In studies on intellectual history pictorial literature has never received adequate attention. Based on analyses of a hanging scroll of gods used in religious ceremonies, pictures of each other's imagination of the Oriental and the Occidental in early cultural exchanges, the map of the world block printed in ancient China, a set of illustrations in an early Chinese translation book, and magic figures from Taoist classics, the paper concludes that pictorial data are of great value. They embody profound choices, designs and ideas, and imply historical backgrounds, values and conceptions. Serving not only as supplementary data to written materials, pictorial data are also important bodies of literature that deserves more attention in the study of intellectual history. We need, however, to develop new methods of study different from those in the study of written literature.
Social Sciences in China