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Egypt, the Greeks threw their colonnades round the shrine, and secured in this way a far more compact and artistic arrangement. The root-idea is however the same—architecture providing some' imposing permanent apparatus for the religious festival, and in so doing taking on itself the same festal character as an art of free and spontaneous expression like the rest.1
It remains now to draw out in a simple table, given on page 36, such a scheme of the beginnings of the arts as may correspond to the considerations here adduced. In such a matter absolute logical clearness is not to be obtained, or only to be obtained by the suppression of inconvenient facts, and it will suffice if the scheme shows
1 For the festal origin of architecture. consult Semper, der Stil. especially i. p. 258 ff. ‘ das Tapezierwesen der Alten.‘
Free and spon
Free and spontaneous activities controlled by 11::
Principle 0/ ORDER manifesting itself as MEASURE, RHYTHM, PROPORTION, COMPOSITION.
_ bodily . . .
Mimic Dance PAINTING I
TABLE OF THE BEGINNINGS OF THE ARTS
CHAP. r The Utilitarian clement 37
a general correspondence with the evidence to be gathered from archaeological science and from the accounts of travellers among uncivilised peoples of to-day.1 The scheme is arranged somewhat after the manner of the multiplication table, the two elements already spoken of being shown as combining to produce the different forms of art. The raw material of art, or, if the metaphor be preferred, the motive power in artistic production, may be described as ‘free and spontaneous activities not artistic.’ We have already gained some idea of't/hege (§§ 6-9), and have found that the simplest of them—modes of expression under excitement by voice and gesture—may represent little more than a mere physical ejfort to discharge an accumulated ‘surplus of energy,’ and as such they are common to almost all the uncivilised races. The instinct of Adornment seems to have alfnost from the first a social colour, while that of ‘Monument making’ springs as we have seen out of those feelings and habits which have given to the festival its importance in the ancient and mediaeval worlds (§ 17). There remain to be noticed the two other fountain-heads of art to be found in the upper line of the scheme. The last of these, ‘ Construction for utility,’ is out of logical connection with the rest, for it is by no means a form of ideal excitement. Those however who are familiar with aesthetic discussions will know how impossible it is to achieve perfect logical clearness in divisions and schemes of the arts. The utilitarian element in architecture must be accepted for the moment as something exceptional to which none of the other arts can show any parallel; its relation to the architectural art as a whole will be
1 Collected in accessible form in Herbert Spencer's Descriptive Sociology, Lond. 1874, etc., where references are given to the original authorities for our knowledge of the customs and arts of primitive races.
noticed in the sequel (§§ 129 iii). There remains the heading ‘Imitation,’ and we have to deal here with an extremely obscure and puzzling topic that presents difficulties at every stage of artistic discussion. There is nothing harder for the critic of the advanced forms of painting in modern times, than to fix the proper share that should be taken in the productions of this art by the imitation of nature, and the difficulty is hardly less when we are dealing as at present with the arts in their most rudimentary aspects. In certain forms imitation is extremely primitive, and appears in stupid animals like the sheep just as in the most intelligent apes and in every savage. Indeed, in the case of men as Herbert Spencer remarks ‘it is among the lowest races that proneness to mimicry is most conspicuous.’ 1 But such mimicry is very different from the gift of imitative delineation which only appears among men, and is then very irregularly bestowed. The ape will readily copy any action or gesture, but no animal makes the faintest approach to graphic or plastic imitation. On the other hand among men the gift was fruitful, as we have seen, even in the period of the Mammoth (§ 4), and is exercised with curious expertness by some of the lowest savages such as the African Bushmen, who draw capital sketches on the walls of the caverns where they make their wretched lairs.2 The explanation would doubtless be the same as that suggested in § 9 for the absence of a sense of proportion among animals—the animal lacks the necessary power of abstraction by which the model and the copy \ could be held apart in the intelligence and compared. This man is able to do, but among men we observe that the advanced form of the imitative gift which leads to delineation is a matter of special endowment, and where
1 Principles afSaeialogy, Loud. 1885, i. p. 8L
CHAP. 1 Imitation 39
it appears it is almost a passion, demanding exercise just as if it were a case of our old friend the ‘surplus of vigour.’ Mr. Winwood Reade recounts an anecdote of an African lad from a wild bush tribe who suddenly saw for the first time a ship, and after gazing on it awhile with astonishment, set to work drawing a picture of it with his stick in the sand.1 Other tribes, on the contrary, skilled it may be in the dance or in decoration, show no feeling for drawing, and Principal Wilson remarks on the difference to be observed in this respect between the most primitive (prehistoric or modern) pottery and implements of the Old World and of the New. In the Old World, imitation of nature plays comparatively little part in the most archaic ornamentation, but ‘the very opposite characteristics meet the eye the moment we turn to the primitive arts of the New World. There, indications of imitative design meet us on every hand. The rude tribes of the North-West, though living in the simplest condition of savage life, not only copy the familiar animal and vegetable forms with which they are surrounded, but represent with ingenious skill novel objects of European-art.’2 Whatever may be the explanation of, the imitative faculty as an individual instinct, it is clear that social feeling will here have con. siderable potency. Social feeling will prompt a member of a race apt at mimicry to win the regard of others by exhibiting to them in pantomime or mummery something not actually present, and the same feeling will urge the embryo sculptor or graphic artist to perpetuate the representation in a lasting form. Possibly it was for the benefit of his consort or his neighbours that the palaeolithic mammoth-hunter sketched his quarry on a piece of its own bone, by the fire at the cave’s mouth at eventide.
1 lee Martyrdom of Man, p. 439.