Thus propitiation of the man just dead leads to propitiation of his preserved body or a preserved part of it; and the ghost is supposed to be present in the part as in the whole.
Any one asked to imagine a transition from worship of the preserved body, or a preserved part of it, to idol-worship, would probbly fail; but transitions, such as imagination does not suggest, actually occur.
The object worshiped is sometimes a figure of the deceased, made partly of his remains and partly of other substances. Landa says the Yucatanese
The Mexicans had a different method of joining some of the deceased's substance with an effigy of him. When a dead lord had been burned, says Camargo, "they carefully collected the ashes, and, after having kneaded them with human blood, they made of them an image of the deceased, which was kept in memory of him." And from Camargo we also learn that images of the dead were worshiped.
A transitional combination partially unlike in kind occurs: sometimes the ashes are contained in a man-shaped receptacle of clay. Of the Yucatanese the writer above quoted states that—
And in yet other cases there is worship of the relics joined with the representative figure, not by inclusion but only by proximity. Thus the Mexicans, according to Gomara—
Lastly may be named the practice of the Egyptians, who, as their frescoes show, often worshiped the mummy, not as exposed to view, but as inclosed in a case shaped and painted to represent the dead man.