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Links Between Chinese, Mayan Cultures Questioned

BEIJING, June 28 -- A Mexican Mayan cultural relics show, which started in the middle of June, has attracted Chinese people's interest at probing possible similarities between the two cultures.

Some Mayan pottery, jade articles, pictures and patterns that resemble that of ancient Chinese style in many ways are on display, raising people's curiosity about the possible same origins of the two cultures.

Foreign scholars noted such resemblance 400 years ago, said Bai Fengsen, a professor with the Latin American Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. They agreed that a possible cause was that the Ancient Mayan people came to America from Asia via the Bering Strait some 40,000 to 50,000 year ago.

Some scholars believed that Chinese culture is likely to be the origin of Mayan culture, according to records in ancient Chinese books depicting a Chinese monk and a merchant who separately traveled to a far off continent, probably North America.

Yet no hard proof has been found to support such a presumption, Bai said.

A doctor of history at Peking University said about the two cultures in his paper that, although their relics have some similarities in shape, they are largely different in age, evolving independently from agricultural production to prosperity of human civilization.

"Even if direct links were truly in place between two cultures, it cannot be denied that Mayan culture developed in an independent environment," said Feng Xiuwen, deputy director of the China Society of Latin American History.

-- source: Xinhua News Agency

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