PREHISTORIC SILVER AND GOLD

We are told of gold and silver objects which have been found among the remains of lake dwellings in Switzerland, obviously votive offerings to the spirits thought to dwell at the bottom of the lakes. In a similar way silver and gold have been preserved in the graves of the prehistoric dead in this country owing to the early belief in a Spirit world ; but here, too, the metal has been worked up into rings and ornaments such as the people wore when alive ; and when the relics have taken the form of vessels as wa.a often the case they were rarely of metal but of clay, replicas of the food vessels then in common use ; thus it is surmised that the very early peoples in Britain did not use much in the way of silver for domestic purposes. The Celts worked gold which they could the more easily under-stand and manipulate. The finds of Celtic gold in Ireland and other places have been frequent. The British Museum and the Museum of the Royal Irish Society in Dublin contain many fine examples, but these pieces are mostly ornamental and not intended for food vessels which were then made of clay ; these rare examples of ancient gold also took the forms of weapons and protective pieces, like the shields and breast-plates which have been found in many parts of Ireland, and to a lesser degree in England. === EGYPTIAN SILVER Inscriptions and pictures on ancient pottery tell of the forms of silver vessels used by the Egyptian peoples in early days. The wall-paintings in the tombs reveal many records of the daily avocations of the people, and of the things they used regularly, and also indicate the vessels which were reserved for special purposes and for use on great occasions, and also for the sole use of the priests in their worship. Several writers tell of the paintings on the walls of the tombs at Beni Hassan where there is a pictorial representation of the workshop of a silversmith, in which is depicted the process of making a large bowl of silver, which was called by the ancient Egyptians " white gold." In the story of plate of the ancients in the " Encyclopcedia Britannica," reference is made to the five silver bowls which were found at Thumuis, now deposited in the Museum at Bulak. On the monuments and sculptured stones in the British Museum, there are many illustrations of ancient Egyptian silver. The Museum itself has much metallic treasure from Egypt, and the collector of silver curios and other antiques can always find much to admire and instruct in a tour of the galleries where the objects are arranged according to periods, in cases indicating by their labels the different localities from which the relics were derived. The Egyptian galleries tell the student of the wonders of that nation which drew its knowledge from still earlier peoples of the East ; it is interesting, too, to note that many of the relics found in Egypt while showing a local adaptation of subject and form, often indicate the source of design, and show traces of the influences which were then working through the greater and more intimate connection which had been set up between different peoples of the East. It was in Egypt that the great Jewish nation was reared, and it was there the arts and sciences were taught to the more intelligent Hebrews who afterwards became the the lands beyond Jordan.