THE ORIGINS OF SELF-DECORATION
IT is evident, as might be proved by more numerous and detailed references than it has been possible to adduce above, that precisely such bodily deformations, such systems of distinguishing ornament, and such conspicuous articles of clothing and decoration as are most, generally found among both the primitive and the cultivated tribes of mankind have been of especial importance as means of sexual attraction. Nothing could be more natural, therefore, than to explain the various forms of cosmetics as so many endeavours to work upon the preferences--whether arising from the æsthetic sense or from associated ideas of sexual excitement--of the opposite sex. Such an explanation, moreover, derives support from the assertion of the primitives themselves, who often positively state that they dress and array themselves for the purpose of winning the love of their women. And it has on its side the merits of simplicity and unity. By bringing together under one head all the different forms of self-decorative art it disentangles the different questions of primitive æsthetics in a most plausible manner.
However alluring this uniform explanation may be for lovers of clearness and theoretical consistency, it
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Publication information: Book title: Origins of Art:A Psychological & Sociological Inquiry. Contributors: Yrjö J. Hirn - Author. Publisher: Macmillan and Co. Limited. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 1900. Page number: 214.