Times and Seasons, 15 June 1842

  • Source Note
Page 819
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The plate or engraving presented here is a surprising representation of the deluge of Noah; and of the confusion of the ancient language at the building of the tower of Babel, as related in the Book of Genisis. (see chap. vii and xi.
We have derived the subject of this plate from Baron Humbolt’s volume of Researches in Mexico, who found it painted on a manuscript book, made of the leaves of some kind of tree, suitable for the purpose, after the manner of the ancient nations of the sultry parts of Asia around the Mediterranean.
Among the vast multitude of painted representations found by this author on the books of the natives, made also frequently of prepared skins of animals, were delineated all the leading circumstances and history of the deluge, of the fall of man, and of the seduction of the woman; by the means of the serpant, the first murder as perpetrated by Cain on the person of his brother Abel.
The plate, however, here presented shows no more than a picture of the flood, with Noah afloat on a raft, or as the traditions of some of the nations say on a tree, a canoe, and some say in a vessel of huge dimensions. Italso shows by the group of men approaching the bird, a somewhat obscure history of the confusion of the ancient language at the building of Babel, by representing them as being born dumb, who receive the gift of speech from a dove, which flutters in the branches of the tree, while she presents the languages to the mute throng, by bestowing upon each individual a leaf of the tree, which is shown in the form of small commas suspended from its beak.
Among the different nations, according to Humboldt, who inhabited Mexico, were found paintings which represented the deluge, orflood of Tezpi. * * * *
The painting of which the plate is the representation, shows Tezpi, or Noah, in the midst of the waters laying on his back. The mountain, the summit of which is crowned by a tree and rises above the waters is the peak of Colhucan, the Ararat of the Mexicans. At the foot of the mountain on each side appear the heads of Noah and his wife. The woman is known by the two points extending up from her forehead, which is the universal designation of the female sex among the Mexicans. The horn at the left hand of the tree with a human hand pointing to it, is the character representing a mountain and the head of a bird placed above the head of Tezpi or Noah, shows the vulture which the Mexicans say Tezpi sent out of his acalli or boat to see if the waters had subsided.
In the figure of the bird with the leaves of a tree in his beak, is shown the circumstance of the dove’s return to the ark, when it had been sent out the second time bringing a branch of the olive in its mouth; but in their tradition it had become misplaced, and is made the author of the languages. That birds have a language was believed by the nations of the old world. Some of those nations retain a surprising traditional account of the deluge; who say that Noah embarked in a spacious acalli or boat, with his wife, his children, several animals, and grain, the preservation of which was of great importance to mankind. When the Great Spirit, Tezcatlipoca, ordered the waters to withdraw, Tezpi or Noah sent out from his boat a vulture. But the bird’s natural food was that of dead carcases, it did not return on account of the great number of dead carcasses with which the earth now dried in some places abounded.
Tezpi sent out other birds one of which was the humming bird; this bird alone returned again to the boat, holding in his beak a branch covered with leaves. Tezpi now knowing that the earth was dry, being clothed with fresh verdure, quitted his bark near the mountain Colhucan or Ararat. A tradition of the same fact, the deluge, is also found among the Indians of the Northwest. I received, says a late traveller, the following account from a Chief of one of the tribes in his own words, in the English.
“An old man live great while ago, he wery good man, he have three sons. The great spirit tell him go make a raft—build wigwam on top; for he make it rain wery much.— When this done, Great spirit say, put in two of all the creatures, then take sun moon—all the stars, put them in—get in himself with his Equa (wife) children, shut door, all dark outside.— Then it rain much, hard many days. When they stay there long time—Great Spirit say, old man go out. So he take, diving animal, sao gy see if find the earth; so he went, come back, not find anything. Then he wait few days—send out mushquash see what he find. When he come back, brought some mud in he paw; old man wery glad; he tell mushquash he wery good, long this world stand be plenty mushquash, no man ever kill you all. Then few days more he take wary pretty bird send him out see what it find; that bird no come back; so he sent out one white bird that come back, have grass in he mouth. So old man know water going down. The Great Spirit say, old man, let sun, moon, stars go out, old man too. He go out, raft on much big mountain when he see pretty bird he sent out first, eating dead things—he say, bird you do no right, when me send you no come back, you must be black, you no prety bird any more—you always eat bad things. So it was black.”
There are many things contained in the above that go to support the testimony of the Book of Mormon, as well as that of the Mosaic history. The Mexican records agree so well with the words of the book of Ether (found by the people of Limhi, which is contained in the Book of Mormon) in relation to the confounding of languages, that we insert the following:
BOOK OF ETHER—CHAP. I.
* * * Which Jared came forth with his brother and their families, with some others and their families, from the great tower at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people, and swear in his wrath that they should be scattered upon all the face of the earth; and according to the word of the Lord the people were scattered. And the brother of Jarad being a large and mighty man, and being a man highly favored of the Lord; for Jared his brother said unto him, cry unto the Lord, that he will not confound us that we may not understand our words. And it came to pass that the brother of Jared did cry unto the Lord, and the Lord had compassion upon Jared; therefore he did not confound the language of Jared; and Jared and his brother were not confounded. Then Jared said unto his brother, cry again unto the Lord, and it may be that he will turn away his an [p. 819]
The plate or engraving presented here is a surprising representation of the deluge of Noah; and of the confusion of the ancient language at the building of the tower of Babel, as related in the Book of Genisis. (see chap. vii and xi.
We have derived the subject of this plate from Baron Humbolt’s volume of Researches in Mexico, who found it painted on a manuscript book, made of the leaves of some kind of tree, suitable for the purpose, after the manner of the ancient nations of the sultry parts of Asia around the Mediterranean.
Among the vast multitude of painted representations found by this author on the books of the natives, made also frequently of prepared skins of animals, were delineated all the leading circumstances and history of the deluge, of the fall of man, and of the seduction of the woman; by the means of the serpant, the first murder as perpetrated by Cain on the person of his brother Abel.
The plate, however, here presented shows no more than a picture of the flood, with Noah afloat on a raft, or as the traditions of some of the nations say on a tree, a canoe, and some say in a vessel of huge dimensions. Italso shows by the group of men approaching the bird, a somewhat obscure history of the confusion of the ancient language at the building of Babel, by representing them as being born dumb, who receive the gift of speech from a dove, which flutters in the branches of the tree, while she presents the languages to the mute throng, by bestowing upon each individual a leaf of the tree, which is shown in the form of small commas suspended from its beak.
Among the different nations, according to Humboldt, who inhabited Mexico, were found paintings which represented the deluge, orflood of Tezpi. * * * *
The painting of which the plate is the representation, shows Tezpi, or Noah, in the midst of the waters laying on his back. The mountain, the summit of which is crowned by a tree and rises above the waters is the peak of Colhucan, the Ararat of the Mexicans. At the foot of the mountain on each side appear the heads of Noah and his wife. The woman is known by the two points extending up from her forehead, which is the universal designation of the female sex among the Mexicans. The horn at the left hand of the tree with a human hand pointing to it, is the character representing a mountain and the head of a bird placed above the head of Tezpi or Noah, shows the vulture which the Mexicans say Tezpi sent out of his acalli or boat to see if the waters had subsided.
In the figure of the bird with the leaves of a tree in his beak, is shown the circumstance of the dove’s return to the ark, when it had been sent out the second time bringing a branch of the olive in its mouth; but in their tradition it had become misplaced, and is made the author of the languages. That birds have a language was believed by the nations of the old world. Some of those nations retain a surprising traditional account of the deluge; who say that Noah embarked in a spacious acalli or boat, with his wife, his children, several animals, and grain, the preservation of which was of great importance to mankind. When the Great Spirit, Tezcatlipoca, ordered the waters to withdraw, Tezpi or Noah sent out from his boat a vulture. But the bird’s natural food was that of dead carcases, it did not return on account of the great number of dead carcasses with which the earth now dried in some places abounded.
Tezpi sent out other birds one of which was the humming bird; this bird alone returned again to the boat, holding in his beak a branch covered with leaves. Tezpi now knowing that the earth was dry, being clothed with fresh verdure, quitted his bark near the mountain Colhucan or Ararat. A tradition of the same fact, the deluge, is also found among the Indians of the Northwest. I received, says a late traveller, the following account from a Chief of one of the tribes in his own words, in the English.
“An old man live great while ago, he wery good man, he have three sons. The great spirit tell him go make a raft—build wigwam on top; for he make it rain wery much.— When this done, Great spirit say, put in two of all the creatures, then take sun moon—all the stars, put them in—get in himself with his Equa (wife) children, shut door, all dark outside.— Then it rain much, hard many days. When they stay there long time—Great Spirit say, old man go out. So he take, diving animal, sao gy see if find the earth; so he went, come back, not find anything. Then he wait few days—send out mushquash see what he find. When he come back, brought some mud in he paw; old man wery glad; he tell mushquash he wery good, long this world stand be plenty mushquash, no man ever kill you all. Then few days more he take wary pretty bird send him out see what it find; that bird no come back; so he sent out one white bird that come back, have grass in he mouth. So old man know water going down. The Great Spirit say, old man, let sun, moon, stars go out, old man too. He go out, raft on much big mountain when he see pretty bird he sent out first, eating dead things—he say, bird you do no right, when me send you no come back, you must be black, you no prety bird any more—you always eat bad things. So it was black.”
There are many things contained in the above that go to support the testimony of the Book of Mormon, as well as that of the Mosaic history. The Mexican records agree so well with the words of the book of Ether (found by the people of Limhi, which is contained in the Book of Mormon) in relation to the confounding of languages, that we insert the following:
BOOK OF ETHER—CHAP. I.
* * * Which Jared came forth with his brother and their families, with some others and their families, from the great tower at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people, and swear in his wrath that they should be scattered upon all the face of the earth; and according to the word of the Lord the people were scattered. And the brother of Jarad being a large and mighty man, and being a man highly favored of the Lord; for Jared his brother said unto him, cry unto the Lord, that he will not confound us that we may not understand our words. And it came to pass that the brother of Jared did cry unto the Lord, and the Lord had compassion upon Jared; therefore he did not confound the language of Jared; and Jared and his brother were not confounded. Then Jared said unto his brother, cry again unto the Lord, and it may be that he will turn away his an [p. 819]
Page 819