Classic EssaysRevilo P. Oliver

Oliver: European Influences on China

rpo_1969by Revilo P. Oliver (1908-1994, pictured)

SOME READERS may be familiar with the Chinese detective stories that van Gulik translated (The Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee) and imitated (The Haunted Monastery), which are quite enjoyable as good stories as well as portrayals of some important aspects of the Mongolian mind. The translation is illustrated with Eighteenth-Century woodcuts intended to portray scenes at the time of the story (Seventh Century), and one curious detail is the abundant beard of the magistrate who is the leading character in the tale. That is interesting, because the pure Mongolian male has virtually no beard at all, and an abundant beard is usually taken as evidence of a Caucasian (Semitic or Aryan) admixture, even in the Mongolians who carefully cultivate a few long hairs on their chins.

One can lose oneself in speculations about racial migrations in prehistoric times, but I think one can safely conclude that the culture of China was affected in some degree by an admixture of Caucasian and even specifically Aryan blood at various times in its history.

One of the legends about Huang-Ti, the supposed founder of China, says that he led his people into the land, which was populated only by demons whom they slew or subjugated, and that they turned yellow after they established themselves along the banks of the Huang-Ho, the Yellow River. The culture of the early Chinese dynasties is so similar to that of contemporary Mesopotamia that there must be some connection.

Much, much later, Chinese sources show that Roman soldiers who escaped from the defeat of Crassus at Carrhae made their way to China, where they were welcomed and established in a frontier province (and doubtless supplied with native wives) for the sake of their military prowess.

And again much later, in the Fourth Century, the Emperor Ming (not, of course, the founder of the Ming Dynasty ten centuries later) must have been largely of Aryan descent, since the Chinese records record his long, flowing yellow beard, so we may assume that his hair was of the same color and his eyes probably blue.

private letter, March 1980

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1 May, 2016 7:00 pm

The 8th century Japanese general Sakanoue no Tamuramaro is described as having a “red face and yellow hair” on page 94 of the book “Heavenly Warriors: The Evolution of Japan’s Military, 500-1300” by William Wayne Farris published by the Council on East Asian Studies/Harvard. The Wikipedia article on Sakanoue no Tamuramaro strangely makes no mention of him having a “red face and yellow hair”, but does make mention of a statement by Francis Alexander Chamberlain that Sakanoue was a Black man, and that the theory is popular with afro-centrists. There is absolutely no way Sakanoue was Black, but it is indeed possible he was a White man, or at least White admixed, for there was in ancient times various White Aryan and Tocharian speaking peoples with light hair and eyes… Read more »

1 May, 2016 8:09 pm

Here is additional information regarding an ancient White Caucasoid presence in what is now western China from the book “The Bronze Age and Early Iron Age Peoples of Eastern Central Asia Vol II” were on page 732 it states Chinese anthropologist Han Kangxin as saying “the earliest known inhabitants of the Tarim Basin were almost exclusively Caucasoid; Mongoloid types show up only later and, while they intially came in small numbers, their proportion gradually grows”. On the same page another Chinese anthropologist named Xu states “…most of the ancient residents of Xinjiang were white people…” “The massive immigration of the Mongolians probably began in the Han or even later periods.” For those who don’t know the Tarim Basin is in Xinjiang (pronounced Shin-jee-ang), the western most province of China. The… Read more »