The History of Human Marriage - Vol. 1

By Edward Westermarck | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVI
PRIMITIVE MEANS OF ATTRACTION (Concluded)

WE have still to consider a certain class of objects which men attach to their bodies, namely, such as fall under the heading of clothing. As the term implies, the purpose for which they are used is to clothe or cover the body, or some part of it; but the relation between self-decoration and clothing is very intimate. Not only are ornaments attached to clothes, but the latter are frequently used for purposes of ornamentation or allurement as well as covering the body. "The greatest provocations of lust are from our apparel," says Robert Burton;1 and Dr. Havelock Ellis justly observes that one of the chief sex allurements would be lost "and the extreme importance of clothes would disappear at once if the two sexes were to dress alike."2 Indeed, it is in many cases impossible to decide whether a certain object attached to the body should be called clothing or ornament. And whilst clothes readily become decorations, there is, on the other hand, every reason to believe that mere decorations have also developed into clothes.

The origin of clothing may no doubt be traced to several different sources. The most obvious one is the desire to protect the body from frost and damp.3 When man emigrated from his warm native home and settled down in less hospitable regions it became necessary for him to screen himself from the influences of a raw climate. The Eskimo

____________________
1
Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, iii. 2. 2. 3, p. 524.
2
Ellis, Psychology of Sex, (vol. iv.) Sexual Selection in Man, p. 209.
3
See Stoll, Das Geschlechtsleben in der Vülkerpsychologie, p. 484sq.

-534-

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