Thursday, October 22, 2020

Old Ethnographers Revisited..

Today we're heading back in time a little. When I first started doing this one of the things I came across was the world of 19th century ethnographers. Learned men discussing all the races, shades and colours of man. Replete with their various theories and prejudices. They were very interesting to read ..and also often a great source for little titbits about red hair.

Anyway, I've been digging into that realm again and I've found a few more.

Firstly we have this quote from the Compte-rendu de la première session, Londres, 1934. It contemplates the idea of a red-haired race (or the lack thereof).

"Curiously enough, we do not think that we can trace our sporadic red hair back to a red-haired race. So far as we know there has never been a people all of whose members were red-haired, though we find large numbers of red-haired individuals among such peoples as the Irish, Jews and Malays. But there seems never to have been a sufficient number of red-haired people who were proud enough of their characteristic to invent a racial myth about it. It may be that in the course of time there will be a race of Man whose members are wholly or mainly red-haired, but at present Man seems to be evolving towards greater diversity within populations, rather than greater uniformity."

Next we have this one. It comes from the Physical History of Mankind: Ethnography of the African races. 3d ed. 1837 by James Cowles Prichard.

[We came across James Cowles Prichard back in this piece. Which incidentally also mentions the Funge people whom he refers to below. ]

"[T]he inhabitants of the high tracts of Mons Aurasius are completely xanthous, having red or yellow hair and blue eyes, which fancifully, and without the shadow of any proof, they have been conjectured to have derived from the Vandal troops of Genseric."

"One of the peculiarities of the nation last mentioned [the Funge], is the frequent appearance among them of a red complexion and of red hair, a phenomenon analogous, as it would seem, to the so-termed accidental developement of light varieties of complexion in the black nations, of which so many instances have been recorded. White Negroes, or Dondos, are frequently born from black parents, in all parts of Africa. Many of them are of the xanthous variety, and have red hair. They seem to be particularly numerous in the black race which repeopled Sennaar some hundred years ago, where, under the name of "El Aknean," "the Red People," they form, according to M. Cailliaud, a separate or distinguishable caste."

He also provides us with this little nugget;
"According to Pigafetta's statement, the "Negroes of Kongo have black, curly, and frequently red hair." He observes that "they resemble the Portuguese pretty much, except in colour: the iris was in some black, but in others of a bluish green"
We then have these quotes from Lectures on Physiology, Zoology, and the Natural History of Man: Delivered at the Royal College of Surgeons by Sir William Lawrence, 1823. They note observations of red hair amidst non-European populations.
"Forster saw, in the island of Otaha, a man with fair freckled skin and red hair. Red-haired individuals have been observed in most of the dark nations, as the Wotiaks, Eskimaux, islanders of New Guinea and New Zealand, and the Negroes."

"He [Blumenbach] himself saw a Mulatto with red hair, of which he procured a specimen. A man of mulatto complexion, freckled, with strong red hair, disposed in small wiry curls, and born of black parents, was seen by WINTERBOTTOM, ii. 170; who met with others having red complexion and hair"
There was also this passage noting the various eye colours, as laid down by Aristotle.
"The three principal colours of the human eye were well laid down by ARISTOTLE, viz. blue, passing in its lighter tints to what we call gray; an obscure orange, which he calls the colour of the eye in the goat (Fr. yeux de chevre), a kind of middle tint between blue and orange, and sometimes remarkably green in men with very red hair and freckled skin; and lastly, brown in various shades, forming in proportion to its depth what we call hazel, dark, or black eyes."
I quite like how the "obscure orange" is labelled the "yeux de chevre" - "eye of the goat".

Finally, we have this one, mentioning the beliefs of the noted British Assyriologist Reverend Archibald Henry Sayce. I found it in The Archaeology of Race: The Eugenic Ideas of Francis Galton and Flinders Petrie by Debbie Challis.
"There was no ambiguity about Sayce's thoughts on the race of the Egyptians who he thought were white and similar to northern Europeans but with a red-skin due to sun-burn and black or red hair (Sayce, 1925: 83)."
We came across Sayce quite a way back in relation to red hair. That time in a post relating to British Israelism.

2012 (!) ..seems like an aeon ago.

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