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Geographical Notes

Nature volume 30, pages 131132 | Download Citation



THE fifth fascicule of A. E. Nordenskjöld's “Popular Scientific Appendix to the Voyage of the Vega”(“Studier och Forskningar foranledda af mine resor i höga norden”) will be most welcome to the general reader, and we hope it may be translated into English. It contains a profusely illustrated, lively sketch, by M. Hans Hildebrand, on art among lower primitive populations. The drawings of the Chukches are especially remarkable. Caravans of sledges drawn by reindeer or by dogs; hunting scenes, splitting drift-wood, and sea-hunting, are most interesting, and not the slightest mistake is possible as to what the Chukche artist intended to represent. The Chukches are as successful, too, in drawing subjects less known to them, such as the Vega at its winter-quarters, or two men of the crew exercising in fencing. The most remarkable piece is that given to Baron Nordenskjöld by Lord Walsingham, which is reproduced by means of photography. The original is drawn on walrus-skin, and represents on the borders of the skin the shores with their hills, Chukche settlements, and a variety of scenes from Chukche life on shore; while the interior contains a variety of scenes from sea-hunting, harpooned whales pretty well represented with their waterspouts, ships, boats, and so on. The Europeans, sometimes with umbrellas, sometimes fighting with Chukches, are perfectly recognisable. The engravings showing the carvings in bone that are made by Chukches and Esquimaux are also very interesting, whilst other drawings allow us to compare the Northern primitive art with the art of Boshmans and North American Indians. M. Hildebrand's remarks on the art of prehistoric man and his parallels with the Normannic drawings—also well illustrated—will be equally attractive to the general reader. The same fascicule contains the first pages of a paper on the life of insects in Arctic regions, by M. Christopher Aurivillius.

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