Diffusionistic Fantasies IV
Bearded Strangers, Bearded Indians
One of the most boring traditions in alternative archaeology is the “White Gods” mythos. The whole returning white God nonsense which is almost entirely a post European discovery of Americas concoction.1 Part of this mythos is the bearded myth. The idea that since Indians can not grow beards than any story about a bearded individual, and any picture, sculpture of a bearded man must be ipso facto a picture of a non-Indian.
Thus writer after writer have used Indian stories and legends about bearded individuals as evidence of contact with peoples from the old world that pre dates Columbus and of course all depictions of bearded individuals are of non-Indians. Thor Heyerdahl was only the most prominent of the users of the bearded non-Indian story proving contact.2
Thus we get the story of the white Quetzalcoatl, with a beard. I'm also aware that it is a post conquest concoction. As time past from the Spanish conquest Quetzalcoatl got whiter and his beard longer.3
It is another myth that all Indian men can't grow beards. Cortes describes Montezuma has having thin, neat beard for example.4 In fact Diaz gives the following description of Montezuma:
The great Montezuma was about 40 years old, of good height, well proportioned, spare and slight, and not very dark, though of the usual Indian complexion. He did not wear his hair long but just over the ears, and he had a short black beard, well-shaped and thin.5
It appears that after all some Indians can grow beards, just like some Indians have straight noses. The people who came over the Bering strait were not a homogeneous bunch but varied in terms of hairiness, skin color and shape of nose etc.6
Why do so many find it so hard to believe that some Indian men without "white" ancestry could grow beards. Some Chinese and Japanese men can grow beards and they are related to the ancestors of modern Indians of the Americas. So there is no need to postulate "white" ancestry to explain portraits of bearded men in pre-Colombian art. But then these writers "know" that Indian men cannot grow beards but if they do it is because of white ancestry and if portraits of Indian men with beards exist before Columbus that only proves that white men were there in large numbers. There is not any possibility in these peoples minds, not even the smallest, that some Indian men without white ancestry could grow beards given that Japanese and Chinese men sometimes can to say nothing of the Ainu of Northern Japan? I stand amazed!7
None of this implies that all male Indians could grow beards. All that is required is that some male Indians, given the natural variation in hairiness could grow beards. The result being that there is no need to explain the depictions of men with beards in the Americas by postulating “white” immigrants. The assumption that if a Indian has a beard it indicates ”white” ancestry is wrong. To repeat beards appear among the Chinese and Japanese, who are definitely related to the indigenous peoples of the Americas. If recent evidence is anything to go by some the earliest people in the Americas were people like the Ainu of Japan the men of whom can most definitely grow beards. (I am thinking of Kennick man) some diffusionistic authors seem to categorically assume that Indians could not grow beards. (No exceptions). That is simply not true.
The depictions used as evidence and interpreted has belonging to "white" people, (could we be more specific!?). Like the allegedly Negroid Olmec heads, the people depicted are probably Native Americans. Like every human group there is variety in hairiness, head shape and skin color. So some natives were probably paler than others for example the Inca nobility tended to stayed out of sun to distinguish them selves from the peasantry so they would be paler.
From Prescott (Conquest of Mexico, Conquest of Peru) to Thor Heyerdahl (Early Man and the Ocean, etc.), Hancock, and on and on, we hear and read endless variations of the "White God" Ancient American myth. According too which the peoples of the Americas had a myth that a white bearded god (Virachocha, Quetzalcoatl, Votan etc.) brought civilization to them. And also that they believed that this "white god" would return.
This belief has become the equivalent of an "urban legend" that no amount of debunking seems to end. Instead like a rubber ball it keeps bouncing back.
Davies in his book Voyagers to the New World rather sarcastically entitles a chapter White Gods with Black Faces, and effectively demolishes this notion.
It seems that the Native Americans did not originally have a myth of "bearded white gods" bringing culture at all and the myth of return may in fact be largely Spanish in origin.
So in fact the original myths provide no such support at all. So why is this "urban legend" continually recycled? Why do its promoters continue to rely on the same outdated, inaccurate sources? I guess a little more knowledge just might blow up their theories.
It seems that these people are speaking in a closed circle and repeating what they hear from each other with no understanding that their theory is flawed, or at least this bit of evidence.
Since East Asians, Chinese and Japanese who live in the area that the natives of the Americas came from sometimes can and do grow beards and also that different people with different degrees of hairiness may have settled the Americas. There is no need to postulate “white immigrants before Columbus. For this more recent settlement, although pre-Columbus, by peoples of the Old World were is the evidence? Depictions of men with beards occur throughout the Americas; beards do exist among modern day Inuit and West Coast Indians in Canada. I could also mention the native Mexican codex's which show men with beards and of course some Mayan statutes. Diffusionists will claim that this only shows immigration in the past. Were is the evidence of such immigration?8
In the end the fantasy of the bearded white traveller is nothing more than a myth and fantasy of Europeans and those of European descent. It appears that the people that the Indians were depicting in their art and talking about in their myths and legends were other Indians.
To close here are some pictures from the famous photographer of Indians Curtis and yes these Indians have facial hair.
Davies, Nigel, Voyagers to the New World, William Morrow and Co. Inc., New York, 1979, pp. 125-139. Wauchope, Robert, Lost Tribes and Sunken Continents, University of Chicago press, Chicago, 1962. Gardner, Brant, The Impact of the Spanish on the Record of Native Oral Tradition, 1998a, Ancient Middle America Here. (link to article no longer works. Article not available. I have copy and will send copy to anyone who requests it.).
2. For examples see Heyerdahl, Thor, Early Man and the Ocean, Vintage Books, New york, 1980, pp. 93-126. Irwin, Constance, Fair Gods and Stone Faces, St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1963. Marx, Robert F., & Marx, Jennifer, In Quest of the Great White Gods, Crown Publishing Group, New York, 1992. Hancock, Graham, Fingerprints of the Gods, Three Rivers Press, New York, 1995.
3. Reece, Davies, Gardner, 1998b Quetzalcoatl as a White Man, 1998c The Bearded Quetzalcoatl Ancient Middle America Here. (link to article no longer works. Article not available. I have copy will send copy to anyone who requests it.).
4. Diaz, Bernal, The Conquest of New Spain, Penguin Books, London, 1973, p. 224. Davies, Gardner, 1998c.
5. Ibid, Diaz, p. 224. Here are a few more quotes about Indians with beards:
We have the following quote from a French Traveller:
A group of "wild people" live there, that are named Igniris; they go with their body completely naked and they have beards, which is different from all Indians, who pull out the hair as soon as it comes.
From Caribbean Consulting Here.
From Captain John Smith of Jamestown fame:
[The Powhatans are] generally tall and straight, of a comely proportion, and of a colour browne...Their haire is generally black, but few have any beards.
From First People: The Early Indians of Virgina Here.
From a Catholic Encyclopedia:
Physically the Mixe are of good height and strongly built, not handsome in features, but hardy and active, and notable burden carriers. Many wear beards.
From New Advent Here.
The following is about a tribe of Brazillian Indians:
Despite believing that if they grew beards or had their hair long at the front 'they might be seized and captured by these', some Tupinambá emulated the appearance of their French allies by growing beards. However, they plucked out all other facial and body hair.
From Wargames Foundry Here. (website now defunct).
For the above quotes thank you Doug Weller.
And how about a picture. This is one of a Yanomamo Indian.
6. Davies, pp. 21-48, Macgowan, Kenneth, & Hester, Joseph A., Early Man in the New World, Anchor Books, New York, 1962, pp. 207-232.
7. Davies, Gardner, 1998b, 1998c.Steibing, William H., Ancient Astronauts, Cosmic Collisions and Other Popular Theories About Man’s Past, Prometheus Books, Buffalo NY, 1984, pp. 140-141.
8. Davies, Macgowan, Meltzer, David J., First Peoples in a New World, University of California Press, Berkeley CA, 2009.