Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Ch'i Shao-nan

3635432Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period, Volume 1 — Ch'i Shao-nanFang Chao-ying

CH'I Shao-nan 齊召南 (T. 次風, H. 一乾, 瓊臺, 息園), Feb. 23, 1706–1768, July 7, scholar and official, was a native of T'ien-t'ai, Chekiang. He ranked high in the examinations held in his native district and studied in the Fu-wên Academy 敷文書院 at Hangchow about 1720–21. Later he became a senior licentiate, but failed several times in the provincial examinations. Recommended, however, to take the second special examination known as po-hsüeh hung-tz'ŭ (see under Liu Lun) he passed it in 1736. He was made a bachelor in the Hanlin Academy, and was appointed an editor of the Ta-Ch'ing i-t'ung chih, "Comprehensive Geography of the Empire," (see under Hsü Ch'ien-hsüeh and Chiang T'ing-hsi). He was connected with this enterprise until the work was printed in 1744. Beginning in 1739 he also served as a collator of the imperial edition of the Thirteen Classics and of the Twenty-three Dynastic Histories, as well as compiler of the "Mirror of History" of the Ming period, Tzŭ-chih t'ung-chien kang-mu san-pien (三編), printed in 1746 (see under Shên Tê-ch'ien). Ch'i Shao-nan also served as a compiler and later as an assistant director-general for the compilation of the 續文獻通考 Hsü wên-hsien t'ung-k'ao which was printed in 1772. After his appointment as corrector in 1737, he received further promotions. When in 1744 he went home to mourn the death of his father, he was sub-reader in the Hanlin Academy.

In 1747 Ch'i Shao-nan returned to Peking and in the following year was ordered to teach the emperor's sons in the palace school known as Shang-shu fang (see under Yin-chên). About the same time he was promoted to junior Vice President of the Board of Ceremonies. He was often favored by the emperor with gifts and was granted frequent audiences. But his official career was interrupted in 1749 by an accident. While riding from the emperor's villa, Yüan-ming Yüan, to his own residence in the Ch'êng-huai yüan (see under Chang T'ing-yü) he was thrown from his mount and injured his skull. Although treated by Mongol physicians who were skilled in such matters, it appears that after three months his memory was still affected and he found it difficult to write with a pen. Being unable to carry on his official duties, he resigned. In 1750 he returned to his home, and for more than ten years directed the Fu-wên Academy where he had once been a student. In the meantime he met the emperor four times on the latter's tours of South China (1751, 1757, 1762 and 1765) and once in Peking (1761) at the celebration of the seventieth birthday of the emperor's mother. When the emperor came to Hangchow in 1765 he paid a visit to the Fu-wên Academy and composed poems with Ch'i and his students.

Ch'i Shao-nan retired to his home town in 1765, hoping to spend his last days in tranquility. But another mishap befell him two years later when he was unwittingly involved in the literary inquisition of a distant cousin, Ch'i Chou-hua [q. v.], who evidently was mentally unbalanced. In 1767 this cousin presented to the Governor of Chekiang certain of his manuscripts with a view to having him write prefaces for them. At the same time he lodged complaints against his clansmen for maltreating him, particularly against Ch'i Shao-nan whom he charged with ten offenses, one being that he had illegally accumulated great wealth which he was alleged to have entrusted to a salt-merchant of Yang-chow in order to obtain high rates of interest. When the governor examined the works of Ch'i Chou-hua he found that they contained passages prejudicial to the ruling house and disrespectful to the reigning emperor. For failure to observe and amend the conduct of his fellow-clansman, and for having written, as early as 1724, a preface to a work by his cousin, Ch'i Shao-nan was taken under escort to Peking and tried. Although it was found on further investigation that all the accusations made by Ch'i Chou-hua were baseless, Ch'i Shao-nan was nevertheless held responsible for his kinsman's conduct and was deprived of his official titles. Wishing to determine whether the accused had invested his money as stated, the emperor ordered his property appraised. Finally he demanded that the farm land and houses which Ch'i had purchased (appraised at 4,349 taels silver) be confiscated. Only a piece of land, inherited by Ch'i from his ancestors, and valued at 516 taels, was left to keep him from starvation. Thus, through no fault of his own, his wealth and comfort were taken from him, and he was ordered to return home to meditate upon his crime. Arriving Home the middle of May, he became ill and died, early in July.

Ch'i Shao-nan left several important works in addition to the official compilations which he helped to edit. Most outstanding is the 水道提綱 Shui-tao t'i-kang, 28 chüan—a work on the watercourses of China and its dependencies, first printed in 1776 and several times thereafter. He gathered materials for it when he was connected with the above-mentioned Ta Ch'ing i-tung chih, and edited it after his retirement. He also edited, together with Wang Hang (see under Li Ê), the gazetteer, 温州府志 Wên-chou-fu chih, 36 chüan, printed in 1760. Another work attributed to him was a chronology of Chinese history, 歷代帝王年表 Li-tai ti-wang nien-piao, 13 chüan, which was reprinted and supplemented by Juan Fu (see under Juan Yüan) in 1824. W. F. Mayers' The Chinese Reader's Manual (p. xiv) states that "Upon it, and the [Li-tai] Chi-yüan pien of Li Chao-lo [q. v.]... the dynastic tables given in Part III [of Mayers' Manual] are based." The original edition, probably in 4 chüan, was printed by Ch'i's disciple, Tai Tien-ssŭ 戴殿泗 (T. 東珊, b. 1746?, a chin-shih of 1796), who also sponsored the printing of the above-mentioned Shui-tao t'i-kang, and Ch'i's collected poems, 寶綸堂詩鈔 Pao-lun t'ang shih-ch'ao, 6 chüan (1808). In 1797 the printing of Ch'i's collected prose works, Pao-lun t'ang wên-ch'ao (文鈔), 8 chüan, was sponsored by Ch'in Ying (see under Ch'in Hui-t'ien). Another literary collection, entitled Pao-lun t'ang chi-ku lu (集古錄) or wai-chi (外集), 12 chüan, was printed in 1888. In 1767, just before he was arrested, Ch'i edited a condensed gazetteer of the famous mountains in his native district, entitled 天台山方外志要 T'ien-t'ai-shan fang-wai chih yao, 10 chüan, of which an original edition is preserved in the Library of Congress.

[1/311/6a; 2/71/55b; 3/82/7a; 4/32/4b; 20/2/00 (portrait); Ch'üan Tsu-wang [q. v.], Kung-chü chêng-shih lu p. 61a; for date of birth; 台州府志 T'ai-chou-fu chih (1926) 73/12a; T'ai-chou-fu chih (1936) 103/16b; Portrait in 青鶴 Ch'ing-ho, vol. V, no. 1 (July 1, 1934); Pao-lun t'ang wên-ch'ao in 芋園叢書 Yü-yüan ts'ung-shu (1935); see bibl. under Ch'i Chou-hua]

Fang Chao-ying