Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Ch'ien Tsêng

CH'IEN Tsêng 錢曾 (T. 遵王, H. 也是翁), 1629–after 1699, bibliophile, was a native of Ch'ang-shu, Kiangsu, a descendant in the twenty-fifth generation of Ch'ien Liu 錢鏐 (852–932), founder of the state of Wu-Yüeh, one of the so-called "Ten Kingdoms" which arose during the transitional period between the T'ang and Sung dynasties. He was the third son of Ch'ien I-su 錢裔肅 (T. 嗣美, d. 1646, aged fifty-eight sui), a bibliophile who laid the foundations of a good library; and a great-great-nephew of Ch'ien Ch'ien-i [q. v.], under whom he studied from about twenty sui, and with whom he was intimate until the latter died. When the library of Ch'ien Ch'ien-i, the famous Chiang-yün lou, was destroyed by fire in 1650, Ch'ien Tsêng became the recipient of some of the rare editions that escaped the catastrophe. As a hsiu-ts'ai of the district school Ch'ien Tsêng lost his degree when in 1661 he and thousands of the gentry of Kiangsu were punished for failure to pay arrears in taxes (see under Yeh Fang-ai and Chin Jên-jui).

In 1669 he made a catalogue of his library of more than 3,600 titles, calling it 也是園書目 Yeh-shih yüan shu-mu after the name of his dwelling. This classified catalogue in 10 chüan was printed for the first time in the 玉簡齋叢書 Yü-chien chai ts'ung-shu, published by Lo Chên-yü (see under Chao Chih-ch'ien) in 1910. Beginning in 1669, and continuing for fifteen years, he labored on another bibliographical work, the 讀書敏求記 Tu-shu min-ch'iu chi, in 4 chüan. This work, first printed by Chao Mêng-shêng 趙孟升 in 1726, lists 601 Sung and Yüan works and manuscripts with detailed comparative annotations concerning editions. Highly prized by scholars, it passed through at least three printed editions during the Ch'ing period and also circulated in manuscript. An edition, carefully collated from various texts by Chang Yü 章鈺 (T. 孟堅, 茗理, 式之, H. 蟄存, 負翁, 晦翁, 霜根老人, 1865–1937), appeared in 1926 with comments and annotations, under the title 錢遵王讀書敏求記校證 Ch'ien Tsun-wang, Tu-shu min-ch'iu chi chiao-chêng. [Chang Yü himself was a celebrated scholar who in 1937 willed a large part of his private library to Yenching University, Peiping. An annotated catalogue of this collection, entitled 章氏四當齋藏書目 Chang-shih ssŭ-tang chai ts'ang-shu mu, was printed in 1938.]

A third catalogue by Ch'ien Tsêng—the 述古堂書目 Shu-ku t'ang shu-mu, named after his studio—was first printed in 1883 in the Yüeh-ya t'ang ts'ung-shu (see under Wu Ch'ung-yüeh). This work, in 4 chüan, has a separate part dealing exclusively with Sung editions, of which he was very fond. The Ssŭ-k'u ch'üan-shu tsung-mu (see under Chi Yün) gives notice of both the second and third of these works, but neither was copied into the Imperial Manuscript Library. Ch'ien Tsêng was a friend of other noted bibliophiles of his day, such as Mao Chin, Mao I, and Chi Chên-i [qq. v.]. To the last mentioned he sold duplicate copies of some of his rarities. The seals most frequently impressed upon the items in his library read: 彭城世家述古堂圖書記 Pêng-ch'êng shih-chia Shu-ku t'ang t'u-shu chi and Ch'ien Tsêng, Tsun-wang, ts'ang-shu. His son, Ch'ien Yüan 錢沅 (T. 楚殷), was likewise a bibliophile who kept up the family tradition.

Ch'ien Tsêng left a collection of poems, entitled 今吾集 Chin-wu chi, 1 chüan, and is said to have left a larger collection of literary works entitled Shu-ku t'ang chi (集). He also annotated (about 1675) two collections of poems by his teacher and fellow-clansman, Ch'ien Ch'ien-i, entitled respectively, Mu-chai ch'u-hsüeh chi shih-chu (詩註), 20 chüan, and Mu-chai yu-hsüeh chi shih-chu, 14 chüan, both of which he printed with his own notes.


[3/427/32a; Yeh Ch'ang-ch'ih (see under P'an Tsu-yin), Ts'ang-shu chi-shih shih (1910) 4/6a; 常昭合志稿 Ch'ang-Chao ho-chih kao (1904) 32/26a; Ssŭ-k'u 87/2a, 2b; Ch'ien Tsun-wang Tu-shu min-ch'iu chi chiao-chêng (類記); 錢氏家變錄 Ch'ien-shih chia-pien lu in 荊駝逸史 Ching-t'o i-shih.]

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