The hand—the essential organ of gesture—has from time immemorial been chosen to express, in a material manner, a promise made, faith solemnly engaged. D'Enjoy shows that, through history, imposing the hand is a pledge of fidelity, a token of a resolution taken. Among some people a private seal was used, and then came the signature or sign as knowledge or civilisation spread; these are derived from, or constitute an extension, a development of, the practice of manual imposition. In giving testimony in the law-courts, in striking a bargain, etc., always and everywhere the hand pledges the responsibility. To give her hand is, for a maiden, synonymous with promising marriage. At various epochs, among various people, the thumb or the index is substituted for the hand—a part for the whole; and in this connection the signature of the illiterate among the Annamites, by the help of the measurement of the index is interesting. The conclusion is that in all latitudes, in all ages, among all races, the hand conveys the same gesture—it binds.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.