Civilization exists by geological consent, subject to change without notice.
The similarities between the ancient Chinese and Mayan calendar systems indicate that these might not have been developed independently, according to David H. Kelley, a Harvard-educated archaeologist and epigrapher at the University of Calgary in Canada. His article written 30 years ago, was recently unearthed and published for the first time in the journal Pre-Columbiana.
Kelley’s hypothesis was controversial as he supported the transoceanic contact and claimed that the calendars indicate contact between Eurasia and Mesoamerica more than 1,000 years ago. It contradicted the archeological beliefs, which indicated the contact only a few 100 years ago. Although, he is not the only one to have noticed the similarities, but the further research was based considering his study as the pillar.
David. B. Kelley, an East Asian linguist at Showa Women’s University in Tokyo and a researcher, did further analysis of these similarities with a computer program. His paper was also published in the recent issue of Pre-Columbiana. In both of these calendar systems, the days are associated with elements and animals. Not all the things are similar, but they do frequently correspond.
The deer, the dog, and the monkey are associated with same days in the Mayan and Chinese calendars. Others do closely match, but are not exactly similar, example, one day is associated with Jaguar in one calendar and the same day is associated with a tiger, in another. The combined symbolism of the rabbit and the moon is another similarity between the Mesoamerican and Chinese calendars.
According to Kelley, Aztec day 8, Rabbit, was ruled by goddess of the moon. Representations of the rabbit in the moon are first seen in Mesoamerica around the 6th century A.D. Kelley also wrote that Pictures of the rabbit in the moon pounding out the elixir of immortality are Chinese favorites that first appeared in Han China in the first century B.C. He concluded that the animal names in the Mayan calendar system are clearly derived from a prototypical form of a Eurasian expanded list, to which, the Chinese system also corresponds.
Looking at Greek, Indian, and other calendar systems as examples, he claimed that Chinese and Mayan calendarsboth ultimately have the same source.
David B. Kelley found matches between the Mayan day associations and Chinese elements of fire, water, earth, metal, and wood, with the computer program InterCal. Initially he found only a few matches, but after tweaking the parameters a little, he found a great overlap, finding nine matches between the two systems within any given 60-day period – relating to day names and animal associations. As no one is sure of the start date of Mayan Calendar, he shifted the dates by four days and the match increased from 9 to 30.
After his research, he indicated that although, this system of testing was not very accurate, but still, the possibility of some sort of systematic relationship between certain Mesoamerican day names, and both the Chinese Heavenly Stems – Elements, and Earthly Branches – Animal associations, is tantalizing.
Symbolism, Associations Not An Exact Science
Some associations didn’t seem to correspond at the first glance but had some relations, for example, a Pipil Mayan list from Guatemala has Turtle in the 19th position, a Malay list also has Turtle, Mayan and Aztec lists have Lightning Storm, and a Hindu list has Female Dog in the same position.
Interestingly, the goddess of the 19th Aztec day was Chantico, a fire goddess, turned by the other gods into a dog and this concept of a Lightning Dog is found in Asia throughout the areas of Buddhist influence. Moreover, a Tibetan manuscript actually shows a Female Lightning Dog seated on a turtle, nicely combining all the concepts.
David B. Kelley noted linguistic similarities as well, between the day names, along with the other evidences. According to his conclusions, this contact may have occurred around the late first or early second century A.D.