new-old world: aboard the star raft

Who got to America first? Lots of theories have been batted around ranging from the Chinese to refugees from Atlantis, to Phoenicians and the Lost Tribes of Israel to those paddlers on the Nile, the Egyptians. Maybe the real answer lies in the unthinkable…

…As the experts amassed more and more data and sifted it, curious apparent coincidences began to crop up: certain mayan art motifs strangely resembled certain Chinese motifs; certain pots found in Mexico looked strangely like some found in China; certain architectural elements found in Yucatan looked strangely like some found in Cambodia, and so on.

—It seems more likely that the world and all its continents were discovered by a Chinese admiral named Zheng He, whose fleets roamed the oceans between 1405 and 1435. His exploits, which are well documented in Chinese historical records, were written about in a book which appeared in China around 1418 called “The Marvellous Visions of the Star Raft”.
Next week, in Beijing and London, fresh and dramatic evidence is to be revealed to bolster Zheng He’s case. It is a copy, made in 1763, of a map, dated 1418, which contains notes that substantially match the descriptions in the book. “It will revolutionise our thinking about 15th-century world history,” says Gunnar Thompson, a student of ancient maps and early explorers.—Read More:

Inevitably, then, a theory arose that, long before Columbus, there was trans Pacific contact between the Old World and the New- not a mass migration of Chinese or Israelites who subsequently turned into Mayas or Incas but traders or other visitors who brought the know-how that sparked the upward march of civilization in America. The advocates of this theory are poles apart from the devotees of a Mu or the like; they were men with a lifetime of training in the technique of gathering and evaluating evidence.

—Michael Auslin, like many other Americans, is infuriated by the brutishness with which the dragon is now flexing its military muscles: ‘We have a China that is undermining the global system that allowed it to get rich and powerful, a China that now feels a sense of grievance every time it is called to account for its disruptive behaviour.’—Read More:

They point to motifs on Chinese bronzes of the late Chou period and similar motifs in the so-called Tajin style of Mexico; to Chinese pottery of the Han period and similar pottery found in Guatemala; to the lotus motif as treated in Buddhist art and its very similar treatment in sculptures of Yucatan; to the way figures are represented seating or “diving” in Hindu-Buddhist art and the very similar way they appear on sculpture from Palenque or Chichen Itza. They argue that these likenesses must reflect some early impact of the Old World upon the New. A number went even further and claimed that artistic influence is just the icing on the cultural cake the Old World fed to the New.

Robert Heine-Geldern, was a noted Austrian anthropologist who was the most radical advocate of the trans Pacific influence, writing that “future research will probably indicate that Asiatic influences of non-material character were far more important than those in art and architecture. it must have been they which changed the whole structure of native society and transformed the ancient tribal cultures into civilizations more or less comparable to those of the Old World.”

And so Heine-Gordon conceived of “a vast maritime expansion” of the peoples of coastal China toward the East. He has hardy Chinese mariners traveling to our shores as early as 700 B.C. ….( to be continued)


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