Pale Ink, by Henriette Mertz, , at sacred-texts.com
In Yu-Kie's account of Hwui Shan's story, distance from the Kingdom of Women was given as approximately 3,000 miles to the northwest of Fu-sang. Earlier, we reversed our directions, started from the pinpointed Kingdom of Women, retraced our steps southeast for 3,000 miles and returned back to Fu-sang. In doing so, we would have arrived in Guatemala or, crossing the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, in Yucatan, not far from Chichen Itza. From fragmentary bits pieced together, the area around Chichen Itza appears to have been the center for Yu-Kie's "Fu-sang." Hwui Shan applied the name "Fu-sang" to the entire territory from the point of landing, immediately north of Los Angeles, to as far south as Guatemala or Yucatan. "Fu-sang" more often than not, had been applied to it all.
Travelling south from California, following a coastwise course, the Buddhist priest of 500 A.D., on his epic journey, could have found an Indian culture from his point of landing all the way down those 3,000 miles. In the north of Mexico, after leaving Arizona and the ancestors of the Pima, at the present political border, he would have found the Tarahumara, the Mayo and the Yaqui. The Cora, Huichol and the Tepehuana, with lesser groups, lived immediately south. In central Mexico, were the forebears of the Tarascan, the Olmec, Toltec and Totonaca, while to the south, lived the Zapoteca and Mixteca with the Maya in Yucatan and Guatemala. The Buddhist missionary could easily have passed from one culture to another with scarcely an empty space between.
That Fu-sang and the Kingdom of Women were unrelated, is evident from the different type of things identified with Fu-sang. There, they had a writing; a governmental structure; a marriage and burial custom; and a prison system. One thing that they had in common was the plantin one place described as little beans or kernels and in the other as a pear-shaped fruit, but both kept without spoiling. There can be no question but that the "little kernels" came from the larger pear-shaped fruit,
since they were noted as kernels, they would have had to be kernels of something larger.
Writing was the thing that impressed both Hwui Shan and the Spanish. Early Spanish documents tell us that the Indians had three kinds of writingpicture writing, symbolic and phonetic. They wrote on cloth, skins, leaves and a parchment kind of paper.
Locke, in his book on the Quipu, stated that the Indians of Peru used banana leaves for paper in their earliest writings. The Museo Nacional, in Mexico City, has many fine examples of early writings, done on the various types of materials. Banana, corn, aloe and other large leaves were used in Mexico. Rebus writing was a popular form. In order to either read it or write it, the early Indians would have had to have a tremendous bump of imagination coupled with a keen sense of humorboth are evident.
In 1937, the late Dr. Orozco Munoz, eminent Mexican scholar, in showing me some of these early documents, said that he believed that many of the writings went back to a period as early as the beginning of the Christian era. Dr. Caso also believed that they did. Dr. Morley disagreed with Dr. Caso.
Dr. Caso, however, stated that: "It is very probable that paper is one of those inventions which like writing, seals or markers . . . must be attributed to a most ancient mother culture, which is found at the bottom of the specialized cultures of Central Mexico and Northern Central America, and which spread from a place, so it appears, that we must locate in the southern part of Veracruz and in the nearby sections of Tabasco, Oaxaca and Chiapas."
Writing would have been a rare attribute in the late fifth century. How many of the peoples of Europe were writing in 500 A.D.? Hwui Shan found writing in Fu-sangthe Maya had one before 500 A.D.
Gold and silver were said not to have been considered of value, they were in common usage. Copper was known but the country was destitute of iron. Early Spanish records confirm
the use of gold, silver and copper and that they themselves introduced iron. The exquisite gold and silver pieces taken from the tombs at Monte Alban speak eloquently for themselves.
The Classics have told us that the people of Fu-sang made koumiss. Lumholtz, in writing of the Tarahumaras of northern Mexico, said that: "Nothing is so close to the heart of a Tarahumara as this liquor called in Mexican Spanishteviso. It looks like milky water and has an agreeable taste reminding one of kumyss." Since Hwui Shan, in the fifth century, likened the substance to koumiss and as Lumholtz, at the turn of the twentieth century, independently did likewise, it can be said to have existed in the territory.
The Books of Chilam Balam, five of which have been preserved, are, historically, the most significant chronicles recording important events of Maya history that we have. In the transliteration of them, the early padres found that to render the sound as they spoke it, it was necessary to add letters. Two were so addedthe "x" from the Portuguese and an inverted "c."
In the opening entry of the Book of Chilam Balam of Mani, composed at the village of Mani, immediately following the Conquest, will be found an interesting explanation for the statement in Hwui Shan's story that "noblemen of the first rank are called Tui-lu."
The Mani Chronicle begins:
"This is the account of the katuns. They left the region of their homes: Nonoul. The Tutul Xiu were there to the west of Zuyua. The land from whence they came (was) Tulapan Chiconautlan. It is said that they travelled four katuns (until) they arrived here in the company of Holon Chan Tepeuh and his subjects. When they left (this) region it is said that it was 8 Ahau, 6 Ahau, 4 Ahau, 2 Ahau."
The Tzimin Manuscript, in recording the same event, states:
"8 Ahau, 6 Ahau, 4 Ahau, 2 Ahau. Four score and one year, in the first tun of 13 Ahau, 8 Ahau, 6 Ahau, 4 Ahau, 2 Ahau,
the leader Tutul Xiu arrived in Chacnobiton; it was one year less than five score years."
This priceless bit of recording tells us that a leader, Tutul Xiu, arrived in Yucatan and that he was accompanied by Holon Chan Tepeuh and his subjects.
The Maya has told of a leader coming from the west, Tula-pan, who had the title of "Tutul Xiu." This Tutul Xiu accompanied another dignitary, Holon Chan Tepeuh, who had his subjects with him. The importance of the occasion must have been great, since two manuscripts record it and the story came by word of mouth for a thousand years before the Books of Chilam Balam were written. From this recording we learn many things.
A stranger of importance arrived in Yucatan with his subjects, accompanied by a Tutul Xiu, a leader. This, it will be borne in mind, is the opening entry of the Chroniclethe beginning of events insofar as the Maya were concerned. Nothing of significance evidently happened earlier. Both records identify the leader as "Tutul Xiu." The spelling of the word itself is sufficient to give one pause. As noted above, when the Spanish transliterated from Mayan hieroglyphics, they had to add letters in order to reduce the sound properly. "X" was one of the letters added.
In considering Hwui Shan's account, a limited Chinese character phonetically interpreted a Mayan sound. The Chinese character has, in turn, been translated into English. The word describing the same type of person, a leader, written in the Mani and Tzimin manuscripts"Tutul Xiu," and its Chinese twin"Tui-lu," separated by thousands of miles and hundreds of years, could hardly be presumed to have been a coincidence. If the "l" from the Maya moved over from the first to the second word, and the "x" that was added by the Spanish padres eliminated, the word would be spelled "Tutuliu" which, phonetically, is not far removed from the Chinese "Tui-lu." The Maya identified him as a leader; Hwui Shan identified him as a "nobleman of first rank." This tiny fragmentary bit, in and of itself, gives sufficient weight to Hwui
[paragraph continues] Shan's record in order to remove it from the realm of imaginative whimsy.
The most significant of all things in the entire record as set down in the Classics, is that concerning Fu-sangthe plant from which the country was supposed to have derived its name.
We were told that the sprouts of this plant, which the people ate, resembled bamboo; the fruit of it was pear-shaped in form and of a reddish color; that this red pear-shaped fruit could be kept for a year without spoilage.
In the account of the Kingdom of Women, the people were said to have eaten little beans or kernels. The hieroglyphic Chinese character set down in the Classics, has been romanized by the letters SIAO-TEU. Chinese characters, both because of their nature and because of certain peculiarities of speech of the Chinese, can only be said to come out reasonably close to our sounds. For many of our sounds, the Chinese have no equivalent character whatsoever. Kernels of corn, in the Indian language, are called CINTLI. Chinese would have had extreme difficulty in expressing both the "l" and "n" sounds. One wonders then if the Chinese SAIO-TEU is an effort at writing, in Chinese characters, the Indian sound CINTLI. Saying it over slowly, one realizes that it may be as close as the Chinese tongue could master the Indian word.
With reference to the growth of the plant, Hwui Shan likens it to bamboo. There would hardly be another plant growing on this continent in such profusion that would resemble the tall, slender, bamboo as closely as would our corn. The manner in which the husk grows over the ear, is quite similar to the way in which bamboo looks as it comes up. The shoots of the plant were said to have been eaten and the fruit was kept for a year without spoiling. Hwui Shan did the best that he could in describing a plant that was totally unfamiliar to himyet there is nothing in his account that could be said not to apply to corn or could be said to apply to any other plant.
We know that kernels of corn are kept dried for a yeareven up to 2,000 years. A photograph of five cobs, from a group of 38,000, taken from Tularosa Cave, noted earlier, appears
in the 1950 Annual Report of the Chicago Natural History Museum. It shows cobs, taken from an early level of the cave, to be about three inches long and considerably wider at the base, tapering to a point at the topconical rather than cylindrical. They are the size and shape of a pear.
A hypothetical question as to whether any corn of the period from 1 A.D. to 600 A.D. was reddish in color or not, was put to four outstanding scientists. Two stated most definitely "Yes," red corn was known to have existed as early as the beginning of the Christian era; one said just as definitely "No," that it did not; and the fourth did not know how early it existed but he did know that it existed long before the Spanish Conquest. In one of the most ancient of Mexican ceremonies, five different colors of corn were usedamong them, red.
In September, 1952, I purchased dried corn, red, pear-shaped, and about three inches long. This corn is of the exact size, shape, and color that Hwui Shan described. The photograph showing pear-shaped corn taken from Tularosa Cave, has traced the size and shape back at least 2,000 years. That the red, pear-shaped fruit that kept without spoiling can be identified as corn, appears to be without question.
Insofar as its importance to the country, and to the Maya in Yucatan was concerned, something from the country itself should indicate it. Speaking on behalf of the Maya, Dr. Morley has this to say:
"Amidst all this abundance, nature's richest gift to man was maizethe Maya staff of lifewithout which they never could have developed their highly distinctive culture, the most brilliant aboriginal civilization of the New World. And if we bear constantly in mind the fact that from three-fourths to five-sixths of everything the average Maya eats, even today, is corn in one form or another, and that their culture was based directly upon, and derived straight from, agriculture as applied to the cultivation of corn, we shall have learned the most basic fact about the Maya civilization."
Believing that corn was the epicenter of all things for the Maya, interestingly enough, Dr. Morley has used as the introductory
paragraph to his book "The Ancient Maya," a quotation from a sixteenth century manuscript:
"If one looks closely he will find that everything (these Indians) did and talked about had to do with maize; in truth, they fell little short of making a god of it. And so much is the delight and gratification they got and still get out of their corn fields, that because of them they forget wife and children and every other pleasure, as if their corn fields were their final goal and ultimate happiness."
In summarizing this section, we have found the highly developed Maya, of Yucatan, living about 2,500-3,000 miles southeast of the Kingdom of Women, or, in reverse, the Kingdom of Women was 2,500 miles northwest of Yu-Kie's "Fu-sang." The people of Fu-sang were said to have had a writing while those of the Kingdom of Women did notand we so found. Gold and silver were in common usage while the country had no iron, which was confirmed by early Spanish accounts. Lumholtz confirmed the fact that they made koumiss. The Mani Chronicle told us about the "Tutul Xiu" or the "Tui-lu" of the Chinese, an important dignitary who accompanied Holon Chan Tepeuh. Lastly, and most important, the bamboo-like plant with the reddish fruit, was identified as corn and the country, Mexico and Yucatan.