Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Chiang T'ing-hsi

CHIANG T'ing-hsi 蔣廷錫 (T. 揚孫, 酉君, H. 西谷, 南沙, 青桐居士, 1669–1732), Sept., official and painter, was a native of Ch'ang-shu, Kiangsu. His grandfather, Chiang Fên 蔣棻 (T. 畹仙, H. 南陔, 1598–1663), was a chin-shih of 1637 who held various official posts in the last years of the Ming dynasty. His father, Chiang I 蔣伊 (T. 渭公, H. 莘田, 1631-1687), a chin-shih of 1673, made a name for himself, when officiating as censor in Kwangsi (1679–1681), by submitting memorials to the throne accompanied by pictures painted by himself depicting the sufferings of the people. Chiang T'ing-hsi had an elder brother, Chiang Ch'ên-hsi 蔣陳錫 (T. 文孫, H. 雨亭, 1653–1721), who rose in his official career to governor-general of Yunnan and Kweichow (1716). Chiang T'ing-hsi himself became a chü-jên in 1699. He then served as a painter in the Imperial Court and gained distinction, particularly in the portrayal of plant life. As he rose higher in his official career his fame as a painter increased, and his paintings have since been highly esteemed and treasured. In 1703 he failed to pass the metropolitan examination, but the emperor bestowed upon him the special favor of participation in the palace examination, as if he had passed. He therefore became a chin-shih in 1703; and as a member of the Hanlin Academy, he was ordered to serve in the Imperial Study. After filling various posts, he was promoted to be a sub-chancellor of the Grand Secretariat (1717).

Beginning with the new reign of Emperor Shihtsung (see under Yin-chên) in 1723, Chiang T'ing-hsi became junior vice-president of the Board of Rites. In the same year he was made chief-editor of the great, officially-compiled encyclopaedia, Ku-chin t'u-shu chi-ch'êng (see under Ch'ên Mêng-lei) which was completed and presented to the throne three years later (1726). In the year 1724 he memorialized on the compilation of a revised and supplemented edition of the Ta-Ch'ing hui-tien (see under Wang An-kuo). The request was granted and Chiang was appointed assistant editor. This work, completed in 1733, was the second edition of the Ta-Ch'ing hui-tien, the first being compiled in 1684–90 and printed in 1690. After serving as junior vice-president of the Board of Revenue in 1724, Chiang was promoted to senior vice-president of the same board in the following year. Early in 1726 he became president of the Board of Revenue. In this important post he gained a reputation for integrity and incorruptibility and received imperial commendation. In the same year, also, he served as chief-examiner of the Shun-t'ien provincial examination, and later acted concurrently as president of the Board of War. Upon the death of his mother (late in 1726 or early in 1727) the emperor, unwilling to grant him more than a few months' leave for mourning, ordered him to observe it while con-tinuing his duties. In 1728 he was made Grand Secretary, though retaining the presidency of the Board of Revenue. At the same time he served as one of the editors-in-chief of the "veritable records" of Emperor Shêng-tsu, 聖組仁皇帝實錄 Shêng-tsu Jên Huang-ti shih-lu. In 1729 he was given a mansion and also the honorary title of Grant Tutor of the Heir Apparent. In the following year he was chief examiner of the metropolitan examination. In July 1729, when the Grand Council was established to direct the war against the Eleuths, Chiang T'ing-hsi was made one of the first three Grand Councilors, the other two being Yin-hsiang and Chang T'ing-yü [qq. v.]. Late in 1730, in recognition of his diligence and efficiency as an official, he was awarded the hereditary title of Ch'ing-ch'ê tu-yü of the first class. He died about September 9, 1732, at the age of sixty-four (sui) and was canonized as Wên-su 文肅.

A number of paintings by Chiang T'ing-hsi are reproduced in the 故宮週刊 Ku-kung chou-k'an; and a collection of sixteen of them, depicting plant life, insects, and birds, were reproduced in facsimile (1911) by the Wên-ming Shu-chü 文明書局, under the title 蔣南沙花鳥草蟲册 Chiang Nan-sha hua-niao ts'ao-ch'ung ts'ê.

Chiang T'ing-hsi was also known as a poet—his collected verse, printed about 1702, appearing under the titles, 青桐集 Ch'ing-t'ung chi, 秋風集 Ch'iu-fêng chi, 片雲集 P'ien-yün chi, 坡仙集 P'o-hsien chi, and 西小爽氣集 Hsi-hsiao shuang-ch'i chi. His early poems are represented in the anthology known as Chiang-tso shih-wu tzŭ shih-hsüan (see under Sung Lao).

Chiang T'ing-hsi had two sons: Chiang P'u 蔣溥 (T. 質甫, H. 恆軒, 1708–1761) and Chiang Chou 蔣洲 (H. 履軒, d. 1760). The former, a chin-shih of 1730 and an accomplished painter, rose in 1759 to be a Grand Secretary and upon his death was given the posthumous name, Wên-k'o 文恪. The latter became governor of Shantung (1757) but was beheaded in 1760 for serious corruption. Chiang Ting 蔣檙 (T. 作梅, H. 伯欽), a son of Chiang P'u and chin-shih of 1751, carried on the family tradition as a painter of plant life. Chiang Chi-hsi 將季錫 (T. 蘋南), a younger sister of Chiang T'ing-hsi, who married Wang T'u-wei 王圖煒, a son of Wang Hung-hsü [q. v.], was another accomplished artist of the family. A painter of plant life, Chiang Chi-hsi was also a calligrapher and left a literary collection, under the title 清芬閣集 Ch'ing-fên ko chi.


[1/295/5a; 3/16/7a; 19/乙下/22b; 20/2/00 (portrait); 27/9/1a; 蘇州府志 Su-chou fu chih (1883) 100/25a; 常昭合志 Ch'ang-Chao ho-chih (1904); Sun Yüan-hsiang [q. v.], T'ien-chên ko chi, 47/13b; Ku Kuang-ch'i [q. v.], Ssŭ-shih-chai chi 18/1a; L.T.C.L.H.M. for a long list of his paintings.]

Tu Lien-chê