Blacks in Ancient China

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Blacks in Ancient China | Blacks of XIA | Black Shang

 

BLACKS IN ANCIENT CHINA
 by 
Clyde Winters

In accordance with the oral traditions of China, the founders of Chinese civilization were Huangdi and Fu Xi. These legendary rulers like Dai Hao, were all buried in zhiu (burial mounds). The presence of this mound culture in China supports the traditions of burial of elects in mound tombs. 

The skeletal remains from southern China are predominately negroid. (Chang 1964, p.370) The people practiced single burials.

In northern China the blacks founded many civilizations. The three major empires of China were the Xia Dynasty (c.2205-1766 B.C), Shang/ Yin Dynasty (c.1700-1050 B.C) and the Zhou Dynasty. The Zhou dynasty was the first dynasty founded by the Mongoloid people in China called Hua (Who-aa). 

The founders of Xia and Shang came from the Fertile African Crescent by way of Iran. According to Chinese legends the first man Pan Gu, used a hammer 18,000 years ago to make man. 

The Chinese legends designate various culture heroes as the inventors of various aspects of Chinese civilization. The Chinese term for emperor is Di. Huang Di (Yellow Emperor), is the Chinese culture hero credited with introducing boats, carts 'chariots, the bow and arrow, ceramics, wooded houses and writing. 

Chinese civilization began along the Yellow river . Here the soil was fertile and black Chinese farmers grew millet 4000 years ago, and later soybeans. They also raised pigs and cattle. By 3500 B.C., the blacks in China were raising silkworms and making silk. 

The culture hero Huang Di is a direct link of Africa. His name was pronounced in old Chinese Yuhai Huandi or Hu Nak Kunte. He was supposed to have arrived in China from the west in 2282 B.C., and settled along the banks of the Loh river in Shanxi. This transliteration of Huandgi, to Hu Nak Kunte is interesting because Kunte is a common clan name among the Manding speakers. 

The Africans or blacks that founded civilization in China were often called li min "black headed people" by the Zhou dynasts. This term has affinity to the Sumero-Akkadian term sag- gig-ga "black headed people". These li min are associated with the Chinese cultural hero Yao. 

In the Annals of the Bamboo Books, we learn that Yao devised a calendar to help regulate agrarian work through proper use of ritual and music and created a rudimentary government. The Annals of the Bamboo Books, makes it clear that Yao "he united and harmonized the myriad states [of his dominion], and the [li min] black headed people were reformed by his cordial agreement". 

We also read that Shun, the successor of Yao, distinguished by his reputation as an obedient devoted son, noted to : "Ki [that] the Black headed people are suffering the distress of hunger". To help relieve the people Shun gave his throne over to Yu, the founder of the Shang Dynasty. Yu, in the Annals of the Bamboo Books, is reported to have noted that "...when a sovereign gives response to the people, he is kind, and the Black headed people cherish him in their heart". 

We know very little about the sounds of ancient Chinese because Ancient Chinese was different from Old Chinese and Middle Chinese and the modern Chinese dialects. (Ramsey 1987, pp.137-138) This results from the fact that the Chinese dynasties were founded by diverse ethnic groups e.g., Xia and Shang li (i.e., Black Shang) were founded by Dravidian and Manding speakers. Shang-Yin was founded by classical mongoloids, and the Zhou by the contemporary Chinese. ) This explains the difference in pronunciation for Ancient Chinese spoken by the Xia and Shang peoples and Old and Middle Chinese or a variant there of, which was probably spoken by the Zhou people. 

The Shang characters compare favorably to the ancient Proto- Saharan script used by the Harappans in the Indus Valley and the Manding script used in the ancient Sahara and Crete . Winters (1985c) outlined the spread of the Proto-Saharan script to Harappa, and throughout Saharan Africa and Asia by the Dravidians and Manding. 

Evidence of Chinese writing first appears around 2000 B.C. as pottery marks. The shell-and-bone characters represented writing they were not pictures. The Shang symbols compare favorably with ancient Manding symbols. Although their are different contemporary pronunciations for these symbols they have the same meaning and shape. This suggest a genetic relationship between these scripts because we know that the present pronunciation of the Chinese symbols probably has little relationship to the ancient pronunciation of Chinese spoken in Xia and Shang times when these characters were first used. This cognation of scripts supports the proposed Dravidian and Manding migration and settlement of ancient China during Xia times. 

The identification of the first hero of China, Hu Nak Kunte as a member of the Kunte clan of the Manding speakers of Africa is supported by the close relationship between the Manding languages and Chinese. Even though we do not know the ancient pronunciation of many Chinese signs many Chinese and Manding words share analogy and suggest a Manding substratum for Chinese. 

Chinese and Manding share many typological features. These features include reduplication for emphasis and the use of suffixes to form words. 

In Chinese the -zi suffix, is joined to many nouns e.g., 0 qizi # 'wife'; 0 tizi # 'ladder'; and 0 jinzi # 'gold'. This -zi, suffix corresponds to the Manding use of si 'that, that one, those' e.g., kye si 'that man'. 

The suffix -tou is used to form place words e.g., 0 litou # 'inside' and 0 qiantou # 'front'. In Manding the word for place was -ta.   The Chinese -r suffix is used to form nouns e.g., 0 hua # 'to paint' and 0 huar # 'picture'. This corresponds to the Manding suffix -ra which transforms verbs into nouns, e.g., 0 kyi # 'to send' and 0 kyira # 'messenger'. 

There is also some analogy between Chinese and Manding pronouns: 

Language I You he,she 

Chinese wo ni ta 

Manding ne ni, i a 

These languages also share the interogative pronouns: 

Chinese English Manding 

0 ho # who,which,what 0 o # 

In addition to cognate writing and grammatical features the Chinese and Manding share many lexical items. Below we compare Chinese and Manding terms. The Chinese terms are written in the Pinyin (phonetic alphabet) which is popular in China today. 

There are numerous examples of phonetic correspondence between Chinese and Manding. 

d=/=t 

Chinese English Manding 

di bend down ti 'negation suffix 

da to cut down, destroy te 'negative particle' 

dai to alter ta 'to put in' 

du rot toli 

da hill, hillock te-mbo 

di Supreme Ruler tigi 

d=/=d 

da great,noble dya, da 

di child di 

da big dya,di 'several' 

b=/=b 

bu 'negative' bu 'to be in decrease 

bo to break bo, bu 'to give a blow 

ban great ba 

b=/=p 

bi to press,make impression pe 

bai white, clean po 

d=/=b 

do cut bo, bu 

h=/=o 

ho 'everywhere' o 'void' 

ho who, which, where o 

f=/=f 

fa 'kill' fe 'to be void' 

s=/=s 

shan 'mountain sande 'the sky region near water' 

sa loose sa 'to die' 

su 'to pound' --- su 'to mix' 

su to suck susu 

k=/=k

kan stem ka, kala 

ku to cut open,rip up kulo 'to soften' 

y=/=y 

yu abundant,excessive yo 'perfect' 

w=/=w 

wa hollow wo 

n=/=m 

nu women musu 

mu eye nya 

ma mother na 

o=/=o 

do cut bo 

bo 'break' ---- bo 'to five a blow' 

rou flesh soro 

a=/=a 

da big dya 

da great da 

sa 'to loose' --- sa 'to die' 

ban great ba 

ma mother ma 

o=/=u 

so to grind su 

yu 'abundant' --- yo 'perfect' 

du rot toli 

do cut bu 

i=/=i 

niu cow ni 

xin 'heart' --- si 'breast' 

di child di 

iu give di 

a=/=e 

da 'to destroy' te 'negative particle' 

tien cultivated field de-n 

u=/=u 

bu 'negative' bu 'to be decreased' 

nu woman musu 

du earth dugu 

lu house lu 

Above we have compared forty-six cognate Chinese and Manding terms. These terms can be divided into three sets of cognate items, (1) words in both languages with equivalent meanings with full correspondence, (2) words with consonants showing assimilation and (3) words with equivalent meanings but lacking similar phonetic values. Using this criteria we find that the cognate rate for corresponding Chinese and Manding terms are the following percentages 54% of the terms show full correspondence; 30 % show cognate terms with alternating consonants e.g., d=/=t, p=/=b , and etc.; and 15 percent of these terms are unrelated. 

The analogy between the Manding and Chinese languages suggest that Manding is a substratum of Chinese. This also supports the view that some early rulers of China came from the Kunte clan and were Manding speakers.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Allan, S , "Sons of Suns: Myth and Totemism in Early China", Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies (BSOAS) XLIV,(1981) pages 290-326. 

Allan, S , "Drought, Human Sacrifice and the Mandate of Heaven in a Lost Text from the Shang Shu", BSOAS XLVII, (1984) pages 523-535. 

An Jinhuai, "In Search of China's Oldest Capital", China Pictorial, (1986) pages 39-41. 

An Jinhuai, "The Shang City at Cheng-chou and related Problems", In Studies of Shang Archaeology, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986) pages 15-48. 

Chang, K C , "Prehistory and Early Historic Culture Horizon and Traditions in South China", Current Anthropology 5, no.5 

Chang, K C , The Archaeology of Ancient China, New Haven:Yale (1964), pages 359-375. 

Chang, K C , Shang Civilization, New Haven:Yale University Press,1980. 

Chang, K.C. The Archaeology of Ancient China, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987. 

Lacouperie, T de , The Languages of China before the Chinese, London: David Nutt, 1887. 

Lacouperie, T de, "Origin from Babylon and Elam of the Early Chinese Civilization: A summary of the Proofs", Babylonian and Oriental Record 3, no.5 (1889), pages 97-110

Ling Shun-Sheng , A Study of the Raft, Outrigger, Double and Deck Canoes of ancient China, the Pacific and the Indian Ocean, Taipei: Nankang, 1970. 

Winters, Clyde Ahmad, "A Note on the Unity of Black Civilizations in Africa, IndoChina, and China", PISAS 1979, Hong Kong: Asian Research Service,1980b. 

Winters, Clyde Ahmad, "Are Dravidians of African Origin", P. Second ISAS,1980, (Hong Kong: Asian Research Service, 1981b) pages 789- 807. 

Winters, Clyde Ahmad, "Further Thoughts on Japanese Dravidian Connection", Dravidian Language Association News 5, no.9 (1981c) pages 1-4.

Winters, Clyde Ahmad, "Blacks in Ancient China, Part 1:The Founders of Xia and Shang", Journal of Black Studies 1,no.2 (1983c). 

Winters, Clyde Ahmad, "Possible Relationship between the Manding and Japanese", Papers in Japanese Linguistics 9, (1983d) pages 151-158. 

Winters, Clyde Ahmad, "Further Notes on Japanese and Tamil", International Journal of Dravidian Linguistics 13, no.2 (June 1984c) pages 347-353. 

Winters, Clyde Ahmad, "The Indus Valley Writing and related Scripts of the 3rd Millennium BC", India Past and Present 2, no.1 ( 1985b), pages 13-19. 

Winters, Clyde Ahmad, "The Far Eastern Origin of the Tamils", Journal of Tamil Studies , no27 (June 1985c), pages 65-92. 

Winters, Clyde Ahmad, "Dravidian Settlements in ancient Polynesia", India Past and Present 3, no.2 (1986c)pages 225- 241. 

Winters, Clyde Ahmad Winters ,"The Dravidian Origin of the Mountain and Water Toponyms in central Asia", Journal of Central Asia 9, no2 (1986d), pages 144-148. 

Winters, Clyde Ahmad, "Review of Dr. Asko Parpolas' "The Coming of the Aryans". International Journal of Dravidian Linguistics 18, no2 (1989) , pages 98-127. 

Winters, Clyde Ahmad, "The Dravido Harappan Colonization of Central Asia", Central Asiatic Journal 34, nos.1-2 (1990), pages 120-144.

This article is from the Web site of Dr. Clyde Winters. It is reprinted with his permission.

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