There is a general impression that Egyptian hieroglyphic script has been a subject of only western intellectual investigations. This impression is recently challenged by an emerging group of studies that have revealed various non-western understandings of ancient Egyptian material culture and writings. Chinese views of hieroglyphs, however, are mostly absent from these discourses; studies published in the Chinese language are limited to enumerating comments and rarely explore the intellectual traditions behind them. This article focuses on the late Qing period (1840–1912), when the Chinese encountered hieroglyphs, and argues that the traditions in philology led literati to perceive hieroglyphs as an analogue to <em>guwen</em>, the first Chinese writing system. Traditional emphasis on rubbings in collection practices also shaped acquisitions and curations of hieroglyphic texts. Finally, from a global perspective, the expansion of western colonial powers in Egypt and China also played their roles in making this encounter possible.
Hieroglyphs; Late Qing China; The Six Writings; Chinese characters; rubbings; history of Egyptology
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