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Comments on Phallic Worship (S106: 1865)

Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: A short comment offered in discussion of a paper by E. Sellon titled 'Linga Puja, Or Phallic Worship in India,' read at the 17 January 1865 meeting of the Anthropological Society of London. The comment was later printed in Volume Two of the Society's Journal series. Original pagination indicated within double brackets. To link directly to this page, connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S106.htm

     [[p. cxviii]] Mr. Wallace said, that from what he had seen in his travels among savage nations, he was inclined to think that the practice of making indecent figures was connected with race character. Through the whole of the Valley of the Amazons he saw numerous figures cut on the rocks, but among them there was nothing indecent, nor any indication of phallic worship. Among the Malays also he saw [[p. cxix]] nothing of the kind, and those people he considered possessed similar mental characteristics to the South American tribes. But in the Papuan races the case was very different. These people resemble those of India, and in their representations of the human figure the parts of generation were always prominently indicated. He referred to Dorey, in New Guinea, a representation of which village is given in a recent work by Sir Charles Lyell, as being an illustration of the Swiss lake-dwellings. The largest building in the place, a council-house, was decorated with human figures, in which the parts of generation, both male and female, are very large; and in the front of the house there were the figures of a man and woman in the act of copulation. That was the grossest example of rudimentary phallic worship that he had seen. Whether similar representations were to be found in Africa he was unable to say.

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