Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Ch'ien Wei-ch'êng

CH'IEN Wei-ch'êng 錢維城 (T. 宗磐, 幼安, H. 稼軒, 茶山), 1720–1772, official and artist, was a native of Wu-chin, Kiangsu. Having taken his chü-jên degree at the age of nineteen sui (1738), he was four years later (1742) appointed a secretary in the Grand Secretariat—after passing a special examination. In 1745 he became a chin-shih, with highest honors in the palace examination, and then was appointed a Hanlin compiler of the first class. But when he was released from study in 1748 he was placed in the third rank among students of the Manchu language, and for this both he and Chuang Ts'un-yü [q. v.] were reproached by the emperor. After serving in various positions Ch'ien Wei-ch'êng became senior vice-president of the Board of Works 1757-61; and junior, then senior, vice-president of the Board of Punishments 1761–72. In the meantime he officiated several times, either as chief or as associate examiner, of the metropolitan or provincial examinations (1754, 1757, 1759). In 1762 he became director of Education in Chekiang, at a time when the students of that province were paying more attention to the form than to the content of their compositions. To correct this practice Ch'ien Wei-ch'êng established a regulation that each student must study thoroughly one Classic in the course of every half year. As a result the scholastic standing of Chekiang greatly improved. In 1769 he accompanied Udašan 吳達善 (d. 1771, chin-shih of 1736), who was then governor-general of Hu-Kuang, to Kweichow to settle a case involving default in the official accounts. When an insurrection of the Miao (苗) tribesmen took place in Kweichow in the following year he helped to tranquilize them. But owing to the death of his father he returned to his home in 1772 to observe the period of mourning, and he himself died in the latter part of that year. He was canonized as Wên-min 文敏. In 1775 his son, Ch'ien Chung-shên 錢中詵 was granted by imperial favor the degree of chü-jên.

Ch'ien Wei-ch'êng was a master of both calligraphy and painting. In the former he followed the style of the famous Su Shih of the Sung dynasty (see under Sung Lao), in the latter he studied with Tung Pang-ta [q. v.], and was skilled in depicting both landscape and plant life. Many of his paintings were honored by laudatory colophons written by Emperor Kao-tsung. His collected literary works, entitled 錢文敏公全集 Ch'ien Wên-min kung ch'uan-chi, in 30 chüan, were first printed in 1776.

His younger brother, Ch'ien Wei-ch'iao 錢維喬 (T. 樹參, 季木, H. 曙川, 竹初, 1739–1806, chü-jên of 1782), achieved some distinction as a painter, a man of letters; and a dramatist. Ch'ien Wei-ch'iao's collected verse, entitled 竹初詩鈔 Chu-ch'u shih-ch'ao, 16 chüan; and his prose, Chu-ch'u wên (文) ch'ao, in 6 chüan, were printed in 1808. Ch'ien Wei-ch'êng also had a learned daughter, Ch'ien Mêng-tien 錢孟鈿 (T. 冠之, H. 浣青, 1739–1806), who married Ts'ui Lung-chien 崔龍見 (T. 翹英, H. 曼亭, 1741–1817, a chin-shih of 1761) and left a collection of verse, entitled 紉秋詩草 Jên-ch'iu shih ts'ao, in 4 chüan.


[3/88/29a; 4/33/3b; 19/丙下/32b; 26/2/8a; 武進陽湖合志 Wu-chin Yang-hu ho-chih (1886) 22/33a; L.T.C.L.H.M., p. 425–28; 故宮週刊 Ku-kung chou-k'an for reproductions of his paintings.]

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