Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Chu I-tsun

CHU I-tsun 朱彝尊 (T. 錫鬯, H. 竹垞, 小長蘆釣魚師, 金風亭長), Oct. 7, 1629–1709, Nov. 14, scholar, poet and bibliophile, was a native of Hsiu-shui (Kashing), Chekiang. His great-grandfather, Chu Kuo-tso 朱國祚 (T. 兆隆, H. 養淳, 1559?–1624, posthumous name 文恪), was the chuang-yüan, or highest chin-shih of 1583. He served as a Grand Secretary from 1620 to 1623. Chu I-tsun's grandfather and father used up their portion of the family fortune, so that during a famine, when Chu I-tsun was thirteen sui, the family often went without food. In 1645 Chu I-tsun married a neighbor's daughter, Fêng Fu-chên 馮福貞 (T. 海媛, 1631–1694), and began to live in her family. During the years of unrest which followed the Manchu invasion of Chekiang (1645–49) he and his wife's family moved from place to place in search of safety. Despite these handicaps his fame as a writer grew, enabling him to make friends with celebrated men of letters and to gain employment as a teacher of children or as secretary to various officials. His travels in these capacities took him to Kao-yao, Kwangtung (1656–58), to teach the son of the magistrate, Yang Yung-chien (see under Cha Shên-hsing); to Shaohsing (1660) as secretary to Sung Wan [q. v.]; to Yung-chia, Chekiang (1662–63); to Tatung, Shansi (1664–65), as secretary to Ts'ao Jung [q. v.]; to Taiyuan (1665–67) as secretary to the financial commissioner, Wang Hsien-tso 王顯祚 (T. 襄璞); to Shantung (1668–70) as secretary to Governor Liu Fang-chu 劉芳躅 (T. 鍾宛, H. 增美, chin-shih of 1655); and to Tungchow, east of Peking (1673–75), as secretary to the intendant, Kung Chia-yü 龔佳育 (T. 組錫, H. 介岑, 1622–1685). When Kung was appointed financial commissioner at Nanking Chu went with him and stayed there for a year (1677–78). His secretarial employment seems to have been profitable, for by 1669 he had accumulated sufficient means to buy a home in his native district. He gave it the name Chu-ch'a 竹垞 ("Bamboo Knoll") which he also took as his hao.

In 1678 an imperial decree ordered the officials of the empire to recommend men of letters for the special examination, known as po-hsüeh hung-tz'ŭ (see under P'êng Sun-yü and P'an Lei). On the recommendation of several officials, Chu I-tsun was summoned to Peking. He succeeded in passing the examination in the following year and was appointed a corrector in the Hanlin Academy and concurrently an editor of the official history of the Ming Dynasty. In this capacity he addressed seven letters to the director-generals of the project on the necessity of adhering to fixed rules, on the importance of assembling source materials, and on the advantage of utilizing contemporary accounts of private individuals and Manchu documents. For the history of the Ming dynasty, which was later revised, he edited the records of the Yung-lo reign period (1403–1425), and wrote biographies of several statesmen and literati. At this time he had already published several works, including: a collection of his prose and verse, entitled Chu-ch'a wên-lei (文類) 25 (26) chüan, first printed about 1672 and reprinted in 1682; and a number of poems about a scenic lake of his native place, entitled 鴛鴦湖櫂歌 Yüan-yang hu chao-ko, printed about 1674 together with poems on the same subject by his cousin, T'an Chi-ts'ung 譚吉璁 (T. 舟石, 1624–1680).

Among those who passed the special examination of 1679 were several commoners who rose rapidly to distinction and then were looked upon with jealousy by others. Among them were Chu I-tsun and P'an Lei. Chu was especially singled out for criticism, probably because of favors shown him by the emperor who appointed him to serve in the Imperial Study (1683, see under Chang Ying), allowed him to live in a house inside the gate, Ti-an mên 地安門, and sent him to direct the provincial examination of Kiangnan at Nanking (1681). In 1684 P'an Lei and Chu were degraded, the former for "petulance", the latter on the charge of having brought copyists into the Academy to make transcripts of official records for private use. Chu I-tsun was then compiling a history of the Hanlin Academy, entitled 瀛洲道古錄 Ying-chou tao-ku lu, and so made use of documents in the Academy. When ordered to move out of the Forbidden City he established his home near Liu-li-ch'ang 琉璃廠 in the South City, in a house made famous by a studio known as Ku-t'êng Shu-wu 古藤書屋 where in 1686 he printed his second collection of prose and verse, entitled 騰笑集 T'êng-hsiao chi. In the same year (1686) he began his well-known history of Peking and its environs, the 日下舊聞 Jih-hsia chiu-wên. This work, completed in 1687, and supplemented by his son, Chu K'un-t'ien 朱昆田 (T. 文鴦, H. 西畯, 1652–1699), was printed in 1688 in 42 chüan. The titles of some 1,600 works utilized in the compilation are listed at the beginning. It was revised and supplemented by order of Emperor Kao-tsung in 1774 and printed in 160 chüan eight or nine years later under the slightly altered title, Jih-hsia chiu-wên k'ao (考). The post which Chu I-tsun lost was restored to him in 1690, but two years later he was discharged and made a journey to Kwangtung. In 1693 he returned to Kashing where three years later he built for himself a pavilion named P'u-shu-t'ing 曝書亭. In 1698 he and his cousin, Cha Shên-hsing [q. v.], made a journey to Fukien where they travelled for half a year.

In 1701 Chu completed his 經義考 Ching-i k'ao ("General Bibliography of the Classics")—a massive descriptive catalogue of lost and extant works in this field, compiled from works in his own extensive collection and in those of his contemporaries. He intended to make it a work of 300 chüan but only 297 chüan were actually completed. At first it was printed only through chüan 167, the remaining 130 chüan being printed by Lu Chien-tsêng [q. v.] in 1755. In 1792 Wêng Fang-kang [q. v.] brought together 12 chüan of notes and corrections which were printed in the Yüeh-ya-t'ang ts'ung-shu (see under Wu Ch'ung-yüeh) under the title Ching-i k'ao pu-chêng (補正). A supplement, entitled 小學考 Hsiao-hsüeh k'ao ("Bibliography of Philology"), was prepared by Hsieh Ch'i-k'un (see under Hsü Shu-k'uei) and printed in 1802. A table of contents was compiled by Lo Chên-yü (see under Chao Chih-ch'ien), under the title, Ching-i k'ao mu-lu (目錄), printed in 1933, together with a volume of collation notes, Ching-i k'ao chiao-chi (校記).

In 1705 Chu I-tsun completed an anthology of Ming poets, 明詩綜 Ming-shih tsung, in 100 chüan, with his own comments on the poets and their methods. These comments were brought together and printed separately in 1819 under the title, 靜志居詩話 Ching-chih-chü shih-hua, in 24 chüan. In his last days Chu I-tsun was often a guest of Governor Sung Lao [q. v.] at Soochow, and was later engaged by Ts'ao Yin [q. v.] to compile a history of the salt administration of the Yangchow region—a work that was never printed. Ts'ao Yin undertook to print Chu's collected prose and verse which the latter had edited in 80 chüan under the title, P'u-shu-t'ing chi (集). But Chu died in 1709, and Ts'ao in 1712, leaving the printing to be carried on by the author's grandsons, Chu Kuei-sun 朱桂孫 (original name 朱桐孫 T. 楫師 H. 巖客, b.1672) and Chu Tao-sun 朱稻孫 (T. 稼翁, H. 芋陂, 娛村, 1683–1760), who completed it in 1714. These grandsons added 10 chüan of poems by their father, the above-mentioned Chu K'un-t'ien, under the title 笛漁小稿 Ti-yü hsiao kao. The poems of Chu I-tsun were later annotated by a fellow townsman, Yang Ch'ien 楊謙 (T. 子讓, H. 未孩), who also compiled his nien-p'u 年譜. Other annotated editions of these poems appeared: one in 12 chüan by Chiang Hao-jan 江浩然, dated 1762, another in 23 chüan by Sun Yin-ch'a 孫銀槎 in 1800. The prose and verse works of Chu I-tsun that were not printed in the P'u-shu-t'ing chi were brought together in 8 chüan by Fêng Têng-fu [q. v.] and Chu Mo-lin 朱墨林 (the latter a descendant of the author) and printed in 1817 under the title, P'u-shu-t'ing chi wai kao (外稿).

Famous in the historical and archaeological field, Chu I-tsun is also remembered as a poet. He was perhaps the only one of the early Ch'ing poets who can be regarded as rivalling Wang Shih-chên [q. v.]. A contemporary critic, Chao Chih-hsin [q. v.], commenting on their poetry, remarked that "Wang strove for quality, Chu for quantity" (朱貪多王愛好). Possibly he was alluding to a long poem of 2,000 characters, entitled 風懷詩二百韻 Fêng huai shih êr-pai yün, which Chu wrote in 1669. This poem—a wu-yen ku-shih 五言古詩, "in ancient style with five characters to the line"—was written in memory of a younger sister of his wife whom he ardently loved and who had died two years previously. By means of this poem Chu intended to make her known and remembered, and included this and other poems about her in his collected works against the advice of his friends. The poem is virtually a complete account of his romance—a straight-forward revelation of his passion. An exposition of the poem, giving an account of the whole background, was written by Yao Ta-jung 姚大榮 and printed in the 東方雜誌 Tung-fang tsa-chih (1925, vol. 22, no. 13). A novel about the romance, entitled 鴛水仙緣 Yüan-shui hsien yüan, is reported to have been written, but it was never printed and is probably lost.

As a writer of tz'ŭ (a form of verse popular in the early Ch'ing period), Chu I-tsun was considered one of the best. The tz'ŭ which he himself edited for his collected works, were annotated by Li Fu-sun [q. v.] in 1814. An original manuscript of Chu's tz'ŭ was in the possession of Yeh Tê-hui 葉德輝 (T. 煥彬, H. 直山, 郎園, 1864–1927), who in 1903 selected and printed the unpublished ones in 1 chüan, under the title P'u-shu-t'ing shan yü tz'ŭ (删餘詞), together with the original table-of-contents and Yeh's collation notes. A supplementary collection, entitled P'u-shu-t'ing tz'ŭ shih-i (拾遺) 2 chüan, was edited by Wêng Chih-jun 翁之潤 (T. 澤芝) and printed in 1896. Chu compiled an anthology of tz'ŭ written by T'ang, Sung, Chin, and Yüan poets, entitled 詞綜 Tz'ŭ-tsung, in 26 chüan, which was printed in 1678. This work was several times supplemented: (1) by Wang Sên 汪森 (T. 晉賢, H. 碧巢, 玉峰, 1653–1726), who brought the total, first to 30 chüan and later to 36 chüan; (2) by Wang Ch'ang [q. v.], who added two more chüan; and (3) by T'ao Liang 陶樑 (T. 寧求, H. 鳧鄉, 1772–1857) who in 1834 printed a supplement, Tz'ŭ-tsung pu-i (補遺), in 20 chüan.

Chu I-tsun began to build up his private library about 1658, after his return from Canton. But about four years later it was consigned to the flames by his family for fear of implication in the literary inquisition of Chuang T'ing-lung [q. v.]. By 1699 he again accumulated a collection of 80,000 chüan. No catalogue of it is extant, but a list of the books he took with him when traveling, and three lists of reference works he consulted in compiling the Jih-hsia chiu-wên, the Ching-i k'ao, and the unpublished work on salt administration were brought together under the title 潛采堂書目 Ch'ien-ts'ai t'ang shu-mu and printed in the 晨風閣叢書 Chên-fêng-ko ts'ung-shu of 1909. When the Ssŭ-k'u ch'üan-shu was initiated in 1773 (see under Chu Yün and Chi Yün), Chu's descendants presented 65 works from the family library.

Chu I-tsun also possessed a fairly large collec- tion of rubbings of inscriptions on stone, and specimens of the handwriting of great calligraphers for which he began a descriptive catalogue. This collection fell into the hands of a younger contemporary and fellow-townsman, Li Kuang-ying 李光暎 (T. 子中), who added more of his own. The latter's catalogue, comprising 16 chüan of notes from various sources, including Chu's comments, was completed in 1729 and published under the title 觀妙齋金石文攷略 Kuan-miao chai chin-shih wên k'ao-lüeh. Chu's grandson, the afore-mentioned Chu Tao-sun, also achieved fame as a poet, and was selected to compete in the second po-hsüeh hung-tz'ŭ examination of 1736 (see under Ch'ên Chao-lun) but failed. The family became so poor that the ancestral library, P'u-shu t'ing, was dispersed and the garden fell into ruins. In 1797 Juan Yüan [q. v.], then provincial commissioner of education in Chekiang, sponsored the restoration of the pavilion, P'u-shu-t'ing, as a memorial to the poet. At the same time an historical account of the site was compiled, under the title 竹垞小志 Chu-ch'a hsiao chih, 5 chüan, and a temple was erected to his memory near the site in 1867.


[1/489/15a; 2/71/2a; 3/118/9a; 4/45/14b; 20/1/00; 30/1/18a; 32/2/22a; Yang Ch'ien, 朱竹垞先生年譜 Chu Chu-ch'a Hsien-shêng nien-p'u; Ssŭ-k'u, 85/5a, 173/5a, 190/6a; 139/2b, 199/7a, 86/10a; Juan Yüan [q. v.], Liang Chê yu-hsüan lu (1890) 6/1a; Chao Chih-hsin [q. v.], T'an-lung lu; Shun-t'ien-fu chih (1886) 14/31a; 梅里志 Mei-li chih (1876) 6/10b, 9/10b, 10/7b, 10/8b, 10/14a, 15/15a; 呈送書目 Ch'êng-sung shu-mu MS vol. 10; Chu-ch'a hsing-shu (行述) in 丙子叢編 Ping-tzŭ ts'ung-pien.]

Fang Chao-ying