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ments to be seen in Uxmal, of which no idea could be given in any but a large engraving. The emblems of life and death appear on the wall in close juxta-position, confirming the belief in the existence of that worship practised by the Egyptians and all other Eastern nations, and before referred to as prevalent among the people of Uxmal. "The interior is divided into three apartments, that in the centre being twenty-four feet by seven, and those on each side nineteen feet by seven. They have no communication with each other; two have their doors opening to the east and one to the west.
"A narrow platform five feet wide projects from all the four sides of the building. The northern end is decayed, and part of the eastern front, and to this front ascends a grand staircase one hundred and two feet high, seventy feet wide, and containing ninety steps.
"The steps are very narrow, and the staircase steep; and after we had cleared away the trees, and there were no branches to assist us in climbing, the ascent and descent were difficult and dangerous. The padre Cogolludo, the historian referred to, says that he once ascended these steps, and 'that when he attempted to descend he repented; his sight failed him, and he was in some danger.' He adds, that in the apartments of the building, which he calls 'small chapels,' were the 'idols,' and that there they made sacrifices of men, women, and children. Beyond doubt this lofty building was a great Teocalis, 'El grande de los Kues,' the great temple of idols worshipped by the people of Uxmal, consecrated by their most mysterious rites, the holiest of their holy places. 'The high priest had in his hand a large, broad, and sharp knife made of flint. Another priest carried a wooden collar wrought like a snake. The persons to be sacrificed were conducted one by one up the steps, stark naked, and as soon as laid on the stone, had the collar put upon their necks, and the four priests took
hold of the hands and feet. Then the high priest with wonderful dexterity ripped up the breast, tore out the heart, reeking, with his hands, and showed it to the sun, offering him the heart and steam that came from it. Then he turned to the idol, and threw it in his face, which done, he kicked the body down the steps, and it never stopped till it came to the bottom, because they were very upright;' and 'one who had been a priest, and had been converted, said that when they tore out the heart of the wretched person sacrificed, it did beat so strongly that he took it up from the ground three or four times till it cooled by degrees, and then he threw the body, still moving, down the steps.' In all the long catalogue of superstitious rites that darkens the page of man's history, I cannot imagine a picture more horribly exciting than that of the Indian priest, with his white dress and long hair clotted with gore, performing his murderous sacrifices at this lofty height, in full view of the people throughout the whole extent of the city."
Yet the very publicity of these terrible sacrifices, show how completely the people sympathized in them, and some curious incidents mentioned by earlier historians show with what tenacity the natives clung to their ancient creed; secretly burning incense to the idols of their fathers, amid their ruined temples, and performing other idolatrous acts of devotion, even so recently as towards the close of the seventeenth century. Time indeed has leagued with Spanish rulers and priests, to efface the memory of their old creed, but the so-called Christianity which supplanted it was little calculated to supersede it by any very great superiority that it possessed. The Inquisition of Spain was established at the very period of the discovery of America, and accompanied the conquerors of Mexico and Yucatan. Horrible auto-da-fes took the place of bloody Indian rites. St. Jago, the Virgin, and other Romish idols, were substituted for those of the
native mythology; and all writers, ancient and modern, unite in conveying to us a picture of the grossest bigotry, sensuality, and crime, as characterizing both priests and laymen. Gambling and licentiousness are still openly encouraged in many cases by the precept and example of the curas, and it may be unhesitatingly affirmed, that after centuries of the so-called Christianizing of Mexico and Yucatan by the emissaries of Spain, both are nearly as destitute of any practical knowledge of the Christian religion, as when Cortez and his followers first landed on the American continent.
Considerable sameness characterizes the numerous remains of the ruined cities of Yucatan, so that the description of the remains of Uxmal comprises much that is again met with on other ancient sites. Yet each presents some peculiar and interesting feature of its own. At Kabah, for example, after describing some of the most beautiful and finely designed sculptures which were met with, Mr. Stephens remarks: "There are on this side of the camino real the remains of other buildings, but all in a ruinous condition, and there is one monument, perhaps more curious and interesting than any that has been presented. It is a lonely arch, of the same form with all the rest, having a span of fourteen feet. It stands on a ruined mound, disconnected from every other structure, in solitary grandeur. Darkness rests upon its history, but in that desolation and solitude, among the ruins around, it stood like the proud memorial of a Roman triumph. Perhaps, like the arch of Titus, which at this day spans the Sacred Way at Rome, it was erected to commemorate a victory over enemies."
It was here also that one of the finest carved lintels was extracted from the ruins only to experience the mortifying fate already alluded to. "All the lintels over the doorway," says the traveller, "are of wood, and all are still in their places, mostly sound and solid. The
doorways were encumbered with rubbish and ruins That nearest the staircase was filled up to within three feet of the lintel; and, in crawling under on his back, to measure the apartment, Mr. Catherwood's eye was arrested by a sculptured lintel; which, on examination, he considered the most interesting memorial we had found in Yucatan. On my return that day from a visit to three more ruined cities entirely unknown before, he claimed this lintel as equal in interest and value to all of them together. The next day I saw them, and determined immediately, at any trouble or cost, to carry them home with me; but this was no easy matter. Our operations created much discussion in the village. The general belief was that we were searching for gold. No one could believe that we were expending money in such a business without being sure of getting it back again;" fortunately, though the original no longer exists, careful drawings of it were made, and a large etching illustrates the narrative of the indefatigable explorers' labours.
A critical investigation of these remains of primitive American art, leads to the conviction that no conclusion can be deduced from the architecture or sculpture of the ancient Aztecs or Tolteckans, in reference to their origin. The style of their sculpture and architecture is alike peculiar, and obviously of native origin. We are well content to assume that the builders of Shinar, and even of Thebes, worked without models, seeing that we believe them to have been the first of human builders; and no greater difficulty can possibly be felt, in assuming that some stray wanderers from the Noahic family group, being at length cast on the shores of the New World, established themselves there, and in the course of centuries grew up to be a numerous race, with stone palaces, instead of rude huts and wigwams, and with temples and pyramids not greatly inferior to those reared by the first idolators for the rites of Belus.
World! wrongly called the New- this clime was old
Empires were formed, then darkly swept away:
WHILE we find in the remains of primitive American art abundant evidence of its native origin, we discover in it no less obvious traces of the derivation of its originators from the one centre of the human race. Their arts, mythology, science, and traditions, are all their own; yet in most of them we discover the common features pertaining to the works of the same class throughout the human family. In their science, and in their mythic traditions, especially, we detect singularly definite traces of the familiarity of their fathers with the true history of the race, and of the world, as it was known to the postdeluvian patriarchs. An affinity was naturally looked for at first, between their works and those of the oldest races of history. India was referred to for analogies in illustration of their mythology, and Egypt for a counterpart to their architecture and symbolic inscriptions. Where the idea of such affinities was already firmly established in the minds of the investigators, the most was naturally made of very slight analogies. But more