Page:Primitive Culture Vol 1.djvu/82

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early development of even savage arts came to pass in a similar way, and thus, finding various stages of an art among the lower races, we may arrange these stages in a series probably representing their actual sequence in history. If any art can be traced back among savage tribes to a rudimentary state in which its invention does not seem beyond their intellectual condition, and especially if it may be produced by imitating nature or following nature's direct suggestion, there is fair reason to suppose the very origin of the art to have been reached.

Professor Nilsson, looking at the remarkable similarity of the hunting and fishing instruments of the lower races of mankind, considers them to have been contrived instinctively by a sort of natural necessity. As an example he takes the bow and arrow.[1] The instance seems an unfortunate one, in the face of the fact that the supposed bow-and-arrow-making instinct fails among the natives of Tasmania, to whom it would have been very useful, nor have the Australians any bow of their own invention. Even within the Papuan region, the bow so prevalent in New Guinea is absent, or almost so, from New Caledonia. It seems to me that Dr. Klemm, in his dissertations on Implements and Weapons, and Colonel Lane Fox, in his lectures on Primitive Warfare, take a more instructive line in tracing the early development of arts, not to a blind instinct, but to a selection, imitation, and gradual adaptation and improvement of objects and operations which Nature, the instructor of primæval man, sets before him. Thus Klemm traces the stages by which progress appears to have been made from the rough stick to the finished spear or club, from the natural sharp-edged or rounded stone to the artistically fashioned celt, spear-head, or hammer.[2] Lane Fox traces connexion through the various types of weapons, pointing out how a form once arrived at is repeated in various sizes, like the spear-head and

  1. Nilsson, 'Primitive Inhabitants of Scandinavia,' p. 104.
  2. Klemm, 'Allg. Culturwissenschaft,' part ii., Werkzeuge und Waffen.