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SOME NOTES ON THE IDEOGRAMS OF THE 
CHINESE AND THE CENTRAL AMER- 
ICAN CALENDARS. 

ALEXANDER von Humboldt long since observed 
. that: 

"In Mexico from the seventh century until our era the days 
have been called 'tiger/ 'dog/ 'monkey/ 'hare/ or 'rabbit/ as 
throughout eastern Asia the years bear the same names among the 
Tibetans, the Tatar-Manchus, the Mongols, the Kalmiiks, the Chi- 
nese, the Japanese, and among the nations of Tonkin and Cochin- 
China. ,, 

The learned scientist contrasted the day-names of the 
Mexican system with the year-nomenclature of the Asiatic 
races: sinologists have since demonstrated that the sym- 
bols now employed in China to designate the years were 
originally proper to the days alone, and that their use in 
connection with the "cycle of years" dates only from the 
first century of our era. 

The invention of the system of time-measurement, cur- 
rent at the present day in China, Japan, Korea, Siam, 
Tibet, and the neighboring countries, is ascribed by Chi- 
nese tradition to Huang-ti,* B. C. 2636, though, according 
to Dr. Chalmers, the first known occurrence of the cyclical 
name of a day in Chinese literature is found in the Shu 
Ching — the "classic of history" — under the first year of 

* In transcribing Chinese sounds, the modern pronunciation of Peking is 
followed throughout these notes. Chinese characters inclosed in [ ] are an- 
tique forms. 



CHINESE AND CENTRAL AMERICAN CALENDARS. 563 

the emperor T'ai-chia, B. C. 1752. "This is the only in- 
stance of the use of the cycle which occurs before 1121 
B. C," after which date it begins to be referred to by Chi- 
nese writers as a thing well established and known to all 
men. 

These Chinese time-symbols, twenty-two in number, 
consist in two series of very ancient ideographic charac- 
ters, obscure in origin and significance: one set of ten, 
known as "the celestial stems/' and one of twelve, "the 
terrestrial branches." The commentary on the classical 
work called the "Record of Rites" — Li Chi — states that: 

"Ta-nao [a minister of the fabulous Huang-ti mentioned 
above], having traced out the relations of the five elements and 
ascertained by divination the laws regulating the movements of 
the constellation of the Great Bear, invented the symbols chid, yi, 
etc., to name the days, calling this series 'stems' ; and for naming 
the moons used the signs tzh, ch'oii, etc., which he styled 'branches/ 
By the combination of these 'branches' and 'stems' he completed 
the six decades of days." 

Each of the twelve branches is under the tutelage of 
a particular animal, and the ten stems are assigned to 
various manifestations of the five elements — water, fire, 
wood, metal, and earth, — recognized by Chinese philos- 
ophy. 

In ancient Mexico, a series of twenty symbols served 
to designate the days, and though, so far as we are aware, 
no division analogous to that of the Chinese stems and 
branches was made, we yet find that one-half of these 
Mexican characters bear the names of animals, and the 
remaining half the names of certain objects and influences 
in nature. 

The following tables exhibit the arrangement of the 
two series of characters, Asiatic and American: 



564 



THE MONIST. 



I. THE CHINESE SERIES. 

A. The Ten Stems. 



NUMBER. SYMBOLS 

ANCIENT. MODERN. 


NAME. 




ASSIGNMENT 




ELEMENTAL 
INFLUENCE. 


I 




* 


¥ 




chi& 




fir tree 




wood 


2 




1 


h 




yi 




bamboo 




wood 


3 




s 


w 




ping 




torch flame 


fire 


4 




T 


T 




ting 




lamp flame 


fire 


5 




1* 


it 




mou 




hill 




earth 


6 


» 


e 


a 




chi 




plain 




earth 


7 




ft 


* 




k e ng 




weapon 




metal 


8 




% 


* 




hsin 




cauldron 


metal 


9 




i 


* 




j8n 




wave 




water 


10 




% 


* 




kuei 




stream 




water 








5. 


rAe Twelve Branches. 








NUMBER. SYMBOLS NAME. 
ANCIENT. MODERN. 


ASSIGNMENT. 






I. 




* 


* 




tzu 




rat 






2 




*i 


fi 




ch'ou 




ox 






3 




0$ 


* 




yin 




tiger 






4 




if 


w 




mko 




hare 






5 




if 


R 




ch'Sn 




dragon 






6 







B 




ssu 




serpent 






7 




* 


qp 




wu 




horse 






8 




» 


* 




w6i 




goat 






9 




e|3 


* 




shen 




monkey 




io 




W 


® 




yil 




cock 






11 




* 


« 




hsu 




dog 






12 




qj 


* 




hdi 




boar. 





No. 10 is also written yu. 1 Several other forms of No. 
12 are found. 

1 »m 



CHINESE AND CENTRAL AMERICAN CALENDARS. 565 



II. THE MEXICAN SERIES. 



1. 
2. 

3- 
4- 
5- 
6. 

7- 

8. 

9- 
10. 
11. 
12. 
13- 
14. 

i5- 
16 

i7- 
18. 



cipactli 
ehecatl 
calli 

£SE? cuetzpalin 

coatl 
£j3 miquiztli 

f 3§g:l mazatl 
$&E$ tochtli 
atl 

itzquintli 
ozomatli 
malinalli 
acatl 



ass 



MEANING OF NAME. 

dragon 

wind 

house 

lizard 

serpent 

death 

deer 

rabbit 

water 

dog 

monkey 

grass 

cane 



ES3 



quauhtli 


eagle 


cozcaquauhtli 


vulture 


ollin 


movement 


tecpatl 


flint 



566 THE MONIST. 

x 9- wl ^^ quiahuitl rain 

20. <? Wr > ^> xochitl flower. 



Von Humboldt considered the similarities between the 
two series so remarkable as to declare that: 

"The six signs of the Tatarian zodiac (i. e. dragon, serpent, 
dog, hare, monkey, tiger) which are also found in the Mexican cal- 
endar, are sufficient to make it extremely probable that the nations 
of the two continents have drawn their astronomical ideas from a 
common source, and it is worthy of notice that the points of resem- 
blance on which we insist are not derived from rude pictures or 
allegories susceptible of being interpreted in accordance with any 
hypothesis that it is desired to sustain." 

The eminent Americanist, the late Dr. D. G. Brinton, 
takes issue with this pronouncement and finds cause to 
remark : 

"Years ago, Alex, von Humboldt assigned it (the Central 
American calendar system) the first rank among the proofs that 
they (the American nations) had reached a certain degree of true 
civilization, indeed, so deeply did its intricacies impress him that 
he could not believe that it was wholly developed by tribes so un- 
cultured in some other respects, and sought for its chief principles 
of origin among the civilizations of Asia. . . . A pro founder study of 
the subject, rendered possible by more abundant documents, espe- 
cially of a linguistic character, has shown that the hypothesis of 
the great naturalist is unnecessary, and indeed contrary to the evi- 
dence. The peculiarities which marked this calendar belong to 
itself alone, and differ completely from those on which the time- 
counts and astronomical measurements of the ancient nations of 
the Old World were based. It is strangely and absolutely inde- 
pendent in its origin and development. " 

So far Dr. Brinton. 

Some of the peculiarities that marked the American 
system were : the beginning of the year at the winter sol- 
stice ; the reckoning of time by a lunar as well as by a solar 
year, and in addition the employment of a ritual year of 



CHINESE AND CENTRAL AMERICAN CALENDARS. 567 

260 days, or 20 periods of 13 days each; the division of the 
year into J 2 periods of 5 days each, or 4 seasons of 18 
weeks; the addition of intercalary days at the end of the 
year, by which the length of the solar year was fixed 
approximately at 365 days; the arrangement of the years 
in cycles by indictions, each year of the cycle bearing a 
compound designation, one element of which is the name 
of an animal. 

In view of the fact that every one of these "peculiari- 
ties" exists also in the Asiatic calendar system, Dr. Brin- 
ton's assertion that the characteristics of the American 
calendar "belong to itself alone, and differ completely from 
those on which the time-counts and astronomical measure- 
ments of the ancient nations of the Old World were based," 
is susceptible of at least some degree of modification. 

As a result of his "profounder study of the subject, 
rendered possible by more abundant documents, especially 
of a linguistic character," Dr. Brinton in his Native 
Calendar System of Central America and Mexico, under- 
took an exhaustive etymological analysis of the calendar 
names in the different central American languages, in the 
endeavor "to reach the symbolical significance of the cal- 
endar as a mythical record and method of divination." 
He designedly avoids any analysis of the written char- 
acters, believing that the aid thence to be derived is falla- 
cious, and arrives at the conclusion that : 

"Whatever other uses of an astronomical and time measuring 
character the calendar had, the best known and most general service 
which it rendered was for divining purposes .... The basic theory 
of the art of divination according to the calendar is nowhere stated. 
I propose to form a suggestion as to what this was, as appears to 
be indicated by the calendar itself, and to be supported by a num- 
ber of collateral facts mentioned by early authors." 

Dr. Brinton's suggestion is, that the 20 American cal- 
endar names constituted an esoteric resume of the course 



5 68 



THE MONIST. 



of human life and its vicissitudes, 
reveal that: 



His linguistic analyses 



"Restoring the figurative terms to their literal meaning, we may 
conclude that the general and original symbolism of the day-names 
in all the tongues in which we have them, were as follows: 



NUMBER 


SYMBOL. 


HIERATIC SIGNIFICATION 


I. 


sword fish 


birth, the beginning. 


2. 


wind 


breath, life, the -soul. 


3- 


darkness, the house 


sleep, rest, repose. 


4. 


iguana 


food, nourishment. 


5. 


snake 


sexual life, reproduction. 


6. 


death 


child-bearing, children. 


7. 


deer 


hunting. 


8. 


rabbit, seed 


agriculture. 


9. 


water, rain 


illness or productiveness. 


10. 


dog 


hardship and suffering, and suc- 
cess through them. 


11. 


monkey 


difficulties surmounted. 


12. 


broom, teeth 


loss, evanescence. 


13. 


reed 


cold, drought, advancing years. 


14. 


tiger 


learning, wisdom. 


IS- 


eagle, bird 


knowledge, skill. 


16. 


vulture, owl 


old age, misfortunes. 


17. 


motion 


debility, failing powers. 


18. 


flint knife 


war, death. 


19. 


lightning 


sickness, destruction. 


20. 


sun 


the house of the soul." 



Dr. Brinton continues: 

"The examination of this sequence reveals that it was intended 
to cover the career of human life from the time of birth until death 
at an old age. The individual emerges from the womb of his mother 
and the parturient waters, as did the earth from the primeval ocean. 
He receives breath and with it life, which is supported by repose 
and food. The man reproduces his kind; the woman, at the risk 
of her life, brings the child into the world. The chase and tilling the 
ground are the leading occupations of peace ; and he who holds firm 
through illness, suffering, and hardships, will gain the prizes of life. 
Having reached the acme of his career, a decline commences, losses 



CHINESE AND CENTRAL AMERICAN CALENDARS. 569 

multiply, years increase, and though knowledge and wisdom are 
augmented, old age comes on apace, with failing powers, with van- 
quished struggles, with sickness and death; until at last, its course 
run, its task complete, the soul quits the worn-out body and soars 
to its natural haven and home, the abode of the sun. Such, it 
seems to me, without any straining, is the philosophical conception 
of life which was intended to be conveyed by the symbols of this 
strange old calendar. They may not have originated contempo- 
raneously with it, certainly not if it was primarily deduced from 
astronomical observations, but quite probably if, instead of this, it 
was built on terrestrial relations and mythical concepts." 

The question naturally presents itself: What can a 
similar analysis. of the Asiatic day-names, based on "more 
abundant documents, especially of a linguistic character'' 
than were available in Von Humboldt's time, reveal? 

According to Dr. Brinton, the best known and most 
general service rendered by the American calendar was 
for divining purposes. It is unnecessary to advert to the 
connection between the cyclical ideograms and the art of 
divination in Asia. Every student of Chinese is familiar 
with the role played by the Ten Stems, and the Twelve 
Branches in the astrologer's gramarye, and their never- 
ending reference to the points of the compass, the ele- 
ments, the horary periods of the day, the various animals, 
the members of the body, and a thousand and one other 
alleged relations to the constituent parts of existence ; and 
how upon their procession and interaction, in one order or 
another, are founded all the predictions of the diviner in 
regard to the secrets of nature and of being. 

As a single instance. A figure in the Mexican manu- 
script catalogued as "Codex Vaticanus" exhibits the ascrip- 
tion of the day-emblems to the various parts of the human 
body. In Chinese almanacs of the present day may fre- 
quently be seen the pictures of the gods of the four seasons, 
their forms besprinkled with disks bearing the symbols of 
the Twelve Terrestrial Branches. 



57o 



THE MONIST. 



Dr. Carus very appositely suggests that similar pre- 
sentments are common in mediaeval European works on 
astrology and may be met with, not infrequently, in al- 
manacs even of our own times. 

Is it not curious to remark that in both these figures — 



^death) 




ASSIGNMENT OF DAY EMBLEMS TO THE PARTS OF THE HUMAN BODY. 
From Mexican Codex in Vatican Library. 



American and Asiatic — the sign of the "tiger" is at the 
left foot ; that the "hare" and the "cock" on the shoulders 
of the Chinese deity are paralleled by the "rabbit" and the 
"vulture" on the sides of the Mexican ; and that the "lizard" 
in one and the "rat" in the other, — creatures which several 



CHINESE AND CENTRAL AMERICAN CALENDARS. 57 1 

circumstances tend to equate in cyclical nomenclature, — 
preside over the belly? 

But to return. Are there any grounds for a belief that 
the Asiatic ideograms were intended "to cover the career 
of human life from the time of birth until death at an old 
age ?" If this is so, the fact helps to strengthen very mate- 
rially the evidence in favor of the derivation of the two 
calendars from a common source. The question is best 
answered by the characters themselves. 





ZODIAC EMBLEMS ASSIGNED TO THE 



CHINESE SUMMER GOD. 



PARTS OF THE HUMAN BODY. From modern Chinese Almanac, sub- 
From a contemporary Western almanac, characters of the twelve 'branches/ 

stituting translations for the native 



In the Chinese field, we can not follow Dr. Brinton in 
ignoring the assistance to be derived from the written 
characters, for Chinese etymology is based not on pho- 
netics but on a comparison and analysis of the oldest 
forms of the ideographic symbols. 

Roughly speaking, each Chinese character is composed 
of two parts : one called a "radical" or "classifier," which 
is a conventional representation of the class of objects 
to which the character relates; and another, technically 



572 THE MONIST. 

known as the "phonetic complement," being a picture of 
some common object, usually totally unconnected in mean- 
ing, but the name of which has the same sound, with that 
of the object or idea denoted by the whole composite char- 
acter. Consequently, from the very nature of Chinese 
writing, to quote Dr. Edkins, 

"The sound of the 'phonetic' part of a character is an index 
to the sound of the words when the characters were first made .... 
Anciently, words like in their 'phonetic' symbols were like in sound. 
This is at once recognized by every one in simple cases .... We 
may proceed further than this, and say that when difficulties occur 
in discovering similarity in sound, it is in every case due to changes 
effected by time in the sounds of the words." 

The modern Chinese sounds, in their myriad dialectic 
variations, can not afford a trustworthy basis for etymo- 
logical deduction; the old phonetic symbols must be relied 
on for help in that direction. 

ANALYSIS OF THE CHINESE IDEOGRAMS. 

J. The First Stem, Chia. 2 
Dr. Wells Williams, in his Syllabic Dictionary of the 
Chinese Language, defines this character as : "the plumule 
or scaly covering of a growing seed just bursting; cover 
of a sprout; a bud;" and says "the original character is 
described as composed of mu, 3 "wood," with a cap over it, 
representing the first movements of the sprout in spring." 
Dr. Chalmers prefers to regard chia as an original ideo- 
gram, and makes no analysis of its component parts. His 
definition is: "a protecting cover; helmet." It may be 
remarked, en passant, that the Chinese, Aztec, and Maya 
day-symbols correspond in so far at least that they are 
all non-composite, or what sinologists would term "primi- 
tive" characters. The Imperial K'ang-hsi Lexicon tells 
us that "grass and trees beginning to grow" are called 

2 wm 3 *DK] 



CHINESE AND CENTRAL AMERICAN CALENDARS. 573 

by this name chia, and among ancient forms of the char- 
acter listed by that authority occurs one, 4 in which jen, s 
the ideogram for "man," is placed on top of the sign chia 6 
referring directly, as it would seem, to the opening period 
of human life. Surmounted by jih/ "the sun," simi- 
larly the character tsao* has the meaning "early." Sur- 
rounded by men, 9 "the two leaves of a folding door," its 
significance is the same, — "the door just open to admit the 
rays of the rising sun." 10 There is also a close resemblance 
between the old form of this stem chia 11 and that of 
ch'uan 12 "a fountain," "a spring." The upper part of 
both characters is like mi 13 (old sound mik), "a protecting 
cover," which enters frequently into the composition of 
Chinese symbols (Cf. the Maya mac 14 of supposedly simi- 
lar name). Etymologically connected may be: chia, 15 "to 
hide away," "put in the bosom," "cherish"; chia/ 6 "a 
metal undershirt." The general idea conveyed by this 
first stem and its derivatives is something hidden awaken- 
ing into life, — the commencement of plant life in partic- 
ular. 

2. The Second Stem, Yi. 17 

This is defined as "a curling sprout or bud just coming 
out of the darkness and seclusion of winter." Chalmers 
says "the bursting of vegetation ... this (ideogram) de- 
notes effort in ch'ien 1 * 'dry/ 'strong/ 'advancing'; luan, 19 
'to unravel/ 'confusion/ and yu, 20 'excess/ " In the K'ang- 
hsi Lexicon occur two very similar characters, now ob- 
solete, ya, 21 defined as nan ch'u chih mao, "the appearance 
of difficulty in coming forth," and yin 22 described as an old 
form of yin 23 "to conceal." These and the stem symbol 
depict very plainly: (i) the motionless plant hidden in the 

4 * 5 a 6 ¥ 7 h 8 ?»] 9 pi io mm 

11 m u *m ™~\n\ 14 <^ 15 » 16 n 17 lu 

18 & 19 & *>t 21 l * L S B 



574 THE monist. 

ground, 24 and the different forms it takes when sprouting 
under (ii) favorable 25 and (iii) unfavorable 26 circum- 
stances. The stem name is etymologically connected with 
yi/ 7 "one," "the first." The K'ang-hsi lists an old form of 
jih, "the sun," which consists in a circle enclosing this 
second stem, 28 i. e., the one circle, the great disk. Other 
connections, real or imaginary, are: "to let loose" 29 ; "to 
overflow"; 30 "to rush on," as to battle; 31 "to unfold," "to 
fly" 32 ; "standing ready" 33 ; "coming suddenly" 34 ; "full" 35 ; 
"exuberant" 36 ; "to increase" 37 ; "to pour out" 38 ; "to be 
ready to overflow" 39 ; — all now pronounced yi. The ideas 
conveyed by the second stem, then, are (i) the uncurling 
of a sprout and coming out from darkness, and (ii) one- 
ness, unity, the consciousness of the ego. 

3. The Third Stem, Ping. 40 

One authority says: "Composed of yi, 41 'one/ ju 42 'to 
enter/ and chiung 43 'a receptacle or door' ; yi 41 represent- 
ing the yang 44 principle." In other words, this is the sun 
entering the door, the dawn of reason in the individual. 
Yi } "one," is here used as the equivalent of the old sun 
symbol alluded to under the last stem. In modern Chinese 
and Japanese, the sun is styled tfai yang 45 taiyo, "the great 
positive principle." The dictionary Shuo-wen T e ung-hsun 
Ting-sheng arrives at the same conclusion by slightly dif- 
ferent analysis. This character, it says, is the original 
of ping 46 "fiery," "bright," "conflagration," and tsai 47 
"fires under a cover," is an old form of the same. The 
top line is the same as shang, 4 * "to ascend," and the rest 
is "fire under a roof" contracted. The concept of "bright- 
ness" and "flame" runs through the cognate characters, 

24 L 25 L 26 t * - 2 s E3[©] a fi » J* 
31 fi* 32 3 * m M it 35 fi *% 37 S * » 

39 m i0 nn 41 - * AtAj « mm u $ 

45 -km 46 ffi 47 |g] 48 J- 



CHINESE AND CENTRAL AMERICAN CALENDARS. 575 

and the stem symbol itself is used in Canton to write the 
local word ping, "to burn." Surmounted by the "sun" 
ideogram, the stem means "bright and glorious like the 
sun," and has the same name, ping. 49 Infancy is now past 
and the child is advancing into the brightness of youth, — 
such seems to be the meaning conveyed by the symbol. 
Possible connections are: ping, 50 "bright," "luminous"; 
ping, 51 "to have power" ; ping> 52 "power" ; ping 52 "to con- 
fide in"; p'ing, 54 "undisturbed." 

4. The Fourth Stem, Ting. 55 

This is the figure of a nail or peg, anything firmly 
fixed or settled. Dr. Williams says it denotes "that things 
are perfected . . . robust and full grown person ... to sus- 
tain, to bear." Another old form of the character is com- 
posed of jen, 56 "man," over chiieh, 57 "hook," the latter 
said to stand here for hsin 5 * "the heart;" the man's heart 
is established, full of determination and courage. With 
the addition of the sign for "weapon," indicating martial 
prowess, the character ch'eng 59 has the meaning "com- 
plete," "perfected." A character 60 occurring on a bell of 
the Shang dynasty, cited by Edkins, and identified with 
this ting stem, bears some resemblance to the cWeng sym- 
bol. On a tripod of Fu-ting is found a quite dissimilar 
form, 61 which may represent the head of a nail ; a third old 
form, 62 is a very fair picture of the nail in full. This last 
ideogram is identified by some with Hang, 62 "honest," "up- 
right." In Peking, a young man, sixteen to eighteen years 
of age, is styled ting-nien, 64 "arrived at manhood," and 
this is exactly the idea appropriate to the position occupied 
by the ting stem in the sequence. Related words are nu- 
merous: ting, 65 "a nail," "a spike"; ting 66 "firmly set- 

49 ft ^m 51 * 52 ffi * ft M T 55 Titi 

56 aim 57 j m a 4sw9 59 mm » m 6i w « m 

63 g 64 T3 p 65 £ 66 (I 



576 THE MONIST. 

tied"; ting, 67 "peak," "summit"; ting, 6 * "secure," "fixed," 
"steady"; ting 69 "ballast"; ting, 70 "honest," "trusty"; 
t'ing, 71 "decided," "resolute" ; t'ing 72 "baton of authority"; 
t'ing™ "good," "complete," "full," "whatever is the pur- 
pose of life." 

5. The Fifth Stem, Wu or Mou 74 

Supposed to be a form of mou 75 "an ax or, halberd," 
but probably used phonetically for mou/ 6 "luxuriant," 
"ripe grain," "when all things are flourishing," with which 
both Edkins and Williams connect it. The characters 
ch'eng 77 and hsien, 7 * written with the same phonetic ele- 
ment, mean "complete," "perfect," "all." Connections 
with mou, 79 "luxuriant"; mou, So "force of purpose," "to 
exert one's mind"; mou* 1 "male," "virility"; mou, 82 "to 
deliberate," "to ponder"; wu* 3 "to bend the mind to a 
subject"; wu* 4 "to gallop furiously"; mou* 5 "to do busi- 
ness," "carry on commerce" ; — are more or less probable. 
The leading idea is activity, the business of life. 

6. The Sixth Stem, Chi.* 6 

The native lexicologers do not explain the form of this 
symbol, but all are agreed as to its signification: "one's 
self." It resembles ideograms employed to depict "breath" 
and "air." Williams says: "This character is connected 
with the center of a thing, as it is considered to be altered 
from chung,* 7 "the middle," and because it is the sixth of 
the ten stems." Of similar meaning are chi** "to exhaust 
a subject" ; chi* 9 "to stand up." The man is now "him- 
self," has come to his own, having accomplished the pur- 
pose of life, and the gradual descent to the grave begins. 

67 13 «* 69 «r 70 <? n » 72 at 73 £ 

74 aw 75 u\ 76 in 77 ma 78 m 79 m *>® 

81 a **m *$ w » ^ ^sia »*i« 

**& **& 



CHINESE AND CENTRAL AMERICAN CALENDARS. 577 

/. The Seventh Stern, Keng. 9 ° 

"The original form represents the hands receiving a 
thing, as at autumn when all things are full ... to change, 
to alter, age; to bestow reward." In Chalmers' opinion 
it is composed of kung, 91 "to lift up the hands together," 
and kan 92 "to violate" ; the latter element being phonetic. 
Kan itself is composed of ju 93 "to enter," inverted, and 
yi 94 "one." His definition is : "joining on to, as the border 
or foot of a garment." The main idea seems to be either 
(i) change, alteration; or (ii) rewards of labor; cozca- 
quauhtli and ollin are the American analogs. Connected 
may be : keng? 5 "to change" ; keng 96 "a limit," "an ex- 
treme point"; keng 97 "a path leading to a sepulchre"; 
keng 98 "to thrum the threads of a lute rapidly, so as to 
endanger breaking them." 

8. The Eighth Stem, Hsin." 

From yi/ 00 "one," and ch'ien, 101 "error," explained 
as depicting "the arms of a man holding up a thing, re- 
ferring to the sorrow one feels at winter coming." Ch'ien 
is from kan, 102 "to violate," under an old form of shang™ 3 
"superiors." The ordinary meaning of hsin is "a bitter, 
sharp, pungent taste" ; whence, by metonymy, because the 
peppery taste makes the tears flow, "toilsome," "suffer- 
ing," "grievous," "sad," "the melancholy feeling in autumn 
when vegetation turns sere." The Shuo-wen says it is 
composed of ch'ien, 104 "to offend superiors," plus an extra 
stroke, 105 showing the enormity of the crime. The mean- 
ing of sadness and failing powers is appropriate to the 
position occupied by the character in the stem series. 

90 mm 9l mi * tm "aw * - 95 e 
96 a * m * »■ " f [?i io ° - io1 m m m 

103 [jj 104 |£| 105 [_j 



578 THE MONIST. 



106 



p. The Ninth Stem, Jen. 

According to Dr. Williams, "defined as a man standing 
on the earth, the earth denoting the business of life." 
Others say it represents the embryo in the womb. It re- 
sembles fing 107 in form, and as a phonetic element is often 
interchanged with jen, loB "sincere." Other meanings are: 
"running water," "great," "full," "to flatter." Edkins' 
account is: "Plants growing out of the ground, with the 
sense fing, 'grow upward/ This stem is very similar in 
form to fing and indeed seems to be confounded with that 
symbol by some of the authorities." Chalmers' definition 
of the jen stem is "to sustain, to bear. . .probably a deriva- 
tive oikung, 109 "work,"\ikechuS 10 wu, llI ch'en/ 12 and 3/a, 113 
and the middle line denotes the person doing the work in- 
tended." The character, as now written, consists in the 
sign for "scholar" with an additional stroke on top. Con- 
cerning the fing ideogram, Chalmers says that the old 
form 114 shows a man standing on the soil, meaning "to 
stand up," "go." It is probable that the jen sign is used 
phonetically for a character, now read jen/ 15 meaning 
"sincere," "sure," "trusty," "rely upon," "a trust," "an 
office," "to undertake," "be responsible for," "the incum- 
bent," "acting official." Other words with the sound jen 
have significations suitable to the position of this emblem 
among the stems; e. g., jen, 116 "to dwell on with satisfac- 
tion," as a well-spent life, we may opine; jen" 7 "fortitude," 
"endurance"; jen, 11 * "grain which is fully ripe"; jen, 119 
"the yellowish color of an old sword." The significance 
of this symbol lies in its reference to the completion of the 
affairs of life and to pleasurable retrospection. 



no 



E 



m im 


107 j£ 


108 ft 


109 X 




iu$ 


112 g 


113 jgf 


114 (£] 


"Mi 


116 fi 


" 7 & 


118 ft 


m n 





CHINESE AND CENTRAL AMERICAN CALENDARS. 579 

10. The Tenth Stem, Kuei. 120 

The old form in the shape of a cross is, according to 
the native etymologists, the same as the modern kuei, 121 
"arms," "tridents/' "arrows," etc. The modern form, 122 
from the Li 123 writing, is also old, and is said to be a com- 
bination of po 12A "to stop," "to hinder," (from chih, "to 
step," in two positions), with shih/ 25 "an arrow," i. e., to 
send home an arrow. The dictionary Shuo-wen, comment- 
ing on the old "cross" form, points out that it represents 
"water flowing from the four quarters and entering the 
ground." Williams states that "the original form is like 
two sticks laid across to represent water flowing into the 
ground in all directions." Edkins, following the Liu- 
shu Cheng-wei, thinks that the two pieces of wood placed 
crosswise "formed no other than an ancient implement 
used in leveling." This was called kuei, 126 and used by 
builders in reducing land to a level. In the variety written 
with the arrow sign, Edkins detects pei 127 "north," and 
shih 12% "arrow." The north belongs to winter, and kuei 
is applied to both. "Both earth and water," on the author- 
ity of the Shuo-wen, "then become smooth and flat and can 
be easily measured." Streams flowing together are now 
kuei 129 — a similar sound but differently ideographed. A 
place where four roads meet is also kuei 130 All the author- 
ities identify the lower part of the kuei stem with the "ar- 
row" sign, but the forms of the two are not quite the same. 
(See Wu-yin Chih-yiin and Chih-yun in K'ang-hsi, s. v. 
kuei. 131 ) The etymological connections are very interesting 
and suggestive. That which most naturally presents itself 
is, — as suggested by the Cheng-yun, — "to return," kuei/ 32 
"to go to," "to send back," "to revert to the original place," 

120 wm m ® l22 « m n m \m 

125 [£] 126 ^ 127 -, fc 128 £ 129 £ 130 jg 
131 £ 132 || 



58O THE MONIST. 

used in the phrase kuei wu/ 33 "to revert to nothingness," 
"to die." Other relations are: kuei, 134 "strength all gone 
out"; kuei/ 35 "water all dried up," as in a fountain or well; 
kuei 9 136 "to change," "to alter"; kuei/ 37 "the day, but espe- 
cially the shadow," as in fei kuei, 13 * "time flies." The 
tortoise, kuei/ 39 emblem of longevity, and the juniper tree 
kuei/ 40 whose durable wood is prized for making coffins, 
as also kuei, 141 "the spirit of a dead man," are all called by 
this same name kuei; and it is curious to note that the 
"disk of the sun" kuei/ 42 and the "sunflower" kuei/ 43 are 
similarly designated, in connection with the fact that the 
last day-name in the American calendars is "sun," the 
home of the soul, otherwise styled xochitl,\. e., "flower." 
Summarizing the results attained by these analyses of 
the "Ten Stems," we obtain a sequence somewhat as fol- 
lows : 

1. Chid; the sprout is still hidden in the ground, but begins to 

feel the impulse of life and shoots upward ; 

2. Yi; it has reached the surface and uncurls ; 

3. Ping ; the sun reaches it ; and beneath his influence 

4. Ting; it stands upright; and gaining vigor, 

5. M6u; spreads forth luxuriantly; until, as a tree, 

6. CM; it has reached its full growth ; and 

7. Keng ; its fruit is gathered ; 

8. Hsin; decay sets in; the leaves fall; 

9. Jen; the seed is again hidden in the ground ; and 

10. Kuti; at the close of the year, there is a return to the original 
darkness, and the processes of nature enter on a 
new cycle of life. 

As the "ten stems" have reference to the operations of 
nature in the procession of the seasons, so it can be shown 
that the "twelve branches" relate to man's affairs in par- 
ticular. 

133 mm m a 135 n m ¥t 

137 § 138 $£ 139 g 140 £ 141 £ 

142 kl 143 3 



CHINESE AND CENTRAL AMERICAN CALENDARS. 581 

A. The First Branch, Tzu 144 

This is explained as the "figure of a baby strapped on 
its mother's back. The legs are swathed together in their 
wrappings, hence represented by a single stroke. An 
old form 145 is recorded, where the three vertical lines on 
top show the hair. The character presents no difficulty; 
it is in everyday use, with the meaning "child," "son." 

B. The Second Branch, Ch'ou. 146 

The original form resembles a hand holding things. 
Others say: "it is like shih 147 'ten/ inside of erh, I4S 'two/ 
because the twelfth month is called ch'ou yueh." 149 Further 
old forms are ch'ou 150 and ch'ou. 151 The latter maybe com- 
pared with the Maya sign/ 52 supposed by some to be a 
"hand." The radical idea is holding, grasping, guiding; 
referring perhaps to the care of the parents for their off- 
spring. Compare the ideograms of "grasping a son" 153 and 
"grasping a daughter," 154 both synonymous with hao 155 
"to love." Of like sound and meaning with the branch 
character are ch'ou/ 56 all expressive of "to hold"; chou, 157 
"to environ," "to provide for"; chou, 15 * "to shade," "to 
conceal"; ch'ou, 159 "to hold, as the earth does"; ch'ou, 160 
"to conceal by holding in the elbow" ; ch'ou, 161 "to take out 
with the end," "to lift"; ch'ou 162 "to arrange details." 

C. The Third Branch, Yin. 163 

Williams, citing some metaphysical abstractions of the 
Shuo-wen, says: "From mien, 164 'a covering/ which is 
likened to the kneepan that prevents the humors from as- 
cending the body. These humors are depicted by chiu, l6s 

144 ^ 145 |£| 146 fi[aB| ) 147 + 148 - 149 fi £ 

150 f^J 151 m 152 ^ 153 £ ? 154 ^ 155 ft 156 Jf^jj 

157 m 158 ftj. 159 £ 160 fff 161 fa 162 34 

163 g M 164 ^ [0 ] 165 ^ 



582 THE MONIST. 

'a mortar/ as coming out of the ground, and including 
the stimulus of nature in spring which the frost hinders 
. . /to reverence/ 'to respect/ 'respectful/ 'a fellow officer/ 
'a colleague/ Vigorous/ 'strong/ " This is not over-intel- 
ligible to the Occidental mind. In the oldest forms, the 
character is composed of a central part, said to be a modi- 
fication of jen, 166 the "man" sign; chii/ 67 "the hands 
brought together/' "to clasp the hands"; and mien, 168 "a 
house," "a covering." With this compare the character 
hsuo, l6g "to educate," where may be seen the "child,"tew/ 7 ° 
under a "shelter," mien ; 171 above, the signs of "imitation," 
hsiao, 172 and of "guiding hands," chii; 173 intimating that, 
in the process of education, the protected child is guided 
and taught to imitate. Suggested connections: 3/m/ 74 "to 
take an interest in"; yin, 1 ™ "to shelter"; yin, 176 "to 
regulate," "to sustain" ; yin, 177 "to lead on," "to point out," 
"bring forward"; yin, I?s "careful," "anxious"; yin/ 79 "to 
move forward," "to journey"; yin, lSo "to nourish"; yin, lSl 
"covered," "in private life," "not in office." To this branch 
may be allotted the meaning of early studies, the child 
being instructed in the respect due to its parents. With 
this ctiou symbol compare fu, 182 "father," where a hand 
grasping the rod of authority is pictured. 

D. The Fourth Branch, Mao. 1 * 3 

The old form is like an open door, or rather the two 
leaves of a double door, "analogous to the springing up 
of vegetation in March." It is defined by mao, 1 * 4 "a cover," 
as the earth is then covered. This last symbol, mao, "a 
cover," has, among other meanings, that of "rushing heed- 
lessly," "venturing," "going forward," and the branch- 
sign itself is used in divers binomial expressions with a 

166 ft] 167 fa 168 [n] 169 ^ 170 [$,] 171 [fl] 

172 £] 173 M 174 £ 175 £ 176 j}g 177 jn, 178 Jg 

179 K 180 W 181 m 182 -[±j 183 mf{ 184 g 



CHINESE AND CENTRAL AMERICAN CALENDARS. 583 

like signification, as "calling the roll," tien mao; l8s "answer- 
ing a summons," chpu mao. lS6 The symbolism may be the 
venturesomeness of youth or the responding to the roll- 
call of duty when the period of instruction, typified by the 
preceding branch, is over. 

E. The Fifth Branch, Ch'en. 1 * 7 

The ancient form is supposed to depict "sprouting 
plants transformed by heaven . . /to excite/ 'to occasion,' 
'to move/ 'to influence/ " Such is Dr. Williams' definition. 
The native lexicon Shuo-wen T'ung-hsiin Ting-sheng says 
that the old form is composed of the sign for a human 
being, and another, meaning something concealed, the 
whole having the meaning "pregnant." 



188 



F. The Sixth Branch, Ssu. 

This is the picture of a serpent, the animal emblematic 
of the sixth branch. It refers to the fourth moon, says 
one authority, when all nature is in vigor. The ideas con- 
veyed by this symbol and that of the last branch correspond 
with those associated in Mexico with the skull and serpent, 
miquiztli and coatl, motherhood and fatherhood. 

G. The Seventh Branch, Wu. lSg 

The figure of a pestle, defined as expressing "the re- 
sistance which the earthy vapors of the fifth moon, hence 
called wu yueh, 190 oppose to the skyey influences, thus 
covering the earth with fog." This sign is used with wu, 191 
"to oppose," "to stand up," "to resist," "cross," "trans- 
verse." Chalmers points out that the seventh branch has 
the sense of crossing. It denotes the sun at noon, and 
hence the meridian of life. Its form is very similar to that 

185 %m 186 tw 187 MM 188 gjgf 189 ^J 

190 <pfl 191 g 



584 THE MONIST. 

of the "stem" called ting, 192 and both may possibly have 
been symbols of reproduction. 

H. The Eighth Branch, Wei. 193 

This is raw/ 94 the "tree" symbol, with an extra line at 
the top, showing the abundance of foliage and the tree's 
full vigor in the sixth month. So say the lexicologists. 
The character is a common adverb of negation and doubt, 
"not yet." Although the midday has passed, the set time 
has not yet expired, meh ssu meh le li, as the Shanghai ver- 
nacular has it. This is the counterpart of mou 195 among 
the "stems." 

/. The Ninth Branch, Shen. 196 

"Formed," says Willims, "of chiu, 197 'a mortar/ and 
kun, igS 'to join.' Others say the character is intended to 
represent the backbone . . /to extend/ 'to stretch/ 'reite- 
rate/ 'prolong/ 'increase/ " The Shuo-wen says that the 
element which Williams makes out as chiu, 197 "a mortar," 
is chii/ 99 "the two hands holding or grasping" (found in 
the third branch yin 200 ), and that the stroke kun igS pictures 
the body ; the whole representing a man placing his hands 
to his sides and stretching himself. The character is em- 
blematic of weariness and declining years, as in the eighth 
stem. 

/. The Tenth Branch, Yu. 201 

One old form is a figure of a vessel used for distilling, 
"referring to the closing up of nature in the eighth moon, 
when crops are ripe . . . 'ripe/ 'finished/ 'mature/ 'as ripe 
millet fit for making spirits/ 'the ripeness of crops/ " This 
branch is assigned to the west, and bears a great likeness 
to some old forms of the symbol hsi 202 "west," employed 

192 J W 193 m] 194 ^j 195 fl 196 $[ E | 3 ] 197 gj 

198 J 199 £J 200 H 201 jg[g] 202 g§ 



CHINESE AND CENTRAL AMERICAN CALENDARS. 585 

in writing the name of that cardinal point. Hsi, however, 
is said to picture "a bird sitting on its nest at sunset." An- 
other old form 203 of this branch shows "a door barred," 
the antonym of the fourth branch, 204 which is "an open 
door." This typifies the closing, as the other does the open- 
ing, of life. Some connected words : yu, 20S "an old building 
whose timbers are decayed;" yu/° 6 "dark," "obscure," 
"hidden from view," "shades or spirits who are in obscure 
places"; yu, 207 "grieved," "mournful" ; yw, 208 "to float," "to 
travel to," "go away." 



K. The Eleventh Branch, Hsu. 209 

This is wu, the fifth stem, with the addition of a short 
horizontal line, perhaps denoting the wound made by the 
weapon, or the movement in throwing the spear. Compare 
other symbols of motion, such as mou 210 "the long-handled 
ax attached to a chariot," where the dictionary makers tell 
us that the waved line is indicative of the revolutions of 
the instrument; also ch'ou, 211 "to plow," showing the fur- 
rows and the "boustrophedon" movement; also sheng, 212 
"to ascend," where the three short lines are said to show 
the steps of the sun on his upward path. The meaning of 
this branch is "hurt," "pitiable," correlative with the hsin 
stem, and referring to nature fading in the ninth moon 
and the closing of human life. Others say it is symbolical 
of "fullness, for things start in wu (the fifth branch) and 
get ripe in hsii (this eleventh branch) when the sun's heat 
declines." 

L. The Twelfth Branch, Hai. 213 

The Shuo-wen says this is just another form of shih 214 
"a pig." Williams thinks it is made of jen, 215 "man" above, 

203 M m M m M m * w W m m 

209 tfM m w m m m m m m\ m 

215 AWJ 



586 



THE MONIST. 



and nil, 216 "woman" below. None of the authorities gives 
any satisfactory explanation of the character, and its old 
forms are quite numerous and dissimilar. The sound 
chu 217 means "to drive out," and sui 218 means "to scatter" ; 
both of these are written by the "pig" symbol, so that it 
is probable, or, on Edkins' theory of the phonetic comple- 
ments, almost certain that the old sound of these words 
was shihj or whatever the old-time name of the hog may 
have been. It is not improbable then, that this hai branch 




may have had the meaning "drive away," "scatter," al- 
though, etymologically, it seems rather to be connected 
with words meaning "young child." (Cf. also chu, 219 
chu. 220 ) One old form 221 contains, apparently, the ele- 
ments jen 222 "man," and yin 223 "to conceal," which might 
lead to the supposition that the character has reference 
to the tomb. This explanation is offered with hesitation, 
as it rests on no native authority. 

216 £[$J 217 £ 218 £ 219 £ 220 g 221 ((£] 

222 [/)] 223 [ L ] 



CHINESE AND CENTRAL AMERICAN CALENDARS. 587 

The Twelve Branches are assigned to the cardinal 
points, beginning at the north, the region of winter and 
darkness; passing around through the east (spring), the 
south (summer), to the west (autumn), and thus back 
to the north again, as shown in the foregoing diagram. 

In this arrangement the symbol of the opening door in 
the east and that of the closing door in the west are im- 
mediately noticed. The position of the two characters 
yin 224 and shen 225 each containing the "hand" sign, also 
arrests the attention. This placement of contrasting em- 
blems was evidently premeditated and offers a clew to the 
interpretation to be given to some of the ideograms whose 
significance is more or less obscure. 

The child, tzu 226 in the north, is set opposite the man 
in the prime of life, wu 227 in the south. ( Cf . the form and 
meaning of the stem ting 22 *). The restraining hand, 
ch'ou, 229 stands over against the tree in its unrestricted 
exuberance of foliage, wei 230 Yin 231 where may be seen 
the child, jen 233 emerging from the home, mien/ 34 as yet 
sustained by the parental hands, chii/ 35 and exulting in 
his new-found strength, is opposed to shen/ 36 the man 
stretching himself in world-weary languor. Then come 
the opening and the closing doors; and next ch'en, 237 a 
symbol of the beginning of life, in opposition to hsii/ 3 * 
indicative of approaching dissolution. While to complete 
the series there is the antonymy of ssu/ 39 "the serpent," 
a genetic sign, as against hai/ 40 "the man concealed," 
alluding, as may be supposed, to the last home and resting- 
place of the soul. 

Several circumstances tend to show that the eleventh 
and twelfth branches originally occupied a different place 
in the series, and that the sequence began with what is now 

224 *bm m mm m m m w\ m m m w 
230 im ^ m m \n m mi ** m ** f*i ™ hi 

238 M 239 IfJH 240 ^] 



588 THE MONIST. 

the third symbol; but this fact does not materially alter 
the significance of the series, since it is to be regarded as 
continuous and never-ending, a delineation of the ceaseless 
interaction of the positive and negative principles in the 
great scheme of being. 

RECAPITULATION . 

Having thus predicated a community of intention on 
the part of the framers of these cycle-names in regard to 
the lesson to be conveyed by the sequence of symbols, the 
attempt may perhaps be made to compare the individual 
characters of the two continents yet more closely. 

The first stem, chia, represents the seed beginning to 
sprout under the influence of the sun's rays in spring. 
One of the derivations proposed for the Maya, Tzental, 
and Quiche-Cakchiquel name of the first day, imix, imox, 
connects it with mex or mix, "the beard," and metaphor- 
ically "the sun's rays." 

The second stem, yi, shows a young plant coming out 
from darkness into the air and light of day, and this ideo- 
gram also conveys the idea of individuality, self -conscious- 
ness, the dawn of reason. In the Zapotec calendar the 
second day was ni, "to grow," "increase," "gain life," or 
laa, "warmth," "heat," "reason," "intelligence." In the 
Maya, Tzental, Nahuatl, Quiche-Cakchiquel, (and also 
sometimes in the Zapotec), the second day is ik, igh, ik f 
gui, ehecatl, all meaning "air," "life," "soul." 

The third stem ping pictures the sun entering a house 
or covering. The third Mexican day is calli, "house." 

The fourth stem, ting, is an emblem of virility and 
reproduction. Cuetzpalin, the lizard, is the fourth Mexi- 
can day, and this creature was the ruler of the womb and 
loins. In Tzental the fourth day was ghanan, a name re- 
ferring to the god of plants and abundance. 

Chi, the sixth stem, is, as has been seen, considered by 



CHINESE AND CENTRAL AMERICAN CALENDARS. 589 

some Chinese authorities as a variant of chung, "the 
middle," "the center." The Zapotec lana, meaning "sep- 
arate," "apart," "the middle," and the Tzental tox y "what 
is separated," are applied to the sixth day in the American 
series. 

The seventh stem, keng, contains a "hand" sign, as 
does also the symbol for manik, the seventh Maya day. 

Jen, the ninth stem, is referred to the pregnant womb 
and is assigned to the element water. In Maya and Tzen- 
tal, muluc, molo, names of the ninth day, mean "to pile up," 
"to heap up," while the Zapotec term niza and the Nahuatl 
atl both mean "water," and are employed as names of the 
ninth day in those calendars. 

It was seen above that the interpretation ordinarily 
given to the seventh branch of the Chinese series was 
"pestle." In the Meztitlan dialect of the Nahuatl, the six- 
teenth day was known as temetlatl, which also signifies 
"pestle." 

It will be noticed that the Ten Stems of the Chinese 
series are distributed by pairs among the five elements, 
the first member of each group being allied to the yang 241 
or active principle of the dual philosophy, and the second 
to the yin 242 or passive principle. For instance, under the 
element "metal," the stem "weapon" — the "metal" of the 
warrior — is assigned to the aggressive yang, and the stem 
"cauldron" — the "metal" of the home — to the unassuming 
yin. A similar antonymy prevails among the other stems. 
The raging "wave" is opposed to the tranquil "stream"; 
the sturdy "fir" to the slender "bamboo" ; the fierce flame 
of the "torch" to the feeble glimmer of the primitive 
"lamp" ; the rugged "mountain" crag to the orderly culti- 
vated "plain." 

There is no particular evidence of a similar division of 
the American sequence, though it is apparent at a glance 

241 M 242 £ 



590 THE MONIST. 

that here are two terms assignable to the aqueous element, 
"water" (atl) and "rain" (quiahuitl) ; three vegetable 
products, "flower" (xochitl), "grass" (rnalinalli), and 
"cane" (acatl.) The "flint" (tecpatl) may be considered 
as a representative of "fire," and the "earthquake" (ollin) 
as a manifestation of earthy influence. Colli, "the house," 
as of mineral origin, may perchance form a second in the 
"earth" group. There remain "wind" (ehecatl) and 
"death" (miquiztli) ; no great stretch of imagination is 
required to pair the gentle zephyr and the noxious spirit 
breath of death in a group ruled by the element "air," — 
recognized in Mexican though ignored in Chinese science; 
and if fancy may be accorded yet further license, and the 
"cane" — either from its use in blowing fires or as employed 
in the f rictional production of that element — be transferred 
to the "fire" group, an American series of "elementally- 
assigned" stems is built up, arranged in groups of twos 
and exhibiting antonymies roughly corresponding with, 
and perhaps not more fantastic than those of the Asiatic 
scheme. "Water," represented by the active "rain," as 
against the passive "water" in the bowl (cf. the ideogram 
atl). "Wood," the gorgeous "flower" of the cactus off- 
setting the lowly, every-day "grass." "Earth," in its ac- 
tive manifestation as the all-destroying "earthquake" ; pas- 
sive and immovable, on the other hand, as molded into 
the vast pile of the teocalli, the "house" of the gods. "Air," 
the fierce all-conquering breath of "death" and the cool 
refreshing "breeze" of spring. "Fire," the yang mani- 
festation produced on the instant from the "flinty rock," 
and the yin avatar of the lordly element brought about by 
the action of the "cane" spindle of the fire-mill. 

Turning now to the animal names, composing the other 
half of the series, one encounters the "dragon," the 
"snake," the "rabbit," the "dog," the "monkey," and the 
"tiger" on both shores of the Pacific. In other words, one 



CHINESE AND CENTRAL AMERICAN CALENDARS. 59I 

is confronted, as remarked by Gustav Schlegel, by the 
truly remarkable fact that, of the ten zoological terms of 
the Mexican cyclical nomenclature, no less than six are 
absolutely identical with those dedicated to a like purpose 
in far-away Asia ; and since the "eagle" or "vulture" may 
be accepted without demur as the counterpart of the "cock," 
the assertion can be made that all but three of the Mexican 
names find their representatives in the Chinese list. As 
against the "lizard," "deer," "eagle," and "vulture" of 
America, there remain the Asiatic "rat," "ox," "horse," 
"goat" and "pig." The lizard and the deer, creatures 
very familiar to the Mexicans, may be taken as the ana- 
logues of the rat and the ox, (Schlegel equates the lizard 
with the dragon) ; the horse and the pig, as animals not 
indigenous, may reasonably be supposed to have been 
dropped from the list by those who adapted the series to 
American use ; while the goat, also not a native of Mexico, 
a rock animal, may have been replaced by the vulture, a 
bird of the crags. 

Such an assignment of the American terms is, no doubt, 
far-fetched and fantastic, — it is intended as a mere sugges- 
tion, — but to those accustomed to follow the history of 
written characters, of words, of customs,. in their migra- 
tions from land to land, from people to people, it will 
rather be matter for surprise that such striking coinci- 
dences between the two calendars should be visible on the 
surface to the casual observer at this day. 

In the reassignment of the zoological terms just at- 
tempted, the Asiatic and American names were provision- 
ally paired as follows : 

(The numerals preceding the names indicate their 
order in the series.) 



1 tzu rat 4 cuetzpalin lizard 

2 ch'ou ox 7 mazatl deer 



?2 






THE 


MONIST. 




3 


yin 


tiger 




*4 


ocelotl 


tiger 


4 


mao 


hare 




8 


tochtli 


hare 


5 


ch'6n 


dragon 




i 


cipactli 


dragon 


6 


ssu 


serpent 




5 


coatl 


serpent 


7 


wu 


horse 




— 






8 


we"i 


goat 




i5 


quauhtli 


eagle 


9 


shen 


monkey 




ii 


ozomatli 


monkey 


IO 


yh 


cock (bird) 


16 


cozcaquauhtl 


i vulture (bird) 


ii 


hsu 


dog 




IO 


itzquintli 


dog 


12 


hai 


boar 




— 







Placing now the Maya day-glyphs (corresponding with 
these Mexican day-names) side by side with the Chinese 
symbols, thus : 

1 tzu 9 ~ 

2 ch'ou *l 

3 yin 1^1 

4 mao 3F 

5 ch'6n Hr 

6 ssu (s 

7 wu 4^ 

8 wei W 

9 shen <|y 
io yu @ 
ii hsu Ht © io oc 
12 hai 25 — 

it will be noticed that: 

i. The Maya "grasping hand" sign, manik, the seventh 
American day, finds a place opposite the Chinese "grasp- 
ing hand," ch'ou; 

2. Corresponding with the Chinese "tiger" branch, 
yin, comes the Maya ix, the fourth day, translated "sor- 
cerer" by Dr. Brinton, a name connected with balam, 
"tiger," and metaphorically "wise man," since the Mayas 
supposed their sorcerers to possess the power of trans- 



© 


4 


kan 


© 


7 


manik 


© 


H 


ix 


© 


8 


lamat 


® 


i 


imix 


9 


5 


chicchan 


© 


i5 


men 


& 


ii 


chuen 


® 


16 


cib 



CHINESE AND CENTRAL AMERICAN CALENDARS. 593 

forming themselves into tigers. In this connection, the 
statement found in the Second Appendix to the Chinese 
Classic of Divination, Yi-ching, — that "the great man 
produces his changes as the tiger does when he changes 
his spots," is worthy of notice. Dr. Seler thinks that the 
Maya glyph ix itself "shows the round hairy ear and spot- 
ted skin of the jaguar" ; 

3. The character mao, ascribed to the Chinese day of 
the "hare" is a picture of an "opening door," typifying 
the Orient, sunrise, spring. The Maya katun correspond- 
ing with the Nahuatl day of the rabbit, tochtli, is lamat, 
concerning which Dr. Brinton says: "The figures (of 
lamat) bear a close resemblance to some sun signs. . .they 
seem to show the orb partly below a line, the horizon" ; 

4. The symbol appertaining to the Chinese "dragon" 
branch, ch'en, is defined by Dr. Wells Williams as "sprout- 
ing plants transformed by heaven." Answering to the 
Nahuatl "dragon" day, cipactli, was the Maya imix, which 
Perez regards as a transposition of ixim, "maize." Again 
cipactli is considered by some writers to denote the "sword- 
fish" or other marine monster, and Dr. Brinton notes that 
the head of a fish symbolized the fructifying and motherly 
waters. One of the Shuo-wen'S explanations of ch'en, is, 
as has been stated above, "pregnant" ; 

5. The glyph chic chart, the fifth day, identified by Seler 
as a serpent's skin, corresponds exactly with the Nahuatl 
coatl and Chinese ssu, both pictures of snakes ; 

6. Chuen, the eleventh day, the equivalent of the Mexi- 
can ozomatli, is explained by Brasseur and Seler as "a 
monkey's mouth"; it thus corresponds with the Chinese 
"monkey" branch, shen; 

7. Cib, the symbol of the fourteenth day, is especially 
noteworthy. It is the correlate of the Nahuatl cozca- 
quauhtli, the "vulture," and is paralleled by the Chinese 
day of the "cock," whose ideogram is yu, "a jar of spiritu- 



594 THE monist. 

ous liquor," ci, "trickling down." The "pottery decoration" 
(the short parallel strokes several times repeated around 
the edge of the glyph) certainly indicates the jar or vase." 
The Tzental name, chdbin, for this sixteenth day, has, as 
some of its meanings, "end," "funereal rites" ; with which 
compare the second form (closing door) of the Chinese 
character, referred to the death of the day, the setting 
sun, the fall of the year. The fact that chab in the Quiche- 
Cakchiquel dialects means "arrow" might perhaps suggest 
a comparison of the Tzental chdbin with the tenth Chinese 
stem kuei, said by some to depict an arrow come to rest, 
and referring, as does the Tzental word, to the closing 
scenes of the life-drama. 



Among the Twelve Branches, the ideograms mao and 
yu f the opening and closing doors, spring and autumn, 
east and west, sunrise and sunset, are especially prominent. 
In the Maya series, three glyphs have been regarded by 
divers authorities as sun symbols: 

Imix Q © 

Lamat ® ® ® ^ <^ 

Akbal © <§| ® © © 

Imix is taken to represent the sun's rays, like the 
Egyptian hieroglyph maau 243 and the Chinese shih. 244 La- 
mat is said to picture the disk of the great luminary under 
some peculiar condition; Dr. Brinton sees in it "the orb 
partly below a line, the horizon," and from etymological 
analogies (lambat, i. e., "hundirse in cosa blanda") ex- 
plains it as "the sunset." The Chinese pictogram tan, 24S 
presenting the sun and a line, the horizon, has the reverse 
meaning, "sunrise," and so far as form is concerned may 
be compared with the Maya akbal, said to show the rays 

243 fh m \m U5 IS] 



CHINESE AND CENTRAL AMERICAN CALENDARS. 595 

of the sun after sinking below the horizon, and connected 
with the word akab, "night." 

Assuming for a moment that the identification of lamat 
as a solar emblem is correct; disposing the series in such 
a way that this glyph lamat comes opposite its Asiatic 
correlate yu, "the closing door"; and ranging the signs 
which precede and follow the lamat glyph in the Maya 
calendar in the regular sequence ; thus : 







CHINESE. 








MAYA. 


I 


tzu, 


child 


^ 









2 


ch'ou, 


hand 


»i 


- 







3 


yin, 


shelter 


® 


(^) 


I 


imix, food 


4 


mao, 


opening door 


¥ 


© 


2 


ik, wind 


5 


ch'6n, 


containing 


If 


© 


3 


akbal, evening 


6 


ssu, 


serpent 


& 


© 


4 


kan, iguana 


7 


wu, 


pestle 


4s 


® 


5 


chicchan, serpent 


8 


w£i, 


foliage 


m 


© 


6 


cimi, death 


9 


shen, 


stretching 


e|3 


© 


7 


manik, hand 


IO 


yu, 


closing door 


« 


® 


8 


lamat, sunset 


ii 


hsu, 


wounding 


1* 


© 


9 


muluc, heap 


12 


hai, 


boar 


V 


© 


IO 


oc, dog 



We find here that the signs ik, akbal, kan, chicchan, 
cimi, manik, lamat, — "wind," "night sun," "iguana," "ser- 
pent," "death," "grasping hand," "sunset," form a series 
roughly corresponding with the Asiatic sequence of "sun- 
rise," "dragon," "serpent," "pestle," "foliage," "pressing 
hands," "sunset." If we omit from the Chinese list the 
"horse" branch, wu, whose ideogram is the "pestle," 246 
and which, as before noted, does not seem to have had 
analogs in the American series, we obtain the following 
category : 

246 m 



596 THE MONIST. 

4 sunrise ^p @ 3 sun symbol 

5 dragon {§ ©4 iguana 

6 serpent & ® 5 serpent 

7 — - — 

8 foliage W> © 6 death 

9 hands €|3 © 7 hand 
10 sunset ^| @ 8 sunset 

Here the Maya sun symbols are parallel with the Chi- 
nese signs of similar import; the iguana and the serpent 
of the Maya pair off with the dragon and the serpent of 
the Chinese; and the "hands" of the shen branch correspond 
with the "hand" of the manik day. While the symbols of 
the two series do not form absolutely identical pairs, yet 
the relative positions of the signs in regard to the general 
series is the same in the Chinese list as it was in Mayapan. 

Richard H. Geoghegan. 

(Sometime University Chinese Scholar, 
Balliol College, Oxford.) 

Fairbanks, Alaska.