Though it is thought besides the indigenous population, the first discoverer of North America by “civilized” people was Leif Erikson around the year 1000 AD, the Chinese may have discovered it and grandly influenced various cultures far before then. Around 2300 years ago Chinese and Koreans migrated in great numbers to Japan- half of today’s inhabitants of Japan descend from these people, while another 36% are thought to be of an even older lineage and migration of people which dates back some 50,000 years ago who are related to Tibetans, Mongolians, and the Qiang people:
“Y-DNA haplogroup D2, making up 36% of the Japanese male lineages, is interesting because it is only found in Japan. Its closest relatives are scattered around very specific regions of Asia : the Andaman Islands (between India and Myanmar), Indonesia (only a small minority), Southwest China (mostly among the Qiang ethnic group), Mongolia (also a small minority) and Tibet. Haplogroup D is thought to have originated in East Africa some 50,000 years before present. The first carriers of the gene would have migrated along the coasts of the Indian Ocean, through Indonesia, and gone up to Japan, South-East Siberia, then moved inland to Mongolia, with the last part of the group continuing as far as Tibet. However, whereas the Japanese belong to haplogroup D2, Tibetans are part of the completely separate D3a, the Qiang of D1, and the Andaman Islanders of D*. It means that their most recent common ancestors goes back tens of thousands of years. In other words the genetic gap between these ethnic groups is immense, despite false appearances of belonging to a common haplogroup.” -Wa-pedia, Origins of the Japanese People
As we saw in the aftermath of the Japanese tsunami in 2011- obviously many, many things from Japan made it to North America on their own after being directed by prevailing winds and ocean currents without human aid. Map of debris from NOAA spanning from 2011-2016:
For a long time anthropologists have speculated and wondered about the culture of the NW Coast people, and why it was so far more advanced than their indigenous neighbors. They built massive houses out of cedar while others lived in little more than a huts made of sticks, and were master carvers and painters and weavers, and made some of the very first metals- copper, as well as having a society that was highly stratified and laws governing behavior and ownership of not only physical property, but intellectual as well. Chinese influencing them over time from shipwrecks, if not purposeful and deliberate trade, may be the key to the mystery.
The Salish of the Northwest Coast- the masters of carving, were influenced by those people- the ancient Chinese- the masters of carving as hopefully some examples will exemplify. The contact with each other may have been quite long ago- 2,000 years to possibly 10,000’s of years ago- and each culture has become more stylized over the time they have been apart, so exact matches in artifacts is difficult. As a tree species is that grows from the same common ancestor, the two species today will ever be the same as each other- but they are still related and can be shown to be so by comparative analysis and science.
Unfortunately Chinese scholars of their ancient history are unfamiliar with the culture of anyone else apparently, and none of them have even even researched the connections prior to selling much of China’s prehistoric past on Ebay. The greatest damage by looting they do to their own selves- as many people are- they are their own worst enemy. But the people of the NW Coast really do deserve to know where they come from too, and who they are related to, and it is they whose past is being destroyed here as well.
The people of the NW Coast call a two headed serpent Sisiutl. It appears time and again on house fronts, masks, legends and also is the form of a very important shamanic object called a soul catcher.
Soul Catchers were thought to be among the most powerful of a shaman’s tool kit and are typically carved out of bone. Many are inlayed with mother of pearl as well, a technique also greatly utilized for centuries by the Chinese and Japanese as well.
A painted screen with the two headed serpent used for special ceremonies to partition the large houses so that dancers could have some privacy while changing costumes and masks. Dancers would have entered and exited through the hole.
This same two headed serpent also appears time and again in Chinese art. They call the creature Rainbow Dragon or 虹 (Hong).
In the most ancient of Chinese texts- Oracle Bone Script- the word for rainbow is the character above. The same symbol seen in a Chinese jade hong below. The jade is so old that it has discolored in patches, and was once probably a pure white. This may be from 2,000 years ago or older, but it is uncertain since there is little science being done while a whole lot is being sold.
Another form this creature often takes includes a face along with the two “serpents”- this occurs both in Chinese and NW Coast art. Below is almost the exact same carving as above, but that has been dyed green- possibly during the Han Dynasty or even earlier. Though many might just consider this type of dyed stone to be fake jade, they are still artifacts that have came from someone’s tomb, though perhaps not the emperor’s who would be able to afford real jade as well as be permitted to wear it.
- See this action: sold 02/13/2017 for $3.25 by chuangye*2012
- Another auction, different photo, different seller by bianheye
There is literally a ton (and more) of this green “jade” for sale on Ebay, and perhaps it did come from someone well to do- not commoners who couldn’t afford real jade or something- who knew their tomb might be robbed, and still added to the overall volume of goods that were buried with them, which would add to their prestige in the afterlife.
A ingenious traditional mask made by people of the NW Coast has serpents on the outside which opens up to a face that is hidden below. Note that both cultures depict the central face with horns.
Photo by Edward S. Curtis of Winter Dance Ceremonies, 1914. Dancer’s body is covered with boughs of the cedar tree. In China the also have cedar trees, though a different species, they are very closely related. NW Coast people built their houses out of cedar, and the first emperor’s palace was also constructed of cedar, showing a very early affinity towards the rot-resistant wood by both cultures.
Totem poles, though often only thought of as being Indian, maybe a hand-me-down from the ancient Chinese that has been greatly embellished upon over time. Many of the artifacts that are currently labeled Hongshan Culture by Ebay sellers are totem poles within themselves, though they typically contain only 2 characters, instead of more than 2 as seen on NW Coast poles. One of the most powerful animals for either culture is a bird.
- Buy It Now page (was $1,450.00, price raised to $1,980.00 by 10/2016; price lowered to $1,782.00 by 04/2017) by honesty-seller-ly9999
This is a Hongshan culture statue of a bird on top of an ox’s head made from crystal. It may have been one of the most prized possessions the entire culture possessed for 1,000’s of years- made of melted and colored quartz that was carved- now being sold without provenance by the Chinese who might consider the art to be very childish, at best.
- Buy It Now page (was $199.00, price reduced to $181.09 by 10/2016; price increased to $350.00 by 02/2017) by curioshop2018
There are two common forms of Hongshan Culture (ancient Chinese) totem poles. One is a character with something on their head or back, on is with the other animal on their belly as seen in the example above. Both these forms- having another character on the head as well as characters in their belly- are also seen in NW Coast art.
Also note that with both cultures- The Hongshan and the NW Coast, they accentuate and exaggerate the eyes in a very similar manner as well as having a high degree of stylization of the animals which isn’t meant to be completely realistic, or even trying to be.