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On the Physical Characters of the Egyptians

Researches into the Physical History of Man (London: Arch, 1813), pp. 376-388

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Art & Architecture


This comparison has rested principally on the configuration of the skull, as forming the basis of national physiognomy, and as constituting the chief distinguishing character of the several races of men. The results of the investigation are highly satisfactory and interesting. Blumen_ bach informs us that after this comparison he was wholly at a loss to conceive, how several learned writers, not only of' the stamp of the author of the Recherches sur les Egyptiens, but even professed antiquaries, such as Winkelman and d'Hancarville, should ascribe to the Egyptian monuments one common character of physiognomy, and define the same in a few lines, in the most decided and peremptory manner. "It appears to me," says our author, that we must adopt at least three principal varieties in the national physiognomy of the ancient Egyptians, which like all the varieties in the human species are no doubt often blended together, so as to produce various shades, but from which the true, if I may so call it, ideal archetype may however be distinguished by unequivocal properties, to which the endless smaller deviations in individuals may without any forced construction be ultimately reduced. These appear to me to be, first, the Ethiopian cast, second, the one approaching to the Hindu, third, the mixed, partaking in a manner of both the former."

The first of these classes coincides with the

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