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Sunday, 20 March 2011

Hear No Evil

Harold Gladwin's book Men Out of Asia mentions at one point that copies of the famous Buddhist-Japanese monkeys 'See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil' had been found in the New World, hence indicating trans-pacific contact. However, his examples were simplified enough that the point could be argued.

Here is an example of the middle monkey, 'Hear No Evil', from another one of those collectable-antiquities sites, definitely from Mexico during the Aztec period (ca 1200-1500 AD "Guaranteed Authentic") and equally definitely showing a Japanese macaque monkey and not any type of New World monkey.

This is not only a problem involving trans-Pacific pre-Columbian contact but it possibly has some connection to cryptozoology. I had suggested at one point that North American "Devil Monkey" reports could be due to such macaques crossing the Bering land-bridge in earlier periods. However, in this case it also seems that it comes with a specific cultural context that would only mean pre-Columbian trans-Pacific contact. Live monkeys could still be involved in the contact, though, and could still have been left in the New World (say California) as a result of the contact. That would be Japan under the Minamotos, and prior to the initial Portugese contact. So the Europeans would not have had any way of being middle-men involved.

Best Wishes, Dale D.


  1. I don't think that's a macaque.

    I think it's a bald Uakarki, which may been traded to the Aztecs from South America. I think the wrinkles on the forehead denote baldness.

    The Aztecs were big into menageries, and this unusual monkey would have been a choice specimen.


  3. To Retrieverman: Unfortunately, the monkey depicted has distinctve OldWorld monkey features and it is carefully shown to be a cattarhine. And the resemblance is very much closer to a Japanaese macaque than an ukari otherwise. The wrinkles and the way they are scratched on does parallel other Aztec pieces I have seen, as does the roughened surface.

    To Alberto: Very interesting you should mention a similar figurine as depicting a barbary ape (also a closely-related macaque monkey)I had also found evidences suggesting THEM as culprits in "Devil Monkey" sightings, but on the EASTERN coast of the USA.I definitely think that the Gibraltar "Monos" have been brought across the Atlantic as well, and there are little statuettes in the Antilles that also suggest that idea to me. Also not typical New World monkeys, for much the same reasons.

  4. Sorry Dale,

    That looks nothing like a Japanese Macaque. It's far to stylized to be able to say it's anything other than a monkey or ape. But the bald head makes me agree with Retrieverman.



  5. Brett and Retrieverman,

    I am sorry to have to tell you that you have both missed the point. The point is that the statuette has an Old-world monkey Cattarhine nose and there is supposed to have been no way that anybody in the New World would have known there WAS such a thing as an Old-world monkey, Cattarhine nose.

    Look at the face of a Uakari again, the Uakari has a short, broad face and moreover one of the broader Platyrhinne New-World monkey noses. There is a very large separation between the nostrils. The identification fails on that criterion alone.

    Nor are you in any way justified in presuming it is meant to be bald when you cannot see the top of its head. And many monkeys have a wrinkled brow when they are raising the brow ridges.

    The primary point is that here we have a primate which is posed in a classic "Hear No Evil" pose, something that is culturally relevant specifically in Japan and specifically with a Japanese macacue. With that much, ANY resemblance to such a macaque is significant.

    And I am also sorry to say that if you say "it could be any old monkey" all that says is that you are lacking in the discernment to tell "any old monkey". It is most certainly not just "any old monkey"-it is not a howler, spidermonkey, capuchin or any of the more common New World monkeys simply on the basis of the head and body proportions and the posture.

    So I must most wholeheartedly not only contradict your identification, I must say that your statements show a lack of discernment of the statuette's specific features as well as the specific features of your candidate for identification. The shape of the nose is the basic obvious criterion discriminating Old World from New World monkeys. THAT would be the reason why your candidate is a particularly bad fit. And it will not make a statuette any more a representation of a New World Monkey when it has an Old World Monkey nose if the two of you make the same mistake together. On the contrary, if you got two hundred opinions that all said it was a uakari, it would still only show that two hundred people cannot tell the difference between a Catarhinne and a Platyrhinne on sight.

  6. Brett posted a repeat response in which he reiterated his opinion and said I was "reaching"

    I am calling a halt to repeated reiterations of the same point of view being posted by persons who refuse to recognise a basic Zoological principle: in this case, the shape of the nose. You simply cannot make a Cattarhinne into a Platyrhinne by rhetoric, and no amount of arguing will change the point. Next time, Brett, I would advise you against making a power play out of one of these discussions when your remarks betray an underlying ignorance of the subject. NO, you cannot have it your way just because you WANT to have it that way.

    The monkey as shown has a pinched nose. NOT a broad flat nose with a wide strip between the nostrils. And because of that cannot be a Uakari, ever, for whatever other arguments you might have. And if you want to tell other people I am being unfair, go on ahead. You have had your say and I have let you have your say. BUT I am not going to let you go on and on about it once your assertion has been satisfactorily refuted by standard Zoological references. Otherwise we are not talking Cryptozoology at all.

    I cannot the believe the nerve of somebody who tries to talk somebody out of a valid Zooloogical point simply because they don't want to believe that the evidence is plainly there in front of his face. This is NOT a democracy, you actually have to have some expertise in the subject in order to make such a claim as you had made. Brett's arguments as stacked up against the obvious shape of the nose are pointless. There is a tyranny to facts, and you must face it. You cannot change obvious facts by obvious wheedling. And if "Any old monkey" is an acceptable alternative, well then all that betrays is a lack of knowledge of the specific identifying features of monkeys of distinct individual types. Especially since "Any old monkey or ape" includes tailed ot tailless monkeys of a wide variety of sizes and shapes PLUS other Old World candidates (Apes are supposedly an Old World feature only)

    Once again, Brett NO, you cannot have the option to repeat the assertion you have already made. And I hope you understand WHY now.

    Best Wishes, Dale D. (I really MEAN that)

  7. So because I said that it wasn't what you think it is a second time, you deleted the whole post? Even though that was only a small PART of the post and not my actual argument?

    My POINT, which you'll most likely NOT post again (Don't worry I too have a blog and it will be going up there) is that the sculpture is to stylized to make the claim like you are doing. It looks like a monkey but also and ape. But since you have already decided what it is, ANY idea that disagree with you are there fore wrong.

    No wonder cryptid chasers aren't taken seriously.


  8. NO, Brett, The POINT is that the deleted blog said NOTHING except to reiterate your SAME statement as you made before

    Which, be it noted, showed nothing but the most appalling ignorance for what you were SUPPOSED to be posting about. I merely demonstrated that you had not the first clue about visually identifying representations of ANY monkeys

    The POINT was, and remains, that you were incompetent to make the judgement and hence your opinion was valueless, and that you were simply bent on continuing to post a valueless identification simply because it was YOUR opinion

    Now you can post THAT on your blog as well, because you have no right to offer any such an opinion on any matter of Zoology when you do not have adequate knowledge to make that Zoological classification

    If anybody pretends to have any serious interest in Cryptozoology, that person at least needs a strong grounding in the pertinent areas of REGULAR Zoology. Failing that, they are not "Cryptid Chasers" at all, they are only interfering meddlers.

    NOW, given that much, Don't you see that my main concern was to keep you from nattering on endlessly and making yourself look like an idiot?

    I WILL thank you not to post again, especially since you seem to think bluster makes up for an evident lack of actual knowledge of the subject.

  9. WOW, just wow. I actually know far more than you think I do. You shouldn't argue about art with an artist when you are not one and I am. This is art, NOT a scientific specimen. Of course I actually HAVE done scientific work published in actual scientific papers. So before you go all holier than thou, maybe you need to actually talk to some actual scientists before making such assumptions. Darren Naish would be a good one. You are the one looking the fool, not me. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and hanging ALL your assumptions on a stylized nose is not what any reasonable person would consider extraordinary.

    I do have a strong grounding in zoology, which is why I wouldn't jump into such an assumption like you did. THAT is unscientific. THAT is NOT how science is done. THAT is why no one will take cryptozoology seriously. Sometimes a shadow is just a shadow, a log is just a log and a monkey is just a monkey.

    Fell free to delete this, but it will only prove my point. Silencing people who disagree with you, in cases such as this is not science, it's religion.



  10. WOW, one thing you should have learnt by now is that you do not criticize somebody like me as an artist when you have not bothered to check out their artwork or credentials. I am not only a professional sculptor and illustrator, I am certified for museum work in evaluating and repairing so-called "Primitive" art. That information is already posted on this blog and this object falls into that category. I am most certain any training you might have had has nothing to do with this category in question.

    Another thing you should learn is that you do not gain a psychological advantage by insulting your host at a blogsite. You only come off as an abusive jerk bent on winning an argument by fair means or foul, which is how you come across to me. You are not trying to use intellectual arguments, you have resorted to bullying.

    You have not under any coircumstances "Proven" ANY of your so-called points. AND you STILL have not made ANY useful arguments, ESPECIALLY in the key matter of why some Mexican Indian should imagine an OLD WORLD MONKEY"S FACIAL FEATURES as designating the generic concept of "Monkey".

    Now it is quite obvious that you never meant the uakari suggestion seriously, you were just making an argument. An uakari does NOT look like that. It cannot even be construed as an illustration of the CONCEPT of "Uakari" when it has an Old-World Monkey's nose. And you have never once even directly addressed that point.

    You can say that it looks like a uakari except for the nose. You can make as many exceptions as you like but you will not then be describing what the artwork depicts. You might as well say that it resembles a chihuahua except for the parts you don't like, or a cactua, or a cantelope. It would make about as much sense.

    You have way since crossed over the line into being just plain inasulting and for that reason alone I shall supress any of your future postings and/or ban you from this site, until and unless you actually have something useful tosay. In a formal debate you get two rounds, you have spent your rounds already.


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