Deluge of Atlantis

Deluge of Atlantis
Deluge of Atlantis

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mississippi Tsunami and Caribbean Megafloods

While doing research on Ice Age art in North America I came upon something quite different that was worth going into here. Quoting from a site which displays some highly controversial works that the authors are supporting as Ice-age art (Which we need not go into at present):

A more recent theory propose prehistoric Solutreans of Ice Age France also sailed west to America across the Atlantic Ocean along the south ridge of the polar ice cap more than 18,000 years ago. It is thought they brought Clovis point technology (earlier, similar points were found in France) and genetic diversity (such as red hair and large noses) to Native Americans.[2]
What Happened to the Mega Fauna and the Paleo-Indian? Then suddenly everything changed. A geological black-layer deposit of carbon containing nano-diamonds at over 50 locations in North America tells the tale: About 12,900 years ago a huge Ice Age comet hit the atmosphere just above Canada. The discoverer, Geologist James Kennett, also found an abnormally high percentage of these nano-diamonds in a Greenland Glacier at the 12,900-year layer. What happens next is like something out of a Doomsday sci-fi movie: The exploding comet creates a giant white-hot tornado and sets forests ablaze killing off just about everything and everybody in North America. The remaining vegetation would have been charred, forcing starvation upon surviving mega fauna. The comet probably did-in Paleo Indian as well.[8] This comet melted a good portion the Laurentide Ice Sheet and the resultant flood waters changed the Atlantic currents. This combined with ash and soot in the atmosphere, plunged the Northern Hemisphere into a Mini-Ice Age for another 1,200 years.[9]
[2] America’s Stone Age Explorers, 2004 WGBH Education Foundation
At the time of the supposed burst, a relatively mild interglacial stage was going on with continental glaciers then retreated North of the Great Lakes and settled down into Eastern Canada. The time of the burst has a good series of radiocarbon dates in the realm of 10500 to 10900 years ago: 12000 years ago or even 12000 BC is an unwarranted recalibration sought for this theory by its originators. And insisting on that point just might have been what cost them official sanction of the theory.
To quote a different site:

A team of researchers have uncovered evidence that a Mega-Flood, or series of megafloods, from beneath the Ice Age Laurentide Ice Sheet shaped the Bahama Islands. These Mega-Floods traveled down the Mississippi River Valley and into the gulf of Mexico.

These Megafloods entered the Gulf, rapidly raising the water level and forcing the overflow out through the much smaller Florida/Cuba Straits. This Glacial overflow then spread across the lower lying area known as the Bahama Mega-Bank. 12,000yrs. ago, (with sea levels at least 300 ft. lower than today) the Bahama Mega-Bank was an exposed land mass larger than present day Florida.

The megafloods originated from Glacial Lake Agassiz. Lake Agassiz was an Ice Age Lake formed by receding Glaciers.and covered an area of roughly 365,000 square miles. It was the largest lake in the world. The megafloods from Lake Agassiz traveled down the 120 mile wide, 600 mile long Mississippi River Valley. The Mississippi Valley covers an area of 35,000 sq. miles and was itself cut out by this same Ice Age flooding. The Ice Age melt water through this valley fed into the Gulf of Mexico...

...These outbursts would flood the Mississippi River Valley, destroying everything in their path as they surged through the 600 mile long, 120 mile wide valley and poured into the Gulf of Mexico. So much water would flood through the Mississippi Valley that offshoot valleys would be flooded in an attempt to contain the flood waters. These outburst are what overfilled the Gulf of Mexico and caused a Mega-Flood (or series of Mega-Floods) through the Bahamas and the Caribbean.

These continual floodings (or Burps) of glacial melt water into the Gulf of Mexico increased the water level of the Gulf. This overflow of water would surge through the narrower Florida/Cuba opening and is responsible for enlarging the Florida/Cuba Straits. This same overflow then washed down the lower laying Bahama Mega-Bank into the Islands left there today. The washed down areas were then covered by sea level rise at the close of the Ice Age.

These Mega-Floods also carved away at least 50 miles of the narrow western tip of Cuba. This area was once a partial land bridge of islands spanning towards the Yucatan peninsula. The north eastern portion of Yucatan was also washed down and submerged at this time due to rising sea levels at the end of the Ice Age. These actions are what created the much broader Yucatan Channel of today.

Sediment cores retrived from these regions indicate that these southern floods came to an end around 9,000 BC. The final drainage of Lake Agassiz was northeast into the Hudson Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. This final drainage is thought by some to have been so powerful, that it shut down the Gulf Stream and brought about the Younger Dryas period (a very wet cooling period that affected the entire planet). This in turn caused the mass extinction, or near extinction, of plants, animals and people worldwide.
Unfortunately for the theory, the Lake Agassiz did not exist at the specified time or location as shown on the map. And the actual date of the outpouring of the glacial Lake Agassiz is usually dated to HALF the age presented in this scenario. However, the area indicated as Lake Agassiz on the map might well indicate the approximate location of the explosion of the celestial body in question. Its fragments would in turn rain down over the Eastern United States and into the North Atlantic.

Another similar view ofthe megafloods washing out the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean, presented as an Atlantis theory is posted at:

I will probably want to go into that more at a different tine but the site the link goes to is not the originating site and I would like to contact the original owner first.

The various articles like to speak of these floods as Tidal Waves or Tsunamis. That might seem to be the wrong term to use, but in fact the first wave of destruction was saltwater. We can tell this because it left saline soils in its wake, not only in the Great Lakes Area and in parts of Northern Europe, but also in Central America and the Northern parts of South America, Spain and in North Africa. All were affected by the same enormous Tsunami that originated in the Noth Atlantic and overflowed in all directions, flowing along the channels as indicated in the Outburst Flood Scenario. AND THEN the Freshwater floods followed.

Glacial lake outburst floods in North America (13,000 to 8,000 years ago)
The last of the North American proglacial lakes, north of the present Great Lakes, has been designated Glacial Lake Ojibway by geologists. It reached its largest volume around 8,500 years ago, when joined with Lake Agassiz. But its outlet was blocked by the great wall of the glaciers and it drained by tributaries, into the Ottawa and St. Lawrence Rivers far to the south. About 8,300 to 7,700 years ago, the melting ice dam over Hudson Bay's southernmost extension narrowed to the point where pressure and its buoyancy lifted it free, and the ice-dam failed catastrophically. Lake Ojibway's beach terraces show that it was 250 metres (820 ft) above sea level. The volume of Lake Ojibway is commonly estimated to have been about 163,000 cubic kilometres, more than enough water to cover a flattened-out Antarctica with a sheet of water 10 metres (33 ft) deep. That volume was added to the world's oceans in a matter of months.

The detailed timing and rates of change after the onset of melting of the great ice-sheets are subjects of continuing study.

There is also a strong possibility that a global climatic change in recent geological time brought about some large deluge. Evidence is mounting from ice-cores in Greenland that the switch from a glacial to an inter-glacial period can occur over just a few months, rather than over the centuries that earlier research suggested.

Actually at the time in question there was an inrush of seawater known to have taken place simultaneously along the St. Lawrence Seaway and into the Baltic Sea, around the fronts of the glaciers in both continents, and among their remains can be seen signs of a catastrophic tsunami headed inland, such as whale skeletons left stranded in the mountains. On the European side there was an influx of Saltwater which created the Yoldia Sea and in North America the Champlain Sea was formed. Both areas were marked by deposits of what are called quick clays

Which in Russia also go to show that the ocean waters rolled much further inland than just the shores of the Baltic and indeed also indicated megafloods on their side draining into the Black and Caspian Seas, if not also rushing deeper into Siberia where the Ob basin was innundated at times during the Ice Ages.

At the same time as these catastrophic floods were going on. a lot of atmospheric dust was filtering down with the help of rainwater and being deposited as loess. There is rather a lot of loess around but some dispute over what it represents and how long it took to be deposited. In part that goes along with the other problems of getting good radiocarbon dates in this period. However, I can tell by looking at the maps that some of the indicated watercourses are loess beds of today.

Younger Dryas impact hypothesis
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Redirected from Younger Dryas event)

The Younger Dryas impact hypothesis or Clovis comet hypothesis was the hypothesized large air burst or earth impact of an object or objects from outer space that initiated the Younger Dryas cold period about 12,900 BP calibrated (10,900 BP uncalibrated).

One scenario proposes that an air burst and/or earth impact with a rare swarm of carbonaceous chondrites or comets set vast areas of the North American continent on fire, causing the extinction of most of the large animals in North America and the demise of the North American Clovis culture at the end of the last glacial period.[1] This swarm would have exploded above or even into the Laurentide Ice Sheet north of the Great Lakes. An airburst would have been similar to but many orders of magnitude larger than the Tunguska event of 1908. Animal and human life not directly killed by the blast or the resulting coast to coast wildfires would have starved on the burned surface of the continent.

The scenario has been the subject of criticism and doubts. Impact specialists have studied the claim and concluded in 2010 that there never was such an impact, in particular because various physical signs of such an impact cannot be found.[2] The evidence for the event has been thoroughly dismissed, and the hypothesis is no longer considered viable in the scientific community.[3]

--This from Wikipedia. The hypothesis was clearly worded wrongly from the onset. One of the major problems is the radiocarbon-recalibration of dates, which in this case was obviously subject to a disequilibrium owing to the catastrophe described itself. The Carbon-14 balance was altered by the event. Because of this, dates before the event were off in one direction, coincidentally about right for a brief period, and then wrong in the other direction. So in this case the date of 10900 years ago (plus or minus 500 years) should have been left alone.
Here in Indiana a lot of the experts were impressed by the microdiamonds (and even larger diamonds) resulting from the event, and the Wikipedia entry quotes an article about the evidence in the Ohio and Indiana area "The only plausible scenario available now for explaining their presence this far south is the kind of cataclysmic explosive event described by West’s theory. "We believe this is the strongest evidence yet indicating a comet impact in that time period," says Tankersley." [Exploding Asteroid Theory Strengthened by New Evidence Located in Ohio, Indiana, ]
Furthermore saying there "Is no evidence" of an exploding body over Southern Canada when there are hundreds of splintered meteorite impacts along the East Coast as a result-the Carolina Bays-and several large chinks of the meteorites on display at the American Museum of Natural History-The Cape York Meteorites- is just WRONG. And I don't care who "the scientific community" might be on this occasion, when they have dismissed the theory on the grounds "there is no evidence" when the evidence is staring them right in the face, "the scientific community" has not got the right to venture any such an opinion nor yet to dismiss any possibility of an impact at the time.

Ice-Age North American Artwork [News Item]

Ice Age Art Found In Florida Depicts Ancient Mammoth

Posted on: Thursday, 23 June 2011, 05:40 CDT

Researchers have discovered a bone fragment in Florida at least 13,000 years old with the incised image of a mammoth or mastodon, in what may be the first example of Ice Age art found in the Americas, scientists said on Wednesday.

The artifact is the oldest and only known example of Ice Age art depicting a proboscidean (the order of animals with trunks) in the Western Hemisphere, the researchers said.

Fossil hunter James Kennedy discovered the bone in Vero Beach, Florida, and noticed the engraving while cleaning it.

Recognizing its potential importance, Kennedy contacted scientists at the University of Florida and the Smithsonian's Museum Conservation Institute and National Museum of Natural History.

"This is an incredibly exciting discovery," said Dennis Stanford, anthropologist at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and co-author of the study.

"There are hundreds of depictions of proboscideans on cave walls and carved into bones in Europe, but none from America—until now."

"The results of this investigation are an excellent example of the value of interdisciplinary research and cooperation among scientists," said Barbara Purdy, professor emerita of anthropology at the University of Florida and lead author of the team's research.

"There was considerable skepticism expressed about the authenticity of the incising on the bone until it was examined exhaustively by archaeologists, paleontologists, forensic anthropologists, materials science engineers and artists."

One of the researchers' main goals was to study the timing of the engraving to determine whether it was made thousands of years ago or more recently, as an imitation of earlier, prehistoric art.

The bone was originally discovered near a location, known as the Old Vero Site, where human bones were found side-by-side with the bones of extinct Ice Age animals in an excavation from 1913 to 1916.

The researchers examined the elemental composition of the engraved bone and others from the site using optical and electron microscopy, which revealed no discontinuity in coloration between the carved grooves and the surrounding material.

This indicated that both surfaces had aged simultaneously. Furthermore, the edges of the carving were worn and showed no signs of having been carved recently, or that the grooves were made with metal tools.

These factors led the researchers to believe the art is genuine, and that is serves as evidence that people living in the Americas during the last Ice Age created artistic images of the animals they hunted.

The engraving is at least 13,000 years old, the researchers concluded, as this is the date for the last appearance of these animals in eastern North America. More recent Pre-Columbian people would not have seen a mammoth or mastodon to draw.

The study further validates the findings of geologist Elias Howard Sellards at the Old Vero Site in the early 20th Century. His claims that people were in North America and hunted animals at Vero Beach during the last Ice Age have been debated over the past 95 years.

A cast of the carved fossil bone is now part of an exhibit of Florida Mammoth and Mastodons at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville.

The research is published online June 12 in the Journal of Archaeological Science.


See also:

Typically, of course, the experts are wrong and have not done their research. Incised images of extinct Ice-age mammals on bones of extinct Ice-age mammals in Mexico and have been known for something like seventy years now. Some of the petroglyphs commonly known to experts that study petroglyphs have been thought to have been of Ice-age vintage and so stated in the mass media in past decades, and some examples of what look to be crude sculptures in stone and bone were also stated to be of similar vintage in the past, even cited in scientific journals; and the same situation also goes for South America. In fact not only has American Ice-age art been alleged as old as the European examples, but they have been said to be of similar age and stylistic schools. E.F. Greenman in his 1963 article"The Upper Paleolithic and the New World", an earlier presentation of the TransAtlantic colonization theory, mentioned and illustrated some cave art reported from Wisconsin in the 1870s which was said to be similar to European cave art; two large boulders with human faces crudely carved on them were dug up from 26 feet down and associated with bones of extinct animals; and the National geographic has illustrated a piece of Llama sacrum dug up fromtequixquia, Mexico, said to be deliberately carved to resemble an animal face, perhapos a Coyote. In 1960, Dr. Juan Armenta Comacho, director of the Department of Anthropology at Puebla, Mexico, recovered a piece of mammoth pelvis engraved with figures illustrating several Ice-age mammals including a horse, a mammoth and a sabertoothed cat. Ivan Sanderson elsewhere reported an earlier occurance of what may have been a related culture of the Mexican great plateau, characterized by carving animal figurines out of animal bones-and then separately again about the Acambaro pottery figurines of supposed dinosaurs. The situation in South America is worse if anything because there is so much rock art there and some of it is definitely supposed to be very old. it would seem that scientists in the United States are so parochial that they do not even consider Mexico to be part of North America.

The real problem is a recurring one that centers around what are supposed to be depictions of mammoths or mastodons, more rarely perhaps giant ground sloths and other creatures. Scientists got so used to writing them off that they gained a knee-jerk reaction of crying "Hoax" automatically without good evidence. And in this case, the news stories hearken back to an earlier instance of what was supposed to be an engraving of a mammoth that was subsequently declared to be a hoax.

A Mammoth Fraud In Science
The Holly Oak pendant, shown in the accompanying sketch, reveals a mammoth incised on a piece of seashell. Said to have been discovered in 1864 at a Delaware archeological site, it has been employed to "prove" two different theories:

That humans were in North America as the Ice Ages waned and when mammoths still roamed the continent; and
The the mammoth survived in North America well into the Christian era.
In an article in American Antiquity, J.B. Griffin et al marshall considerable evidence implying that the Holly Oak pendant is a fraud. Much of this contrary evidence seems weak:

The discoverer of the pendant, H.Y. Cresson, was not highly regarded in American archeological circles of the time;
The pendant was not taken seriously by other archeologists;
The drawing of the mammoth "looks like" it was copied from an accepted European engraved tusk; and
The shell from which the Holly Oak pendant was made "looks like" shells found in other archeological sites with more recent dates; and so on.
The only "hard" evidence that the pendant is a fake comes from radiocarbon dating, which suggests that the shell is only 1530 ± 110 years old. The authors state that since mammoths positively did not survive that recently, the pendant must be a fraud.

Griffin et al thus dump the Holly Oak oendant into the archeological wastebasket of "proven" frauds. This rather large wastebasket, they say, also contains the Calaveras skull, the Davenport elephant pipes, the Lenape stone, and the Nampa Image!

(Griffin, James B., et al; "A Mammoth Fraud in Science," American Antiquity, 53:578, 1988. Also: Lewin, Roger; "Mammoth Fraud Exposed," Science, 242: 1246, 1988.)

Comment. We hate to see the Holly Oak pendant consigned to that infamous wastebasket, but the marks against it, soft as many of them are, are multitudinous. It could be resurrected as an anomaly if the radiocarbon date is shown to be grossly in error, as they sometimes are for seashells; or if the mammoth really did hang on it North America until fairly recent times. In our handbook Incredible Life, we have 10 pages of rather "soft" data that imply that the mammoths actually did survive the BC/AD transition. [This includes C14 dates on certain mammoth fossils themselves. So if you are going to kich about the date of a whelk shell being possibly wrong, you are not then entitled to the defense that the mammoth fossil C14 date is off by approximately the same amount of time-DD]

From Science Frontiers #61, JAN-FEB 1989. © 1989-2000 William R. Corliss
Below are the Holly Oak pendant together with the European ivory it was said to be copied from. I would call that a general resemblance only and not close enough to make a case for copying: there are probably a dozen other known representations of mammoths that are at least that similar and are not considered to be hoaxes.

Incidentally, the Old Vero deposits which have Ice Age fossil remains have also been pointed to as evidence for old "Mound Builders" activity since some of the fossil bones are supposed to be found in association with pottery and other advanced artifacts. There are once again the allegations that the C14 dates are funny. Immanuel Velikovsky points to this as evidence to support his theory in Earth In Upheaval, but the sources are legitimately scientific.

Friday, June 17, 2011

For The Record

The blogs have gone on a brief hiatus while I have entered a countersuit against the person who claimed I was infringing on their copyright in the original Billikens blog posting. Since the blog has been reposted without the material, nothing is at risk but my reputation: I just happen to think that is worth fighting for.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cochineal and Lacquer

Cochineal Scale Insects infesting a Pricly-Pear Cactus

Drawings of the Cochineal insects
From Wikipedia.

Cochineal Extract. A very valuable and expensive dye is derived from the crushed bodies of millions of these small insects and in PreColumbian times it was widely traded from Mexico to Peru and up to the Southern United States. It is valuable in making varnishes and in tanning leather red or staining carved wooden objects. It was also traded across the Pacific into India and Southern Asia as was noted on an earlier blog posting, and the prickly-pear cactus it grows on along with it. Neither the insect or the cactus is native to that part of the world. Since the Cochineal bugs are also found on the Canary Islands, they might also have been present on Atlantis when it was above the waves: but the common explanation is that the bugs were imported to the Canary Islands by the Spanish Conquistadores.

The native Indian and South-Asian equivalent to the Cochineal bug is the Lac, from which we get the terms "Shellac" and "Lacquer." The word Lac means a very great number and is a reference to the great numbers of the small insects which are used to make this extract. The fact that the Ancient Indians and Mexicans both had the concept of making Lac probably indicates that they both started from the same ancient parent culture, but as you can see the colour of the Lac is not so strong as it is n the Cochineal. So it stands to reason that when the new variety with the better colour was found, it was brought back home by later generations of explorers.

Best Wishes, Dale D.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

David Kelley on Pre-Columbian Lacquer

David Kelley reproduces this article in the spirit of having a guest speaker visit. I alaso pass it along in the same spirit. I shall have all of the plates together at top in this version, rather than foul it all up by putting the photos in the wrong place. It is especially noteworthy that lacquer-traders had established the Cochineal insects in India from Mexico during the PreColumbian period.



Lacquer, known in Mexico as Maque, in China as Ch'í-Ch'í and in Japan as Urushi, was a technology well-known in Michoacán, on the west coast of Mexico, at the time of the Spanish invasion. The process of lacquering was practiced for several centuries by pre-Columbian Amerindians in what today are the States of Chiapas, Guerrero, and Michoacán, and perhaps as far north as Sinaloa. The pre-Columbian Maque technology is mentioned in the Mendocino Codex, by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún in his Historia General de las Cosas de la Nueva España, [General History of the Matters of New Spain] and also by Fray Mendieta in hisCrónicas de Nueva España [Chronicles of New Spain].

China is regarded as the original home of lacquer. The Chinese recognized the protective qualities of the sap at least three thousand years ago (Casals, 1961:7). From China it was introduced to Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, and India, (Abrams 1984:19; Garner, 1969:16), and it seems, also to west Mexico. The earliest known example of Chinese lacquer dates from the Shang Dynasty, ca. 1523-1028 BC, when the middle kingdoms of China began using lacquer on household utensils, furniture, art objects, and to preserve historic records carved on bones and bamboo (Abrams, 1984:20).

The oldest fragments of lacquered objects found in Japan so far, occur before the Jomon period, ca. 6th to 3rd centuries B.C. Archaeological excavations have produced artifacts and fragments of lacquered objects dating from the Yayoi period ca. 250 BC-250 AD (von Ragué, 1967:4-5). In Japan lacquer producing trees became as important as the Mulberry for silkworms and paper making, and tea producing plants (Hayashi, 1983:360). Formal lacquer production in Japan can be defined to occur during the Kofun period, ca. 3th to 6th century (von Ragué, 1967:5; Casals, 1961:8). With the introduction of Buddhism in the 6th century lacquer became the medium to religious decoration.

Uruapan in Michoacán is considered the cradle of maque together with other centers in Chiapas and Guerrero. Maque art flourished there long before European contact. How did the Michoacán people come to know this art? Did they develop it? Was it introduced from Asia? If so, when and how? Maque in Michoacán probably dates from between the 8th and 12th centuries, when a wave of cultural innovations appeared in Michoacán, along with metallurgy and a new ceramic style.

Perhaps it was introduced earlier by the Buddhist monk, Hui Sheng, who in 458 A.D. led a group of monks from the kingdom of Jibin, today called Cachemira, on a voyage to the land of Fusang or Fusangguo, as recorded in the Chinese encyclopedia and other historical documents. Fusang is the Japanese word for a tree and describes the saguaro cactus plant native to Mexico, and guo means "country" or "land." Hui Shen returned to China 41 years later, in 499, and reported his findings to the Xiao kingdom of the Qi state. It was recorded as his personal testimony during the Liang dynasty between 520 and 528 (Vargas, 1990:13-14).

In 1920, the Secretary of the Chinese Legation in Mexico and the artist Gerardo Murillo, better known as Dr. Atl, were convinced that about the year 600 AD, the Chinese reached the west coast of Mexico to where now are the states of Guerrero, Oaxaca, Michoacán, Jalisco, and Nayarit. Dr. Atl published an article titled "The Chinese were the discoverers of our nation" in the newspaper Excelsior, on May 22, 1921. He speculated that merchants introduced the lacquer technology (de Paul León, 1922:56; Zuno,1952:145).

There is a story in Nayarit of a pre-Columbian Asian ship that arrived on their coast and was cordially received by the chief of the Coras. Archaeology in Nayarit has produced artistic tripod ceramic funerary urns in tombs known as tumbas de Tiro y cámara (shaft and chamber tombs); dated ca. 1000 to 200 BC.

The culture known as Ancient Coras (400-900 AD) practiced terraced agriculture, and between 900 to 1200 metallurgy was introduced (Encyclopedia de Mexico,Vol.9:671-672). Indeed, a multitude of evidence indicates that a vast network of Pacific rim merchants traded along the coast of the American continent from Peru to Alaska (Murra, 1991). (Fig.1,2)

There are two principal types of lacquer: one from tree sap, the other from an insect. The first type is made from sap extracted from the Rhus verniciflua, a tree indigenous to China, Japan, and Korea, closely related to the sumac; and the Rhus melonórrhoea laccífera and the Rhus usitata trees, native to Southeast Asia. The sap from these trees is considered to be the true lacquer (Bedford, 1969:5; Hayashi, 1983:360). The second type, native to India, Burma, and other regions of Southeast Asia, is a red gummy substance deposited on the bark of certain trees by the insect Coccus laccá or Tachardia laccá (Bedford, 1969:5; Casals, 1961:5). The insects are related to the aje and cochineal insects found in west Mexico. Aje is the source of lacquer in Michoacán. The insects feed from selected sap, producing a waxy substance that hardens on their body and serves as protection against other insects.

The Hindustani term lac was applied to the substance produced by the insects on the bark of trees (Bedford, 1969:5), and the word Laccá, that in English became lacquer, was introduced to the world ca. 1553, by the Portuguese who brought it back from their travels in the Orient (Garner, 1979:19).

Lacquer is resistant to water, acids, and heat. (Yoshino, 1959:16) Undamaged objects have been found in ancient underground tombs that had been submerged in water for centuries. In 1878, a Japanese vessel sank containing valuable lacquer pieces on their way to a World's Fair. Nearly two years later, the lacquer objects were found unharmed (Bedford, 1969:6-7). However, lacquer is usually applied to perishable materials, such as wood, gourds or leather which eventually decay and disappear (Abrams, 1984:20).

Chinese and Japanese lacquer processes are essentially the same. The lacquer tree, Urushi-no-ki in Japanese (Kodansha Encyclopedia, 1983:36) and Chi shu in Chinese (Chinese Dictionary, 1981:531: Bedford, 1967:5), occurs in a wild state and is cultivated in plantations in both countries. The process to extract the resin from the tree is also similar. Lacquer's unique characteristic is its need for a moist and temperate atmosphere in order to dry. Warm dampness converts the sap into a dense mass that hardens as enamel. Density and drying vary with temperature, thickness and humidity (Abrams, 1984:12; Bedford, 1969:6; Garner, 1979:15).

Before applying lacquer in the traditional way, the surface is prepared by carefully filling all cracks with a mixture of rice flour and Seshime. Seshime is the resin extracted from the young branches of the Rhus verniciflua tree (Casals, 1961:13) and, to give it the proper consistency, is mixed with rice-paste or with the dust from the decayed wood of the keyaki or shii (S. Cuspidata) tree or with volcanic ash, the compound is called Kokuso (Casals, 1961:12). The object is then sanded until completely smooth, (Yoshino, 1959:31-33; Abrams, 1984:36). Another coat of seshime lacquer is applied to fill in all the pores, followed by a coat of fine clay mixed with lacquer. From ten to one hundred coats of this mixture are necessary before the decoration process begins, and some styles may required as many as 300 applications. Each coat is applied with a very fine brush made of human hair. Each layer must be completely dry and the object polished before the next coat is applied. Drying may take from 2 days to 6 months depending on the climate, lacquer thickness, type of decoration, and material on which the lacquer is applied. Polishing is done with a whetstone, using powdered vegetable carbons or burned deer-horn powder applied with a soft cotton cloth slightly moistened with vegetable oil and rubbed on the object with the thumb and palm of the hand. The above process may be repeated as many as 60 or 70 times to achieve the desired effect (Abrams, 1984:85; Yoshino, 1959:31; Casals, 1961:14).

Chinese and Japanese lacquer application techniques fall into several categories: inlaying, carving, dry lacquer, incising, painting, gold and silver decorations (such as Makie), and bodiless lacquer that began in the 18th century in China. Each category is subdivided into many styles, creating over one hundred varieties.

The earliest Japanese and Chinese lacquer usually combined red and black. Gradually other colors and decoration styles developed using inlays of mother-of-pearl and other sea-shells, pearls, woods, ivory, jade, turquoise and other semi-precious stones, gold and silver powder sprayed over wet lacquer or applied in sheets and threads.

The exact time of carved lacquer (tiao ch'i in Chinese) cannot be precisely dated. It originated in China, probably in the late T'ang dynasty some 1,200 years ago. The process begins by applying several layers of thin colorless lacquer and as many more of different colors. The design is outlined and carved to expose the desired color underneath, and is burnished and polished between each color exposed. The best known as uniquely Chinese is t'i hong, red or Peking lacquer. All the lacquer applications are cinnabar red and carved to expose the red background which is carved with a different design (Abrams, 1984:36; Bedford, 1969:10).

Incised lacquer dates back, probably, to the late Sung dynasty (960-1279) (Bedford, 1969:28). With a sharp pointed instrument, a very fine line is incised into the several coats of lacquer; the incised line is filled with lacquer of a contrasting color, silver foil, or gold dust.

The Makie process, that in Japanese literally means sprinkled picture, (von Ragué,1967:5; Yoshino, 1959:33; Abrams, 1984:73) is a specific style of lacquering. It began in the Heian period (710-1185), and continued through the Kamakura period (1185-1333) when it reached the highest point of refinement and popularity (Makie became representative of Japanese lacquer) (Abrams, 1984:76-81; Yonemura, 1979:361; von Ragué, 1967:5). The original Makie consisted of applying gold or silver dust on a wet coat of lacquer, polishing it after it dried, and repeating the process as many times as desired, sometimes substituting or adding colored powders (Abrams, 1984:77; Yoshino, 1959:33-37). (Fig.3)

Most of the different types of Makie use gold, of which the best known is Hira-makie (flat makie). Silver and/or gold is sprinkled on a design drawn on wet lacquer and after it dries the surface is rubbed with absorbent cotton moist with lacquer, it is then burnished with ashes. Togidashi-makie (burnished makie) is a gold and silver design covered with layers of usually black lacquer, and burnished until the design appear on the surface. In Takamakie (relief makie, as its name indicates), the design, which is modeled by applying layers of charcoal powder, stands out from the surface; after lacquering, the design is scoured and polished with cotton moistened with lacquer. Other Makie styles consist of applying numerous layers of lacquer over gold and/or silver dust or thin sheets; the surface is then burnished with a whetstone and scoured with ashes. All these styles were fundamental, very distinctive Japanese techniques (Abrams, 1984:76-81; von Ragué, 1967:5; Yoshino, 1959:33-38).

The Chinese and Japanese applied lacquer to armor, helmets, sword-cases, leather vests and shields. Armor for soldiers and their horses were lacquered layers of leather that made them practically impenetrable by swords or arrows (Abrams 1984:21; Casals, 1961:8). With the introduction of Buddhism altars, walls, and religious symbols and sculptures were lacquered. They also lacquered cups, handles, plates, and other household utensils, and to all sort of objects made of wood, bamboo, hemp (Soku), paper, metal, and earthenware. During the Kofun period (ca. 250-552) lacquer was used extensively on furniture, doors, screens and even entire rooms. Emperor Yomei (586-587) issued an order that taxes should be paid with raw lacquer. Many families who had land planted the urushi-no-ki trees to produce the necessary lac to pay their taxes (Yonemura, 1979:361; Yoshino, 1959:63).

Asian and Mexican lacquers have been compared with a great deal of debate, one argument being that Mexican maque cannot be considered the same as Asian lacquer since the sap of the lac Rhus verniciflua tree is not used. Nevertheless--although Asia and Mexico use different substances--the technology, process of application and results are the same. Both lac and aje harden on the object to which they are applied, water-proof it, are impervious to acids and heat, and facilitate the same types of decoration, and even similar designs are found in both cultures. (Fig.4,5)

If the term Maque originate from the word Makie (sprinkled picture.) Then, Maque, the name for lacquer process in west Mexico, is of Japanese origin, and it applies to the full range of processes and styles used in west Mexico. It is used in the same way as the term "China" is used to denote all porcelain serving dishes.

Maque is a semi-liquid paste--formed with a mixture of animal and vegetable oils, and natural refined clays--used, as lacquer is, to waterproof and decorate the surfaces of various types of objects.

The principal ingredient (animal) is the grease extracted from the aje insect (Coccus laccá, or Coccus -axin). The aje insects are purposely propagated by the P'urhépecha people of Michoacán, who are today known as Tarascos, a name given them by the Spanish.

Aje insects must be gathered alive during the rainy season and, still alive, dropped into boiling water. (Insects death before boiling are not useful). The aje is boiled until it releases a hard waxy substance. When the water cools the substance floats to the surface, is collected, washed, and is re-heated to remove any water residues and to liquefy it for easy straining; when it cools, like bars of butter, is stored wrapped in corn husks (Sepúlveda, 1978:43; Zuno, 1952:40).

Traditionally, insects were collected in May and June, wrapped in corn husks along with some tassels for their nourishment, and stored in a safe place where other insects would not disturb them. In November and December, the husks were opened inside white loose-weave cotton bags, and attached to selected trees (Sepúlveda, 1978:43; Zuno, 1952:152) such as cherry, acacia trees (spondias), pine-nuts, (Jathropha curcas) and Amate and in the enphobiacea plants (Aleurites laccifera triloba) (Jett, 1993:33),. The insects crawled out of the bags to find a place to lodge on the woody crevices of the tree-bark, and were harvested the following year (Sepúlveda, 1978:43; Zuno, 1952:152).

The second ingredient (vegetable), Chía oil, is extracted from the seeds of a native sage plant Salvia chian, (imptis-spicata), an annual of the labiada family native of Mexico. The Aztecs cultivated the plant for its medicinal properties; to prepare a refreshing beverage; and to extract the oil. Chia oil has a high glyceric content that quickly absorbs oxygen from the air, and forms an elastic hard surface with drying properties, it serves to thin the aje mixture. Chía oil is the base for maque in Chiapas and Guerrero where there is no aje (de Paul León, 1922:23; Sepúlveda, 1978:44).

The Chia oil is extracted by slowly roasting the seeds on a flat metal or clay dish on a low fire until they are uniformly light brown, or the seeds begin to pop open. When cool, the seeds are ground in a hand-mill or on a stone pestle. Hot water is added to the fine flour to form a mushy paste, which, when cool, is kneaded for about an hour or until the oil begins to drip. The paste is wrapped in a cloth and twisted to wring out the oil. Finally, the oil is boiled to preserve it until it is needed (Sepúlveda, 1978:62).

The third ingredient (mineral), fine dolomite powder, is added to the aje and chia oil to give it the necessary consistency. Dolomite--called Teputzuta in P'urhépecha -- and other similar mineral clays used as colorants give body to the maque mixture.

The Maque process in Michoacán follows the Chinese and Japanese prototype. Amerindians seem to have reinterpreted the technology and adapted it to regional climatic conditions and materials. Preparation of the surface is identical as in China and Japan--that is, any cracks are filled with a mixture called Nimácata (equivalent to Japanese Kokuso), a mixture of dolomite powder and Chía oil (Zuno, 1952:153). The object is sanded until completely smooth and as many coats of nimácata are applied as necessary and drying and sanded in between applications until all pores are filled and all imperfections eliminated (Sepúlveda, 1978). The earliest technique used in Michoacán was similar to Japanese Makie--that is, powdered colored clays were sprayed onto wet nimácata. It was then polished with a whetstone, and scoured with ashes of burned animal bones or from burned olote (corn cob). Other than the makie style, other techniques included incising (termed rayado or embutido) and incrustation.

Colors initially used in pre-Hispanic Michoacán were red and black as in early Chinese and Japanese lacquer ware. Black was obtained from the fine powder of burned animal bones or from burned corn cob. Other colors were later introduced such, as blue, yellow and green. Colors are also extracted from plants and insects. Vermilion was achieved by combining sulfur and cinnabar. (Fig.6)

Magenta, purple, and scarlet, were extracted from cochineal eggs (Sepúlveda, 1978:44). To extract the color from cochineal, the insects are cooked in vapor and dried in the sun before being ground to a fine powder. The purpura and red colors obtained from the cochineal were associated with fire and the sun and were considered to posses magic and spiritual values (Fernández, Ortíz, Torrens, 1989:7; Jett, 1993:33).

Yellow was extracted by boiling a piece of zacapele wood; the resulting tincture was mixed with clays of other colors for different color combination. Sahagún wrote in his chronicles that dry, finely ground colorants in red, scarlet, ocher, and green, and also a yellow paste called Tzictli, obtained in creeks near Tula, were sold in the market of Tlatelolco (then, near Mexico city) and were used to color maque.

Blue, (añil) or indigo, was obtained from a plant. Blue from natural colorants is difficult to produce in maque or lacquer. Properties in lac and aje affect colors and therefore the use of color is limited. The Japanese obtained a variety of color shades by adding lead oxide (litharge) to the oil obtained from the seeds of the Perilla frutescens Brit. the mixture was boiled before adding the pigment and then added to the lacquer. The same results were achieved in maque by adding alum (Yonemura, 1959:30; Sepúlveda, 1978).

Rayado (incising), is a traditional technique used in maque centers in today's states of Michoacán, Guerrero, and Chiapas. Early Mexican techniques of applying colors and decorations were the same as in China and Japan. The design is carved using the point of a sharp cactus needle inserted in a turkey quill some other large bird, (in the fashion of ancient ink writing pen). The soft plume of the feather is used to brush off the excess clay or maque that is carved off (Sepúlveda, 1978). The fine incised lines are filled with contrasting colored maque--one color at a time-- drying, scouring and polishing after each application. (Fig.7)

Carving in Michoacán is somewhat different than the Chinese carved lacquer. Each part of the design of the same color--such as flower's petals--is carved from the several coats of a maque and the cavities filled with the desired color. One color at a time--drying, scouring and polishing after each. The process is an early style in Michoacán, used first in ceramics that have been termed pseudo-cloisonne, an ancient Chinese traditional technique of filling design cavities with various materials, including enamels on a metal base. (Fig.8)

Incrustado (inlaying) in maque ware used turquoise stones, and perhaps coral, mother-of-pearl, and gold, copper, or silver. No samples of maque ware have survived to indicate that other materials were used in incrustation, but that technique has existed for centuries in west Mexico.

Sculpting in Michoacán with dry lacquer, a process which originated in China during the Han dynasty (206 B.C.-221 A.D.), is similar to the Japanese process which dates from the Nara period (710-784). In the latter, a rough form was made in clay, sun-dried, and covered with a paste composed of seshime and dry crushed tree bark, fibers, leaves, and slime from decomposed leaves (Bedford, 1969:15; Abrams, 1984:73), then covered with numerous layers of seshime interlined with strips of fabric--hemp, silk, linen--or paper. Once the frame was formed and dried, the base material was removed, and the sculpture lacquered and decorated. In the Michoacán process, the sculpture was formed from the pulp of the corn plant's stem, mixed with a glue extracted from the bulb of a native orchid and the slimy juice of the nopal (cactus). Several layers of nimácata and base coats of maque were applied, then decorated with colored maque or painted (El Quehacer de un Pueblo,1990:163)(Fig.9)

Painting designs on maque ware --Urushi-e in Japanese and hua ch'i in Chinese--began in China around the time of the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-221 A.D.). There are two types of painting: painting with lacquer, in which the design is painted on a lacquer background with colored lacquer, and painting on lacquer with oils, using oil paint over a surface treated with several layers of lacquer, with additional layers of lacquer over the painted design (Bedford, 1969:15-16). Michoacán painting style differs only (perhaps a trend of recent years) in that the painted design is not covered with additional coats of maque. (Fig.10)

Michoacán's maque designs were simple natural themes taken from flora and fauna--frogs, deer, birds, flowers and scrolls. At first the variety of objects decorated with maque was not extensive. Wood objects, hard-shell gourds (Legenaria ciseraria) and various hard-shell fruits of the calabash family (Cucurbita maxima) (Sepúlveda, 1978:4).

La Relación de las ceremonias y ritos y gobierno de los indios de la provincia de Mechuacan, a historic document of the P'urhépecha, mentions that the high priest and the P'urhépecha chief, Tariákuri, carried a lacquered gourd as a symbol of nobility. A lacquered gourd was given to a person appointed to a high position, as a symbol of authority. The custom of P'urhépecha society was to pay tribute to their lords with seeds and grain contained in lacquered gourds and calabash bowls, (jícaras). Documented in the chronicles, Relaciones Geográficas del Siglo XVI,(Geographic Relations of the 16th Century) is that the P'urhépecha made canoes of hallowed tree trunks and were lacquered to make them water proof (Sepúlveda, 1978:8). With the introduction of catholicism by the Spanish maque objects became popular and in high demand. The type of objects decorated with maque expanded to pulpits, altars; to furniture, mirrors, statues of saints, and many other ornamental and household items.

Lacquer technology is not the only Asian cultural similarity found in west Mexico. There is an extensive pre-Columbian cultural complex in Mexico, and at various points along the Pacific coast of the American continent where extraordinary Asian similarities are found that must be recognized as evidence of early contacts, whether by accident, commerce, or migration.

In Michoacán maque was a controlled craft supervised and directed by an appointed person called the uráni-atári, (La Relación, 1541) while in Japan the term urúshibe was used to described lacquer-ware craftsmen (Casals, 1961:7; von Ragué, 1967:5). Similarities in vocabulary should be noted: Mexican/Japanese maque/makie, uráni--urúshibe--Uruapan (the last is the name of the al town that has produced maque ware long before the Spanish invasion of Mexico), and of Ch'í-Ch'í (the Chinese word for lacquer) to chía oil.

If the Japanese Makie, sprinkled lacquer style, dates from the Heian period (794-1185), the first maque technique used in Michoacán where the name was adopted to describe the technology, it indicates Japanese contact with Mexico about the 8th century. The introduction of Chinese carving and incising styles may also have been introduced by the Japanese who adopted the lacquer technology from China. Whether lacquer, maque, ch'í-ch'í, or urushi, the technology made a trans-Pacific, pre-Columbian journey along with many other cultural traits, beliefs, and technologies, that were reinterpreted and adapted to their cultural needs by the people of Michoacán.


Abrams, Harry N. Lacquer: An International History and Illustrated Survey. New York: Harry N. Abrams Inc., 1984.

Bedford, John. Chinese and Japanese Lacquer. New York: Walker and Company Inc., 1969.

Beijing Conservatory of Foreign Language, English Department. A Chinese-English Dictionary. Beijing: Commercial Affairs Book Press, 1981.

Casals, U.A. Japanese Art Lacquers. Tokyo: Sophia University, 1961.

de Paul León, Francisco. Los Esmaltes de Uruapan.Ed. of manuscript dated in 1922, Morelia, Innovación, Mexico, 1984.

El Quehacer de un Pueblo. Casa de las artesanías.Impresos Gráficos Lira, Morelia, 1990.

Fernandez, E., Ortíz, J.C., Torrens O. Purpura.Chiapas: Instituto Chiapaneco de Cultura, 1989.

Garner, Sir Harry. Chinese Lacquer. London/Boston: Faber and Faber, 1979.

Hayashi, Yasaka "Lacquer Tree," Kodansha Encyclopedia of Japan, Vol.4, 1983, p. 360.

Jett, Stephen C. "Dyestuffs and Possible Early Contacts Between Southwestern Asia and Nuclear America,"NEARA Journal, Volume XXV. No 1 & 2, Summer/Fall 1993.

La Relación de las Ceremonias y ritos y población y gobierno de los indios de la provincia de Mechuacan, Mexico, 1541.

Murra, John V. Paper presented in Mexico at the Quincentenary symposium. Seeds of Industry,Smithsonian Institution, 1990.

Ragué, Beatrix von. A History of Japanese Lacquerwork. Toronto/Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 1967.

Sepúlveda, Maria Teresa. Maque. Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, SEP, Sección de Etnografía, Mexico, 1978.

Sahagún, Bernardino. Historia General de las Cosas de la Nueva España, [General History of the Things of New Spain], 4th ed. Editorial Porrua, S.A., 1544/1979.

Yonemura, Ann. "Japanese Lacquer," Kodansha Encyclopaedia of Japan, Vol.4, 1979, p.361.

Yoshino, Tomio. Japanese Lacquer Ware. Tokyo: Japan Travel Bureau/Toppan Printing Co., 1959.

Zuno, José Guadalupe. "Las llamadas lacas Michoacánas de Uruapan no proceden de las Orientales," Cuadernos Americanos, 11 (3), 1952, pp. 145-65.


The first ch'i means 'lacquer'; the second, 'object', changing only in pronunciation (qi 'lacquer, paint'; qi-qi 'lacquer-ware, lacquerwork, bodiless lacquer' (A Chinese-English Dictionary; Beijing, 1981:531).

Olaf Holm, cit.; Maria Rostworoski, "Mercaderes del valle de Chincha, " Revista Española de Antropologia Americana, Vol. 5, 1970, Madrid; José Alcina French, et. al., Navigacion precolumbina: Evidencias e hipotesis," Revista Española de Antropologia Americana, Vol. XVII, pp. 35-73, 1987, Madrid; John V. Murra, The Economic Organization of the Inka State[1955], 1980, ch. VII; Olivia Harris, B. Larson, and E. Tandeter, La participacion indigena en los mercados surandinos, La Paz, Bolivia, 1987; J. V. Murra, "An Archaeological Re-study of an Andean Ethnohistorical Account," American Antiquity, Vol. 28, 1962.

P'urhépecha - the people who migrated to Michoacán, called Tarascos by the Spanish at the time of their invasion of Mexico, and known as such today. However, modern Tarascos prefer to be called P'urhépecha. Their ethic name is not known, Linguist Mary LeCron Foster analyzed P'urhépecha as meaning 'wanderers' or 'those who are transplanted'; p'oré means 'to visit', with the suffix -pe meaning 'interaction' or 'change'; -cha is the plural suffix. (In Gilberti's Diccionary, P'urhépecha means 'peasants'.)

La Relación de las Ceremonias y ritos y población y gobierno de los indios de la provincia de Mechuacan, Mexico, 1541, 143 pages, 44 illustrations; narrated to Spanish monks Fr. Martín de la Coruña and Fr. Gerónimo de Alcalá by P'urhépecha elders of the council of Tzintzuntzan, the capital of the province of Michoacán at the time of the conquest. The original is in the Museum and Library of the Escorial in Madrid, Spain, and a copy of the original is in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., in Editor Peter Force's collection of papers.

Cultural Diffusion by David Kelley

I have been holding off on this information for a while because I have the originals at home and no way to get hardcopy files scanned to the blogs at present. But David Kelley is an author who added a very informative second section onto Hugh Moran's book The Alphabet and the Ancient Calendar Signs (1969), and in that he not only discusses the correspondances which follow here, he also notes that the same correspondances involve the ancient Indian, Tamil and Indonesian zodiacs. That means that all of these South Asian zodiacs are also related to the Chinese one, a point which was actually more important for my own arrangement for TransPacific cultural diffusion.

[ PDF Link for review article of Moran and Kelley's book: ]

In this case the basic idea has been around for long enough. Donnelly speaks of it in his book on Atlantis on page 151: [Alexander Von] Humbolt, whose high authority cannot be questioned, by an elaborate discussion ("Vues des Cordilleras" p. 148 et seq., 1870), has shown the relative likeness of the Nahua (Aztec) calendar to that of Asia. He cites the fact that the Chinese, Japanese,Calmucks,Mongols, Manchu and the other hordes of Tartary have cycles of sixty years' duration, each divided into five brief periods of twelve years each. The method of citing a date by sign and number is quite similar with Asiatics and Mexicans. He further shows satisfactorily that the majority of the names of the twenty days employed by the Aztecs are those of a zodiac used since the most remote antiquity among the peoples of East Asia.

Aztec Day-Signs

Mayan Equivalents Below.

Chinese Animal Signs

In the case of the book involving Hugh Moran this same calendar is linked also to Mesopotamia and the ancient Mid-East, and to the origins of our (Phoenicia) Alphabet.


David B. Kelley

Showa Boston Institute

1997 by David B. Kelley. All rights reserved.


The following discussion addresses certain issues connected with the theory of cultural diffusion. Because my recent work has focussed on the problem of parallelism in the cultural artifacts of China and Mesoamerica, I emphasize those two areas of the world. However, much of what I mention is also meant to apply to similar issues, involving all cultural areas. I would also like to mention that, although the views expressed below are rather limited in their scope (and are all my own, except where other sources are noted), there are a number of web sites dealing with the same topic, in much more depth and with greater expertise. Among my favorites is the one maintained by Wallace Gray (Southwestern College, Winfield, Kansas, U.S.A.). You may wish to click HERE to visit his "Plott Project" site and read some excerpts from the writings of the philosopher, John C. Plott, as well as Prof. Gray's own writings about diffusion. All of the analyses of Chinese, Aztec, and Maya data appearing on this page were originally presented in my 1996 paper. As in the original paper, the major source for the Chinese data is a Chinese-English dictionary by Mathews, with all reconstructed Chinese forms obtained from Gakken's Chinese-Japanese dictionary. The major sources of Aztec and Maya data are books by Thompson; Kelley; Moran and Kelley; and Sharer. Unfortunately, in this limited discussion, I can present only a limited selection of my comparative data on the Chinese and Maya number symbols and words (in the Endnotes section), and no data on a possible correlation of the starting points of the Chinese and Maya calendar systems, which were presented and discussed in my 1996 paper. That 1996 paper followed the publication of a series of three other papers on the Chinese lunar mansion system and its possible relationship to calendrical and astronomical systems in various parts of the world.
The Roots of Mesoamerican Civilization Lie in Mesoamerica
After some years of comparing certain elements of the cultures of China and Mesoamerica, I have come to the personal conclusion that they are basically unrelated, with emphasis being placed on the word "basically." The rather obvious differences in the languages, religions, systems of mathematics, writing systems, calendric systems, and numerous other manifestations of culture, have forced me to that conclusion. Such differences imply that the "bases" of the civilizations are completely different, as well. And so, at the very beginning of this section on cultural diffusion, I want to make myself perfectly clear. Not all people who consider themselves to be proponents of cultural diffusion, especially those whose research is focussed on Mesoamerican civilization, and the question of whether or not diffusion of cultural elements into the Americas from outside the Americas ever occurred, believe that the roots of Mesoamerican civilization lie outside Mesoamerica. Quite the contrary, to me and a number of other diffusionists, they can not but lie firmly in Mesoamerica, itself.
Now, this may seem to be a rather strange thing for a diffusionist to say, especially to specialists on Mesoamerian cultures who are used to thinking that one corollary of diffusionist theory is that the Mesoamericans were so backward that they could have never developed the splendid civilizations they did, without outside help. This is one of the accusations used by such people to justify their condemnation of much of the research of proponents of different kinds of so-called "diffusionist" theories. Of course, this has not been their only criticism -- they have also questioned the methodology employed by certain diffusionist researchers, as well as the speculative nature of much diffusionist research (which will be discussed below). To get an overview of the sentiments of certain people who seriously question the value of specific examples of diffusionist research, you may wish to click HERE and visit a site with a section called: "Rebuttals of Unsubstantiated Claims of Pre-Columbian Transoceanic Contacts." On the other hand, it must be recognized that not all Mayanists reject the possibility of diffusion from Asia to the Americas, or vice versa. Michael Coe and David H. Kelley are two examples of well-respected Mayanists who have seriously considered such possibilities. You may wish to clickHERE and visit a site where some of Michael Coe's writings on the subject may be read. According to Coe, in his 1992 book, David H. Kelley has been interested in such possibilities at least from the time he was a graduate student at Harvard. In fact, "diffusion of the Mesoamerican calendar from west to east" was the subject of Kelley's Ph.D. dissertation.From my reading of Dr. Kelley's present research, I know that he still retains an active interest in such possibilities. And so, not all Mayanists view diffusionist research with the disdain seen recently in a certain Internet discussion group.<1>

In spite of statements to the contrary, generally by those who see no value in discussing even the possibility of cultural diffusion, very few diffusionists believe that the civilizations that arose in the Americas were in any way "inferior" to those that arose in other parts of the world; in point of fact, most diffusionists, including myself, have the highest regard for the abilities of the ancient Mesoamericans, and further, most adamantly contend, as I do, that they created their own highly sophisticated civilizations without any need for outside assistance.

Nevertheless, in regard to the last sentence, I must advise the reader to note carefully my use of the word "need." In order to clarify my use of that word, let me use the example of Japanese culture. In spite of the fact that the Japanese of some 1,500 years ago did not "need" any input from China (or elsewhere) to achieve a high level of culture, nevertheless, they did receive it, through extended and extensive contacts with the Chinese. And, despite the hundreds of years of influence by China, neither can I say that the roots of Japanese culture lie anywhere but in Japan, and indeed, account for the significant linguistic and cultural differences between China and Japan. And, just as in the case of Japan, we can not exclude the possibility of contacts between the ancient Mesoamericans and other, non-American, peoples. Neither the Japanese nor the Mesoamericans (or any other group of humans) ever lacked the potential to develop a "high" culture. Yet, given the differences noted in the first paragraph, we can not assume that the possible contacts between the Chinese and the Mesoamericans were as extensive or as extended as were those in regard to the contacts between the Chinese and the Japanese. That Chinese culture has had a strong impact on Japanese culture is unquestioned, but this is obviously not the case with regard to any possible contact(s) between the Chinese and Mesoamericans. This can, indeed, be legitimately questioned because the manifestations of such contact(s) are much less evident, and therefore much more arguable.

And so, I hope that various specialists on Mesoamerica will reconsider their accusations of bias, on the part of all or most diffusionist research, and ignore the whole issue of possible outside influence -- this can never lead to any answers. They should learn to approach this issue with an open mind and heart, just as is required of any diffusionist researcher. However, beyond the issue of whether or not a certain example of diffusionist research is in any way biased (and certainly, some of it is), isolationists also raise the issue of improper methodology and over-speculation. Just as certain of the methodologies employed by Mayanists in the pre-Knorosov era, especially those employed by J. Eric Thompson, even into the Knorosov era, were strongly questioned by David H. Kelley and others , and finally shown to be inappropriate (as noted by Coe), so too, should the methodologies employed by diffusionist researchers be questioned, and no less vigorously. I address some of the weaknesses in diffusionist research, in some detail, below. Still, not a few modern Mayanists, especially the epigraphers it seems, have forgotten that their criticisms of the methodologies employed by diffusionists, as well as the level of speculation found in much diffusionist research, cuts two ways.

The kind and degree of speculation seen in numerous non-diffusionist articles and books, as for example in Freidel, Schele, and Parker's book,Maya Cosmos, is no less a part of the "scientific" method than the kind and degree of speculation seen in Paul Shao's book, The Origin of Ancient American Cultures. I have enjoyed reading both books, and have learned much from them, but in spite of the plethora of endnotes of the former book, it is no more "scientific" than the latter book, in my opinion. Along with their speculations, both attempt to present evidence in support of their respective hypotheses, in as convincing (i.e. "scientific") a manner as possible. But, are the writers of the two books using the same, or different, definitions of this much discussed method?

Well, to begin with, we all know that, according to the scientific method, NO theory or hypothesis can ever be proved; it can only be disproved. We also know that the evidence which corroborates a particular hypothesis may very well accumulate until it seems overwhelming (to one or another group of researchers, at least). And lastly, we all know that a single piece of contradictory evidence may ultimately serve to negate that hypothesis, and call for either a new version of the old hypothesis, or a completely new hypothesis to be devised. This situation helps explain why it is not at all unusual to see researchers use every means at their disposal to denigrate that contradictory piece of evidence. We all know these things, and as proper researchers we should all strive to use methodologies that generate and elucidate supporting evidence of the highest quality. But, what about the role of "speculation" in scientific research.

With all its checks and balances, the scientific method seems to work most efficiently when speculation, of the very kinds seen in the cases mentioned above, is not only allowed, but encouraged. In Judson's book, dealing with the use of the scientific method by some of the greatest scientists of our time, one can not escape the conclusion that the kinds of joyous speculation seen in the thinking of these great scientists (and in the works of Freidel, Schele and Shao, as well) are an absolutely essential component of useful research. In fact, in the case of Maya Cosmos it was in those instances when Schele reveled in her discoveries and insights, and showed us how exciting such research could be, that I was most impressed by her research. The very same kind of enthusiasm was shown by Shao in his work. And so, we should be aware that this excitement in our research goes hand in hand with the freedom to speculate, with both, quite possibly, leading the researcher to potentially useful discoveries.

And so, I am throwing out a challenge to both groups (diffusionist and isolationist) not only to use some degree of caution in their work and comments, but also to allow others to have the same kind of freedom of thought that they demand for themselves. In my view, diffusionists who assume a completely non-American source for Mesoamerican civilizations are being just as narrow-minded as isolationists who assume that civilizations developed without any outside influence(s) whatsoever. And, whether they be proponents of diffusion or not, researchers must always fight the (almost natural) instinct to preserve the status quo by rejecting their opponents views out of hand, and by restricting discussion and speculation. Who knows, it may turn out that one or the other group is right (or, both groups, to some extent). But, at this point, all types of "extreme" views only cripple the process of finding any answers. In the end, our goal as researchers should be to seek the truth about these, and all such matters.

Facing the Lack of Concrete Physical Evidence
If there are, as I mentioned in the first paragraph, "rather obvious differences in the languages, religions, systems of mathematics, writing systems, calendric systems, and numerous other manifestations of culture," then one might reasonably ask, "Why bother to bring up the whole issue of cultural diffusion at all?" But the most damning question of all, it seems, is "Why is there no physical evidence which might serve to substantiate a claim that the Chinese, or any other "outside" group, had visited the Americas in pre-Columbian times?" To my knowledge, not one piece of physical evidence, of Chinese origin, had ever been found which can serve this function. In answer to both questions, I merely say that I am a diffusionist because I have found what I believe to be sufficiently abundant evidence of parallelism in certain cultural artifacts to warrant the assumption that contacts may have occurred between the Chinese and certain peoples of Mesoamerica. This answer, I realize, seems to fly in the face of logic -- if there are no physical artifacts, then how can there be cultural artifacts?
In spite of a wealth of data which substantiates a claim that Western European Christianity is derived from a Middle Eastern source, what physical evidence of Middle Eastern culture is there to substantiate a claim that there were ever Middle Eastern proselytizers living in Western Europe? Or, in spite of a less obvious, but large, collection of data which substantiates a claim that Chinese alchemists had a profound impact on Western medieval science, what physical evidence is there that there were ever any Chinese in Europe? In the former case, we assume that the number of Middle Easterners who were proselytizing were relatively small, and so the spread of Christianity was dependent on a core of Europeans who had been converted, in Europe, by the small group of Middle Easterners, or that Europeans living in the Middle East brought the idea back to Europe. In the second case, we assume that there was an intermediary group (primarily the Arabs) whose function it was to pass on the Chinese learning. In both cases, however, an effort was made to find an explanation for the presence of (1) Christianity or (2) Chinese-style science in Western Europe, in spite of the fact that there is very little, or no, physical evidence of Middle Easterners or Chinese in Europe. Of course, there is every possibility that there were real, living Middle Eastern and Chinese people in Europe, but why would one even worry about that, if there were no cultural artifacts (such as a religion, or a particular approach to science) to make one wonder?

In the same light, there is even no physical evidence of the Native Americans ever having come from Asia. The physical anthropologists very well may tell us that the physiognomy of ancient Asians and Americans were so similar that they are quite likely related, but there is no direct physical evidence of even one Asian being in the Americas in ancient times. And so, I do not base my assumption that there may have been Chinese in pre-Columbian America on direct physical evidence, but rather, on the cultural artifacts of the Mesoamericans that point to some influence from beyond the Americas, in much the same way as cultural anthropologists (and historical linguists) do.

Why Even the Cultural Evidence is Obscure
As I mentioned above, I am a diffusionist because I have found what I believe to be sufficiently abundant evidence of parallelism in certain cultural artifacts to warrant the assumption that contacts may have occurred between the Chinese and certain peoples of Mesoamerica. But, one may also ask, "If such cultural evidence exists, then why is it so difficult to identify? Why can't most people see it?" My usual answer to this involves asking two or three questions of my own. The first is, "Are you aware of the extent of cultural diffusion from China to the West, and evidence thereof?" The second is, "Have you read Chinese Contributions to the World, or the series of volumes, entitled: Science and Civilisation in China, all by Joseph Needham?" Or, if I happen to be talking with a specialist on Mesoamerican cultures, who might be aware of those two books, but might not be aware of Needham's research involving Mesoamerica, I might ask, "Have you read Needham and Lu's book: Trans-Pacific Echoes and Resonances: Listening Once Again?"
The usual response is "No," to all three of my questions. And so, if it is possible to be unaware of the research on cultural diffusion from China to the Middle East and Europe (the underlying thesis in the first two of Needham's books, just mentioned), then it is equally possible for people to be just as unaware of research on cultural diffusion from China to Mesoamerica (the main thesis of the third book mentioned). People often do not see things, not only because they do not want to, or have not tried, but also because the process of adaptation involved with borrowing cultural elements often obscures the point of origin of the elements to such an extent that it becomes virtually invisible. This, I believe, may explain the general lack of awareness of cultural diffusion, in both cases (China to Europe, and China to Mesoamerica).

One of my favorite examples of the shrouding that often accompanies borrowing and adaptation involves loan-translations from English into Japanese. In my Ph.D. dissertation on the historical development of the Japanese language, I noted the obvious nature of loanwords from English into Japanese. Such words are written in the Katakana script (used especially for the purpose of writing words of foreign origin), and are easily recognized by the Japanese people as such. This is not the case in regard to loan-translations from English into Japanese. Because such words are written in Chinese characters, the visual clues as to the original English sources are completely obliterated, with the result being that very few Japanese are aware of the English sources of the words. And, as it turns out, there are many more loan-translations than loanwords in Japanese. Many examples can be found in Kenkyusha's Japanese-English dictionary, including such a loan-translation as Japanese, JIN-KEN 'human-right', the English source of which is HUMAN RIGHTS. Still, a Japanese would have to possess some knowledge of English in order to realize this, just as an English speaker would have to have some knowledge of Arabic (or a copy of Klein's etymological dictionary) to know that the ultimate source of the English medical term, CLAVICLE (bone), was an Arabic word used by the great Persian scholar and physician, Avicenna, for 'small key', which was translated into Latin CLAVICULA 'small key', and subsequently Anglicized into CLAVICLE. In both cases of borrowing, we can see how the source of borrowing was obscured, owing to the fact that the Japanese used the medium of (Japanized) Chinese, and the English speakers used the medium of (Anglicized) Latin, in the process of adapting the words to their respective languages. And so, the adaptation that occurs after, and along with, borrowing often obscures, or completely obliterates, any obvious evidence of borrowing. With the passage of relatively great periods of time, things become even more obscure, which I think is the case in regard to any possible evidence of contact between the ancient Chinese and Mesoamericans. If we wish to investigate cases of Chinese and Maya parallelism, we must be ready to dig deep, and consider intermediary cases of borrowing, and the media of transmission involved.

Possible Non-diffusionist Causes for Parallelism
A further complication involves the fact that not all cultural parallelisms are the result of contact and borrowing (i.e. diffusion). They can also arise because of (1) commonality in the environment, (2) commonality in the cognitive and other processes inherent to our species, and (3) just plain coincidence. For example, how can we know whether the parallelism in the name of the constellation of Scorpius in both the Middle East and Mesoamerica is the result of (1), (2), or (3)? Certainly, that part of the sky where Scorpius is found is similar enough to allow for (1), given that such an animal is known to both groups of people. Neither can we disallow (2), because there is no reason why two peoples, both familiar with the scorpion, could not both interpret the arrangement of the stars in that constellation as forming the outline of such an animal. Just as certainly, we can not disallow (3), because many peoples have, indeed, come to identify those same stars with other animals and objects (the Chinese identify several animals, including the rabbit and the tiger with that area of the sky). To exclude coincidence is perhaps the most serious mistake a researcher can make. And so, any and all of the three possibilities may possibly explain such parallelism, as well as the fourth possibility, i.e. diffusion.
So, it is sometimes not possible for researchers to say that their investigation of certain cultural features falls only into one or another of those categories. The development of all civilizations has involved such a complex mixture of borrowed and independently developed cultural features that it is not possible to analyze such things with complete assurance. If so, then, just how does one, such as myself, ever develop the courage to think that this or that example of parallelism may result from contact and borrowing, particularly, in cases involving cultural elements from China and Mesoamerica? And further, how can one possibly determine the direction of borrowing?

Superficial Cases of Parallelism
Let me attempt to answer the first question. A possible answer involves the selection of data. For example, if I choose to compare Chinese and Mexican pyramid design, or hieroglyphic writing, simply on the basis of the fact that there are pyramids and hieroglyphic writing in both areas that seem to look alike, I'm asking for trouble. Even though there are superficial similarities, they may too easily be accounted for by non-diffusion categories (1), (2), or (3), listed above, and so, until such time as we know much more about contact and diffusion, involving China and Mesoamerica, I will remain very cautious about such cases of parallelism; they are just too obvious. To tell the truth, parallelism which is too obvious, serves more to disinterest me than interest me, because I tend to expect significant difference when dealing with cultural material from areas that are so separated, geographically, historically, and otherwise. Yet, if I do choose to deal with Chinese and Mesoamerican writing systems, I like to delve into the inner workings of both, not the superficial similarities, because it is there that we may find more interesting cases of parallelism, which may indeed hold some interest for me.
For example, I find the fact that Mayan hieroglyphs do not utilize a system of determiners, as the Chinese system so often does, to be interesting and reasonable. Yet, when I go a little deeper, and see, for example (as noted by MacLeod) that the Mayan phonetic sign for KO is a bone, and (as found in Mathews' dictionary) that the modern Mandarin word for 'bone' is KU (< *KUET), my curiosity is peaked. Likewise, the fact that (Mayan) Chorti and Mandarin (Chinese) are such different languages did not keep me from looking deeper; and so, when MacLeod noted that there is a phonological connection between the Cholan words meaning 'rat' and 'child' (C'O?K and C'OK), and further, as noted by Justeson et al, that the word for 'rat' or 'mouse' may represent loanwords from Mixe-Zoque TSU:K, it was interesting to find that not only does Mandarin TSU (< *TSIEG) mean 'child' (or 'master'), but also 'rat' (as in the name of the zodiacal sign). This last case, involving a set of meanings that is associated with two different, but similar sound sequences, leads me to an expansion on the first answer. The Use of Parallel Sets of Data If one examines the present "diffusionist" literature, one may happen to see such works as Paul Shao's Asiatic Influence in Pre-Columbian American Art, or The Origin of Ancient American Cultures. It was through reading the former book that I first became interested in the topic of cultural diffusion, and I still read both books with great pleasure. Yet, perhaps to most Mayanists, the evidence he presents is less than convincing. And, I think the primary reason why is because Shao presents only isolated cases of parallelisms to draw his conclusions upon. No matter how excellent his parallels are (and I think they are excellent), they do not constitute the kinds of sets of data that are less-controvertible, and therefore, more likely to be accepted and believed. It is indeed possible to identify SETS of data which reflect parallelism. The diagram presented on my home page presents two such sets, involving the 28 Chinese mansion animals, and the 20 Aztec day names, 10 of which denote animals and 10 of which denote non-animals.<2> Throughout the pages devoted to my research, I attempt to utilize such sets, including sets of number symbols, number words, day names, etc. The reason for this is simple. It is much less likely that any parallelism found in such sets is the result of coincidence, than it is when isolated forms are compared. Any possibility of coincidence being the cause of such parallelism is certainly not reduced to the vanishing point, but it is nevertheless considerably reduced, with the actual probability of chance parallelism being the cause depending on the size of the sets involved. Such probability calculations are rightly left to mathematicians to perform, because I have no expertise in that area.

But if, for example, Paul Shao had isolated 10 patterns within a particular Chinese image, and found 10 exact matches (i.e. parallels) in a Maya image, does that constitute the kinds of sets that will allow for statistical validation of parallelism? My answer to that is, "Perhaps not." The reason being that he can easily select any two Chinese and Maya images he wants to achieve the 10 exact matches. For evidence of diffusion to be most convincing, the two sets being compared must consist of a series of "natural" subsets. They may, as the example below exemplifies, consist of a differing number of elements, but if so, these elements must be arranged in a "natural" sequence, that the researcher can not alter. Other sets, for example involving a comparison of discrete Chinese and Mayan words may also be investigated, but only if each of the two words have an unalterable set of meanings, or, as in the previous example involving two words, one meaning 'rat' and the other meaning 'child', the pronunciations are perhaps close enough to warrant the assumption that they might have come from a common source in Chinese.

The following sets of data all consist of a "natural" sequence of elements, and include the double sets of: the 28 Chinese lunar mansions and their associated set of 28 Chinese lunar mansion animals, along with the double sets of: the 20 Aztec day names and the 20 Maya day names.

First, let me explain the use of the red reference numbers in the Chinese data. They merely denote the standard order of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals, all 12 of which have referents within the set of 28 Chinese lunar mansion animals. Below the red reference numbers, I have also repeated the names of those 12 animals, in order to show their proper orientation (the necessity to squeeze all the names of the 28 mansion animals into a compact space tended to warp that orientation, somewhat). Besides the information on the English meanings of all the Chinese characters, I have also included the standard reference numbers for the mansions and mansion animals. The numbers (1-28) are found between the two sets, and are used for both sets. These numbers, as do the reference numbers (1-20) used in the Aztec and Maya data sets, determine the "natural" or "intrinsic" order of all the elements. I have also presented the standard astronomical abbreviations of the Western constellations in which each of the lunar mansions are found. Note that the standard ordering of the 28 lunar mansions and mansion animals runs counter to that of the 12 embedded zodiac animals, with the order of the latter 12 elements being in agreement with the direction of ordering the 20 Aztec and Maya day names. Lastly, in the Maya set of data, I have included 13 numbers in red. These numbers are known for their graphic associations with their respective day names. Why, or how, they were used is not yet known. I have included them because a relationship might be established between these numbers, their associated Maya day names , and the Chinese data, at a later point in my research. Next, I would like to draw some general conclusions, based on the data presented so far.
The first such conclusion is that there is a systematic relationship between the Chinese, Aztec, and Maya elements, with that relationship forming the basis of my form of presentation of the data. All data are placed within 12 columns, with those 12 columns, themselves, falling into two half-sections (containing 6 columns to the left of center and 6 columns to the right of center). Of course, the 12-column divisions of the data is based on the 12-column division of the Chinese data. However, within the 6 columns to the left of center, please note that 6 Aztec and Maya day names fall within those columns, with one day name per column. Within the six columns to the right of center, note that 14 Aztec and Maya day names fall within those columns, with two day names per column, except for one column in which I placed four Aztec and Maya day names. Another basis for the 12-column arrangement, was, of course, the meanings of certain Chinese, Aztec, and Maya elements. In this section, it is not my intention to go into a detailed comparison of those meanings, but I will present a few examples below, and leave it up to the readers to draw any further conclusions on their significance. At any rate, there appears to be enough similarity in the Chinese and Mesoamerican data to come to the conclusion that it is improbable that coincidence is the primary cause. And, as one considers more Chinese data, coincidence becomes less of a possibility still. But, before I go into the analysis, I would like to present the Aztec and Maya day names in a more conventional manner, along with their respective glyphs.

The Aztec and Maya day name meanings are identical to those presented in the first table, but in the second table, both sets are presented in groups of five day names each. Because I already presented the Chinese characters (i.e. glyphs) for the Chinese data, in the second table, I also present the standard Aztec and Maya glyphs found in texts. Also, note that the day names on the far right and on the far left are the same as in the previous table; I have merely distributed the day names evenly across the second table. I have also included the same thirteen red numbers under the Maya data. And lastly, please note that I refer to both arrangements as "calendric" configurations. I do so in order to distinguish this arrangement from the "astronomical" configuration of the Aztec data in the first table. Such a distinction implies that the "astronomical" configuration is directly related to the clearly, astronomically-related, Chinese mansions and mansion animals. This implies, further, that the original astronomical associations were lost among the Mesoamericans, perhaps because of the greater emphasis placed on the calendrical use of the day names, at some point in the development of their calendar systems.
If one examines the data in the first (Chinese-Aztec) table, column by column, one will discover that three basic types of Chinese reptiles match three Aztec reptiles. The three Chinese reptiles include two mythological DRAGONS (#1 is hornless, #2 is horned), which fall in the same column as the Aztec LIZARD; the mythological Chinese HSIAI-CHAI (a single-horned, 4-legged reptilian), which falls in the same column as the Aztec CROCODILE; and the Chinese SNAKE, which falls in the same column as the Aztec SNAKE). We can also see that three Chinese birds (PHEASANT, CHICKEN, and CROW) fall into the same column as two Aztec birds (EAGLE and VULTURE). The fact that the birds may represent different species is not so important as the fact that they represent the same class of animal. The same is true of the Chinese HORSE (with ROEBUCK and STAG) falling into the same column as the Aztec DEER. In the case of the agreement between the Chinese and Aztec MONKEY or (wild) DOG, this is perhaps not so great a concern, because the names are more generalized. However, in the case of non-animal elements, such as the Chinese WELL and Aztec WATER, it may seem that I am stretching things a bit. I do not think I am, because the Aztec DOG and WATER seem to be related to each other through a unified "complex" of cultural and mythological motifs which is based on the association between a cur-like dog and the assistance it gives to the dead across a body of water in the Aztec underworld. If we look within the same column, we not only see the WELL, which is associated with water, but also, reference to a GHOST and a WILD DOG. And lastly, in the case of the Chinese and Aztec (non-animal) HOUSE, no such argument is necessary. But, what is necessary is an explanation for the gaps or discrepancies in the comparative data.

For example, we see that Chinese and Aztec RABBIT fall into completely different columns. "Why is that?," one might reasonably ask. This is where the Maya data helps. The Aztec day name, RABBIT, is equivalent to the Maya day name, Lamat, which refers to Venus. This does not seem to help very much. But, this particular day name is also called Kan'al, among a certain group of Maya, and Kan'al means 'star' or 'planet', just as does the meaning of the 25th Chinese lunar mansion (in the same column). Mayan data is also helpful in another case. In a certain group of Maya, the equivalent of the Aztec name of HOUSE, is Uotan, which means 'heart', and completely agrees with the meaning of the 5th Chinese lunar mansion (in the same column).

There is another kind of gap in the data, involving the fact that there appears to be no Chinese equivalent for the Aztec JAGUAR, at least which falls in the same column in Table 1. This can be resolved by the fact that the 20th and 21st Chinese lunar mansions represent two asterisms which both fall within the constellation of Orion, and that Orion, according to Feuchtwang, is considered to be the home of the White Tiger (the name of one of four Deities of the Four Quarters, noted in Table 1).<3> That this area of the sky (i.e. Orion) is associated with the White Tiger has even been suggested as evidence of Middle Eastern influence, given the lion's skin draped over the Hunter's shoulder. As for the 6th Chinese lunar mansion animal, TIGER, and the seeming lack of an Aztec equivalent, this can be resolved by the fact (as also noted by Feuchtwang) that the Tiger is the prototypical "wind" animal in Chinese metaphysics, and the harbinger of autumn, with its unpredictable westerly winds. That the Chinese closely associate the TIGER with both the wind and the constellation of Orion helps to explain the Aztec data found in two columns in Table 1, including Aztec WIND (falling under the Chinese zodiacal TIGER) and JAGUAR (falling in the column under Orion).

And lastly, the seeming lack of correspondence between the Chinese RAT and Aztec FLOWER can be rectified by the fact that the sign for the Chinese zodiacal Rat also means 'child' (or 'master'), and is strongly identified with the ideas of fertility and conception, just as Aztec FLOWER is, by way of its association with the Aztec fertility goddess, Precious Flower. Apart from that, the Maya equivalent of the Aztec day name, FLOWER, is LORD (or CHIEF), which not only agrees with the Chinese meaning of 'master', but also with the name of the Chinese Deity of the Four Quarters in charge of that area, called the Black Warrior. It is also interesting to see McNelly drawings of the following family relationship terms: Mayan: U NICHIN/NICHIL can mean either 'my flower' or 'my child'. McNelly's drawings also clearly show the glyph for the 20th Maya day name (Ahau) as an element of the more complex glyphs having those meanings. And so, although the Maya day name data may not be directly equivalent to the Chinese zodiacal or mansion animal of RAT, other Maya and Chinese data do, indeed, suggest a connection. Other examples of apparent discrepancies can be resolved in much the same way, either by going deeper into the significance of either the Chinese or Aztec data, or by a consideration of equivalent Maya data.

Another example of a unified "complex" of cultural motifs involves that very division where we see four Mexican elements, instead of two, centered on the (Chinese) location of the constellation of Orion. In discussions of the Maya zodiacal Turtle, which is placed in Orion by several researchers, such as Linda Schele in Maya Cosmos, and a whole "complex" of motifs, including: the three creation stones of the first creation, the monkeys of the second creation, and the turtle shell opened by lightning and the emergence of the Twins (one of them Yax Balam -"First Jaguar"), of the third creation, have been noted. In fact, this complex of motifs is comparable with a Chinese complex of associations, involving the 28 Chinese lunar mansions and the 12 Chinese zodiacal animals. One of the two mansions in Orion is simply called "Three" (in exactly the same location as the three fire stones), the other mansion is called "(Tortoise) Beak" (sometimes the "Tortoise" part is left out of the name). Also, as mentioned above, Orion is the home of the Chinese White Tiger, one of the four Deities of the four directions. This area of the sky also falls within the domain of the Chinese zodiacal Monkey. Further, this particular area, is indirectly associated with the "center" of the Chinese calendar.<4> All that seems to be missing is the "lightning" element (if you accept the Chinese White Tiger as being close enough to First Jaguar). It is there, in the form of the oldest meaning of the Chinese character for the zodiacal Monkey, which originally meant "lightning." It is important to note that 10 of the 12 Chinese characters for the 12 zodiacal animals originally did not refer to animals.

The last piece of information is not only useful for explaining why we see no explicit Chinese calendric element which is equivalent to "lightning," but also, why we see no explicit Chinese calendric element in the column where I placed Aztec KNIFE and Maya KNIFE BLADE, both possible instruments of war or sacrifice. In fact, this column is reserved for the Chinese mansion animals: WOLF and DOG, as well as the Chinese zodiacal DOG. A possible explanation lies in the fact that the original meaning of the character for the Chinese zodiacal dog was 'battle axe'; only later did it acquire the meaning of DOG, perhaps, as noted by Mayers, under the influence of the Mongolians or other nomadic peoples. Further, a direct linkage of the basic idea of "weapon" is provided by the Mongolian lunar mansion system, which is related to the Chinese, sporatically. In a book by L. Terbish, we find that the 28th Mongolian lunar mansion (which is equivalent to Chinese mansion #16) is SHIIDEM, and means 'cudgel', another instrument of warfare. This would place it in the same column as Aztec KNIFE.

And so, given careful selection of data for comparison, plus the use of sets, one may hope (NOT trust) that the three non-diffusion categories can, to some degree, be discounted, and that contact and diffusion is the primary cause of any parallelism seen in Table 1.<5> This is my goal, at any rate. Now, on to the second of the two questions, concerned with the direction of possible diffusion and borrowing.

Trying to Determine the Direction of Borrowing
This is probably the most difficult aspects of diffusionist research, but obviously, of great importance. Because the mechanism of cultural diffusion is so similar to (as well as tied to) linguistic borrowing, I think a slight modification of the same guidelines used to suggest (not prove) the direction of linguistic borrowing may be used to suggest the direction of cultural borrowing. Perhaps one of the clearest presentations of these guidelines can be found in the Introduction section of Justeson, Norman, Campbell, and Kaufman's The Foreign Impact on Lowland Mayan Language and Script. The authors of that book discuss five concepts which may facilitate a determination of the direction of borrowing, including: (1) transparency, (2) reconstructibility, (3) anomaly, (4) identity, and (5) chronology.
Transparency (1) involves determining whether one of two elements in a case of parallelism can more easily be analyzed into constituent parts, compared to the other. Recontructibility (2) involves determining whether one can more easily be reconstructed from an earlier form, compared to the other. Anomaly (3) involves determining whether one is less exceptional, in the cultural context in which it is found, compared to the other. Identity (4) involves determining whether one is more closely associated with related cultural and linguistic features, compared to the other, as well as determining whether one can more easily be included within accepted classificational systems (of various kinds), compared to the other one. And lastly, Chronology (5) involves determining whether one can more easily be included within accepted timelines, compared to the other one. Greater transparency and reconstructibility, as well as less anomaly, closer association with other cultural features, and easier inclusion in already accepted classification systems and timelines, all imply a greater likelihood that the element in the set of two which shows these characteristics to the greater degree is more likely to be the source of the borrowing than the other. But of course, this approach has its inherent weaknesses, just as the other approaches do.

If one considers the Chinese lunar mansion and mansion animal system, along with the Aztec and Maya day name systems, in terms of their relative Transparency (1), one may conclude that the Chinese system can more easily be analyzed into constituent parts. What this means is that, not withstanding the fact that the Chinese and Mexican systems may easily be divided into sets of either 28 or 20 elements, respectively, we can go no further than that with the Mexican elements, given their distribution patterns in the second table. Contrastingly, the Chinese system may be evenly divided into 4 sets of 7 elements each. Granted, the Mexican day names may be roughly divided into 6 sets of 1 element each and 6 sets of 2 elements (with the exception of one set of those latter sets, with 4 elements), just as the Chinese elements may be unevenly divided into 4 sets of 3 elements and 8 sets of 2 elements each. However, it is clear that the Mexican divisions are simply not as systematic as the various Chinese divisions. In regard to my use of a Chinese framework to create the table in the first place, which, given the meanings, tends to warp the Mexican divisions, I must mention that the Chinese data represent 28 asterisms, rather evenly distributed near or on the ecliptic, and so, given the lack of any such "physical" justification for the distribution of the Mexican day names, I used the astronomical distribution pattern of the Chinese system as the basis for my table.

As for a consideration of Reconstructibility (2), involving the same data, the very fact that the Chinese data represent asterisms, allows for reconstruction of earlier positions of the asterisms, as well as earlier division patterns. For example, given what we know about precession, it is rather easy to assign locations to the asterisms/mansions. This is just not the case in regard to the Mexican data. Because the Mexican day names have not yet been equated with specific asterisms (to date), the day name systems of the Aztec and Maya are much less easily reconstructible.

As for the issue of Anomaly (3), we find that there are several cases involving the Mexican data, but none involving the Chinese data. For example, in regard to the names of the Maya day names, Justeson et alpresent evidence that the Maya were strongly influenced by the Olmec culture, and not a few researchers have found clear evidence of lexical borrowing, as well as cultural borrowing, from this Mixe-Zoque (i.e. Olmec) group, as well as several instances of borrowing from an early form of Zapotec. For example, the Mayan day names: Oc (#10), Ix (#14), and perhaps Chuen (#11), are considered to be anomalous, in terms of their etymologies, from the standard Mayan lexicon. For the same reason, the Maya day names: Manik (#7), Lamat (#8), and Ben (#13) are considered to be anomalous. A possible source in Mixe-Zoque is suggested for the former group, and a Zapotec source is suggested for the latter group. And so, unlike the names of the Chinese mansions, whose etymologies all fit very nicely into the standard Chinese lexicon, we find that certain Maya day names have been considered, for many years, to be loanwords, due to their anomalous nature. But then, one may ask, "Why would a consideration of Chinese as a possible source be necessary?" My answer to this very reasonable question is that the source words supposedly borrowed from Mixe-Zoque and Zapotec may, themselves, be loanwords or loan-translations from Chinese. For example, in reading Justeson et al, I found their discussion of the supposed Zapotec source for Mayan MANIK (day name #7) to be very interesting, because the posited source, MANI?, was itself anomalous, and so, Justeson et al suggested a "foreign" source (an Oto-Manguean language was one possibility). And yet, the Oto-Manguean data presented in the article does not seem to fit the case. To me, the suggestion that Mayan MANIK may be derived from proto-Zapotec *MANI? or *MA? (meaning 'deer', or more recently 'horse') makes more sense, but, because "there is no native M in the Zapotecan sound system" the word could not have developed in Zapotec, itself. My solution to this quandary is to suggest that the ultimate source of the Zapotec words may be Chinese MA (< *MA/*MBA) 'horse' or MI (< *MIUI/*MBIUI) 'deer'<6>. This assertion is also supported by the table presented earlier in this discussion.

A consideration of Identity (4) seems to indicate that the Chinese lunar mansions are more deeply integrated into the Chinese calendrical and astronomical system than either the Aztec or Maya day names are into their equivalent systems. While it may be quite true that Mesoamerican day names are integrated into both the astronomical and calendrical systems of the area, the day names serve, exclusively, as simple day "markers" in Mesoamerica. Contrastingly, the Chinese lunar mansion names serve both as the names of descrete asterisms AND day markers. That is to say, in the Chinese calendar system, every single day is associated with one of the 28 mansion names, occurring sequentially (from the 1st through 28th mansion), just as the Mexican day names so function. It is interesting to note that, as day names, the 4th, 11th, 18th, and 25th Chinese lunar mansion names always correspond to a Sunday in the Western calendar. And so, because the Mexican day names have not been shown to serve as names of any asterisms (this has been suggested by several researchers, but never proved), I suggest that they are not as deeply integrated as the Chinese mansion names are.

In terms of linguistic identification, the Chinese mansions appear to be more easily included into the linguistic classification systems of their part of the world than either the Aztec or Maya day names. I have already discussed some of the difficulties stemming from the fact that it is very likely that the Maya borrowed, linguistically, from its neighbors, notably from Mixe-Zoquean languages and from Zapotecan languages. This being the case, it is equally likely that it borrowed in other ways from those two groups. In particular, it has been suggested that much of the Maya calendar system was borrowed from the Zapotec area, including the system of 20 day names. Presumably, the Aztecs borrowed elements of their calendar system, too. This is simply not the case in regard to the Chinese data. Linguistically and culturally, the position of the lunar mansion system of China is very secure, with China considered the major "donor," not the "recipient," in the cultural sphere to which it belongs. It is well known that the Chinese system, along with the names of the mansions, was borrowed by several non-Chinese peoples, including the Japanese and Koreans, to mention only two examples. Given the great age of the Chinese system, there are researchers who have tried to demonstrate that it is not only the source of the Indian mansion system, but also the source of even the Middle Eastern system(s) of 28 lunar mansions (but, in both of the latter cases, there appears to be no linguistic borrowing involved).

And lastly, in terms of Chronology (5), it appears that the earliest documented use of the Chinese lunar mansion system preceded the earliest documented use of the Mesoamerican day name system. Pankenier, and others, such as Nivison and Pang, have demonstrated the significance of two "massings" of four and five planets over China, in 1953 and 1059 BC, as indicators of "Mandates of Heaven" for the start of two dynasties. And so, it appears that the use of lunar mansions in China, as elements of a full-blown system, dates from at least 1953 BC, thus providing evidence of the relatively great age of the Chinese "timeline." The reconstructed Chinese date (February 9, 1953 B.C.) is much earlier than the oldest use of a Mesoamerican day name (1 Earthquake), noted by Marcus, which was found on Monument 3 at the San Jose Mogote site (in the Oaxaca valley) and has been dated to between 604 B.C. and 504 B.C. It is interesting to note that the day name is thought to represent the name of an individual who lived outside both the Maya and Aztec territories; and further, that it implies the existence of the 260-day ritual cycle, given that it was/is a common practice to name someone in accordance with the day name combination of their date of birth (but, not among the Maya).

And so, in regard to the sets of data considered in this section, it appears that, in every case, the Chinese data satisfies all the requirements for the position of "donor" in regard to any possible contacts. However, this in no way demonstrates, or proves, that contact and borrowing occurred. Rather, it serves only to demonstrate, in regard to the Chinese lunar mansion and the Aztec and Maya day name data, that any borrowing that might have occurred was more likely to have involved borrowing FROM China.

In this very informal discussion of cultural diffusion, I hope I have demonstrated that proponents of diffusion have the highest respect for the peoples and cultures of Mesoamerica. We do not pursue our research because we assume that the civilizations that arose in that part of the world could not have developed on their own. Admittedly, there are cases of diffusionist research which may suggest just that, and clearly cross the border of common sense and sensitivity. On the other hand, I have seen instances of insensitivity by those who oppose any such research. Such people perhaps feel that any ancient influence from outside the Americas is simply impossible, and accordingly, are insensitive to one of the most fundamental facts of cultural development, which, as stated by Charlton Laird in The Miracle of Language, is "The great fact of both ethnology and history is that almost everything that any person or people owns at any one time has been taken from somebody else." Beyond that, I feel it is almost equally certain that people will always find a way to go wherever they want, no matter what obstacles present themselves, including mighty oceans. And, whether those oceans were crossed through their widest parts, or by skirting their edges, they were dealt with, from the most ancient times, for a variety of reasons. And so, "sensitivity" should be the watchword of all serious researchers, as well as a basic appreciation of the capabilities and impulses of human beings, everywhere. I sincerely hope that there will come a time when such titles as "Diffusionist" or "Isolationist" or "Anti-diffusionist," or any other term that serves to divide the research community in opposing camps, will become obsolete. We should learn to be satisfied with just the term "Researcher" and strive for the highest standards. Nevertheless, I must apologize for touching on these very sensitive issues. However, for those of my readers with a "pure" heart and conscience, it should cause no problems.
Perhaps one of the primary conclusions one may draw from this discussion is that there is a wealth of evidence that has simply not been considered. And, one of the primary reasons why it should be considered is because of the fact that so much has been lost, because of, and since the time of, the "conquest" of the Americas, some 500 years ago. Monuments have been destroyed, and books and ideas have been lost, perhaps irretrievably. And yet, I firmly believe some of the information can, in fact, be retrieved. For example, whether or not one comes to accept any research that demonstrates Chinese influence in the Americas, one can still take advantage of the fact that, due to the continuity of Chinese culture, there are calendar records extending back many hundreds of years. At this very moment, there are researchers who are attempting to establish a firm timeline of lunar and solar events, based on those data. For the Mayanist who seeks an understanding of the Maya calendar, such records may prove to be of great utility. For the same practical reasons, we see that a number of Mayanists, who are not necessarily proponents of any kind of "outside" influence, are actively investigating not only the Chinese, but also the Egyptian and Sumerian (or other) scripts, for insights into the workings of the Maya script. The same is true of Mayanists who actively investigate "outside" religions, mythologies, languages, customs, social systems, or whatever they think useful to them. To me, it only makes sense to do so, because the insights are useful not only for understanding the meaning and function of, for example, a Maya text on calendrics, but also in reconstructing the social or other framework in which the text was intended to be used. Of course, such researchers sometimes see things that give them cause to consider other things -- such as the possibility of cultural diffusion. This is what happened to me, when, as a (very amateur) Sinologist, I went "outside" the usual sphere of Chinese cultural influence, to Mesoamerica, for insights into Chinese culture. What I found was very interesting, indeed.


Works Cited
Coe, Michael D. Breaking the Maya Code. New York: Thames and Hudson Inc., 1992.

Coe, Michael D. "A Question for Every Answer." Americas Magazine. Organization of American States, April 1996.

Feuchtwang, Stephan D. R. An Anthropological Analysis of Chinese Geomancy. Taipei: Southern Materials Center, 1974.

Freidel, David A., L. Schele, and J. Parker. Maya Cosmos: Three Thousand Years on the Shaman's Path. New York: William Morrow & Co., 1993.

Fujido, Akiyasu (Ed.). Gakken Kanwa Daijiten [Gakken's Encyclopedic Chinese-Japanese Dictionary]. Tokyo: Gakushu Kenkyusha, 1978.

Judson, Horace Freeland. The Search for Solutions. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1980.

Justeson, John S., William M. Norman, Lyle Campbell, Terrence Kaufman.The Foreign Impact on Lowland Mayan Language and Script. New Orleans: Tulane University. Middle American Research Institute, Publication 53, 1985.

Kelley, David Byron. A Study of the Influence of Chinese and English (and Other Western Languages) on the Japanese Language. Ph.D. dissertation: Indiana University, 1990.

Kelley, David Byron. "The Twenty-Eight Lunar Mansions of China."Reports of Liberal Arts, Hamamatsu University School of Medicine. No. 5, 1991.

Kelley, David Byron. "The Twenty-Eight Lunar Mansions of China (Part 2: A Possible Relationship with Semitic Alphabets)." Reports of Liberal Arts, Hamamatsu University School of Medicine. No. 6, 1992.

Kelley, David Byron. "The Twenty-Eight Lunar Mansions of China (Part 3: A Possible Relationship with the Ancient Central-American Calendar)."Reports of Liberal Arts, Hamamatsu University School of Medicine. No. 9, 1995.

Kelley, David Byron. "Possible Evidence of Contact Between China and Mexico in Ancient Times." NEARA Journal. Vol. XXX, No. 1 & 2, 1996.

Kelley, David Humiston. Deciphering the Maya Script. Austin and London: University of Texas Press, 1976.

Klein, Ernest. A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the English Language. New York: Elsevier Scientific Publishing Company, 1971.

Laird, Charlton. The Miracle of Language. Greenwich, Connecticut: Fawcett Publications, Inc., 1953.

MacLeod, Barbara. "The 819-Day-Count: A Soulful Mechanism." Word and Image in Maya Culture. William F. Hanks and Don S. Rice (Eds.). Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1989.

Marcus, Joyce. "First Dates." [The Internet source of these data can be found HERE. The article originally appeared, under the same title, in Natural History's series "The Maya Rediscovered."].

Mathews, Robert H. Mathews' Chinese-English Dictionary. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1966.

Mayers, William F. The Chinese Reader's Manual. Shanghai: American Presbyterian Press, 1874.

McNelly, Nancy. [The Internet source of the drawings and meanings used to be available on-line.].

Moran, Hugh A., David H. Kelley. The Alphabet and Ancient Calendar Signs. Palo Alto, California: Daily Press, 1969.

Needham, Joseph. Science and Civilisation in China. 7-Vol. Series. London: Cambridge University Press. [The series began in 1954 and continues to expand. A complete listing of the volumes, titles, and publication dates can be found HERE].

Needham, Joseph. Chinese Contribution to the World. Tokyo: Kinseido Ltd., 1973. [An abridged edition of Clerks and Craftsmen in China and the West. London: Cambridge University Press, 1970].

Needham, Joseph, Lu Gwei-Djen. Trans-Pacific Echoes and Resonances: Listening Once Again. Singapore and Philadelphia: World Scientific, 1985.

Nivison, David S., Kevin D. Pang. "Astronomical Evidence for the Bamboo Annals' Chronicle of Early Xia." Early China. Vol. 15, 1990.

Pankenier, David W. Early Chinese Astronomy and Cosmology: the 'Mandate of Heaven' as Epiphany. Ph.D. dissertation: Stanford University, 1983.

Pankenier, David W. "The Bamboo Annals Revisited: Problems of Method in Using the Chronicle as a Source for the Chronology of Early Zhou, Part 1." Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies. Vol. LV, Part 2, 1992.

Shao, Paul. Asiatic Influences in Pre-Columbian Art. Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1976.

Shao, Paul. The Origin of Ancient American Cultures. Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1983.

Sharer, Robert J. The Ancient Maya. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1994.

Takenobu, Yoshitaro (Ed.). Kenkyusha's New Japanese-English Dictionary. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1942.

Terbish, L. XVII Jarni Modon Gahai Jiliin Tsag Tooni Bichig [Calendar of the Year: Wood-Pig, in the 17th 60-Year Cycle]. Ulan Bator: Eson Erdene Co., 1994.

Thompson, J. Eric S. Maya Hieroglyphic Writing. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1960.

<1> The Internet discussion group, AZTLAN, in January of 1997, forbade its membership from even mentioning "diffusionism", under the threat of cancelling the subscription of any member who did. As a member of that discussion group, I was shocked by that ban on the free exchange of ideas, and partially as a result, came to write this particular WWW page. The excuse given by the moderator was that diffusion is considered to be "off topic" and that there had been altogether too much (disruptive) discussion of the topic already.
In this September 1997 update of my page on diffusion, I should mention that the ban on discussion mentioned above has been effectively removed. When that ban was lifted, the moderator of the group, in effect, denied ever having imposed it. What was intended, he said, was just to neutralize the disruptive (and abusive) comments by certain members of the discussion group, not to ban any discussion of the topic of cultural diffusion. Nevertheless, the topic still appears to be looked on, by a number of members, with a kind and degree of disfavor which does little to highlight their open-mindedness. Return

<2> Other sets of data I have investigated include the number words and number symbols employed by the Chinese and certain Mesoamerican groups. The following table, discussed in another page of this WWW site (in the "About My Research" section), is related to another such table I discussed in my 1996 paper and deals with a comparison of Chinese and Mesoamerican number words. The table below compares Mayan and Zapotec data with various kinds of Chinese and Chinese-related number data. Of great interest, but not included in the table, are the Sino-Tibetan number words, especially from Manyak (a member of the Tibetan group), which are very similar to the Zapotec forms. More information on the (huge) Sino-Tibetan family of languages can be found HERE. You may also wish to consult W.W. Hunter's (1976) book, A Comparative Dictionary of the Languages of India and High Asia (pp. 33-46), or George A. Grierson's (1928) series, Linguistic Survey of India (Vol. 1, Part II, pp. 3-21). The Manyak data are included in both books. As for the data presented in the table below, the Hokkien data include the colloquial and literary forms (left and right, respectively), while the Sino-Japanese data include the GO-ON and KAN-ON forms (left and right, respectively, unless they are the same, or when there are three forms, in which case, the form to the right is another variant).

Note that there are no examples of first order (i.e. '0' through '19') Mayan number words shown in the above table, although Zapotec number words are compared with first-order (i.e. '0' through '9') Chinese number words. Because I have come to think that their relationship to Chinese is quite different from the Zapotec number words, they are not included. Please refer to Endnote 5 to see how the Mayan words may be related to Chinese.Return

<3> Feuchtwang notes that the "home" of the Blue-Green Dragon is in Scorpius. This is supported by evidence that the original form of the Chinese character for the zodiacal DRAGON represented the figure of a scorpion. [Noted by Richard S. Cook, in an early announcement of a paper to be available in the near future. The abstract and preface for that paper may be found HERE]. If this is true, then it is of some significance, owing to the fact that the Scorpion is not otherwise directly represented among either the 28 Chinese lunar mansion animals or the 12 zodiacal animals. However, as I noted in my 1992 paper, it may very well be possible that it is represented, indirectly, in the names of the 28 Chinese lunar mansions. Neither do I think it is merely by chance that mansion #5 means 'heart' and mansion #6 means 'tail', and that they lie within the heart and tail of Scorpius, respectively, nor do I think that the great graphic similarity between the oldest forms of the Chinese characters meaning 'heart' and '10,000' (< 'scorpion') is mere coincidence. It is also interesting to note that the 18th Arabian lunar mansion, AQ-QALB, is located in the heart of Scorpius, and in fact, means 'the heart'. The scorpion of Scorpius is well recognized among several Mesoamerican groups. Return <4> In the Chinese calendar, the formal Start of Autumn occurs around the 7th of August. This is very near August 13th, which, as I noted in my 1996 paper, marks the midpoint of a 260-day Chinese period, running from April 5th (Ch'ing Ming, meaning 'Clear [and] Bright') through December 21st (Winter Solstice). This period is joined to a period of 105-106 days, running from around December 21st through April 5th. And so, August 13th may be considered the midpoint of the very short season between summer and autumn, and the midpoint of the Chinese seasonal calendar. This particular point in the solar year falls within the solar month of MONKEY. Now, here is where we meet one of the complexities of the Chinese calendar, and why I used the word "indirectly" in the text. Even though the seventh solar month is MONKEY, it is associated with Chinese mansion #15, in Andromeda and Pegasus, not with mansion #20 and #21, which are both associated with Orion. Another table, which can be found HERE,notes the relationship between the lunar mansion MONKEY and the solar month called MONKEY. Please notice that the Vermillion Bird of the summer and the Dark Warrior of winter have lunar mansion #11 and #25 falling at their midpoint, respectively, not the reverse, as might be expected. The reason for this is that around 11:00 PM, on the date of the summer solstice, we find that mansion #11 rises in the east just as mansion #25 sets in the west, with the handle of the Big Dipper pointing due south. Likewise, on the date of the winter solstice, we find that mansion #25 rises in the east just as mansion #11 sets in the west, with the handle pointing due north. Precession has altered the time (which traditionally should have been near midnight), but the general system still holds. At any rate, at the present time, the formal "center" of the Chinese calendar is associated with the beginning of the solar (or seasonal) month of MONKEY. However, it is my assertion that the lunar mansion MONKEY, at one time, marked the astronomical "center" of the Chinese calendar. I must note that the lunar months are also denoted by the 12 animal terms, but should be considered as a third case, and completely separate from the use of the 12 solar and astronomical terms discussed above. Lastly, I should mention that, in Mesoamerica, a 260-day ritual period also exists, and is of great significance. Return

<5> The comparative arrangement, involving 12 Chinese zodiacal divisons and 20 Mesoamerican divisions is also supported, indirectly, by comparative data involving certain Chinese and Mesoamerican number symbols. The following table is related to another such table I discussed in my 1996 paper and deals with a comparison of Chinese and Mayan number symbols. The Chinese number symbols are based on a combination of two elements: a bar having a value of '3', and a broken bar having a value of '2'. As noted in the I-Ching (), "The number three was assigned to heaven [i.e. the bar], two to earth [i.e. the broken bar], and from these came the numbers" []. The better known Mesoamerican number symbols are also based on a combination of three elements: a bar having a value of '5', and a dot having a value of '1', and a symbol for a complete set of '20'. The table below reflects a range of values from 2 to12 and 2 to 20, in the Chinese and Mesoamerican data, respectively, which mirrors the situation involving the 12 Chinese zodiac elements and the 20 Mesoamerican day names.

Yet, a more complex relationship may exist between the Chinese I-Ching number symbols and at least one Mesoamerican number symbol system. The table below reflects a more complex, but regular, relationship between the Mesoamerican and two Chinese number symbol systems. In addition to the so-called (by me) I-Ching number symbols, another system, involving the symbols associated with the Chinese counting board, exists. There is another Chinese number symbol system, which simply links a number of "balls" together, in exactly the same way that Aztec numbers may be indicated by a series of linked balls. However, that variant Chinese system will not be discussed further in this paper.

A more detailed presentation and discussion of the data shown in the above table can be found HERE.It also presents some examples of Chinese and Mayan number word comparisons, involving first-order numerals (not presented in Endnote 2) Return< A>

<6> Mandarin MI, meaning 'deer', is not as common as LU. The Chinese character for the latter consists of only the upper part of the character seen to the left (). Return< A>