No it’s not that surprising.
But Victor Mair is obssessed demonstrating this and the identification of foreigners in China was a special interest of Sinologists.
It’s easy to understand why the Chinese, fired up with European-style nationalism, would want to imagine a pure Chinese past. It’s harder to understand why Sinologists are so fixated on the issue. What about all the other non-Chinese people all over the place in places like Chu and Yueh?
Mair is also intent on ‘proving’ that the Chinese should get rid of their characters.
[quote=“Dragonbones”]Very interesting. I don’t know why people react with surprise to findings like this, though; humans have been roaming the planet ever since there were humans; there’s plenty of evidence of ‘foreigners’ in contact with the proto-Chinese, as far back as funerary figurines and even the written script go.
[quote]Was this discovery surprising to you?
I’m not the least bit surprised by the report of a supposedly Iranian “worker” having been buried next to the tomb of the First Emperor of the Qin Dynasty. After all, at this time and even earlier, we’ve got Iranian peoples–Wusun, Scythians, and others–running all over the Eurasian steppes from the Black Sea to what is now northern China. We have nearly contemporaneous physical descriptions of Europoid individuals–including Wusun–in Chinese historical sources. Not too much later, we have the Khotanese and Sogdians, and no one denies that these Iranian peoples were active in the East Asian Heartland (EAH). It’s also easy to document the presence of Persians and Sassanians in China. Furthermore, back in 1990, I published an article in Early China that provided many different types of evidence indicating that Iranian magi were present at the Zhou Dynasty capital circa 800 B.C., about six centuries before the time of the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty.
What’s the early literary evidence for foreigners in China?
Among other texts, the official histories, including Records of the Scribe (Shi ji) and History of the Han (Han shu) have numerous references to individuals from the “western regions” with large noses, deep-socketed eyes, and full beards. These persons are generally called hu, which is loosely translated as “barbarian,” but there are many specific names for different groups as well.
And the early archaeological evidence for foreigners in China?
To be brief, there are figurines, sculptures, wall paintings, and a host of artifacts (coins, textiles, glass, silver vessels, etc.) that either depict persons from abroad directly or indirectly indicate their presence. [/quote][/quote]