Xia Nai

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Xia Nai
Xia Nai in Anyang.jpg
Xia Nai in Anyang, 1935

Xia Nai (Wade–Giles: Hsia Nai; 1910–1985) was a pioneering Chinese archaeologist. He was born in Wenzhou, southern Zhejiang province, and majored in economic history at Tsinghua University in Beijing (BA, 1934), winning a scholarship to study abroad. On advice from his mentor Li Ji, he went to University College London and studied Egyptology, earning a doctorate that was finally awarded to him in 1946. In the meantime, he had returned to China joining the staff of the Central Museum and then in 1944 joining the Department of Archaeology of the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica (1943–49), becoming acting director in 1948. When the Institute moved to Taiwan in 1949, Xia stayed behind in China, teaching at Zhejiang University for a year before joining the Chinese Academy of Sciences, eventually becoming director of its Institute of Archaeology (1962–82). Before his death, he was First Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).

Thanks to his contributions to Chinese and world archaeology, he was one of the most honoured Chinese scholars in academe, receiving memberships from the British Academy (1974), the Swedish Royal Academy of Letters, History, and Antiquities (1983), and the U.S. Academy of Sciences (1984), among others.

Further reading[edit]

  • E. Field and Wang Tao, 'Xia Nai: the London connection', in Orientations, June 1997.
  • K.C. Chang, 'Xia Nai (1910-1985)', in American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 88, No. 2 (June 1986), pp. 442–444.
  • Liu Wensuo and Clayton D. Brown, '夏鼐與李濟 (Xia Nai and Li Ji)' in 古今論衡 (Disquisitions on the Past and Present) v. 20 (Dec. 2009): 61-74.
  • Xia Nai, Ancient Egyptian Beads, London, 2014 ISBN 978-3-642-54868-0 (Xia Nai's PhD thesis from UCL).