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of lustration of infants, the purifications by fire have the most importance ethnologically, not because this proceeding is more natural to the savage mind than that of bathing or sprinkling with water, but because this latter ceremony may have been imitated from Christian baptism. Thus, while there is nothing to prevent our supposing some rites of savage baptism to be of native origin, it seems unsafe to assert this in any individual case.
The purification of women at childbirth, etc., is ceremonially practised by the lower races under circumstances which do not suggest adoption from more civilized nations. The seclusion and lustration among North American Indian tribes have been compared with those of the Levitical law, but the resemblance is not remarkably close, and belongs rather to a stage of civilization than to the ordinance of a particular nation. It is a good case of independent development in such customs, that the rite of putting out the fires and kindling “new fire" on the woman's return is common to the Iroquois and Sioux in North America,1 and the Basutos in South Africa. These latter have a well-marked rite of lustration by sprinkling, performed on girls at womanhood. The Hottentots considered mother and child unclean till they had been washed and smeared after the uncleanly native fashion. Lustrations with water were usual in West Africa. Tatar tribes in Mongólia used bathing, while in Siberia the custom of leaping over a fire answered the purpose of purification. The Mantras of the Malay Peninsula have made the bathing of the mother after
vol. ii. p. 279 (Watje); Anthropological Review,' Nov. 1864, p. 243 (Mpongwe); Barker-Webb and Berthelot, vol. ii. p. 163 (Tenerife).
Schoolcraft, Indian Tribes,' part i. p. 261; part iii. p. 243, etc. Charlevoix, Nouvelle France,' vol. v. p. 425. Wilson in 'Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. iv. p. 294.
3 Kolben, vol. i. pp. 273, 283.
✦ Bosman, in Pinkerton,' vol. xvi. pp. 423, 527; Meiners, vol. ii. pp. 107, 463.
5 Pallas, Mongolische Völkerschaften,' vol. i. p. 166, etc.; Strahlenberg, 'Siberia,' p. 97.
childbirth into a ceremonial ordinance. It is so among the indigenes of India, where both in northern and southern districts the naming of the child comes into connexion with the purification of the mother, both ceremonies being performed on the same day. Without extending further this list of instances, it is sufficiently plain that we have before us the record of a practical custom becoming consecrated by traditional habit, and making its way into the range of. religious ceremony.
Much the same may be said of the purification of savage and barbaric races on occasion of contamination by bloodshed or funeral. In North America, the Dacotas use the vapour-bath not only as a remedy, but also for the removal of ceremonial uncleanness, such as is caused by killing a person, or touching a dead body. So among the Navajos,
a the man who has been deputed to carry a dead body to burial, holds himself unclean until he has thoroughly washed himself in water prepared for the purpose by certain ceremonies.* In Madagascar, no one who has attended a funeral may enter the palace courtyard till he has bathed, and in all cases there must be an ablution of the mourner's garments on returning from the grave. Among the Basutos of South Africa, warriors returning from battle must rid themselves of the blood they have shed, or the shades of their victims would pursue them and disturb their sleep. Therefore they go in procession in full armour to the nearest stream to wash, and their weapons are washed also. It is usual in this ceremony for a sorcerer higher up the stream to put in some magical ingredient, such as he also uses in the preparation of the holy water which is sprinkled over the people with a beast's tail at the frequent public purifications. These Basutos, moreover, use fumigation with burning wood to purify growing corn, and cattle taken from the
1 Bourien in 'Tr. Eth. Soc.' vol. iii. p. 81.
enemy. Fire serves for purification in cases too trifling to require sacrifice; thus when a mother sees her child walk over a grave, she hastens to call it, makes it stand before her, and lights a small fire at its feet.1 The Zurus, whose horror of a dead body will induce them to cast out and leave in the woods their sick people, at least strangers, purify themselves by an ablution after a funeral. It is to be noticed that these ceremonial practices have come to mean something distinct from mere cleanliness. Kafirs who will purify themselves from ceremonial uncleanness by washing. are not in the habit of washing themselves or their vessels for ordinary purposes, and the dogs and the cockroaches divide between them the duty of cleaning out the milkbaskets. Medieval Tatar tribes, some of whom had conscientious scruples against bathing, have found passing through fire or between two fires a sufficient purification, and the household stuff of the dead was lustrated in this latter way. 3
In the organized nations of the semi-civilized and civi. lized world, where religion shapes itself into elaborate and systematic schemes, the practices of lustration familiar to the lower culture now become part of stringent ceremonial systems. It seems to be at this stage of their existence that they often take up in addition to their earlier ceremonial significance an ethical meaning, absent or all but absent from them at their first appearance above the religious horizon. This will be made evident by glancing over the ordinances of lustration in the great national religions of history. It will be well to notice first the usages of two
. semi-civilized nations of America, which, though they have scarcely produced practical effect on civilization at large, give valuable illustration of a transition period in culture, leaving apart the obscure question of their special civiliza
Casalis, ‘Basutos,' p. 258.
Grout, ‘Zulu-land,' p. 147; Backhouse, ‘Mauritius and S. Africa,' pp. 213, 225.
* Bastian, “Mensch,' vol. iii. p. 75; Rubruquis, in Pinkerton, vol. vii. p. 82 ; Plano Carpini in Hakluyt, vol. i. p. 37.
tion having been influenced in early or late times from the Old World.
In the religion of Peru, lustration is well-marked and characteristic. On the day of birth, the water in which the child had been washed was poured into a hole in the ground, charms being repeated by a wizard or priest; an excellent instance of the ceremonial washing away of evil influences. The naming of the child was also more or less generally accompanied with ceremonial washing, as in districts where at two years old it was weaned, baptized, had its hair ceremonially cut with a stone knife, and received its childname; Peruvian Indians still cut off a lock of the child's hair at its baptism. Moreover, the significance of lustration as removing guilt is plainly recorded in ancient Peru; after confession of guilt, an Inca bathed in a neighbouring river and repeated this formula, "O thou River, receive the sins I have this day confessed unto the Sun, carry them down to the sea, and let them never more appear. In old Mexico, the first act of ceremonial lustration took place at birth. The nurse washed the infant in the name of the water-goddess, to remove the impurity of its birth, to cleanse its heart and give it a good and perfect life; then blowing on water in her right hand she washed it again, warning it of forthcoming trials and miseries and labours, and praying the invisible Deity to descend upon the water, to cleanse the child from sin and foulness, and to deliver it from misfortune. The second act took place some four days later, unless the astrologers postponed it. At a festive gathering, amid fires kept alight from the first ceremony, the nurse undressed the child sent by the gods into this sad and doleful world, bade it receive the life-giving water, and washed it, driving out evil from each limb and offering to the deities appointed prayers for virtue and blessing. It
1 Rivero and Tschudi, Peruvian Antiquities,' p. 180; J. G. Müller, 'Amer. Urrelig.' p. 359; Acosta, 'Ind. Occ.' v. c. 25; Brinton, p. 126. See account of the rite of driving out sicknesses and evils into the rivers, Rites and Laws of Incas,' tr. and ed. by C. R. Markham, p. 22.
was then that the toy instruments of war or craft or household labour were placed in the boy's or girl's hand (a custom singularly corresponding with one usual in China), and the other children, instructed by their parents, gave the newcomer its child-name, here again to be replaced by another at manhood or womanhood. There is nothing unlikely in the statement that the child was also passed four times through the fire, but the authority this is given on is not sufficient. The religious character of ablution is well shown in Mexico by its forming part of the daily service of the priests. Aztec life ended as it had begun, with ceremonial lustration; it was one of the funeral ceremonies to sprinkle the head of the corpse with the lustral water of this life.1
Among the nations of East Asia, and across the more civilized Turanian districts of Central Asia, ceremonial lustration comes frequently into notice; but it would often bring in difficult points of ethnography to attempt a general judg ment how far these may be native local rites, and how far ceremonies adopted from foreign religious systems. As examples may be mentioned in Japan the sprinkling and naming of the child at a month old, and other lustrations connected with worship; in China the religious ceremony at the first washing of the three days' old infant, the lifting of the bride over burning coals, the sprinkling of holy-water over sacrifices and rooms and on the mourners after a funeral; in Birma the purification of the mother by fire, and the annual sprinkling-festival. Within the range of Buddhism in its Lamaist form, we find such instances as the Tibetan and
1 Sahagun, 'Nueva España,' lib. vi. ; Torquemada, 'Monarquia Indiana,' lib. xii.; Clavigero, vol. ii. pp. 39, 86, etc.; Humboldt, Vues des Cordillères,' Mendoza Cod.; J. G. Müller, p. 652.
Siebold, Nippon,' v. p. 22; Kempfer, Japan,' ch. xiii. in Pinkerton, vol. vii.
3 Doolittle, 'Chinese,' vol. i. p. 120, vol. ii. p. 273. 269.
Davis, vol. i.
Bastian, 'Oestl. Asien,' vol. ii. p. 247; Meiners, vol. ii. p. 106; Symes in Pinkerton, vol. ix. p. 435.