Pale Ink, by Henriette Mertz, , at sacred-texts.com
A TRANSLATION has been given of Kuen 327, the story of Fu-sang and the Kingdom of Women, with the additional account of Yu-Kie, as related in the Liang-Sse-Kong-Ki, the report of the Four Lords of the Liang Dynasty, that told of Yu-Kie's interrogation of Hwui Shan. In order to solve the riddle, it will be necessary to determine whether or not any fragmentary pieces from the Classics match anything that we know to exist in the southwestern part of the United States or in Mexico.
From 450 to 500 A.D., would Hwui Shan have found any people on the California coast or in the 350 mile stretch of territory through which he must have passed in order to get to the Kingdom of Women? If he would, would there be anything in his description that would apply to something that we can identify?
On the California coast, due north of Los Angeles, and at approximately the spot where Point Hueneme stands, where, in my opinion, Hwui Shan landed, California records disclose a very ancient Indian site. From what little we know today, the place bears evidence of being a holy one, a place of sacrifice.
Moving inland from Point Hueneme, we find sites, legends and traditions from the coast to the Rockies, with civilizations that date far back of the Spanish Conquest to an ancient and highly cultured past. The Cochise, a nomadic Indian people, roamed over considerable portions of what is now politically sub-divided into Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, Sonora and Chihuahua. The Cochise are thought to have been there as early as 3,000 B.C.
Cultures, identified by us as Basket Maker I, II and III, followed the Cochise in due course over the ensuing centuries. The Basket Makers were a more sedentary people, developing the crafts to a fairly high degree.
In the specific area, pin-pointed above as the Kingdom of Women, 350 miles inland from the coast, from a date as early as the beginning of the Christian era, to a date as late as 1000
[paragraph continues] A.D., there lived in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico, a highly cultured race, of whom we know comparatively little, who are known to us by the name of Mogollon. Excavations in this general territory, by two or three of our outstanding institutions, and particularly those of 1949, 1950 and 1951, have disclosed an amazing record of their life, together with an array of artifacts. Wickerwork sandals, woven of yucca leaves; fragments of cotton textile; fur and feather blankets; cloth bags; cigarette butts; cradles; whistles and flutes; spear-throwers; wooden spoons; digging sticks for planting corn; rush mats; snares; and some 38,000 cobs of corn many of which still have kernels, have all been dug up in this area and tentatively dated.
From another of the excavations in the vicinity, remains of an ancient hearth were foundcharcoal from the hearth was determined, by the carbon-14 process, to be approximately 4,500 years old. This in itself confirms the fact that humans with some kind of culture were living in the territory of eastern Arizona and western New Mexico as early as 2500 B.C. Reports from the most recent survey tell us that the area covered by the Mogollon culture extended over a far greater area than was at first supposed. Further study of the artifacts found at Pine Lawn Valley, Tularosa Cave and Cordova Cave, will be necessary since it is now believed that the Mogollon culture might have a tie-in with the very ancient cultures that roamed from Oregon to Mexico.
With the finding and dating of these objects, we learn that a high degree of civilization flourished in Arizona and New Mexico, from a definite date of 1 A.D. to 1000 A.D. We further believe that there was close connection between the various Indian communities that are known to have existed from Oregon, on the north, to Mexico, on the south, and from the Pacific to the Rockies. Some of these groups existed in the area as early as 3000-2500 B.C.
In answering the question as to whether or not Hwui Shan would have found inhabitants with a high degree of culture approximately 350 miles inland from where he landed, just prior to 500 A.D., science has confirmed that he would.
Three hundred and fifty miles due east of Los Angeles falls reasonably close to the Mogollon Mesa in east-central Arizona. If that should be the correct territory, then the natural marvels that Yu-Kie told us about must be located.
Supposing, from eastern Arizona, we travelled north for some distance, would we come to a Black Gorge or Valley having snow-capped peaks to the north of it? Would be find a smoking mountain to the south? Is there a Sea of Varnish to the west or one the color of milk? Would we find the giant horse? What do we find?
Starting from Mogollon Mesa, travelling some 300 miles north and a few miles to the east, in western Colorado, we come to a noted black canyon, called by us The Black Canyon of the Gunnisonset apart as one of our great National Parks. Due north of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, stands majestic Gunnison Peak and towering still farther north, Snowmass Mountain, snow-capped. A black gorge does exist north of our spot, and a gorge of such beauty that we ourselves have created in it a National Park. Hwui Shan would have been able to have seen a Black Gorge with towering snow-capped peaks to the north from the Kingdom of Women.
Coming back to our starting point at the Mogollon Mesa, and following directions in the Classics, we shall turn our footsteps south. Is there a smoking mountain at a great distance where the inhabitants eat crabs, serpents and hairy bugs? Two well-known smoking mountains exist to the southPopocatepetl, whose name means just that, and the Volcan de Colima. Both are known to have been smoking for centuries. Of the two, the Volcan de Colima probably is the one described. Popo is inland. The Volcan de Colima is near the coast. Crabs are one of the principle sources of food in that area today. If Hwui Shan had gone a considerable distance to the south, he would have seen a smoking mountaineither or both are spectacular.
Again, starting from the Kingdom of Women, going west, what do we find? The fountain, or spring, of the wine-like water is hard to identify since we do not know his preference in a matter of taste. There are innumerable springs in the general
areaWarner Hot Springs or Palm Springs. Springs are there. Next comes the "Sea of Varnish." The word "varnish" has been used in the translationa dark viscous liquid, not clear water, varnish in which, if fur or feathers were dipped, the "varnish" would dye them black. In the very heart of Los Angeles, one will find the La Brea Tar Pitsdark, viscous liquidblack. If any fur or feathers were dipped in, it would come out black. The city of Los Angeles has created a park around the Tar Pits.
A "sea the color of milk," like the wine-flavored water in the spring, is hard to identifynot because there is none, but rather the contrary. At one time California had more lakes than it now has. Many have dried up. All that remains is the salt solution that now form dry lakes. Salt and borax marshes usually occur as a soft white efflorescence. Which specific lake may have had more water 1500 years ago, that Hwui Shan saw, is problematicit could be one of a great number in the Mojave Desert. John R. Spears, passing through on his way to the borax mines in Death Valley, in 1892, remarked: "To the south rose Pilot Butte, the Calicos, and far away the San Bernardino Range. To the north were the snowy White Mountains, while east, beyond the Funerals, were the Ivanwatch, the Granite, and range after range that had never been named. Between them all lay the valleys, yellow with sand and grease-bush, spotted with black lava buttes and brightened with the beds of soda, salt and borax, that glistened snow-white to the eye, or turned to mirage lakes, with dancing waters and leafy borders, according as the sun's rays fell upon them." The Salton Sea, Searles and Owens Lakes fall in a like category. They shimmer white in the sun. A "sea the color of milk," borax or salt, exists in the immediate vicinity and Hwui Shan described it well.
Geographically, these places all exist and can be identified with no difficulty. Yu-Kie's account, in itemizing the natural characteristics, gave the distance as greatand so they are. North is the Black Canyon of the Gunnison; south, the Volcan de Colima; and west, Palm Springs, La Brea Tar Pits, the Salton Sea, Soda Lake or Borax Lakeeach one as spectacularly impressive today as it was fifteen centuries ago.
In Hwui Shan's account of the Kingdom of Women, he said that the people "beat down the earth and made adobe for the walls of their houses, the shape of which was circular and the doors or entrances resembled burrows."
Is there anything in the area that would bear out his story?
The most direct answer is a reference to the University of Arizona Bulletin for October, 1947, containing an article entitled "An Early Pit House of the Mogollon Culture" by Emil Haury and E. B. Sayles. The Bulletin contains photographs, drawings and other pertinent matter relating to 21 houses that were excavated in central Arizona under the direction of the University. Briefly, the majority of the houses were circular in shape although two or three were oval, and ranged in diameter from 13 feet to 35 feet, with a depth varying from 12 inches to four feet. Covered entrances were all tunnel-shaped about three feet wide and four or five feet long, sloping from the entrance of the tunnel at ground level downward to the floor inside the pit house. The material used was identified as sandy clay plaster. The Bulletin dated these houses as having been built around 300-350 A.D.
The site is in central Arizona, to the east of middle, and would fall in the area fixed as the situs of the Kingdom of Women. Houses of the same or similar type are found in the areaceremonial kivasknown today and presumed to be an outgrowth of this early type. The description in the Classics of circular adobe houses, having an entrance like a burrow, has proven itself to be no mythological fantasythey existed in the specific area, precisely as described, at the exact period of time.
The women were said to have looked like the women of China, normal, but the males, while they had human bodies, had dog's heads. There are various descriptions of these males. Some places in the Classics state that these heads were like a dragon or serpent; some liken them to a deer, with horns; some, like a bird; and others like a cow. Since these male heads had such an infinite variety of peculiar shapes, is it any wonder that the Chinese who read the Classics, tagged them as whimsies? In my opinion, it authoritatively shows how many Chinese saw
these heads and were able to return to China and report about itnothing more.
Various forms of heads were all possible. One has only to walk through the American Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian, Chicago Natural History or numberless other museums, particularly in the west or the southwest, to recognize the "katchina," ceremonial mask used in all Indian religious forms. The katchina faithfully reproduces a multiplicity of animal headscows, eagles, deer, snakes, antelopes and dogsin feathers, fur, skin or woodcarving. These katchina masks have been excavated from sites all the way from Alaska to Florida and many are known to be of great antiquity. Glass cases in our museums house hundreds of them. Indian men wore these masks in their dances to pray for rain for their corn crops or for success in their winter's hunt; they wore them for all religious rites and they continue to do so even today.
Hwui Shan's account merely stated that the males had dog's heads. During the time intervening between the date when he wrote it and the time when we have it, his account went through several condensations and editings. It could well be that some editor deleted that portion which he considered unessentialsince the only thing that Hwui Shan's report, as we have it, fails to state, is the purpose for which the animal heads were used. If he had written"During religious ceremonies, the males all wore dog's heads," we would have understood it instantly. There is nothing wrong with his report, other than that it is too brief. He, or a later editor, failed to state the purpose of the headsbut that all of these various forms of animal heads were worn in the specific area and at the specific date, is well established.
In connection with these "dog's heads," another matter presented itselfthat of the namethe Kingdom of Women. Why the Kingdom of Women? The women did not appear to be Amazons. The only other reason would be if, by chance, they had a matriarchal system of some kind whereby women exercised control over persons or property that would not be customary in China.
In an article published in American Antiquity, January, 1953, Viola E. Garfield has interpreted certain matrilineal features prevalent in the northwestern areas, primarily in the Athabascan culture, where descent, as well as inheritance and naming, are traced through the mother. She has found the custom dating back into archaic times. While her study was directed toward northwestern groups, she stated most significantly, that the nearest matrilineal people were those in Montana and the Pueblos of the southwest. In the matrilineal Hopi, houses were owned by the women; in each case, they passed from mother to daughter or the sisters of the owners. Erna Fergusson, one of our best known authorities on the Indians of the southwest, states that the Hopi were divided into clans related through the mother. The child, even today, is born into his mother's clan and is named by his mother's sister and her brothers are more important to him than his own father. These are ancient customs.
According to Hopi tradition, Shungopavy, on the north of the Mogollon Mesa, was the oldest site of the Hopi people. This area traces back, with the Mogollon, to a date at least as early as r A.D. Hwui Shan reported that in the Kingdom of Women, the women took serpents for husbands. That would appear whimsical to any Chinese who read the Classics. Would it appear natural to the Hopi of Shungopavy?
Most of us, today, are familiar with the well-known Hopi Snake Dance. Hopi men belong to a Snake Clan and this Snake Clan consider themselves as one with the snake. When the Snake-priests go on a hunt for snakes to be used in their famous Snake Dance, they take along small boys of the Snake Clan to catch the snakes, the trick being to find "your little brother." These children are fearless in handling the snakes.
J. W. Fewkes, one of the first white men to view the sacred Hopi rites, has related the legend concerning the origin of the Snake Clan. One day, so the story goes, the son of a Chief was sitting on the edge of the Grand Canyon. He wondered about the little river running way down at the bottom and where the water went. He built himself a small boat and set off down river to find out. As he journeyed downstream, he came to the house
of the Spider Woman. She invited him in and took care of him for a short time. After he had rested, she decided to accompany him on his journey and hid behind his ear. The Chief's son and the Spider Woman, after travelling for several days, came to a big Kiva. The next day, the men and women belonging to the Kiva dressed themselves in snake skins that had been hanging on the wall and were all turned into snakes. The young chap was told to catch one. With the Spider Woman's help, he caught a beautiful young girl who had been turned into a yellow rattler. After the usual trials to which he had been put by the Chief of the Kiva, he was eventually permitted to marry the beautiful maiden and take her to his own home. In due course, after his return, she bore him childrenbut instead of being human, they were all snakes. His people were not too happy about it and finally forced the young couple to move to another pueblo, which they did. At the new pueblo, they had more childrenthese children however were all human. The male children were thus blood brothers of the snakes and this is the way in which the Snake Clan originated. All of the males are snakes, as was their mother's clan. This is the origin, so the Hopi says of the Snake Clan.
Hwui Shan's report will thus be seen to have been accuratea matrilineal system did exist and the Snake Clan described as "males being snakes or serpents" did exist at that time and in that area. The Kingdom of Women can definitely be established within a 50 mile radius of the Mogollon Mesa, and perhaps Shungopavy may have been the actual siteancestors of the Hopi peopled the Kingdom of Women.
The women of the Kingdom of Women were very shythey ran from strangers, so the account tells us. Hwui Shan may not have come too close to them. What he reported that he saw may possibly have been seen at a short distance.
Papooses, carried on the backs of their mothers, were said by him to have been fed by a white substance that came from among the hair at the nape of the mother's neck. At a short distance, that may have appeared to him to have been so. Indian women customarily tied their hair, which was long, at the back,
with ribbons or woolen thread, both in ancient times and today. Hair was gathered at the nape of the neck and tiedyoung women used a red ribbon and, when they married, the color was changed to white. White ribbon was symbolic of the marital status. Could anything be more human than to have a baby, strapped to its mother's back, be attracted by her white ribbon and put it in its mouth? No doubt it looked, at a distance, as though it was feeding.
And then the children were said to be adult at the age of three or four years. Once more, this appears to have been a condensed version.
From an article published in the National Geographic Magazine, September, 1952, by Frank M. Setzler of Smithsonian Institution, entitled "Seeking the Secret of the Giants," the following story is taken:
"Following up a lead suggested by Dr. Arthur Woodward of the Los Angeles County Museum, I came upon an intriguing piece of evidence. It was an account set down by an ethnologist, Dr. Frank Russell, in 1901-02, and it dealt with a myth held by the Pima Indians of the Gila River Indian Reservation, near Sacaton, Arizona.
"This was the legend: To the daughter of Sial Tcuutak Sivan, was born a strange-looking child, with long claws instead of fingers and toes, and teeth that were long and sharp. People named her Ha-ak which meant something dreadful or ferocious.
"In only three or four years the child grew to maturity. She ate any kind of meat, cooked or raw. When she began to eat children as well, the people became frightened and tried to kill her. She escaped, however, and fled to a cave.
"Then the people called upon the all-powerful 'Elder Brother' for help. He went up to the cave and destroyed the monster.
"To commemorate this deed, the Pima built a shrine."
Dr. Setzler related the story in connection with legends surrounding certain gigantic effigies in the territory near Sacaton, in southern Arizona, where he found several sites. The story as he has told it, related a myth concerning a mis-shapen girl who
became adult in three or four years. Indians near Sacaton, Arizona, built a shrine to perpetuate her memory. Photographs accompanying Dr. Setzler's article show the giant effigies in the sand, and one he believes to be the girl, Ha-ak.
The area in which the legend was told, falls within the normal route of one travelling from Los Angeles to the east. Passing through the general territory near Sacaton, Hwui Shan could have been taken to this shrine, a holy place to the Indian, have seen the effigies, and have heard the legend, as it was related to him by the Indians. He, in turn, may have told the story as it was told to him and, as stories are so frequently related, someone forgot, or deleted, the fact that it was a legend of the people. The Indians might have related the story to him as a part of their historyjust as later Indians related it to Dr. Russell. When Hwui Shan recounted that children became adult at the age of three or four years, it was the legend of Ha-ak that he related. The spot at Sacaton, where the shrine survives, would have been in his path.
Immediately following the details of the three-year-old, is the statement, in the Classics, that the people ate a salt plant, the leaves of which resembled a certain Chinese herb, the plant having a pleasant, pungent odor.
Karl Lumholtz, in his "New Trails in Mexico" made record of a "salt plant" growing near the head of the Gulf of California. Here there were extensive salt beds in which two kinds of bulrushes grew, and he stated that, "in the depressions, or wells, grew also a plant (anemonopsis californica) called by the Mexicans, herba del manso, which was of a singular growth. Its large root, which has a strong medicinal scent, like that which characterizes an apothecary shop, is perhaps the most popular of the many favorite remedies in northern Mexico. . . . These plants grow here (in the salt beds) in great numbers and to enormous proportions. The roots find ready sale all over Mexico."
This salt plant, with the strong medicinal odor, growing in the area of southern California, which Lumholtz identified in 1900, was no doubt the one to which Hwui Shan referred. We can say that a salt plant with a pungent odor exists today, in the
area, and that it is popular with present-day Indians who buy it in quantities. It was of sufficient importance for Lumholtz to have made a study of it.
Before turning to the account of Fu-sang itself, in briefly summarizing the above, as it relates to the Kingdom of Women, we have located an area 350 miles inland from the coast that had a Black Gorge with snow capped peaks to the north; a smoking mountain south of it; springs, a sea of varnish and one the color of milk to the west. We have found a highly cultured people, the Mogollon, who lived in the pin-pointed area in 450-500 A.D., and who lived in circular adobe pit-houses having an entrance like a burrow and who wore a woven clothing. The so-called dog-headed Indians were wearing the katchina mask in their religious ceremonials and the serpents that served as husbands were members of the Snake Clan. Papooses were strapped to the mother's back and chewed her white ribbon; Indians in the territory had a well-known legend, Ha-ak, of a mis-fit girl who became adult at the age of three years; the people ate a salt plant having a strong medicinal odor; and the exact site of the Kingdom of Women was fixed.
Other than the "little beans or kernels" which the Classics said that the people ate, and which will be considered later, the major portions of the Kingdom of Women, as recounted in Kuen 327, can be said to have existed in the fifth century and in the exact geographic locations where they were alleged to have existed.
This was the account in the Classics that de Guignes concluded was Mexico and was supposedly "proved" wrong; this was. the story that "embarrassed" the early scholars to such an extent that they were content to let the entire matter rest. However, we should not for one single moment criticize them. They had no means of knowing. The majority of these things had not been discovered as it will be noted that the work of the archeologists has only been done within the past few years.