Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Fan Mou-chu

FAN Mou-chu 范懋柱 (T. 漢衡), July 9, 1721–1780, June 15, a native of Yin-hsien, Chekiang, was owner of the famous library, T'ien I Ko 天一閣, in the Ch'ien-lung period. This library, located in the city of Ningpo, was founded by his ancestor, Fan Ch'in 范欽 (T. 堯卿, 安卿, H. 東明, 1506–1585), in the middle of the sixteenth century, and as the original building and part of the collection are still in existence, it is now the oldest private library in China. Fan Ch'in was a chin-shih of 1532 who became vice-president of the Ministry of War and also held posts in Fukien. He built up his library by purchase and by copying rare items in the possession of other collectors. He obtained other books from Fêng Tao-shêng 豐道生 (T. 存禮, original ming 坊, chin-shih of 1522), heir to the Fêng family library known as Wan-chüan lou 萬卷樓. Later, according to reports, the library of Fan Ta-ch'ê 范大澈 (T. 子宣, 子靜, 1524–1610), a relative of Fan Ch'in, was combined with the T'ien I Ko. After the death of Fan Ch'in his descendants for generations guarded the library and its contents with scrupulous vigilance, and though it was little used it was nevertheless well preserved. The library building is constructed of brick and tile, and the use of fire or light, or indulgence in smoking, were strictly prohibited. No books were permitted to leave the building. The keys to the door were held by different branches of the family and the door could not be opened if one of the keys were missing. Punishment was provided in varying degrees of severity for any members of the family who entered it without permission, escorted friends through it privately, or took books from it clandestinely.

Fan Mou-chu was an eighth generation descendant of Fan Ch'in. When the bureau for the compilation of the Ssŭ-k'u ch'üan-shu was instituted in 1773 (see under Chi Yün) edicts were issued for a nation-wide search for rare books to be copied for the establishment of an Imperial Library. In response to these edicts Fan Mou-chu offered items from his family collection. After a preliminary sorting by the provincial authorities of Chekiang 638 items were sent to Peking of which 473 received descriptive notice in the Ssŭ-k'u Catalogue and 96 were copied into the Ssŭ-k'u ch'üan-shu. In recognition of Fan Mou-chu's liberality a set of the encyclopedia Ku-chin t'u-shu chi-ch'êng (see under Ch'ên Mêng-lei) was presented to him. When his items were returned to the T'ien I Ko two of them of special rarity were celebrated in poems composed and written by the emperor.

To provide for the housing in Peking of the completed set of the Imperial Manuscript Library (Ssŭ-k'u ch'üan-shu) an official of Hangchow was dispatched by imperial order in 1774 to investigate and report on the architecture of the T'ien I Ko and its arrangements, in the belief that a structure of such perpetuity must have features worthy of reproduction. The new library building, Wên Yüan Ko, which in that same year was erected in the Palace precincts, and which is still standing, is said in general to have been planned after the T'ien I Ko. In the Wên Yüan Ko the first set of the Ssŭ-k'u ch'üan-shu was placed. Later edifices erected elsewhere for the same purpose (see under Chi Yün) were all constructed on similar plans. In 1779, 32 paintings, known collectively as 平定回部得勝圖 P'ing-ting Hui-pu tê-shêng t'u, commemorating the conquest of Chinese Turkestan, were presented to Fan Mou-chu and his library. In 1787, the emperor presented to the family 12 paintings on the conquest of the Chin-ch'uan aborigines, entitled P'ing-ting liang Chin-ch'uan chan-t'u (see under A-kuei).

An early catalogue of the Fan family, presumably the work of Fan Ch'in, is mentioned in various bibliographical works at the close of the Ming period, but that catalogue is apparently no longer extant. In 1673 Huang Tsung-hsi [q. v.] visited the T'ien I Ko and prepared a catalogue of its holdings which was later supplemented by a member of the Fan family, Fan Tso-yüan 范左垣. In 1679 Huang wrote an account of his visit, entitled T'ien-i ko ts'ang-shu chi. Ch'üan Tsu-wang [q. v.], another celebrated scholar of Chekiang, visited the library in 1738 and made a list of its rubbings of inscriptions on stone and bronze. About fifty years later (1787) Ch'ien Ta-hsin [q. v.] examined the library, and in collaboration with Fan Mou-min 范懋敏 (T. 葦舟) and Chang Yen-ch'ang 張燕昌 (T. 𦬊堂, H. 文漁, 金粟山人, 1738–1814), prepared another list of its rubbings, numbering 764 items. Liu Hsi-hai [q. v.], who was financial commissioner of Chêkiang in 1847–49, also compiled a catalogue of the Fan family library. This catalogue, entitled T'ien-i ko shu-mu (書目) in 12 chüan, is extant only in manuscript. In the collectanea Yü-chien chai ts'ung-shu, second series (see under Ch'ien Tsêng), there is a catalogue of the library, entitled 四明天一閣藏書目錄 Ssŭ-ming T'ien-i ko ts'ang-shu mu-lu, giving the year 1802 as the date when it was copied. In 1803–04, when Juan Yüan [q. v.] was commissioner of education in Chekiang, he ordered the descendants of Fan Ch'in to prepare a catalogue of the titles then existing in the family library. This catalogue, entitled T'ien-i ko ts'ang-shu tsung-mu (總目), 10 chüan, lists 4,094 items in 53,799 chüan, not counting the 10,000 chüan of the Ku-chin t'u-shu chi-ch'êng. It was printed in 1808 together with the above-mentioned list of 764 epigraphical items recorded by Ch'ien Ta-hsin. It is asserted that in 1840 when Ningpo fell to the British forces some of the troops entered the library and took away a General Gazetteer, 一統志 I-t'ung chih, and a few other works on geography.

During the Taiping Rebellion (1853–64) the T'ien I Ko suffered its greatest losses. The extent of these losses is shown in a later catalogue, 天一閣現存書目 T'ien-i ko hsien-ts'un shu-mu, which was compiled by Ch'ien Hsün 錢恂 (T. 念劬) when he was a member of the secretarial staff of Hsüeh Fu-ch'êng [q. v.], intendant of the Ning-Shao-T'ai Circuit in 1884–88. This catalogue in 4 chüan, plus 1 chüan dealing with rubbings, was printed in 1889. It records a total of 2,056 items of which only 1,270 were listed as complete. In 1913, following the fall of the Ch'ing dynasty, many valuable works were stolen from the library. Although two of the thieves were apprehended and punished, the lost items were not returned. In 1930 the provincial officials at Hangchow delegated a group of men to make an inventory of the library. In consequence a new catalogue, entitled 重編寧波范氏天一閣圖書目錄 Ch'ung-pien Ning-po Fan-shih T'ien-i ko t'u-shu mu-lu, was prepared, according to which there then remained 962 items in 7,991 ts'ê (册). Of these only 310 items were complete, among them some valuable local histories of the Ming period. In 1934 a movement was begun to rehabilitate this ancient structure and its contents—an appropriate undertaking for an establishment that has remained in the possession of one family for nearly four hundred years. A recently made inventory of the library resulted in a catalogue compiled by Fêng Chên-ch'un 馮貞群, entitled 鄞范氏天一閣書目內編 Yin Fan-shih T'ien-ti ko shu-mu nei-pien, 6 chüan, listing 1,854 titles of books comprising some 24,752 chüan, and a number of charts, paintings, printing blocks, stones with inscriptions, etc. Of the books, some 1,591 items in 13,038 chüan are pre-Ch'ing editions.

[Yin-hsien chih (1877) 36/18b, 41/37b; Yeh Ch'ang-ch'ih (see under P'an Tsu-yin), Ts'ang-shu chi-shih shih 2/63a; Ch'ên Têng-yüan 陳登原, 天一閣藏書考 T'ien-i ko ts'ang-shu k'ao (1932); Annual Report of the Librarian of Congress (1934) pp. 145-46; Bul. Nat. Lib. of Peiping VIII, No. 1, frontis. portrait of Fan Ch'in, photograph of T'ien I Ko, and articles by Chao Wan-li 趙萬里; Journal of Chekiang Provincial Library II, No. 6, portrait of Fan Ch'in, photograph of T'ien I Ko and a review of the T'ien-i ko ts'ang-shu k'ao.]

Tu Lien-chê