Popular Science Monthly/Volume 43/September 1893/Anthropology at the World's Fair
|ANTHROPOLOGY AT THE WORLD'S FAIR.|
EVERY great international exposition is, in a certain sense, a practical study in anthropology. Recent world's fairs have, however, shown more and more a tendency to make an especial exhibit in anthropology and kindred sciences. This was very noticeable in 1880 at Paris, and in our own World's Columbian Exposition there is an especial department—Department M—of Anthropology, under the directorship of Prof. Frederick W. Putnam. A building has been erected for its purposes, and the larger part of it is occupied in illustrating "man and his works." Naturally, to this building the student in anthropology will first turn in looking up the matter of anthropology at the fair.
In this building he will find collections in ethnography, in archæology, and in physical anthropology. As one passes through the main entrance he sees reproductions of Assyrian sculptures; to the right are collections in North American ethnography; to the left series illustrating North American prehistoric archæology. Among the notable private collections illustrating the ethnography of our American Indians are those of D. B. Dyer and Edward E. Ayer. Mr. Dyer's collection is mainly representative of plains tribes, and is rich in cradles or papoose-boards and in implements for gambling. Mr. Ayer's collection is from a larger range of peoples and represents quite fully the dress, implements, and arts not only of the plains tribes, but also of the peoples of the Northwest coast and of the Southwest. His collection of modern Pueblo pottery, the straw dresses of the California Indians, the carved work from the Northwest coast, are of special interest. Near these collections is the large series from the Northwest coast gathered by Dr. Franz Boas and his helpers, particularly rich in dancing paraphernalia, masks, bark necklets, and the like. On a raised platform, extending for many feet, near this, Dr. Boas has set up a reconstruction of the village of Skidgate, one of the most important villages of the Haidah Indians. The models of houses and totem posts which make up this reconstruction are of native workmanship.
Among the archæological collections are some of unusual interest. Prof. George Frederick Wright, of Oberlin, illustrates the material and structure of the terminal moraine of the United States by specimens of bowlders, striated surfaces, photographs, and diagrams. The exhibit is made with reference to the question of palæolithic man in America, and in the collection are pictures representing localities where claimed "palæoliths" have been found. The largest collection of implements from glacial gravels in this country is that of the Peabody Museum at Cambridge, and a series is here shown from that institution illustrating the finds from the now famous localities in New Jersey, Ohio, Delaware, etc. Of considerable importance is the small, carefully selected, and neatly displayed collection from the Canadian Institute of Toronto, which is rich in rare forms of bird amulets, gorgets of striped slate, pipes of stone, and bone implements. The State Historical Society of Missouri exhibits a handsome series of the white chert implements so characteristic of that district, as also hematite objects and fine mound potteries. In cases near by is a magnificent series of Wisconsin copper implements—spear-points, knives, arrowheads, etc.—partly displayed by the State Historical Society and partly private property. Colorado sends a considerable display of cliff-d welling relics. Of prime importance is Mr. Warren K. Moorhead's gathering from the mounds of Ohio. Mr. Moorhead was sent by the Exposition management to the district rendered classical for American archæology by the work of Squier and Davis. He was successful beyond all expectation, and here are gathered the results of his excavations—hundreds of spool-shaped ear ornaments of copper, mica ornaments, wonderful blades of obsidian from altar mounds, stone pipes, thousands of chert disks from one mound, a find of copper ornaments surpassing any ever found before in American mounds, an antler-form headdress unique in shape and character. Besides these, Mr. Moorhead has made a reconstruction of one of the very interesting stone graves of Fort Ancient, with the skeleton in its proper position. In connection with this important series it should be mentioned that Prof. Putnam has near it several models of important mounds, the most interesting representing the famous serpent mound of Adams County, the preservation of which is due to an interest aroused by Prof. Putnam in the ladies of Boston. The model aims to reproduce not only the mound itself, but also the topography and conditions of the surrounding country.
Of foreign countries, several are represented in this building by collections, ethnographic or archæological. The explorations of Charnay, of the Peabody Museum, and others in Yucatan, Honduras, etc., are illustrated by a magnificent series of direct reproductions in plaster. The wonderful wall carvings of Lorillard City, the zapote wood carvings of Tikal, the strange monoliths of Copan, are all here to be seen, true to life; elegant photographs and fine enlargements, the result of Mr. Savi lie's recent work in those districts, represent Uxmal, Labnah, and Chichen-Itza accurately. With this wonderful series from Yucatan and its neighborhood is Mrs. Nuttall's interesting exhibit of Aztec shields. It will be remembered that this lady recently discovered in the old castle of Am bras an ancient Mexican feather-covered shield. These objects are exceedingly rare, and the discovery led Mrs. Nuttall to make a careful study of the whole subject of Mexican feather shields. The exhibit consists of a copy of the shield at Ambras, and the reproduction of a considerable number of others from pictures in the old pictographic books of the Aztecs. Near this section is an exhibition of the archæology of Peru. Mr. Dorsey was sent out by the Exposition management to make
collections in the land of the Incas. A considerable number of graves were opened and much material was secured. Several table cases contain the results, and in two inclosed spaces Mr. Dorsey aims to show the old Peruvian method of burial. Mummies in their original wrapping are set in their proper position, together with all the funereal furniture—the face-mask, the square cloth-covered tablet, the articles of daily use, the pottery and ornaments. Mr. Dorsey exhibits in one table case a very interesting little collection of broken pottery and engraved stones from a new locality. La Plata Island, in Ecuador, which bids fair to be a spot of importance to future investigators. Besides these interesting series secured by the efforts of the management of the Exposition, there are exhibits by Costa Rica, Mexico, Paraguay, and New South Wales. Costa Rica's display deserves more than a passing word. A neat pavilion, with walls adorned with oil paintings illustrating natives of the country and points of archæological interest, contains several cases in which a series of specimens selected from the National Museum illustrates the ancient pottery, stone implements, and carvings of the country. Mexico gives a display neither full nor satisfactory, in part ethnographic, in part archæologic. Here are trophies composed of reproductions of ancient shields, spears, and battle clubs; here are models of old buildings of the Mexico of Cortés; here are a few original specimens in archæology and many plates from a work on Mexican antiquities. So much might have been done; so little really is done! Paraguay sends a considerable ethnographic display, particularly rich in feather work, in nettings, and in spears. New South Wales sends carved work from the south seas, especially the characteristic black, shell-inlaid work from the Solomon Islands, boomerangs from Australia, spears, bark cloth, etc., from various localities. Most important of all, however, are the magnificent great photographs representing natives, wild life, and arts of the south sea islands and Australia. Mr. Culin, on his own behalf and for the American Folk-lore Society and the University of Pennsylvania, displays a collection of games and some objects connected with worship. The series of games is particularly interesting, and represents the indoor pastimes of all peoples and all times.
In the north gallery of the Anthropological Building is a most important laboratory and exhibit in physical anthropology. The laboratory itself falls into three subdivisions: Physical anthropology (somatology), neurology, and psychology. Dr. Franz Boas has general charge of the whole, while Prof. Donaldson (Chicago) has charge of the subdivision of neurology and Prof. Jastrow (Wisconsin) directs the work in psychology. There are a number of rooms devoted to these laboratories. First there is presented a series of instruments used in anthropological investigation—anthropometric machines, craniometric instruments, instruments for drawing skulls, outlines of the body, etc. The types of mankind as found in Europe, the south sea islands, America, etc., are shown by portraits, masks, diagrams, maps, and other material. Composite photography, as applied to finding types and in the study of crania, is illustrated. Francis Galton's method of taking finger prints is illustrated and a considerable series of impressions taken from the finger tips of Indians of North America by Frederick Starr and Mr. David Barrows is displayed. Here also are the results of Dr. Boas's recent investigation into the physical structure of the North American Indian. A number of observers were sent to take measurements among our native tribes. Many thousand sets of measures were taken. Each set comprised a dozen measurements and descriptive matter covering about thirty points. This mass of material has been studied carefully, tabulated, and reduced, at least in part, to graphic form. Diagrams show the distinctive characters of tribes and the effect of environment, the influence of crossing, and the like. Maps instructively show the variation of stature and other characters with changes in physical geography. In neurology Prof. Donaldson, by a series of models and casts, represents the brain form in man and lower animals, the structure of the brain, localization of function, and modes of brain preservation for
study. Prof. Jastrow's two rooms are of great interest: in one, arrangements are made for conducting the various tests of so much importance in modern psychological study; in the other, in a series of cases, is a full representation of the instruments and apparatus used in experimental psychology—instruments for investigating the senses of touch, light (color), hearing, etc., as well as for recording, timing, and the like. All these laboratories are expected to be in operation, and observations and experiments will be conducted by a corps of student assistants.
Near the Anthropological Building are several outdoor displays of more than usual interest. The party sent out by Prof. Putnam to the ruins of Yucatan and Copan secured at Uxmal, Chichen-Itza, and Labnah "squeezes" of some doorways, corners, arches, etc., showing every detail of ornament and symbolical carving. From these molds casts have been made exactly reproducing the structures. A group of five of these lies north from the Anthropological Building. North from this is an interesting series of homes of various American Indians. The palm-thatched hut of the Arawaks of Guiana; the long house of the Iroquois, constructed of bark, and divided into six spaces within, one for each of the Six Nations; the birch-bark tent of the Penobscot Indians of Maine; the skin-covered tepee of the plains tribes; the dome-shaped framework of poles, covered with rush matting, of the Algonkins; the plank-covered houses of the Kwakiool of Vancouver Island, and the Haidah of Queen Charlotte Islands with their symbolical paintings and totem posts; these range along the edge of the lagoon on whose waters float various canoes and boats of the natives. These houses have been built from proper materials by the Indians themselves, and most of them are inhabited by families of Indians, some of whom carry on their native arts and industries. Very interesting in this connection will be the series of dances of the Kwakiools, for which Dr. Boas has arranged, which will take place at intervals through the season.
Most interesting material is found in the United States Government Building. The National Museum, through Prof. Mason, has set up a suggestive series illustrating the groups of Indian tribes. A great copy of Powell's Linguistic Map of North America upon the walls represents the groups of tribes as classified by language. In alcoves below, cases full of objects illustrate the arts and industries of these groups. It is most interesting to notice how clearly the influence of environment and the gifts of Nature is shown in the arts and industries. Tribes speaking languages of one stock may show marked diversity in arts if living in unlike surroundings, while tribes widely differing in language may show industrial unity if subjected to similar environments. Very interesting to the crowd are the cases wherein are displayed life-size figures dressed in costumes. Some of these are particularly pleasing: the Xivaro, with his feather belt and crown; the Chippewa blanket painter; two plains Indian women dressing a buffalo hide—one kneeling before a hide hung upon poles scrapes it, while the other pounds a second hide with a stone maul; a Moki man drilling a turquoise bead with a pump-drill; a Sioux squaw and children on a pony dragging the travois; a Mojave man with apron of bark strips, head feathers, and a shell ornament; a Hupa woman and girl in straw caps and dresses, with a papoose in its pretty basket cradle—these and other carefullychosen and usually well-executed groups give life, reality, and meaning to the objects in the cases around.In a large alcove near by, occupied in great part by models of cliff-ruins, pueblos, and other monuments of the Southwest, are two interesting exhibits from Mr. Thomas Wilson, of the Smithsonian Institution, and Mr. William H. Holmes, of the Bureau of Ethnology. Mr. Wilson aims to present a synopsis of prehistoric archæology. The relics of palæolithic man from France, England, Egypt, and India are fairly represented. Next to them are placed some of the claimed paheoliths of New Jersey and Minnesota. Rude implements of forms akin to palneoliths but of uncertain or negative geological relations from all parts of the United States follow. A good neolithic series from the Swiss lake dwellings and the tumuli of Denmark is shown. Fine specimens illustrate work in polished stone in America. The bronze age in Europe, illustrated by objects from Switzerland, France, etc., is set alongside of objects of copper from American mounds and bronzes from Mexico. Some of the finer objects in jade, quartz, crystal, and obsidian from Mexico, and stone collars and mammiform stones from Porto Rico, complete the exhibit. Mr. Holmes's series is intended to illustrate Indian quarrying and mining. It is altogether a model display. The now famous quarry at Piney Branch, near Washington, is first illustrated. On this site the Indians formerly quarried pebbles, from the gravel deposits, for making into implements. These pebbles were worked up into "blanks"—oval Or leaf-shaped—from which, later and elsewhere, spear-points, arrowheads, and the like were made. In making these blanks many pebbles would be found to be worthless and would be rejected. These rejects and the blanks themselves closely resemble our American "palæoliths," and Mr. Holmes believes that some at least of our American palaæolith localities are old quarry sites, and that the palæoliths themselves are rejects. There can be little doubt that the showing of this idea has much to do with the making of this display. The exhibit, however, is so complete and excellently worked out that it has profound value apart from any theoretical interest. In regard to Piney Branch Mr. Holmes displays in table cases a series of pebbles, rejects of every stage, and blanks; along the wall above are specimens showing every stage from the pebble, through the blank, to the arrowhead or spear-])<jint. Above this series are framed diagrams, sections of the quarry, and maps, also a fine series of photographs. Clear, explanatory labels accompany all. In exactly the same way Mr. Holmes illustrates an interesting quarry of chert in Peoria Reservation, Indian Territory; the novaculite quarry of Arkansas; the
chert diggings of Flint Ridge, Ohio; the rhyolite quarry of Pennsylvania; and the quarry of flint nodules in Texas. These all differ from Piney Branch in that the material is quarried from solid rock ledges, not from soft gravels. The quarrying of soapstone in the District of Columbia and the making of it into bowls, the mining of copper in the Lake Superior district, and the taking out of the famous red pipestone from the quarry in Minnesota are all illustrated in the same complete fashion. As a representation of an important and interesting aboriginal industry nothing could be better.
The anthropologist finds two collections of interest in the Woman's Building. In a dozen cases Prof. Mason shows "woman's work in savagery." The development of personal decoration, the preparation and serving of food, the making of basketry and matting, embroidery and needlework, beating of bark cloths, weaving by hand frames and looms, dressing of leather, and pottery-making are the chief points represented. The fact that woman has been the chief actor in originating and developing every peaceful art is impressively shown. By the side of this series is Mrs. French-Sheldon's collection. Every one knows of this woman's exploration of East Africa. With no white companions, with an escort of hired porters and guides under no command but her own, she penetrated a thousand miles into Africa, among tribes some of which, like the Masai, were on a war footing. She has brought out from the dark continent thousands of objects illustrative of the daily life, the arts, and culture of the natives, and here one may see them displayed as a monument of a remarkable undertaking. Fine shields, carefully leaf-shaped spear-heads of iron, objects of personal adornment, native dress, wood carving—these are but a few of the many objects. Mrs. French-Sheldon herself is frequently in attendance, and proves as much of an attraction as the collection.
The student of culture-history must find objects of interest everywhere, frequently where one would scarcely expect them. Thus the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad makes a wonderful exhibit, under the title of The World's Railway. A magnificent series of pictures, models, and original specimens illustrate the whole history of the development of the locomotive, the cars, and the tracking. In the Shoe and Leather Building colored pictures and many wall cases full of specimens show the footwear of all ages and all peoples.
At Paris one of the most attractive features was the representation of outlandish peoples. At Chicago the Midway Plaisance supplies the opportunity to see many strange sights. The German village and Old Vienna are true architectural reproductions. The Chinese theater and its temple annex, with the native music and the long plays, give an opportunity, rare east of California, to see the dramatic art and religious rites of the Celestials. The Dahomey village, with mud-daubed huts, on which are scraped queer animal and bird figures, and its war-dance on a central platform, gives a real glimpse of negro Africa. The street of Cairo, narrow, crooked, with its bazaars, shops, and booths along both sides, its donkeys and camels, its school with children crying the Koran aloud, and its juggler plying his mystic trade, attracts great crowds. The Egyptian temple with its dancing dervishes, a Lapland village, Javanese village, Polynesian settlement, Algerian and Turkish theaters are among the other attractions on the Midway Plaisance where one may study ethnography
practically. Two concessions of unusual interest are not on the Plaisance, but in the main Exposition grounds. These are the Eskimo village and the cliff dwellings. The Eskimo village has been located for a long time; and last winter, when snow filled the air and the pond was ice-covered, its inhabitants were a happy crowd. They amused themselves and their visitors by sledding with dogs, skating on old wooden runners, and whipping pennies with their long-lashed dog-whips. Several babies were born in the village, and some died. One little fellow, Christopher Columbus, was an especial pet with visitors, and managed to live despite the many attentions he received. Dressed in their furs these people looked truly polar, but we are assured that as spring came on they rebelled against wearing these heavy garments, which were unlike anything they ever wore before. It seems they came from a part of Labrador often visited by vessels, and are used to clothing made of white men's cloth. The cliff dwellings are located near the Maya ruins, and are the work of Mr. H. Jay Smith. They appear externally like an irregular mass of reddish-brown rock, with mule tracks winding up its sides. Entering it, we find ourselves in a great cavern, lighted from above, in which are excellent reproductions of the cliff dwellings of the Southwest. Several of the more famous ruins are here presented, made to scale sufficiently large to be truly impressive. Further in are single rooms, or small clusters of them, with fireplaces, T-windows, and other details reproduced in full size. A great hall cased along the walls is devoted to an excellent collection of objects from the ruins—stone implements, fire-sticks, fabrics, feather clothing, sandals of yucca fiber, dried bodies (mummies), some still in their original wrappings, pottery in many fine and rare pieces, food materials, etc. The idea is a good one and the execution creditable.
Comparatively few governments can be said to present in their exhibit a complete picture of their life and thought. One land, however, makes an exhibit most full and interesting—Japan. Early in the history of the Exposition the Land of Sunrise showed its interest. It is represented in nearly every department. Its fine-arts display includes choicest treasures; in the liberal arts are marvels of work in lacquer, bronze, porcelain, and silk; in the Horticultural Building is one of the marvelous gardens of Japan, with its elements grouped to form a miniature landscape—a fishpond, rustic bridge, pretty wreaths of fern roots clothed with green, stone lanterns, and wonderful dwarfed aged evergreen trees; the agricultural display, showing not only the products themselves, but the tasteful packing and preparation of them for use—tea boxes (beautiful whether plain or elaborately decorated), tea in jars with silk covers and finely tasseled cord; sake, or rice wine, in elaborately lacquered jars; fibers, cloths, vegetable wax, barley honey, candies, mattings, silks; in the Forestry Building are the various woods used for all purposes, and a set of curious native pictures representing scenes in the lumber camps. Besides all these beautifully complete and daintily arranged displays, the Japanese have erected on the wooded island a group of three buildings called collectively the Hooden. They are copies of three famous buildings—a monastery of the Zen Sect, at Kioto, erected in 1397; a structure dating from 1053, representing the phoenix; and the main building, a palace of about the time of Columbus. These are of Japanese material, built by Japanese carpenters, and are of exquisite workmanship. They have been presented by the Government of Japan to the city of Chicago, and are to be kept filled with interesting collections, which will be changed from time to time. To visit these various exhibits of Japan is to gain an insight into most delightful features of Japanese art, life, and character.
Although results of great importance to anthropology in America must result from all this display of material, it is believed that other permanent results must come from the congress and the library. In August an International Congress of Anthropology is planned. To it are invited the world's workers in the science, and before it are to be read important papers. The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Folk-lore Society, and the American Psychical Society unite in seeking the interests of this congress, and from it should come decided impulse to our anthropological work. As to the library, Prof. Putnam has issued an appeal to anthropologists asking contributions of all they have written in the science as a donation to a permanent library of that subject, to be located in Chicago, in connection with the Memorial Museum. The collection is to be catalogued and the catalogue published. Should this plan be carried out, the catalogue would be the best reference list to anthropological literature ever prepared.
It must be plain that in the Chicago Exposition we have a great object lesson in anthropology: a museum of somatology, archaeology, and ethnology; a picture of ethnography; a laboratory of unusual completeness; a great meeting of workers; and the publication of new material.
It has been suggested by Colonel H. W. Feilden that the musk ox might with great advantage be introduced into Great Britain; and the author sees no reason why it should not thrive on the mountains of the Highlands in Scotland. It is covered in the winter season, besides its coat of hair, with a long-stapled fine wool, of a light yellow color, and as fine as silk. Sir John Richardson says that stockings made from this wool are handsomer than those from silk. Young musk oxen are easily reared and tamed, and could probably be procured from the arctic regions without great difficulty.