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Pale Ink, by Henriette Mertz, [1953], at

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Related Items

A GREAT MASS of other related material, in addition to that which is contained within the four corners of the Chinese document, exists. Physical characteristics, such as hair, teeth, shape of the head, lines of the palm of the hand, the Mongolian "spot," the epicanthic eye-fold, and others, have each been considered and compared in technical papers written by specialists in their respective fields. We shall not go into any of them.

The "side issues" that we shall consider here are only three—the calendar, cochineal, and the giant effigies.

When the Conquistadores arrived in the Valley of Anahuac, one of their most amazing discoveries was the calendar system and the undreamed of knowledge of astronomy on the part of the Indians. To say that the Spaniards were astounded, would be understating the facts. Where did the people get that knowledge? When the Spaniards asked, all they learned was—"from Quetzalcoatl," this legendary bearded white man that they kept hearing about. Indians from all different sections agreed on the derivation, since countless disassociated Spanish reports have all pointed to the same source.

If Quetzalcoatl taught them, and Quetzalcoatl and Hwui Shan were one and the same, then the calendar would have arrived in Mexico immediately prior to 500 A.D. If Hwui Shan brought the calendar to Mexico, Chinese characteristics in the Maya calendar would probably be apparent in some form or other.

The complicated calendar system of the Maya was both solar and lunar, as was the Asiatic. The calendar system itself has been studied technically and many fine papers have been written on the subject. For one with special interest, they should be consulted. The only point that will be touched on here, will be merely the similarity of names between the American and Asiatic, for days and months.

The Maya, Quiche, Cakchique, Tzental, Zapoteca and Nahuatl names were studied by Dr. Daniel G. Brinton, and their

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meaning interpreted for us. Taking a broad cross-section from these groups, Dr. Brinton's list is as follows:

1. Fish—beard—ray

11. Monkey

2. Air, wind, breath

12. Tooth, spike, sharp-pointed

3. Grow dark, night, old

13. Reed, stalk

4. Rope, yellow, snake, lizard

14. Ocelot, tiger

5. Serpent

15. Eagle, bird in general

6. Death

16. Vulture, crow, owl

7. Deer

17. Force, power

8. Rabbit

18. Flint, knife, sharp-edged

9. Water, rain

19. Lightning, thunder, turtle

10. Dog

20. Sovereign, sun

In making a comparative study, it will be found that similar animal names appear in the old Chinese names for their months, which were:

1. Rat

7. Horse

2. Ox

8. Sheep

3. Tiger

9. Monkey

4. Hare

10. Cock, hen

5. Dragon, crocodile

11. Dog

6. Serpent

12. Boar, hog

Other than the Chinese, the people of Java and India had a calendar system. In the lunar system of the Hindu, various month-names such as Cane, Razor or Sharp-edged, house, and sheep or goat appear.

Comparing the Maya-Azteca with the Chinese-Hindu, one will find serpent, rabbit, dog, monkey, tiger, lizard, razor or sharp-edged, cane or reed, eagle or bird in general, names common to both systems—animal names primarily. Is it not strange, in a country like Mexico where everyone loves flowers, that flower names were not used? They had their own world to choose from yet, a large proportion matches that of another culture with nothing distinctive of their very own such as, for example, turkey.

Animal forms are not essential. We perpetuate, names of gods from cultures other than our own—Wotan, Thor and Janus—and turn them into days and months. Why should we

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have named them in this fashion rather than to have given them animal names? Why did the Maya? Ours came from an ancient culture, not our own—perhaps theirs did likewise.

Dr. Brinton believed that, remarkable as it was, the calendar system of the Maya, Zapoteca and Azteca was strangely and absolutely independent and American in its origin and development. He did not agree with Humboldt's conclusion that it had an Asiatic origin. He found that the day-names in all five of the languages, Quiche-Cakchiquel, Tzental, Maya, Zapoteca and Nahuatl, were identical in signification and had the same origin; that, at the time of the Conquest, the Mayan names belonged to an archaic form of speech, indicating that they were derived from some common ancient stock and not one from the other; that they belonged to the stock and were not borrowed words; that there was no evidence to connect them with astronomical bodies, but that they seemed mythical. He stated emphatically that there could be no question but that the names were derived from one source, probably a lost culture that made use of a calendar at a remote ancient date.

At the time of the Conquest, the natives themselves were uncertain as to how long they had possessed knowledge of the calendar or the meaning of the names. Sahagun, in his lengthy discussion of the calendar, said that it was derived from the Devil himself—that the people said that it came to them as a divine revelation from Quetzalcoatl. It was thought by the Indians, questioned by the Spaniards, to have been invented about 800 years before they landed at Vera Cruz or sometime around 700 A.D., but the Indians were not exactly sure.

The fact that the Indian people all insisted that they derived their knowledge of the calendar from Quetzalcoatl is of interest. That they were hazy on the date or the precise mythological meaning of the day or month name need not be too surprising. What percentage of college graduates today could tell off-hand the precise meaning of our own—or, for that matter, could tell even approximately the time of the shift from Julian to Gregorian—if they even knew it existed? The common people of the Maya and Azteca were a very human folk and they probably

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paid no more attention to details of this nature than we do.

An interesting detail, in connection with the time count, deals with the five day period at the end of the Maya year cycle. Those five days were "unlucky" days. They came the latter part of December and, during that time, everyone abandoned himself to despair. They destroyed all of the little images of their household gods, in whom they no longer had trust. After the five day period was over, they re-kindled their fires and set up new household gods to take care of them for the coming year. If the end of the calendar year had a special meaning to the Maya, did it likewise have a special meaning to the Chinese? What happened in China at the end of their yearly cycle? The Chinese got rid of their household gods in the same fashion as the Maya. At the end of their yearly cycle all of their household gods were destroyed, by burning, and, at the beginning of the new year, a brand new set of household gods were set up who were supposed to absorb the sins of the family for the entire year. Is it not odd that the custom of burning the household gods at the end of the year was common to both cultures? We have no special household gods that we burn each year. The Chinese and the Mexicans both, today, carry on the custom.

The second intriguing "side issue" has to do with the microscopic cochineal—the plant lice of the nopal cactus, from which is obtained a potent red dye. That which grows around Cuilapan, State of Oaxaca, presumably has the greatest strength and intensity of color. This little insect grows solely on the nopal and, while cochineal is obtained the length and breadth of Mexico, the most perfect comes from Oaxaca, the quintessence from Cuilapan.

What do we find on the other side of the water? Over and around southern Tibet, Lahore, Kabul and Nepal, in a period said to be "early," cochineal insects were brought in—no one knows from where. Those little insects thrived on a specie of cactus found growing in Bengal, similar to that of the nopal of Mexico, but on no other. This cactus plant was said to have been introduced into Bengal but it has never been found in any neighboring section from which it might have been introduced.

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[paragraph continues] Although politically divided today, West Bengal adjoins Nepal. It would be interesting to trace the name "Nepal" to determine its origin and the length of time the country has been so called—and why. The name itself is too close to the Mexican "nopalli," of ancient usage, not to be examined more carefully. And today, the inhabitants of Nepal call themselves "Nepalli"—not "Nepallan" or "Nepallese" but "Nepalli." Nopalli cactus introduced in Nepal, in kind like that which grows in Mexico, and existing in no other neighboring community, the plant lice, the cochineal from Cuilapan, Oaxaca, discriminating with reference to its home, propagating on no other than the nopal—both appear in Nepal, unexplained, before the Conquest. Was that a "borrowing" in the reverse direction?

The third "side issue" relates back to the story of Ha-ak, as told in the National Geographic Magazine, and to the large effigies found near Sacaton, Arizona. Two problems present themselves—when were these mysteriously conceived images made and for what purpose?

In two of the photographs, showing the effigy of Ha-ak, there is also pictured a horse. The proportions of the horse's effigy are given as 53 feet long and 43 feet 10 inches high—a giant horse!

In Yu-Kie's record, when he was writing of things found to the west, he stated that in this area dogs, ducks and horses of great height would be found in it. Would this be the horse of great height? Hwui Shan related the story of the three-year-old adult—Ha-ak; he stated that horses of great height were there—the area around Sacaton, to the west of the Kingdom of Women, furnishes us with ample foundation for both assertions.

Dr. Setzler, however, hazards a guess that these effigies were made after the Conquest. He stated that he has pulled the date out of thin air, based primarily on the fact that a horse was not known on this continent before the coming of the Spaniards and, additionally, on the fact that the lichen on the gravel was not ancient.

One frequently wonders about horses—and the assertion that has always been made that they were not here before Columbus.

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[paragraph continues] The Runic Stone (Kensington Stone) found in Minnesota, of which Smithsonian has a copy, definitely tells us otherwise. If the Norsemen who camped there and who carved that stone were lost, then what became of the horses that, they said in their carving, accompanied them? They must have been lost also. Where did they go? Did they propagate for a time in Minnesota and then die off? The carving states that horses were on that spot, in Minnesota, and the stone was carved before Columbus landed on this side of the Atlantic. Maybe horses were here.

If I were to fix a date for the effigies around Blythe and Sacaton, although not having seen them, it would be one before 500 A.D. That conclusion would be based, not alone on Hwui Shan's story of the "horse of great height," but on another series of similar markings in Peru, in the Nasca area, likewise best observed from the air. These are, in my opinion, of the same general character as the effigies at Sacaton. The ridges, like those in Dr. Setzler's article, are shallow and scarcely noticeable at ground level. The Peruvian markings cover a fifty mile area and, from the air, look like landing strips. Animal and bird forms as well as a coiled serpent, can be identified—but the major project of the early people of Peru seemed to be one of astronomical calculations. One configuration looked exactly like an airplane with nose, wing spread and fuselage—its size was tremendous. Peruvian authorities who were in the midst of studying the finds when I inquired about their age, stated that up to that date, 1947, there was no actual way of knowing an exact date but that it was definitely well before 1000 A.D. and that they believed that they would date back to the Nasca period, which was approximately at the beginning of the Christian era.

The two sites, while they have different connotations, are of the same general appearance and construction and have been preserved in more or less the same type of desert climate—the "Great American Desert" and the Atacama Desert. If Hwui Shan saw and described the effigies of the giant horse, and Ha-ak, in the late fifth century, and the Peruvian authorities have tentatively given the sand paintings there a date as early

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as the Nasca, which would be anterior to Hwui Shan, then a conclusion could properly be reached that they do date earlier than the middle of the sixteenth century—perhaps the first century or earlier—even though the presumption that horses were not on this continent before Columbus, exists.

The calendar, the cochineal and the effigies, are not within the four corners of the Classics—but they are related.

Next: Chapter VIII. The Buddhists