Thursday, January 31, 2013

Lacouperie and the Jaredites

Terrien de Lacouperie was a nineteenth century French Sinologist
who spent most of his life studying the history and ancient records of China. He was widely respected at the time for his research and discoveries and widely honored for his efforts. He developed a theory regarding the origin of the Chinese civilization that I find very interesting and which supports my theory of the Jaredite migration through Asia, and their subsequent influence on the peopling of China.
From his studies, he hypothesized that the early colonists of China were a civilized people from Mesopotamia who introduced the civilization of the Sumerians into eastern Asia. He claims that they were what he calls “Bak” tribes from the Semite nation of Elam. The Elamites were a neighboring nation of the Sumerians at the time, and were politically subservient to them. He suggests that the “Baks” left Elam during a period of political turmoil and traveled eastward across Asia and settled in China.
Quoting from Lacouperie:
"The early Chinese intruders and civilizers were the Bak tribes, about sixteen in number, who arrived on the N.W. borders of China not long after the great rising which had taken place in S.W. Asia at the beginning of the twenty-third century B.C. in Susiana. Their former seat was within the dominating influence of the latter country, as they were acquainted with its civilization, a reflex of the
Babylo-Assyrian focus."
He then gives a list of correspondences between Sumerian and Chinese culture which tend to substantiate his claims.  (see list at bottom of blog.)

Lacouperie's theory supports my idea that the Jaredites left Sumer following the Confusion of Tongues and migrated eastward through Asia. They traveled slowly, periodically stopping to plant crops and harvest them, before resuming their journey eastward. During these stops, they establishing settlements of the sick, disabled or weary who were left behind. Arriving in the area of China, they traveled down the valley of the Yellow River (Huang He River) until they reached the Pacific coast.
This is described in the Aztec legends, speaking of their progenitors, which were recorded by the historian Boturini.
“Having left the land and country of Sennaar [Shinar] with their numerous descendents, and guided by divine providence...they scattered through the great forest [wilderness?] of the earth, and having come to pass all these things, that I have written in the first age, until in the second [age] the kinships having multiplied with the new addition of servants, and increasing in numbers, they traveled for a long time in Asia…going from one place to another and carrying with them seeds, particularly of corn, chili, and beans, and in each region they cut down the forests [cleared the land] and prepared farm land [sowing fields], and perhaps leaving behind the aged and weary that they might populate those lands; and so they walked that with time they were nearing America, and at last they entered and set foot on their continent (From “Idea de Una Nueva Historia General de la America Septentroinial, by Lorenzo Boturini, P. 126).”
Returning to Lacouperie, he also suggested that there was an earlier population of barbarians residing in China when the “Bak” group arrived and that they civilized these natives. However, I disagree with him on this point as Moriancumer, the leader of the Jaredites, was told that they would be going to a land where man had never been (Ether 2:5), so the area should have been unpopulated when they arrived. Any resulting civilization in China would have been that propagated by the Jaredites who were left behind. They would have passed on the culture that they had learned from the Sumerians.
Following his death in 1894, Lacouperie's writings and theories fell our of favor with the scholars. They felt that his translations were flawed and maintained that civilization in China had been an independent development, not the result of outside cultural influences. As a result of this scholarly ostracism, few people are aware of Lacouperie's writings or findings.
From my study of his works, I find him to be very knowledgeable and thorough. I feel that his translations are accurate, and he has thoroughly documented all his findings.
In response to those critics who reject his idea of a culture derived from Mesopotamia, Lacouperie wrote:
“The science of history has now shown, in all known instances, that centers of civilization never arose elsewhere than amid a conflict of races, when sparks, coming from a more enlightened quarter, have brought in an initiating and leading spirit, under the form of one or several men, or of immigrating tribes, incited by trade, religion, or in search of safety. The same science has shown moreover that man has always traveled more extensively than was formerly supposed, that 'there is no such thing as the history of one country,' and that intelligent nations always borrow fresh elements of civilisation whenever they have the opportunity of doing so … that in all investigated cases, culture is the result of an introduction from abroad, and not of a spontaneous development [emphasis mine] (from Western Origin of the Early Chinese Civilization, Lacouperie, 1894, Introduction).”
I believe that this is a true statement of fact. It is true for China.  It is true for Mesoamerica, where scholars assert the same notion, that the Mesoamerican peoples developed their culture independent of any other group or people.
If we accept the scriptures as valid history, which they are, we can observe that society has always descended from an original source. Adam was the primary source for this world, and his posterity reflected his intelligence and culture. Following the flood we had a new source in the man Noah and his family. All nations, peoples and cultures descended and benefited from this man's civilized knowledge and influence.
Unfortunately, the humanistic scholars believe in the notion of cultural evolution – that primitive man, over milleniums of time, has gradually evolved the various civilizations of the earth, independent of one another. This is on the order of claiming that all societies utilizing modern technology developed this science spontaneously and independently on their own without outside influence. Such a claim would be ridiculous, as is the claim that ancient societies derived their cultures independently without inheriting attributes from other outside groups.
But back to Lacouperie, if he is correct, he has shed more light on the history of the Jaredites, and we are better able to understand their origin and story.

Some other works by Terrien de Lacouperie which relate to this subject:
Early History of the Chinese Civilization.
The Languages of China before the Chinese.
The Old Babylonian Characters and their Chinese Derivates.
Catalogue of Chinese Coins from the 7th cent. B.C. to A.D. 621.
The Oldest Book of the Chinese, the Yh King, and its Authors.
Beginnings of Writing in Central and Eastern Asia.
History of the Civilisation of China. 2 Vols.
Numerous articles in the periodical The Babylonian and Oriental Record.
The Silk Goddess of China and Her Legend.

Most of these books and articles can be found free and online at

Lacouperie's list of Sumerian/Chinese correspondences:
(1) The art of writing 
(2) Writing from top to bottom and from right to left 
(3) Engraved, not relief writing 
(4) characters derived from those of Babylonia and
still semi-hieroglyphical 
(5) Similar meaning of the characters 
(6) Their phonetic and polyphonic values 
(7) Their imperfect system of aerology and phonetism 
(8) probably some written texts
(9) the use of lists of written characters arranged (10) phonetically,
(10) lists of written characters arranged phonetically
(11) lists of written characters arranged ideographically 
(12) some souvenirs of the cuneiform or monumental form of writing 
(13) the extensive use of seals 
(14) the shifted cardinal points of Assyro-Babylonia 
(15) the symbols to write them [the cardinal points]
(16) astronomical instruments 
(17) many names of stars and constellations 
(18) of twenty-four stellar points  
(19) the twelve Babylonian months 
(20) with an inter-calary month
(21) and a certain use of the week 
(22) the erection of lofty terraces for astronomical purposes, etc.  
(23) the machinery of Imperial Government  
(24) titles of dignities
(25) the names of several offices with which they had been made familiar near Susiana 
(26) the system of twelve pastors  
(27) the concept of four regions 
(28) and a special officer bearing that title  
(29) the political idea of a Middle Kingdom  
(30) many proper names which, appearing
in their beginnings and once restored to an approximation of
their old form, are easily recognized as similar to some names
used in the aforesaid S.W. Asiatic countries, etc.  
(31) the cycle of ten
(32) the cycle of twelve  
(33) several standard measures  
(34) the twelve scales of music  
(35) the decimal notation  
(36) the ten periods, etc.  
(37) the wheat, which, is aboriginal in Mesopotamia only  
(38) the arts of claybrick building 
(39) of embanking rivers 
(40) the making of canals
(41) many words of Akkado-Sumerian and Babylonian civilization  
(42) the use of metals  
(43) many minor notions of arts and science, such as 
(44) the fire drill 
(45) the use of war-chariots with horses harnessed abreast, etc. 
(46) the practice of divination  
(47) the use of eight wands of fate  
(48) known terms of good or bad fortune  
(49) numerical categories  
(50) the symbolic tree of life or calenderic plant 
(51) special emblems on their rulers' dress 
(52) the worship or at least the name of Utuku (=Tik), otherwise Shamash, as supreme god  
(53) the six honoured ones, or the six gods of Susiana  
(54) the ruling idea that events repeat themselves 
(55) the lucky and unlucky days  
(56) the mythical colours of planets  
(57) the concept of Yn and Yang  
(58) large square altars, etc. 
(59) the royal canon of Babylonia  
(60) many peculiar legends therein, etc.  
From The Languages of China Before the Chinese, Lacouperie, p. 125.

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