ON THE RELIGIOUS USE OF VARIOUS STONES 305
its rarity, than upon its mineralogical character ; indeed, among
primitive peoples, stones of the same, or closely similar color,
although of different composition, often bore the same name, and were
conceived to have the same virtues whether talismanic or therapeutic.
Writing of the rich gifts sent by Montezuma to Cortes upon the latter's
arrival at San Juan de Ulua (1519), Bernal Diaz de Castillo mentions38 "four
chalchiuites, a kind of green stone of great value, and much esteemed
by them [the Indians], more highly, indeed, than we esteem the emerald.
They are of a green color." And he proceeds to state that each one of
these stones was said to be worth a great weight of gold.
statue of the earth-goddess Couatlicue, found in the village of
Cozcatlan, Mexico, and now preserved in the National Museum of Mexico,
shows, inserted in the cheek, a disk of jadeite.39 Green
seems thus to have been the color sacred to this goddess, which may
remind us of the attribution of the green emerald to Venus. Indeed,
green as the color of foliage and plants must naturally have suggested
itself as eminently appropriate for an earth-goddess, just as its
significance as a symbol of life and generation connected it with the
Goddess of Love-
story of the emeralds brought from the New World by Hernan Cortes must
have been quite familiar to sixteenth century writers, for we find
Brantôme applying some details of this story to ' ' a beautiful and
incomparable pearl" said to have been brought from Mexico by Cortes on
his return to Spain. This he later allowed to slip from his fingers
into the sea while showing it to a friend on board
* " Verdadera historia de los sucesos de la conquista de la Nueva EspaBa," Bib. de Aut. Esp., Toi. xrvi, Madrid, 1866, p. 35.
Dr. Eduard Seier, " Similarity of Design of Some Teotihuacan Frescoes
and Certain Mexican Pottery Objects," in Proceedings of the
International Congre» of Americanists, XVIII Session, London, 1912; Pt.
II, London, 191S, p. 200. 20