Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Chu Chien

CHU Chien 朱珔 (T. 玉存, 蘭坡), Nov., 1769–1850, May 24, official and scholar, was a native of Ching-hsien, Anhwei. His ancestors are said to have migrated from Soochow to Wu-yüan, Anhwei, at the close of the T'ang period, and later to Ching-hsien. His father, Chu An-pang 朱安邦 (T. 殿之, 畿千, 1738–1770), died when Chu Chien was only a few months old, and Chu Chien was reared as the adopted son of his deceased uncle, Chu An-kuei 朱安桂 (T. 崑山), who died in 1760, age nineteen sui, nine years before Chu Chien was born. Chu Chien became a chin-shih in 1802 and was appointed a bachelor in the Hanlin Academy. In 1804 (ninth year of Jên-tsung), he was one of 167 officials who participated in the Imperial Banquet which took place in commemoration of a similar feast that was held in 1744 (ninth year of Kao-tsung). After he was released from study in the Academy, Chu was made a compiler and later a corrector in the bureau for the compilation of the Imperial Chronicles. In 1807 he acted as assistant examiner of Shantung, and after several promotions was appointed sub-expositor of the Hanlin Academy. In 1815 he asked leave to go home, but upon his return to Peking, two years later, was reinstated in his former post, serving concurrently as a reviser in the Historiographical Board.

During the years 1813–18 he was a chief reviser and assistant to Ts'ao Chên-yung [q. v.] and others in the compilation of the biographies of Ming emperors which were later published under the title, 明鑑 Ming-chien, 24 chüan. But references in the work to the Manchus of the late Ming period so offended the reigning dynasty that the editors were degraded and Chu Chien was lowered to the rank of a compiler in the Hanlin Academy. Work on the Ming-chien was resumed in 1818 under the direction of T'o-ching 托津 (富察氏, d. 1835) but Chu Chien was not invited to participate. He served twice (1820, 1822) as examiner in the metropolitan examination, and in 1821 was appointed a tutor in the Imperial School. Shortly thereafter he was made assistant Secretary to the Supervisorate of Imperial Instruction. In the autumn of the following year (1822) he resigned and returned home owing to the advanced age of his own mother, née Chao 趙 and of his foster mother, née Wang 汪. Before he could reach his native place, however, his foster mother died (1822). His own mother died two years later. Thereafter he devoted his remaining years to teaching, first in the Chung-shan Academy 鍾山書院 at Nanking, and later in the Chêng-i 正誼 and Tzŭ-yang 紫陽 Academies at Soochow. In 1848, owing to political unrest in Kiangsu, he resigned and returned to his native place where he died two years later.

Chu Chien was a man of wide learning, and in classical scholarship was regarded by some as the equal of Yao Nai and Li Chao-lo [q. v.]. He produced a work on the Shuo-wên, entitled 說文假借義證 Shuo-wên chia-chieh i-chêng, 28 chüan, first printed in 1893; another on the texts of the classics, entitled 經文廣異 Ching-wên kuang-i, 12 chüan; and a collection of annotations to the Wên-hsüan (see under Wêng Fang-kang), entitled 文選集釋 Wên-hsüan chi-shih, 24 chüan, printed in 1875—this last being regarded by some as his most important contribution. He also compiled the 國朝古文彙鈔 Kuo-ch'ao ku-wên hui-ch'ao, 276 chüan, an anthology of essays by Ch'ing writers in the ku-wên style; and the 國朝詁經文鈔 Kuo-ch'ao ku-ching wên-ch'ao, 62 chüan, a collection of essays by Ch'ing scholars on the classics. His collected verse, entitled 小萬卷齋詩稿 Hsiao-wan-chüan chai shih-kao, 32 chüan, was first printed in 1829, a supplement (續稿) of 4 chüan being added later. Poems he presented to the throne under the title Hsiao-wan-chüan chai ching-chin kao (經進稿), 4 chüan, were printed in 1826. His prose works, entitled Hsiao-wan-chüan chai wên-kao (文稿), 24 chüan, were printed in 1846. In 1885 his prose and verse were reprinted with supplements under the collective title, Hsiao-wan-chüan chai chi (集), in 73 chüan.

A cousin, Chu Li [q. v.], became governor of Kweichow; a son, Chu Ting-yüan 朱鼎元 was a chü-jên of 1892.


[1/488/15b; 2/69/26b; 5/18/4b; Ching-hsien chih (1806), 14/41b, 續志 2/13a; Soochow fu-chih (1881) 112/流寓2/47a; Hsiao-wan-chüan chai shih-kao (portrait), 24/6b, 10a; Hu Yün-yü 胡韞玉, 經縣朱蘭坡先生傳 in Ying-yin (景印) Shuo-wên chia-chieh i-chêng; Mei Tsêng-liang (see under Yao Nai), 柏梘山房文集 Pai-chien shan fang wên-chi 15/18b.]

S. K. Chang

J. C. Yang