The public services rendered by such an institution are comprised in the very definition of education, in its broad modern sense, and need demonstration in this day quite as little as do its other functions in the direction of recreation; yet it is doubtful if the general public perceive as yet the full educational value of an institution that attracts at the same moment, into the same path, two such different elements of human intelligence as the capacity for observation and the love of enjoyment. The last year's season of the garden was less profitable than usual, partly on account of the severity of both the summer and the winter, and partly also, the directors fear, because it has become the victim of that sort of popular apathy to which such institutions are exposed which eschew sensational methods and are not all the time offering novelties. It is to be hoped that the intelligent people of Philadelphia will not permit so worthy an institution to suffer on account of its determination to maintain its high standard.

 

Ancient Mexican and Hopi Dances.—Certain resemblances, fancied or real, between ceremonials which, according to Spanish historians, were observed by Central American aborigines at the time of the conquest, and those which are at present performed in the least modified of the pueblos of the Southwest, afford a series of interesting facts, which, if they do not point to the kinship of those peoples, may throw light on the study of the comparative ceremoniology of the American race. An example of such resemblance is found by Mr. J. Walter Fewkes in a ceremony described by Padre Sahagun as practiced by the ancient Mexicans, which is comparable in many respects with the Hopi snake dance. In his published study of the subject, Mr. Fewkes gives the Nahuatl text cited by Sahagun, a German translation of it by Dr. Seler, an English translation of that, and a Spanish version with a Mexican plate or tablet illustrating the text. There are many differences between the described ceremony and the Hopi dance, but a striking resemblance appears in the carrying of the snake in the mouths of the participants. The resemblance leads one to look for likeness in symbolism, especially as appertaining to the mythological snake, between the two peoples. A close likeness in this symbolism has not been found among the Nahua people, while with the Mayas there is a remarkable case of similarity or identical symbolism apparently connecting the plumed snake of Yucatan with that of the Hopi towns. From the speculative side there seems probable an intimate resemblance between some of the ceremonials, the symbolism, and the mythological systems of the Indians of Tusayan and those of the more civilized stocks of Central America. In the author's opinion, we are not yet justified in offering any but a theoretical explanation of the origin of the Hopi ceremonial and mythological systems, but their intimate relations with those of the neighboring pueblos indicates a close kinship. The facts recorded in his study look as if the Hopi practice a ceremonial system of worship with strong affinities to the Nahuatl and Mayas. He has not yet seen enough evidence to convince him that the Hopi derived their cult or ceremonials from the Zuñians or from any other single people. It is probably composite.

 


NOTES.

Polygonum sakhaliæ is the name of a forest plant from the island of Sakhalien, Japan, of which flattering accounts are given by M. Doumet Adanson, who has cultivated a few stools of it in France. He got it as an ornamental plant, and it is really very handsome. It grows to be about six feet high in three weeks; produces a considerable foliage of which cattle are fond; and yields a good second crop after the first cutting. A section of root planted will produce a stool covering a square metre of surface. It takes care of itself.

A league has been formed at Aix-en-Provence, France, for promoting agricultural interests by preserving the small insect-eating birds, and has allied itself with state and local authorities. It will seek to suppress nets and all machinery for capturing birds; to insure the preservation of nests; to forbid the manufacture and sale of spring nets and other bird-catching machinery, and to prohibit the use of poisons and of bird-lime against birds, and in general of anything except the gun for their destruction. It will favor the use of all means for the res-