Origins of Art: A Psychological & Sociological Inquiry

By Yrjö J. Hirn | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVI
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

-214-

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Origins of Art: A Psychological & Sociological Inquiry
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • Chapter I- The Problem Stated 1
  • Chapter II- The Art-Impulse 18
  • Chapter III- The Feeling-Tone of Sensation 30
  • Chapter IV- The Emotions 43
  • Chapter V- The Enjoyment of Pain 56
  • Chapter VI- Social Expressioin 72
  • Chapter VII 86
  • Chapter VIII- Art the Reliever 102
  • Chapter IX- The Work of Art 111
  • Chapter X- Objections and Answers 134
  • Chapter XI- The Concrete Origins of Art 143
  • Chapter XII- Art and Information 149
  • Chapter XIII- Historical Art 164
  • Chapter XIV- Animal Display 186
  • Chapter XV- Art and Sexual Selection 203
  • Chapter XVI- The Origins of Self-Decoration 214
  • Chapter XVII- Erotic Art 228
  • Chapter XVIII- Art and Work 249
  • Chapter XIX 261
  • Chapter XX- Art and Magic 278
  • Chapter XXI- Conclusions 298
  • Authorities Quoted 307
  • Index of Authors 323
  • Index of Subjects 328
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