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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/15

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WAS MIDDLE AMERICA PEOPLED FROM ASIA?

dar in Mexico is cited. Dr. Brinton shows, however, that the Mexican calendar is an indigenous production, and has no relation to the calendar of the Chinese. In a similar way the Mexican game of patolli is correlated with the East Indian game of parchesi by Dr. E. B. Tylor. Dr. Stewart Culin, who has made a profound study of the games of the world, and Mr. Frank Hamilton Cushing, the distinguished student of the ethnology of southern North America, are both convinced that this game had an independent origin in various parts of the world. Mexican divisions of time marked by five colors are recognized as being allied to a similar device in China. The application of colors to the meaning of certain ideographs is common in other parts of the world as well. It is important to remark that the colors named include nearly the whole category as selected by barbarous people, and in the use of colors in this way it would be difficult to avoid similarities.

The evidences of contact in early times must be settled by the comparison of early relics of the two shores of the Pacific. Resemblances there are, and none will dispute them, but that they are fortuitous and have no value in the discussion is unquestionable. As illustrations of these fortuitous resemblances may be cited a tazza from the United States of Colombia having a high support with triangular perforations identical in form with that of a similar object found among the mortuary vessels of Korea, and Greece as well. A curious, three-lobed knob of a pot rim, so common in the shell mounds of Omori, Japan, has its exact counterpart in the shell mounds of the upper Amazon. In the Omori pottery a peculiar curtain-shaped decoration on a special form of jar has its exact parallel in the ancient pottery of Porto Rico. These instances might be multiplied, but such coincidences as are often seen in the identity of certain words are familiar to all students. The account of the land of Fusang appears in the records of the Liang dynasty contained in the Nanshi, or History of the South, written by Li Yen-Shau, who lived in the beginning of the seventh century. It purports to have been told by a monk who returned from the land of Fusang in 499 of our era. This hypothetical region has been believed to be Japan, Saghalin, and Mexico. The record is filled with fabulous statements of impossible animals, trees of impossible dimensions, and is so utterly beyond credence in many ways that it should have no weight as evidence. If it had any foundation in fact, then one might infer that some traveler had entered Saghalin from the north, had crossed to Yeso and Japan, and found his way back to China. His own recollections, supplemented by stories told him by others, would form the substance of his account. The record is brief, but any one familiar with Japan as Klaproth was is persuaded with him that the