Page:The aborigines of Australia.djvu/68

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


hospitality and a social disposition as of any more serious and important cause.

Savage, or semi-barbarous nations, are remarkable for nothing more than their displays of grief on the death of relatives and friends. Whether in the self- immolation of the wife of the deceased Hindoo, the sacrifice of numerous human victims on the death of a chief or person of distinction among the aboriginal inhabitants of Peru, or the ostentatious obsequies of the Patagonians, who construct tents for the reception of the remains of their dead, which they surround with the skeletons of those animals which were their companions in life, this peculiar trait of barbarism everywhere becomes visible. The New Hollanders likewise put themselves into mourning for deceased relatives and friends during a certain period. The practice seems, however, to be, for the most part, confined to the females, and consists in painting the person with pipeclay and other whitish substances, and ornamenting the hair with bits of whitened reed. Thus the colour of the "trappings and the suits of woe" of the aboriginal is the reverse of that in use among more civilized mourners.

The ornamental articles, whether of dress or otherwise, in use among the blacks of New Holland are, as may well be imagined, judging by the comparatively miserable condition in which they are known to exist, few and simple. The chief ornament worn on the person consists of a piece of mat, worn in the manner of a fillet across the forehead. This is