What of the African presence in early China? Have there been Black people in China? If so, what became of them? What happened to the Black people of early China? Are they still there? These are profound questions. Indeed, the African presence in China is perhaps the most challenging area of research within the broad realm of the African presence in Asia. Challenging though it may be, however, it is not an area that can be dismissed. Chancellor Williams, for example, in his classic Destruction of Black Civilization, noted that:
“Ancient China and the Far East, for example, must be a special area of African research. How do we explain such a large population of Blacks in Southern China, powerful enough to form a kingdom of their own?”
While in September 1998, a scientific study posted in the Los Angeles Times concluded that:
“Most of the population of modern China–one fifth of all the people living today–owes its genetic origins to Africa.”
So there is little doubt that in the early ages of China a Black presence was prevalent. Now what of African presence in the great civilizations of China?
Le Tigresse is by far the most spectacular of such vessels.
Le Tigresse is from the late Shang Dynasty period, about 1250 B.C.E. It is from Hunan Province and measures about two feet high. The vessel was intended to hold fermented beverages and is unquestionably the most famous and splendid object in the Cernuschi Museum. The vessel depicts a feline, a tigress with an open mouth, holding a small human in a close embrace with its front paws. For years I had thought of the small human figure as a child. But on closer inspection it appears that it may well be an adult. Is it a Diminutive Africoid? Whether adult or child, the features are clearly Africoid and may well be a depiction of one of the Diminutive Africoid types associated with early China, protected in the powerful embrace of a tigress.