Books Received | Published:

Reizen en Onderzoekingen in Noord-Amerika Prehistoric America The Lenape Stone; or, the Indian and the Mammoth


DR. TEN KATE (son of the celebrated Dutch painter) has published the account of his late anthropological journey in the regions about Arizona and New Mexico. His exploration was supported by the Government of Holland, for whose Rijks Museum at Leyden he brought home a collection illustrating the peculiar civilisation of the Pueblo Indians and their wilder neighbours of the plains; also by several scientific bodies, among them the Anthropological Society of Paris, for which he took body-measurements of the various tribes he met with. Belonging to the school of observers who depend on the measurement of skulls as a means of classing the natives of America into stocks of the general Mongoloid race to which they primarily belong (p. 432), he has to deal with the interesting problem, what relation the ruder and fiercer tribes bear to the comparatively cultured and peaceable dwellers in the pueblos. This, however, is confused by the fact that among neither is the type uniform. Dr. Ten Kate (p. 173) recognises among the Apaches two or three varieties, one more Mongolian and especially seen among the women, the others more of the bold-featured Redskin-type. The brachycephalic and occipitally flattened skull which he considers especially characteristic of the Pueblo Indians, enables him to contradict (p. 155) the opinion that the handsome Pimas belong to these. But then he finds it necessary to divide the Pueblos into much the same Mongolian and Redskin types (see his remarks on the Moquis, p. 253). On the whole his observations do not seem incompatible with the view that the difference between the roving Indians of the skin tents and the tillers of the fields around the towns of mud-brick houses depends less on race than on difference of stage of civilisation, itself due in great measure to the respective circumstances of a wild life of war and plunder or a tame life of peace and industry. That the neighbourhood of the nations of Old Mexico may have influenced the civilisation of the Pueblo tribes is likely enough, but Dr. Ten Kate argues on grounds both of skull-measure and language (pp. 265, 221) against any identification of Zuñis or Moquis with Aztecs. Indeed, it is the general experience of anthropologists, in spite of resemblances in such matters as the step-pattern on the pottery, that the language, customs, and religion which the natives of Zuñi or Tehua have preserved since the Spanish Conquest, show original and peculiar types which are not to be accounted for as borrowed from Mexico. Thus the designs on the earthen water-vessels, when explained, prove not to be copies of Mexican ornaments, but mostly direct symbolic pictures, a spiral for the whirlwind, a semicircle with descending lines for a rain-cloud, & c. This even affects the argument that the celebrated “cliff-dwellings” of the district were the strongholds of the ancestors of tribes such as the Moquis, who claim to continue and interpret the designs on their pottery (p. 265). Dr. Ten Kate had the good fortune of visiting Hualpé with Major Powell and seeing the Moqui snake dance (p. 242). He was allowed to go down the estufa to see the paraphernalia of the dancers and the vessel of drink taken as prophylactic against rattlesnake-bites, and his account of the dance itself, particularly as to the way in which the rattlesnakes are carried in the mouths of one set of dancers while another set by tickling them with feathers prevents their striking, is much in the same terms as that given by Capt. Bourke (see NATURE, vol. xxxi. p. 429). Mr. Cushing was still at the pueblo of Zuñi under his Indian name of Ténatsali or “Medicine Flower,” and with his guidance Dr. Ten Kate had opportunities of studying the social life of the interesting matriarchal community. The main features of the family system are now clear, as to the young man being chosen by the young woman as “hers to be” (yiluk'ianiha) and his being taken by her father into the house as pupil (talahi); thus he passes into the position of a husband who can be sent back to his home, and the father of children who belong to their mother and inherit only from her. But in this and other accounts there are indications of what is evident to every traveller who has visited a Zuñi home—that the father after all has real power even in that matriarchal household. It is to be hoped that Mr. Cushing, when he gives the world his long-expected treatise on Zuñi language, manners, and religion, will be able to make the practical working of the matriarchal life more perfectly intelligible to the prejudiced patriarchal mind of the white man. Dr. Ten Kate inspected characteristic tribes throughout the New Mexican district, from these comparatively high Zuñis down to the low Utes, noting details of customs and other anthropological material which at times illustrate the effects of intercourse through a yet wider range of culture. Thus the wooden plough and creaking ox-cart of ancient Rome, introduced into America by the Spanish conquerors, are to be seen at work in the fields around the pueblos; and white men passing near an Indian cairn still throw each a stone upon it for luck (p. 271).

Reizen en Onderzoekingen in Noord-Amerika.

Van Dr. H. F. C. Ten Kate Jun. (Leyden: Brill, 1885.)

Prehistoric America.

By the Marquis de Nadaillac. Translated by N. D'Anvers. Edited by W. H. Dall. (London: Murray, 1885.)

The Lenape Stone; or, the Indian and the Mammoth.

By H. C. Mercer. (New York: Putnam, 1885.)

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.