Meant to post this a long time age in your other thread on the Olmec, as you had posted a number of images of Olmec/Chinese art that show a strong
parallel. So here goes...
Did Ancient China Influence Olmec Mexico?
by David Kaufman
This paper relates the Olmec art to art in China's Shang Dynasty.
In particular, the comparisons in Shamanism in both regions, the motifs used in 'monster' masks and language, the jade disks/earspools, among
The above paper appears to have been based on some of the research of Dr. Xu, "TRANSPACIFIC CONTACTS", (Dr. Mike Xu), TCU;
This paper also focuses on Olmec motifs and Shang writing, which share a high degree of similarities.
I'll copy some of the images from both sources here:
Similarities in Olmec motifs and Shang writing; (more at the source):
These two papers make it clear there was some sort of interaction between Shang China and the Olmec - but I won't go so far as to say "Ancient China
influenced the Olmec", or vis-a-vis "The Olmec influenced ancient China", nor would I go so far as to say "Ancient China settled
What I do think is we have a go-between the two cultures, one that may have contributed to the peopling of both - the Austonesian people
remnants of which became the Liangzhu culture, as well as many cultures around the Pacific, ranging from the Philippines to what we would call
Polynesia. It may have been the Shang themselves, or it may have been a 'Transpacific' culture with ties to both.
In your previous thread, I brought up the Shu people of China, who contributed both genetically and culturally to the Liangzhu culture of China (A
neolithic society, circa 3000-2000 BC) that would eventually become the Shang, contemporaries of the Olmec. The Shu, like much of the Pacific,
originated with the Austronesians. They were a relative late-exiting people leaving Africa, much of the globe had already been settled by modern
sapien sapien popualtions. China, by Homo Erectus and succesive waves of modern man (however it may have blended together). Austronesians managed to
populate the Pacific, from Madagascar to the Philippines to Hawaii (Polynesians are descendents of Austronesians), they also settled as the Shu in the
mouth of the Yangtzee river in south central China, and blended with populations there.
I think it's important to keep in mind how the Austronesians managed to populate the remotest parts of Pacific long before we think of modern man
having the ability to build long-distance open-ocean craft, just as the proto-Austroloid race managed to settle Australia 60,000 years ago, and who,
be the way, had apparently also reached America, LONG before Paleoindians crossed Beringia - see:
Australoid race - The first Americans?
Skulls of individuals with Australoid morphologies
have been found in the Americas, leading to speculation that peoples with phenotypical similarities to modern Australoids may have been the earliest
occupants of the continent. These specimens have been termed by some Pre-Siberian American Aborigines. If this theory is correct, it would
mean that some Proto-Australoids continued the Great Coastal Migration beyond Southeast Asia along the continental shelf north in East Asia and across
the Bering land bridge, reaching the Americas about 52,000 BCE.
Let me back up for a second, however, and say that the Olmec were probably much more related to the Austronesians than to 'proto-Austroloids',
although the two groups do share a lot of similarities. At the very least, Olmec appear to be related to Pacific populations more-so that to other
Paleoindians. Specifically, the Olmec show distinct traits similar to those found in the Liangzhu culture, as do the Shang in China.
There's a good map floating around out there that show the southern tip of South America having the oldest genetic populations. They count among
their descendents the Fuegians and Patagonians, I believe the corrent term for them is "Paleoamerinds", while much later populations crossing out of
Siberia via Berignia are "Amerinds", "Na-Dene Amerinds", and eventually "Aleuts" and "Innuits". The earlier group appeared to share genetics
with Pacific-crossing Austronesians, which we HAVE to assume was possible given early settling of Hawaii, Australia, Madascar, and much of the Pacific
island chains therein.
In that other thread I got my head handed to me for alluding Shu people as "African", but I had intended to say they most likely had an African
appearance as much as any earlier Austroloid race had, and introduced some "African" features into native Chinese populations, and it could well be
those features which give the Olmec (even after many thousands of years) an appearance which can lead some to think "African". Yet we can also
safely assume they had "Chinese" features as well.
Map of migration into the Americas;
The yellow groups are those described as "populations with SouthEast Asian or Australian affiliations" - as well as being the OLDEST genetic
populations in the Americas. An important distinction as it implies an ocean crossing population contributed to the gene pool not necessarily from
those arriving via Beringia. Clearly this ocean crossing group had it's ties into China as well, and the Olmec interacted with the Shang.