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the idea of a continuity of the same into eternity. Some pyramids are quite bare of inscriptions or paintings; others introduce us to a world peopled by gods and goddesses, of friendly or hostile spirits and of horrifying monsters.
The son of Ra, the manifestation of Ra on earth, the king identified with the sun, dies like the sun, becomes one with Osiris and like him reappears in another incarnation,
The due performance of the sacred rites secured the recurrence of this eventful career, and his short stay on this planet is not to be regarded as anything more than a temporary sojourn on the part of Osiris.
In a system of civilization so highly developed as that of the ancient Egyptians, the arts and sciences were bound to attain in the fulness of time a high degree of perfection. That this was so is placed beyond doubt, by an unusually plentiful harvest of documents. The evolution of the arts and literature was perceptibly manipulated by the religious beliefs, the theological concepts and cosmic notions of the people, engendered by the speciality of their climatic conditions and environments. Moulded and shaped by his surroundings, the plastic mind of the Egyptian lapsed into meditation and ecstasy and learnt to regard things mundane and the present life with indifference if not contempt.
The life here was nothing more than a period of tribulation, at the same time that the individual did not hold his conscience answerable for his errors of commission and omission, for they were controlled entirely by the mysterious agency of the Double hidden in his distant retreat of the Double world.
The part that the individual had to play according to the concatenation of his beliefs involved the notion of an existence from which good-humour and nonchalance were alike banished. Engrossed with the idea of the constant renovation of physical phenomena, he was led to reason out by parallel the mortification of his body and the regeneration of his own proper self. Here was the root of the idea of the Transmigration of souls. No wonder, therefore, that the arts which were nursed in the cradle of such beliefs bore in their stamp the features drawn from the parent source.
When the aid of art was called in to give expression to the prevailing beliefs, it at the very start charged with the realisation of a pensive theme or an established dogma. Here lay the secret of the extreme disdain for the things of this world which is apparent from the expression given to his creations by the primitive artist.
The human frame had no higher place in the cosmogony of the Egyptian than that of a mere support, a support perhaps the most wretched and debased of all, tenanted for a time by the psychic entity in the course of its migrations through the worlds : a perishable support that could be easily replaced by something looking like it, but more durable of wood or stone, that would equally serve the purposes of the Double, if only the shape and form were maintained to some degree of approximation, in likeness, however indefinite, to the orignal to which the Double was habituated.
It might be imagined therefore that art should strive to make the imitation absolute. But the sequel will show, however, that in practice it turned out otherwise. At the moment of death the departed ceased to be of this earth. On the instant he became one with Osiris and his remains were of the god-fuceraun. It was to this deified body that the Double was destined to reattach himself. The effigy or picture which was provided in due course by Art, subsequent to the death, was the likeness not so much of the man as the Osirian. Pri- . mitive effort was actually conceived in the repudiation of the human likeness. The human form was condemned for adoption as being too low for approach to the divine.
When that the dogmas relative to life in the other world and the unification there of the disembodied personality with Osiris took consistent shape, the difficulty presented itself of originating a suggestive likeness. It was solved, however, by appropriating to this use the figures of mythic beings, till then considered to have been devoid of contours, whom the litanies describe as the gods who can change or multiply their forms indefinitely, whose names and births are equally a mystery. It did not at all follow, however, that the deified one should care to clothe himself again in human form. It should never be forgotten that the Egyptian was nothing if not a spiritualist. In identifying himself with Osiris, he did not lower the author of all good, but he elevated himself to the divinity of the other. The human form was therefore not at all idealised
If the gods and the blessed ones had a vague consistency, that was yet enough to invest them with an individuality of some sort. The individuality of the sun was assumed at dawn for his diurnal progress across space and put aside in the evening on the instant of his re-entry into the celestial palace. The individuality of the chosen one was invested to start him on his peregrinations through the other world, at the close of which he should reappear before his prototype the sun when, after being absolved and approved, he was clothed with the essence of a higher spirituality and was at liberty
like the god to assume any form according to his Inclination. He was not tied down to the human form. It was of no significance at his debut into
career. That form was the proper heritage of the prison house, the fetters of which he had only lately and successfully shaken off.
It is thus explained why the artist in his effort to portray the god did not idealise the human form but trusted to the suggestion of his fancy to devise something adequate to give expression to the radiance and majesty of divinity. When the ordinary outlines looked commonplace, the artist had of necessity to vary the natural proportions. The first tendency was to exaggerate, to paint a being of preternatural proportions. Hence the many colossal figures found in the tombs from the earliest period.
V. VENKATACHELLAM IYER.
Art. V.-HIGH PRICES IN INDIA. " THERE has been
a strong movement among economists, businessmen, and others interested in economic investigation to secure the appointment of an International Commission to look into the cause for the high prices of the necessaries of life. For some years past, the high and steadily increasing cost of living has been a matter of such great public concern that I deem it of great public interest that an International Conference be proposed at this time for the purpose of preparing plans, to be submitted to the various Governments, for an international enquiry into the high cost of living, its extent, causes, effects and possible remedies."-President Taft in the -
It goes without saying that prices of things in different countries are affected by different considerations and the conditions to which the rise in prices of certain goods of one country can be ascribed cannot be ascribed to the rise in prices of the same goods in another country. In fact, the conditions and the circumstances may be altogether different, but a brief glance at the state of affairs of some of the important countries of the world, would not be altogether unprofitable. Indeed, in view of the fact that prices have risen in almost all the countries of the world, there has been a proposal to hold an International Congress, an idea which has received the support of the leading economists of the day. We, therefore, propose to take a rapid sketch of the rise in prices of several countries before we take to the causes relating to the rise in prices in India.