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made an overture to any of their young women, he was given to

understand that the consent of her friends was necessary, and by

the influence of a proper present it was generally obtained; but

when these preliminaries were settled, it was also necessary to

treat the wife for a night with the same delicacy that is here

required by the wife for life, and the lover who presumed to take

any liberties by which this was violated, was sure to be

disappointed." (Hawkesworth, op. cit., vol. ii, p.


Cook found that the people of New Zealand "bring the prepuce over

the gland, and to prevent it from being drawn back by contraction

of the part, they tie the string which hangs from the girdle

round the end of it. The glans, indeed, seemed to be the only

part of their body which they were solicitous to conceal, for

they frequently threw off all their dress but the belt and

string, with the most careless indifference, but showed manifest

signs of confusion when, to gratify our curiosity, they were

requested to untie the string, and never consented but with the

utmost reluctance and shame.... The women's lower garment was

always bound fast round them, except when they went into the

water to catch lobsters, and then they took great care not to be

seen by the men. We surprised several of them at this employment,

and the chaste Diana, with her nymphs, could not have discovered

more confusion and distress at the sight of Actæon, than these

women expressed upon our approach. Some of them hid themselves

among the rocks, and the rest crouched down in the sea till they

had made themselves a girdle and apron of such weeds as they

could find, and when they came out, even with this veil, we could

see that their modesty suffered much pain by our presence."

(Hawkesworth, op. cit., vol. ii, pp. 257-258.) In Rotuma, in Polynesia, where the women enjoy much freedom, but

where, at all events in old days, married people were, as a rule,

faithful to each other, "the language is not chaste according to

our ideas, and there is a great deal of freedom in speaking of

immoral vices. In this connection a man and his wife will speak

freely to one another before their friends. I am informed,

though, by European traders well conversant with the language,

that there are grades of language, and that certain coarse

phrases would never be used to any decent woman; so that

probably, in their way, they have much modesty, only we cannot

appreciate it." (J. Stanley Gardiner, "The Natives of Rotuma,"

_Journal of the Anthropological Institute_, May, 1898, p. 481.)

The men of Rotuma, says the same writer, are very clean, the

women also, bathing twice a day in the sea; but

"bathing in

public without the _kukuluga_, or _sulu_ [loin-cloth, which is

the ordinary dress], around the waist is absolutely unheard of,

and would be much looked down upon." (_Journal of the

Anthropological Institute_, 1898, p. 410.) In ancient Samoa the only necessary garment for either man or

woman was an apron of leaves, but they possessed so

"delicate a

sense of propriety" that even "while bathing they have a girdle

of leaves or some other covering around the waist."


_Samoa a Hundred Years Ago_, p. 121.)

After babyhood the Indians of Guiana are never seen naked. When

they change their single garment they retire. The women wear a

little apron, now generally made of European beads, but the

Warraus still make it of the inner bark of a tree, and some of

seeds. (Everard im Thurn, _Among the Indians of Guiana_, 1883.)

The Mandurucu women of Brazil, according to Tocantins (quoted by

Mantegazza), are completely naked, but they are careful to avoid

any postures which might be considered indecorous, and they do

this so skilfully that it is impossible to tell when they have

their menstrual periods. (Mantegazza, _Fisiologia della Donna_,

cap 9.)

The Indians of Central Brazil have no "private parts." In men the

little girdle, or string, surrounding the lower part of the

abdomen, hides nothing; it is worn after puberty, the penis being

often raised and placed beneath it to lengthen the prepuce. The

women also use a little strip of bast that goes down the groin

and passes between the thighs. Among some tribes (Karibs, Tupis,

Nu-Arwaks) a little, triangular, coquettishly-made piece of

bark-bast comes just below the mons veneris; it is only a few

centimetres in width, and is called the _uluri. In both sexes

concealment of the sexual mucous membrane is attained_. These

articles cannot be called clothing. "The red thread of the

Trumai, the elegant _uluri_, and the variegated flag of the

Bororó attract attention, like ornaments, instead of drawing

attention away." Von den Steinen thinks this proceeding a

necessary protection against the attacks of insects, which are

often serious in Brazil. He does think, however, that there is

more than this, and that the people are ashamed to show the

glans penis. (Karl von den Steinen, _Unter den Naturvölkern

Zentral-Brasiliens_, 1894, pp. 190 et seq.) Other travelers mention that on the Amazon among some tribes the

women are clothed and the men naked; among others the women

naked, and the men clothed. Thus, among the Guaycurus the men are

quite naked, while the women wear a short petticoat; among the

Uaupás the men always wear a loin-cloth, while the women are

quite naked.

"The feeling of modesty is very developed among the Fuegians, who

are accustomed to live naked. They manifest it in their bearing

and in the ease with which they show themselves in a state of

nudity, compared with the awkwardness, blushing, and shame which

both men and women exhibit if one gazes at certain parts of their

bodies. Among themselves this is never done even between husband

and wife. There is no Fuegian word for modesty, perhaps because

the feeling is universal among them." The women wear a minute

triangular garment of skin suspended between the thighs and never

removed, being merely raised during conjugal relations. (Hyades

and Deniker, _Mission Scientifique du Cap Horn_, vol. vii, pp.

239, 307, and 347.)

Among the Crow Indians of Montana, writes Dr.

Holder, who has

lived with them for several years, "a sense of modesty forbids

the attendance upon the female in labor of any male, white man or

Indian, physician or layman. This antipathy to receiving

assistance at the hands of the physician is overcome as the

tribes progress toward civilization, and it is especially

noticeable that half-breeds almost constantly seek the

physician's aid." Dr. Holder mentions the case of a young woman

who, although brought near the verge of death in a very difficult

first confinement, repeatedly refused to allow him to examine

her; at last she consented; "her modest preparation was to take

bits of quilt and cover thighs and lips of vulva, leaving only

the aperture exposed.... Their modesty would not be so striking

were it not that, almost to a woman, the females of this tribe

are prostitutes, and for a consideration will admit the

connection of any man." (A.B. Holder, _American Journal of

Obstetrics_, vol. xxv, No. 6, 1892.)

"In every North American tribe, from the most northern to the

most southern, the skirt of the woman is longer than that of the

men. In Esquimau land the _parka_ of deerskin and sealskin

reaches to the knees. Throughout Central North America the

buckskin dress of the women reached quite to the ankles. The

West-Coast women, from Oregon to the Gulf of California, wore a

petticoat of shredded bark, of plaited grass, or of strings, upon

which were strung hundreds of seeds. Even in the most tropical

areas the rule was universal, as anyone can see from the codices

or in pictures of the natives." (Otis T. Mason, _Woman's Share in

Primitive Culture_, p. 237.)

Describing the loin-cloth worn by Nicobarese men, Man says: "From

the clumsy mode in which this garment is worn by the Shom

Pen--necessitating frequent readjustment of the folds--one is led

to infer that its use is not _de rigueur_, but reserved for

special occasions, as when receiving or visiting strangers."

(E.H. Man, _Journal of the Anthropological Institute_, 1886, p.


The semi-nude natives of the island of Nias in the Indian Ocean

are "modest by nature," paying no attention to their own nudity

or that of others, and much scandalized by any attempt to go

beyond the limits ordained by custom. When they pass near places

where women are bathing they raise their voices in order to warn

them of their presence, and even although any bold youth

addressed the women, and the latter replied, no attempt would be

made to approach them; any such attempt would be severely

punished by the head man of the village.

(Modigliani, _Un Viaggio

a Nias_, p. 460.)

Man says that the Andamanese in modesty and self-respect compare

favorably with many classes among civilized peoples.

"Women are

so modest that they will not renew their leaf-aprons in the

presence of one another, but retire to a secluded spot for this

purpose; even when parting with one of their _bod_


[tails of leaves suspended from back of girdle] to a female

friend, the delicacy they manifest for the feelings of the

bystanders in their mode of removing it amounts to prudishness;

yet they wear no clothing in the ordinary sense."

(_Journal of

the Anthropological Institute_, 1883, pp. 94 and 331.)

Of the Garo women of Bengal Dalton says: "Their sole garment is a

piece of cloth less than a foot in width that just meets around

the loins, and in order that it may not restrain the limbs it is

only fastened where it meets under the hip at the upper corners.

The girls are thus greatly restricted in the positions they may

modestly assume, but decorum is, in their opinion, sufficiently

preserved if they only keep their legs well together when they

sit or kneel." (E.T. Dalton, _Ethnology of Bengal_, 1872, p. 66.)

Of the Naga women of Assam it is said: "Of clothing there was not

much to see; but in spite of this I doubt whether we could excel

them in true decency and modesty. Ibn Muhammed Wali had already

remarked in his history of the conquest of Assam (1662-63), that

the Naga women only cover their breasts. They declare that it is

absurd to cover those parts of the body which everyone has been

able to see from their births, but that it is different with the

breasts, which appeared later, and are, therefore, to be covered.

Dalton (_Journal of the Asiatic Society_, Bengal, 41, 1, 84) adds

that in the presence of strangers Naga women simply cross their

arms over their breasts, without caring much what other charms

they may reveal to the observer. As regards some clans of the

naked Nagas, to whom the Banpara belong, this may still hold

good." (K. Klemm, "Peal's Ausflug nach Banpara,"

_Zeitschrift für

Ethnologie_, 1898, Heft 5, p. 334.)

"In Ceylon, a woman always bathes in public streams, but she

never removes all her clothes. She washes under the cloth, bit by

bit, and then slips on the dry, new cloth, and pulls out the wet

one from underneath (much in the same sliding way as servant

girls and young women in England). This is the common custom in

India and the Malay States. The breasts are always bare in their

own houses, but in the public roads are covered whenever a

European passes. The vulva is never exposed. They say that a

devil, imagined as a white and hairy being, might have

intercourse with them." (Private communication.) In Borneo, "the _sirat_, called _chawal_ by the Malays, is a

strip of cloth a yard wide, worn round the loins and in between

the thighs, so as to cover the pudenda and perinæum; it is

generally six yards or so in length, but the younger men of the

present generation use as much as twelve or fourteen yards

(sometimes even more), which they twist and coil with great

precision round and round their body, until the waist and stomach

are fully enveloped in its folds." (H. Ling Roth,

"Low's Natives

of Borneo," _Journal of the Anthropological Institute_, 1892, p.


"In their own houses in the depths of the forest the Dwarfs are

said to neglect coverings for decency in the men as in the women,

but certainly when they emerge from the forest into the villages

of the agricultural Negroes, they are always observed to be

wearing some small piece of bark-cloth or skin, or a bunch of

leaves over the pudenda. Elsewhere in all the regions of Africa

visited by the writer, or described by other observers, a neglect

of decency in the male has only been recorded among the Efik

people of Old Calabar. The nudity of women is another question.

In parts of West Africa, between the Niger and the Gaboon

(especially on the Cameroon River, at Old Calabar, and in the

Niger Delta), it is, or was, customary for young women to go

about completely nude before they were married. In Swaziland,

until quite recently, unmarried women and very often matrons went

stark naked. Even amongst the prudish Baganda, who made it a

punishable offense for a man to expose any part of his leg above

the knee, the wives of the King would attend at his Court

perfectly naked. Among the Kavirondo, all unmarried girls are

completely nude, and although women who have become mothers are

supposed to wear a tiny covering before and behind, they very

often completely neglect to do so when in their own villages.

Yet, as a general rule, among the Nile Negroes, and still more

markedly among the Hamites and people of Masai stock, the women

are particular about concealing the pudenda, whereas the men are

ostentatiously naked. The Baganda hold nudity in the male to be

such an abhorrent thing that for centuries they have referred

with scorn and disgust to the Nile Negroes as the

'naked people.'

Male nudity extends northwest to within some 200

miles of

Khartum, or, in fact, wherever the Nile Negroes of the

Dinka-Acholi stock inhabit the country." (Sir H.H.


_Uganda Protectorate_, vol. ii, pp. 669-672.) Among the Nilotic Ja-luo, Johnston states that

"unmarried men go

naked. Married men who have children wear a small piece of goat

skin, which, though quite inadequate for purposes of decency, is,

nevertheless, a very important thing in etiquette, for a married

man with a child must on no account call on his mother-in-law

without wearing this piece of goat's skin. To call on her in a

state of absolute nudity would be regarded as a serious insult,

only to be atoned for by the payment of goats. Even if under the

new dispensation he wears European trousers, he must have a piece

of goat's skin underneath. Married women wear a tail of strings

behind." It is very bad manners for a woman to serve food to her

husband without putting on this tail. (Sir H.H.

Johnston, _Uganda

Protectorate_, vol. ii, p. 781.)

Mrs. French-Sheldon remarks that the Masai and other East African

tribes, with regard to menstruation, "observe the greatest

delicacy, and are more than modest." (_Journal of the

Anthropological Institute_, 1894, p. 383.) At the same time the Masai, among whom the penis is of enormous

size, consider it disreputable to conceal that member, and in the

highest degree reputable to display it, even ostentatiously. (Sir

H.H. Johnston, _Kilima-njaro Expedition_, p. 413.) Among the African Dinka, who are scrupulously clean and delicate

(smearing themselves with burnt cows' dung, and washing

themselves daily with cows' urine), and are exquisite cooks,

reaching in many respects a higher stage of civilization, in

Schweinfurth's opinion, than is elsewhere attained in Africa,

only the women wear aprons. The neighboring tribes of the red

soil--Bongo, Mittoo, Niam-Niam, etc.--are called

"women" by the

Dinka, because among these tribes the men wear an apron, while

the women obstinately refuse to wear any clothes whatsoever of

skin or stuff, going into the woods every day, however, to get a

supple bough for a girdle, with, perhaps, a bundle of fine grass.

(Schweinfurth, _Heart of Africa_, vol. i, pp. 152, etc.)

Lombroso and Carrara, examining some Dinka negroes brought from

the White Nile, remark: "As to their psychology, what struck us

first was the exaggeration of their modesty; not in a single case

would the men allow us to examine their genital organs or the

women their breasts; we examined the tattoo-marks on the chest of

one of the women, and she remained sad and irritable for two days

afterward." They add that in sexual and all other respects these

people are highly moral. (Lombroso and Carrara, _Archivio di

Psichiatria_, 1896, vol. xvii, fasc. 4.)

"The negro is very rarely knowingly indecent or addicted to

lubricity," says Sir H.H. Johnston. "In this land of nudity,

which I have known for seven years, I do not remember once having

seen an indecent gesture on the part of either man or woman, and

only very rarely (and that not among unspoiled savages) in the

case of that most shameless member of the community-

-the little

boy." He adds that the native dances are only an apparent

exception, being serious in character, though indecent to our

eyes, almost constituting a religious ceremony. The only really

indecent dance indigenous to Central Africa "is one which

originally represented the act of coition, but it is so altered

to a stereotyped formula that its exact purport is not obvious

until explained somewhat shyly by the natives.... It may safely

be asserted that the negro race in Central Africa is much more

truly modest, is much more free from real vice, than are most

European nations. Neither boys nor girls wear clothing (unless

they are the children of chiefs) until nearing the age of

puberty. Among the Wankonda, practically no covering is worn by

the men except a ring of brass wire around the stomach. The

Wankonda women are likewise almost entirely naked, but generally

cover the pudenda with a tiny bead-work apron, often a piece of

very beautiful workmanship, and exactly resembling the same

article worn by Kaffir women. A like degree of nudity prevails

among many of the Awemba, among the A-lungu, the Batumbuka, and

the Angoni. Most of the Angoni men, however, adopt the Zulu

fashion of covering the glans penis with a small wooden case or

the outer shell of a fruit. The Wa-Yao have a strong sense of

decency in matters of this kind, which is the more curious since

they are more given to obscenity in their rites, ceremonies, and

dances than any other tribe. Not only is it extremely rare to see

any Yao uncovered, but both men and women have the strongest

dislike to exposing their persons even to the inspection of a

doctor. The Atonga and many of the A-nyanga people, and all the

tribes west of Nyassa (with the exception possibly of the

A-lunda) have not the Yao regard for decency, and, although they

can seldom or ever be accused of a deliberate intention to expose

themselves, the men are relatively indifferent as to whether

their nakedness is or is not concealed, though the women are

modest and careful in this respect." (H.H. Johnston, _British

Central Africa_, 1897, pp. 408-419.)

In Azimba land, Central Africa, H. Crawford Angus, who has spent

many years in this part of Africa, writes: "It has been my

experience that the more naked the people, and the more to us

obscene and shameless their manners and customs, the more moral

and strict they are in the matter of sexual intercourse." He

proceeds to give a description of the _chensamwali_, or

initiation ceremony of girls at puberty, a season of rejoicing

when the girl is initiated into all the secrets of marriage, amid

songs and dances referring to the act of coition.

"The whole

matter is looked upon as a matter of course, and not as a thing

to be ashamed of or to hide, and, being thus openly treated of

and no secrecy made about it, you find in this tribe that the

women are very virtuous. They know from the first all that is to

be known, and cannot see any reason for secrecy concerning

natural laws or the powers and senses that have been given them

from birth." (_Zeitschrift für Ethnologie_, 1898, Heft 6, p.


Of the Monbuttu of Central Africa, another observer says: "It is

surprising how a Monbuttu woman of birth can, without the aid of

dress, impress others with her dignity and modesty."


Medical Journal_. June 14, 1890.)

"The women at Upoto wear no clothes whatever, and came up to us

in the most unreserved manner. An interesting gradation in the

arrangement of the female costume has been observed by us: as we

ascended the Congo, the higher up the river we found ourselves,

the higher the dress reached, till it has now, at last,

culminated in absolute nudity." (T.H. Parke, _My Personal

Experiences in Equatorial Africa_, 1891, p. 61.)

"There exists throughout the Congo population a marked

appreciation of the sentiment of decency and shame as applied to

private actions," says Mr. Herbert Ward. In explanation of the

nudity of the women at Upoto, a chief remarked to Ward that

"concealment is food for the inquisitive." (_Journal of the

Anthropological Institute_, 1895, p. 293.) In the Gold Coast and surrounding countries complete nudity is

extremely rare, except when circumstances make it desirable; on

occasion clothing is abandoned with unconcern. "I have on several

occasions," says Dr. Freeman, "seen women at Accra walk from the

beach, where they have been bathing, across the road to their

houses, where they would proceed to dry themselves, and resume

their garments; and women may not infrequently be seen bathing in

pools by the wayside, conversing quite

unconstrainedly with their

male acquaintances, who are seated on the bank. The mere

unclothed body conveys to their minds no idea of indecency.

Immodesty and indelicacy of manner are practically unknown." He

adds that the excessive zeal of missionaries in urging their

converts to adopt European dress--which they are only too ready

to do--is much to be regretted, since the close-fitting, thin

garments are really less modest than the loose clothes they

replace, besides being much less cleanly. (R.A.

Freeman, _Travels

and Life in Ashanti and Jaman_, 1898, p. 379.) At Loango, says Pechuel-Loesche, "the well-bred negress likes to

cover her bosom, and is sensitive to critical male eyes; if she

meets a European when without her overgarment, she instinctively,

though not without coquetry, takes the attitude of the Medicean

Venus." Men and women bathe separately, and hide themselves from

each other when naked. The women also exhibit shame when

discovered suckling their babies. (_Zeitschrift für Ethnologie_,

1878, pp. 27-31.)

The Koran (Sura XXIV) forbids showing the pudenda, as well as the

face, yet a veiled Mohammedan woman, Stern remarks, even in the

streets of Constantinople, will stand still and pull up her

clothes to scratch her private parts, and in Beyrout, he saw

Turkish prostitutes, still veiled, place themselves in the

position for coitus. (B. Stern, _Medizin, etc., in der Türkei_,

vol. ii, p. 162.)

"An Englishman surprised a woman while bathing in the Euphrates;

she held her hands over her face, without troubling as to what

else the stranger might see. In Egypt, I have myself seen quite

naked young peasant girls, who hastened to see us, after covering

their faces." (C. Niebuhr, _Reisebeschreibung nach Arabien_,

1774, vol. i, p. 165.)

When Helfer was taken to visit the ladies in the palace of the

Imam of Muskat, at Buscheir, he found that their faces were

covered with black masks, though the rest of the body might be

clothed in a transparent sort of crape; to look at a naked face

was very painful to the ladies themselves; even a mother never

lifts the mask from the face of her daughter after the age of

twelve; that is reserved for her lord and husband.

"I observed

that the ladies looked at me with a certain confusion, and after

they had glanced into my face, lowered their eyes, ashamed. On

making inquiries, I found that my uncovered face was indecent, as

a naked person would be to us. They begged me to assume a mask,

and when a waiting-woman had bound a splendidly decorated one

round my head, they all exclaimed: 'Tahip! tahip!'--


beautiful." (J.W. Helfer, _Reisen in Vorderasian und Indien_,

vol. ii, p. 12.)

In Algeria--in the provinces of Constantine, in Biskra, even

Aures,--"among the women especially, not one is restrained by any

modesty in unfastening her girdle to any comer"

(when a search

was being made for tattoo-marks on the lower extremities). "In

spite of the great licentiousness of the manners,"

the same

writer continues, "the Arab and the Kabyle possess great personal

modesty, and with difficulty are persuaded to exhibit the body

nude; is it the result of real modesty, or of their inveterate

habits of active pederasty? Whatever the cause, they always hide

the sexual organs with their hands or their handkerchiefs, and

are disagreeably affected even by the slightest touch of the

doctor." (Batut, _Archives d'Anthropologie Criminelle_, January

15, 1893.)

"Moslem modesty," remarks Wellhausen, "was carried to great

lengths, insufficient clothing being forbidden. It was marked

even among the heathen Arabs, as among Semites and old

civilizations generally; we must not be deceived by the

occasional examples of immodesty in individual cases. The Sunna

prescribes that a man shall not uncover himself even to himself,

and shall not wash naked--from fear of God and of spirits; Job

did so, and atoned for it heavily. When in Arab antiquity

grown-up persons showed themselves naked, it was only under

extraordinary circumstances, and to attain unusual ends.... Women

when mourning uncovered not only the face and bosom, but also

tore all their garments. The messenger who brought bad news tore

his garments. A mother desiring to bring pressure to bear on her

son took off her clothes. A man to whom vengeance is forbidden

showed his despair and disapproval by uncovering his posterior

and strewing earth on his head, or by raising his garment behind

and covering his head with it. This was done also in fulfilling

natural necessities." (Wellhausen, _Reste Arabischen Heidentums_,

1897, pp. 173, 195-196.)

Mantegazza mentions that a Lapland woman refused even for the sum

of 150 francs to allow him to photograph her naked, though the

men placed themselves before the camera in the costume of Adam

for a much smaller sum. In the same book Mantegazza remarks that

in the eighteenth century, travelers found it extremely difficult

to persuade Samoyed women to show themselves naked.

Among the

same people, he says, the newly-married wife must conceal her

face from her husband for two months after marriage, and only

then yield to his embraces. (Mantegazza, _La Donna_, cap. IV.)

"The beauty of a Chinese woman," says Dr. Matignon,


largely in her foot. 'A foot which is not deformed is a

dishonor,' says a poet. For the husband the foot is more

interesting than the face. Only the husband may see his wife's

foot naked. A Chinese woman is as reticent in showing her feet to

a man as a European woman her breasts. I have often had to treat

Chinese women with ridiculously small feet for wounds and

excoriations, the result of tight-bandaging. They exhibited the

prudishness of school-girls, blushed, turned their backs to

unfasten the bandages, and then concealed the foot in a cloth,

leaving only the affected part uncovered. Modesty is a question

of convention; Chinese have it for their feet," (J.

Matignon, "A

propos d'un Pied de Chinoise," _Archives d'Anthropologie

Criminelle_, 1898, p. 445.)

Among the Yakuts of Northeast Siberia, "there was a well-known

custom according to which a bride should avoid showing herself or

her uncovered body to her father-in-law. In ancient times, they

say, a bride concealed herself for seven years from her

father-in-law, and from the brothers and other masculine

relations of her husband.... The men also tried not to meet her,

saying, 'The poor child will be ashamed.' If a meeting could not

be avoided the young woman put a mask on her face.... Nowadays,

the young wives only avoid showing to their male relatives-in-law

the uncovered body. Amongst the rich they avoid going about in

the presence of these in the chemise alone. In some places, they

lay especial emphasis on the fact that it is a shame for young

wives to show their uncovered hair and feet to the male relatives

of their husbands. On the other side, the male relatives of the

husband ought to avoid showing to the young wife the body

uncovered above the elbow or the sole of the foot, and they ought

to avoid indecent expressions and vulgar vituperations in her

presence.... That these observances are not the result of a

specially delicate modesty, is proved by the fact that even young

girls constantly twist thread upon the naked thigh, unembarrassed

by the presence of men who do not belong to the household; nor do

they show any embarrassment if a strange man comes upon them when

uncovered to the waist. The one thing which they do not like, and

at which they show anger, is that such persons look carefully at

their uncovered feet.... The former simplicity, with lack of

shame in uncovering the body, is disappearing."


"The Yakuts," _Journal of the Anthropological Institute_,

Jan.-June, 1901, p. 93.)

"In Japan (Captain ---- tells me), the bathing-place of the women

was perfectly open (the shampooing, indeed, was done by a man),

and Englishmen were offered no obstacle, nor excited the least

repugnance; indeed, girls after their bath would freely pass,

sometimes as if holding out their hair for innocent admiration,

and this continued until countrymen of ours, by vile laughter and

jests, made them guard themselves from insult by secrecy. So

corruption spreads, and heathenism is blacker by our contact."

(Private communication.)

"Speaking once with a Japanese gentleman, I observed that we

considered it an act of indecency for men and women to wash

together. He shrugged his shoulders as he answered:

'But these

Westerns have such prurient minds!'" (Mitford, _Tales of Old

Japan_, 1871.)

Dr. Carl Davidsohn, who remarks that he had ample opportunity of

noting the great beauty of the Japanese women in a national

dance, performed naked, points out that the Japanese have no

æsthetic sense for the nude. "This was shown at the Jubilee

Exposition at Kyoto. Here, among many rooms full of art objects,

one was devoted to oil pictures in the European manner. Among

these only one represented a nude figure, a Psyche, or Truth. It

was the first time such a picture had been seen. Men and women

crowded around it. After they had gazed at it for a time, most

began to giggle and laugh; some by their air and gestures clearly

showed their disgust; all found that it was not æsthetic to paint

a naked woman, though in Nature, nakedness was in no way

offensive to them. In the middle of the same city, at a fountain

reputed to possess special virtues, men and women will stand

together naked and let the water run over them."


Davidsohn, "Das Nackte bei den Japanern," _Globus_, 1896, No.


"It is very difficult to investigate the hairiness of Ainu

women," Baelz remarks, "for they possess a really incredible

degree of modesty. Even when in summer they bathe--

which happens

but seldom--they keep their clothes on." He records that he was

once asked to examine a girl at the Mission School, in order to

advise as regards the treatment of a diseased spine; although she

had been at the school for seven years, she declared that "she

would rather die than show her back to a man, even though a

doctor." (Baelz, "Die Aino," _Zeitschrift für Ethnologie_, 1901,

Heft 2, p. 178.)

The Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans, appear to have been accustomed

to cover the foreskin with the _kynodesme_ (a band), or the

_fibula_ (a ring), for custom and modesty demanded that the glans

should be concealed. Such covering is represented in persons who

were compelled to be naked, and is referred to by Celsus as

"decori causâ." (L. Stieda, "Anatomisch-archäologische Studien,"

_Anatomische Hefte_, Bd. XIX, Heft 2, 1902.)

"Among the Lydians, and, indeed, among the barbarians generally,

it is considered a deep disgrace, even for a man, to be seen

naked." (Herodotus, Book I, Chapter X.)

"The simple dress which is now common was first worn in Sparta,

and there, more than anywhere else, the life of the rich was

assimilated to that of the people. The

Lacedæmonians, too, were

the first who, in their athletic exercises, stripped naked and

rubbed themselves over with oil. This was not the ancient custom;

athletes formerly, even when they were contending at Olympia,

wore girdles about their loins [earlier still, the Mycenæans had

always worn a loin-cloth], a practice which lasted until quite

lately, and still persists among barbarians, especially those of

Asia, where the combatants at boxing and wrestling matches wear

girdles." (Thucydides, _History_, Book I, Chapter VI.)

"The notion of the women exercising naked in the schools with the

men ... at the present day would appear truly ridiculous.... Not

long since it was thought discreditable and ridiculous among the

Greeks, as it is now among most barbarous nations, for men to be

seen naked. And when the Cretans first, and after them the

Lacedæmonians, began the practice of gymnastic exercises, the

wits of the time had it in their power to make sport of those

novelties.... As for the man who laughs at the idea of undressed

women going through gymnastic exercises, as a means of revealing

what is most perfect, his ridicule is but 'unripe fruit plucked

from the tree of wisdom.'" (Plato, _Republic_, Book V.)

According to Plutarch, however, among the Spartans, at all

events, nakedness in women was not ridiculous, since the

institutes of Lycurgus ordained that at solemn feasts and

sacrifices the young women should dance naked and sing, the young

men standing around in a circle to see and hear them. Aristotle

says that in his time Spartan girls only wore a very slight

garment. As described by Pausanias, and as shown by a statue in

the Vatican, the ordinary tunic, which was the sole garment worn

by women when running, left bare the right shoulder and breast,

and only reached to the upper third of the thighs.

(M.M. Evans,

_Chapters on Greek Dress_, p. 34.)

Among the Greeks who were inclined to accept the doctrines of

Cynicism, it was held that, while shame is not unreasonable, what

is good may be done and discussed before all men.

There are a

number of authorities who say that Crates and Hipparchia

consummated their marriage in the presence of many spectators.

Lactantius (_Inst._ iii, 15) says that the practice was common,

but this Zeller is inclined to doubt. (Zeller, _Socrates and the

Socratic Schools_, translated from the Third German Edition,


"Among the Tyrrhenians, who carry their luxury to an extraordinary pitch, Timæus, in his first book, relates that the

female servants wait on the men in a state of nudity. And

Theopompus, in the forty-third book of his _History_, states that

it is a law among the Tyrrhenians that all their women should be

in common; and that the women pay the greatest attention to their

persons, and often practice gymnastic exercises, naked, among the

men, and sometimes with one another; for that it is not accounted

shameful for them to be seen naked.... Nor is it reckoned among

the Tyrrhenians at all disgraceful either to do or suffer

anything in the open air, or to be seen while it is going on; for

it is quite the custom of their country, and they are so far from

thinking it disgraceful that they even say, when the master of

the house is indulging his appetite, and anyone asks for him,

that he is doing so and so, using the coarsest possible words....

And they are very beautiful, as is natural for people to be who

live delicately, and who take care of their persons." (Athenæus,

_Deipnosophists_, Yonge's translation, vol. iii, p.


Dennis throws doubt on the foregoing statement of Athenæus

regarding the Tyrrhenians or Etruscans, and points out that the

representations of women in Etruscan tombs shows them as clothed,

even the breast being rarely uncovered. Nudity, he remarks, was a

Greek, not an Etruscan, characteristic. "To the nudity of the

Spartan women I need but refer; the Thessalian women are

described by Persæus dancing at banquets naked, or with a very

scanty covering (_apud_ Athenæus, xiii, c. 86). The maidens of

Chios wrestled naked with the youths in the gymnasium, which

Athenæus (xiii, 20) pronounces to be 'a beautiful sight.' And at

the marriage feast of Caranus, the Macedonian women tumblers

performed naked before the guests (Athenæus, iv, 3)." (G. Dennis,

_Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria_, 1883, vol. i, p.


In Rome, "when there was at first much less freedom in this

matter than in Greece, the bath became common to both sexes, and

though each had its basin and hot room apart, they could see each

other, meet, speak, form intrigues, arrange meetings, and

multiply adulteries. At first, the baths were so dark that men

and women could wash side by side, without recognizing each other

except by the voice; but soon the light of day was allowed to

enter from every side. 'In the bath of Scipio,' said Seneca,

'there were narrow ventholes, rather than windows, hardly

admitting enough light to outrage modesty; but nowadays, baths

are called caves if they do not receive the sun's rays through

large windows.' ... Hadrian severely prohibited this mingling of

men and women, and ordained separate lavaera for the sexes.

Marcus Aurelius and Alexander Severus renewed this edict, but in

the interval, Heliogabalus had authorized the sexes to meet in

the baths." (Dufour, _Histoire de la Prostitution_, vol. ii, Ch.

XVIII; cf. Smith's _Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities_,

Art. Balneæ.)

In Rome, according to ancient custom, actors were compelled to

wear drawers (_subligaculum_) on the stage, in order to safeguard

the modesty of Roman matrons. Respectable women, it seems, also

always wore some sort of _subligaculum_, even sometimes when

bathing. The name was also applied to a leathern girdle laced

behind, which they were occasionally made to wear as a girdle of

chastity. (Dufour, op. cit., vol. ii, p. 150.) Greek women also

wore a cloth round the loins when taking the bath, as did the men

who bathed there; and a woman is represented bathing and wearing

a sort of thin combinations reaching to the middle of the thigh.

(Smith's _Dictionary_, loc. cit.) At a later period, St.

Augustine refers to the _compestria_, the drawers or apron worn

by young men who stripped for exercise in the _campus_. (_De

Civitate Dei_, Bk. XIV, Ch. XVII.)

Lecky (_History of Morals_, vol. ii, p. 318), brings together

instances of women, in both Pagan and early Christian times, who

showed their modesty by drawing their garments around them, even

at the moment that they were being brutally killed.

Plutarch, in

his essay on the "Virtues of Women,"--moralizing on the

well-known story of the young women of Milesia, among whom an

epidemic of suicide was only brought to an end by the decree that

in future women who hanged themselves should be carried naked

through the market-places,--observes: "They, who had no dread of

the most terrible things in the world, death and pain, could not

abide the imagination of dishonor, and exposure to shame, even

after death."

In the second century the physician Aretæus, writing at Rome,

remarks: "In many cases, owing to involuntary restraint from

modesty at assemblies, and at banquets, the bladder becomes

distended, and from the consequent loss of its contractile power,

it no longer evacuates the urine." (_On the Causes and Symptoms

of Acute Diseases_, Book II, Chapter X.) Apuleius, writing in the second century, says: "Most women, in

order to exhibit their native gracefulness and allurements,

divest themselves of all their garments, and long to show their

naked beauty, being conscious that they shall please more by the

rosy redness of their skin than by the golden splendor of their

robes." (Thomas Taylor's translation of _Metamorphosis_, p. 28.)

Christianity seems to have profoundly affected habits of thought

and feeling by uniting together the merely natural emotion of

sexual reserve with, on the one hand, the masculine virtue of

modesty--_modestia_--and, on the other, the prescription of

sexual abstinence. Tertullian admirably illustrates this

confusion, and his treatises _De Pudicitia_ and _De Cultu

Feminarum_ are instructive from the present point of view. In the

latter he remarks (Book II, Chapter I): "Salvation--

and not of

women only, but likewise of men--consists in the exhibition,

principally, of modesty. Since we are all the temple of God,

modesty is the sacristan and priestess of that temple, who is to

suffer nothing unclean or profane to enter it, for fear that the

God who inhabits it should be offended.... Most women, either

from simple ignorance or from dissimulation, have the hardihood

so to walk as if modesty consisted only in the integrity of the

flesh, and in turning away from fornication, and there were no

need for anything else,--in dress and ornament, the studied

graces of form,--wearing in their gait the self-same appearance

as the women of the nations from whom the sense of _true_ modesty

is absent."

The earliest Christian ideal of modesty, not long maintained, is

well shown in an epistle which, there is some reason to suppose,

was written by Clement of Rome. "And if we see it to be requisite

to stand and pray for the sake of the woman, and to speak words

of exhortation and edification, we call the brethren and all the

holy sisters and maidens, likewise all the other women who are

there, with all modesty and becoming behavior, to come and feast

on the truth. And those among us who are skilled in speaking,

speak to them, and exhort them in those words which God has given

us. And then we pray, and salute one another, the men the men.

But the women and the maidens will wrap their hands in their

garments; we also, with circumspection and with all purity, our

eyes looking upward, shall wrap our right hand in our garments;

and then they will come and give us the salutation on our right

hand, wrapped in our garments. Then we go where God permits us."

(_Two Epistles Concerning Virginity_; Second Epistle, Chapter

III, vol. xiv. Ante-Nicene Christian Library, p.


"Women will scarce strip naked before their own husbands,

affecting a plausible pretense of modesty," writes Clement of

Alexandria, about the end of the second century,

"but any others

who wish may see them at home, shut up in their own baths, for

they are not ashamed to strip before spectators, as if exposing

their persons for sale. The baths are opened promiscuously to men

and women; and there they strip for licentious indulgence (for,

from looking, men get to loving), as if their modesty had been

washed away in the bath. Those who have not become utterly

destitute of modesty shut out strangers, but bathe with their own

servants, and strip naked before their slaves, and are rubbed by

them, giving to the crouching menial liberty to lust, by

permitting fearless handling, for those who are introduced before

their naked mistresses while in the bath, study to strip

themselves in order to show audacity in lust, casting off fear in

consequence of the wicked custom. The ancient athletes, ashamed

to exhibit a man naked, preserved their modesty by going through

the contest in drawers; but these women, divesting themselves of

their modesty along with their chemise, wish to appear beautiful,

but, contrary to their wish, are simply proved to be wicked."

(Clement of Alexandria, _Pædagogus_, Book III, Chapter V. For

elucidations of this passage, see Migne's _Patrologiæ Cursus

Completus_, vol. vii.) Promiscuous bathing was forbidden by the

early Apostolical Constitutions, but Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage,

found it necessary, in the third century, to upbraid even virgins

vowed to chastity for continuing the custom. "What of those," he

asks, "who frequent baths, who prostitute to eyes that are

curious to lust, bodies that are dedicated to chastity and

modesty? They who disgracefully behold naked men, and are seen

naked by men? Do they not themselves afford enticement to vice?

Do they not solicit and invite the desires of those present to

their own corruption and wrong? 'Let every one,' say you, 'look

to the disposition with which he comes thither: my care is only

that of refreshing and washing my poor body.' That kind of

defence does not clear you, nor does it excuse the crime of

lasciviousness and wantonness. Such a washing defiles; it does

not purify nor cleanse the limbs, but stains them.

You behold no

one immodestly, but you, yourself, are gazed upon immodestly; you

do not pollute your eyes with disgraceful delight, but in

delighting others you yourself are polluted; you make a show of

the bathing-place; the places where you assemble are fouler than

a theatre. There all modesty is put off; together with the

clothing of garments, the honor and modesty of the body is laid

aside, virginity is exposed, to be pointed at and to be

handled.... Let your baths be performed with women, whose

behavior is modest towards you." (Cyprian, _De Habitu Virginum_,

cap. 19, 21.) The Church carried the same spirit among the

barbarians of northern Europe, and several centuries later the

promiscuous bathing of men and women was prohibited in some of

the Penitentials. (The custom was, however, preserved here and

there in Northern Europe, even to the end of the eighteenth

century, or later. In Rudeck's _Geschichte der öffentlichen

Sittlichkeit in Deutschland_, an interesting chapter, with

contemporary illustrations, is devoted to this custom; also, Max

Bauer, _Das Geschlechtsleben in der Deutschen Vergangenheit_, pp.


"Women," says Clement again, "should not seek to be graceful by

avoiding broad drinking vessels that oblige them to stretch their

mouths, in order to drink from narrow alabastra that cause them

indecently to throw back the head, revealing to men their necks

and breasts. The mere thought of what she is ought to inspire a

woman with modesty.... On no account must a woman be permitted to

show to a man any portion of her body naked, for fear lest both

fall: the one by gazing eagerly, the other by delighting to

attract those eager glances." (_Pædagogus_, Book II, Chapter V.)

James, Bishop of Nisibis, in the fourth century, was a man of

great holiness. We are told by Thedoret that once, when James had

newly come into Persia, it was vouchsafed to him to perform a

miracle under the following circumstances: He chanced to pass by

a fountain where young women were washing their linen, and, his

modesty being profoundly shocked by the exposure involved in this

occupation, he cursed the fountain, which instantly dried up, and

he changed the hair of the girls from black to a sandy color.

(Jortin, _Remarks on Ecclesiastical History_, vol.

iii, p. 4.)

Procopius, writing in the sixth century after Christ, and

narrating how the Empress Theodora, in early life, would often

appear almost naked before the public in the theatre, adds that

she would willingly have appeared altogether nude, but that "no

woman is allowed to expose herself altogether, unless she wears

at least short drawers over the lower part of the abdomen."

Chrysostom mentions, at the end of the fourth century, that

Arcadius attempted to put down the August festival (Majuma),

during which women appeared naked in the theatres, or swimming in

large baths.

In mediæval days, "ladies, at all events, as represented by the

poets, were not, on the whole, very prudish.

Meleranz surprised a

lady who was taking a bath under a lime tree; the bath was

covered with samite, and by it was a magnificent ivory bed,

surrounded by tapestries representing the history of Paris and

Helen, the destruction of Troy, the adventures of Æneas, etc. As

Meleranz rides by, the lady's waiting-maids run away; she

herself, however, with quick decision, raises the samite which

covers the tub, and orders him to wait on her in place of the

maids. He brings her shift and mantle, and shoes, and then stands

aside till she is dressed; when she has placed herself on the

bed, she calls him back and commands him to drive away the flies

while she sleeps. Strange to say, the men are represented as more

modest than the women. When two maidens prepared a bath for

Parzival, and proposed to bathe him, according to custom, the

inexperienced young knight was shy, and would not enter the bath

until they had gone; on another occasion, he jumped quickly into

bed when the maidens entered the room. When Wolfdieterich was

about to undress, he had to ask the ladies who pressed around him

to leave him alone for a short time, as he was ashamed they

should see him naked. When Amphons of Spain, bewitched by his

step-mother into a were-wolf, was at last restored, and stood

suddenly naked before her, he was greatly ashamed.

The maiden who

healed Iwein was tender of his modesty. In his love-madness, the

hero wanders for a time naked through the wood; three women find

him asleep, and send a waiting-maid to annoint him with salve;

when he came to himself, the maiden hid herself. On the whole,

however, the ladies were not so delicate; they had no hesitation

in bathing with gentlemen, and on these occasions would put their

finest ornaments on their heads. I know no pictures of the

twelfth and thirteenth centuries representing such a scene, but

such baths in common are clearly represented in miniatures of the

fifteenth century." (A. Schultz, _Das Höfische Leben zur Zeit der

Minnesänger_, vol. i, p. 225.)

"In the years 1450-70, the use of the cod-piece was introduced,

whereby the attributes of manhood were accentuated in the most

shameless manner. It was, in fact, the avowed aim at that period

to attract attention to these parts. The cod-piece was sometimes

colored differently from the rest of the garments, often stuffed

out to enlarge it artificially, and decorated with ribbons."

(Rudeck, _Geschichte der öffentlichen Sittlichkeit in

Deutschland_, pp. 45-48; Dufour, _Histoire de la Prostitution_,

vol. vi, pp. 21-23. Groos refers to the significance of this

fashion, _Spiele der Menschen_, p. 337.)

"The first shirt began to be worn [in Germany] in the sixteenth

century. From this fact, as well as from the custom of public

bathing, we reach the remarkable result, that for the German

people, the sight of complete nakedness was the daily rule up to

the sixteenth century. Everyone undressed completely before going

to bed, and, in the vapor-baths, no covering was used. Again, the

dances, both of the peasants and the townspeople, were

characterized by very high leaps into the air. It was the chief

delight of the dancers for the male to raise his partner as high

as possible in the air, so that her dress flew up.

That feminine

modesty was in this respect very indifferent, we know from

countless references made in the fifteenth and sixteenth

centuries. It must not be forgotten that throughout the middle

ages women wore no underclothes, and even in the seventeenth

century, the wearing of drawers by Italian women was regarded as

singular. That with the disappearance of the baths, and the use

of body-linen, a powerful influence was exerted on the creation

of modesty, there can be little doubt." (Rudeck, op.

cit., pp.

57, 399, etc.)

In 1461, when Louis XI entered Paris, three very beautiful

maidens, quite naked, represented the Syrens, and declaimed poems

before him; they were greatly admired by the public.

In 1468,

when Charles the Bold entered Lille, he was specially pleased,

among the various festivities, with a representation of the

Judgment of Paris, in which the three goddesses were nude. When

Charles the Fifth entered Antwerp, the most beautiful maidens of

the city danced before him, in nothing but gauze, and were

closely contemplated by Dürer, as he told his friend, Melancthon.

(B. Ritter, "Nuditäten im Mittelalter," _Jahrbücher für

Wissenschaft und Kunst_, 1855, p. 227; this writer shows how

luxury, fashion, poverty, and certain festivals, all combined to

make nudity familiar; cf. Fahne, _Der Carneval_, p.