Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Hang Shih-chün

HANG Shih-chün 杭世駿 (T. 大宗, H. 堇浦, 秦亭老民, 智先居士), May 28, 1696–1773, Sept. 9, scholar, was a native of Jên-ho (Hangchow), Chekiang. Being studious and earnest, he soon became known as a writer and was applauded as a promising scholar by Wan Ching [q. v.]. In 1724 he became a chü-jên. Seven years later he assisted in compiling the 1736 edition of the Chekiang provincial gazetteer (浙江通志) and in 1732 was engaged as an assistant examiner in the provincial examination of Fukien. Recommended to compete in the second special po-hsüeh hung-tz'ŭ examination of 1736 (see under Liu Lun), he passed as fifth of the first class. The total number of scholars recommended for that examination was 267, the number of participants was about 180, and those who passed were fifteen. In his later years Hang compiled two works on the life and writings of the competitors, entitled 詞科掌錄 Tz'ŭ-k'o chang-lu, in 17 chüan, and Tz'ŭ-k'o yü-hua (餘話), in 7 chüan.

Appointed a compiler of the Hanlin Academy, Hang worked as a collator of the Wu-ying-tien 武英殿 editions of the Thirteen Classics, and of the Dynastic Histories, serving at the same time on the editorial board for the compilation of the Commentaries to the San-Li i-shu, or the Three Rituals (see under Fang Pao). When in 1743 he took the examination for the post of censor, his papers which made comments, under four heads, on the state of the empire, incurred the Imperial displeasure. Just what the offending statements were was never fully disclosed, but he is reported to have recommended the appointment of more Chinese officials to provincial posts, and to have discoursed on the advantages of depositing some silver in the provincial treasuries, instead of hoarding it all in Peking (see under Misḥan). Hang was in consequence dismissed and was never recalled to an official post. For several years he lived in or near Hangchow, composing poems with such friends as Ch'üan Tsu-wang, Li Ê, Ch'ên Chao-lun [qq. v.], Chao Yü (see under Chao I-ch'ing), and the painter and calligrapher, Chin Nung 金農 (T. 壽門, 吉金, H. 冬心, 司農, 1687–1764). He also made frequent trips to Yangchow where he and other impecunious poets were well received by the rich Ma brothers (see under Ma Yüeh-kuan). From 1749 to 1750 he was invited by the governor of Chekiang, Fang Kuan-ch'êng [q. v.], to compile the 海塘通志 Hai-t'ang t'ung-chih, the history of the dikes along the seashore at Hai-ning, Chekiang. After the completion of this work he remained at home for three years, accepting then an invitation to become head of the Yüeh-hsiu Academy (粵秀書院) in Canton. His friend, Ch'üan Tsu-wang, accepted the directorship of the T'ien-chang Academy (天章書院) at Kao-yao, also in Kwangtung, and both proceeded to their posts in 1752. Remaining there until 1755, Hang returned to Hangchow where he printed a collection of verse, entitled 嶺南集 Ling-nan chi, 8 chüan, which he had composed during his three years in Canton. For the next few years, until 1770, he taught in the An-ting Academy (安定書院) at Yangchow. Except for these brief absences he seldom left Hangchow where he died at the age of seventy-eight (sui).

Hang Shih-chün is noted more for his prose writings than for his verse. A collection of his short articles in prose, entitled 道古堂文集 Tao-ku t'ang wên-chi, in 48 chüan, and a collection of his poems, entitled Tao-ku t'ang shih-chi (詩集), in 26 chüan, were printed in 1776 by several of his pupils. The printing blocks were preserved in the home of a family named Wang, of Hangchow (see under Wang Hsien), but these blocks, together with several of his unpublished manuscripts, were destroyed in 1860 when the Taiping troops sacked Hangchow (see under Ting Ping). The printing blocks of the second edition, which appeared in 1790, were destroyed at the same time. A reprint of both collections, with supplements, was made in 1888 by Wang Tsêng-wei (see under Wang Hsien).

Hang Shih-chün is known to have written a great deal on the classics and on history, but only about a dozen works in these fields were printed. Ten of them, bearing the collective title, Tao-ku t'ang wai-chi (外集), were printed in 1788 by his son, Hang Pin-jên 杭賓仁, with the financial assistance of Pi Yüan [q. v.]. A

second collection of seven items—some of which had already appeared in the earlier collection—was printed about 1792, under the title 杭氏七種 Hang-shih ch'i-chung. The two collections were combined by the above-mentioned Wang Tsêng-wei and were reprinted in 1895–96, under the same title, Tao-ku t'ang wai-chi.

A work by Hang Shih-chün which deserves special mention is the 三國志補注 San-kuo-chih pu-chu, 6 chüan, printed in the Tao-ku t'ang wai chi in 1788. It consists of additional notes and comments on the History of the Three Kingdoms. Since Hang's fellow-townsman and contemporary, Chao I-ch'ing [q. v.], had written a work on the same subject, entitled San-kuo-chih chu-pu (注補), 65 chüan, the question arose whether one had utilized the findings of the other. Hang's contribution was copied into the Imperial Library, Ssŭ-k'u ch'üan-shu (see under Chi Yün), and was printed several times, whereas Chao's remained in manuscript until late in the nineteenth century when it was printed by the Kuang-ya Shu-chü of Canton (see under Chang Chih-tung). The original manuscript, preserved in the Kuo-hsüeh Library, Nanking, was recently reproduced in facsimile by Chêng Tien-t'ing 鄭天挺 (T. 毅生) who, after comparing the two works, concluded that Hang had not seen Chao's manuscript, but that the latter had access to Hang's notes. The verdict seems to be that Hang began the work and then turned over his notes to Chao for completion—thus making the collaboration a friendly one. Chao's contribution surpasses that of Hang, however, both in quantity and in quality.

There are a number of legends concerning Hang Shih-chün's life in retirement; one account depicts him as a gambler, another features incidents of his life to show that he was a miser. Most accounts agree that he had a keen sense of humor. It is said that two lines of a poem which he had written when he was at Court were recited by Emperor Kao-tsung when that ruler made a tour of South China. A censor once memorialized that Hang's writings contained remarks derogatory to the reigning dynasty, but after examination the Emperor permitted them to circulate.

Hang Shih-chün was also a painter. His younger sister, Hang Ch'êng 杭澄 (T. 筠圃), was celebrated for her verse which appeared in several collections, one entitled 臥雪軒吟草 Wo-hsüeh hsüan yin-ts'ao.

Hang has been unjustly accused of disloyalty to his close friend, Ch'üan Tsu-wang, after the latter's death—one of the charges being that he had delayed unreasonably the publication of Ch'üan's collected prose works, the manuscripts of which were long in Hang's possession (see under Ch'üan Tsu-wang). The delay is excusable in view of the fact that the literary inquisition was then in full force and that it would have been dangerous to publish works like those of Ch'üan, containing as they did so many biographies of Ming loyalists who had died resisting the Manchus. Hang has also been criticized for having written an undated preface to Ch'üan's works, in which he made certain critical and disapproving remarks on his deceased friend. But close examination of the preface indicates no harsher criticism than one good friend would make of another who was talented but not always tactful. Possibly the offending preface was written shortly after Ch'üan had been dismissed (1737) from the Hanlin Academy for antagonizing a powerful minister. As Ch'üan was then editing his collected works it was natural that Hang should then write as he did. Furthermore, there is no evidence that the friendship that subsisted between the two men was ever broken. It is clear, on the other hand, that Hang preserved the manuscript of his friend with great care—a thing we should not expect if the relationship between them had been as Hsü Shih-tung 徐時棟 (T. 定宇, 同叔, H. 柳泉, 1814–1873), a writer of Ningpo, conjectured a century later.


[2/71/56b; 3/126/補錄; 20/2/00; 21/4/17a; 26/1/54b; 31/1/6b; supplement to the 1888 edition of the Tao-ku t'ang ch'üan-chi; Ch'üan Tsu-wang, Kung-chü chêng-shih lu, p. 41a; 海寧通志稿 Hai-ning t'ung-chih kao, 5/塘工1a, 33/寓賢9a; 愛日吟廬書畫續錄 Ai-jih-yin-lu shu-hua hsü-lu 5/25b; Hsü Shih-tung, 烟嶼樓文集 Yen-yü lou wên-chi 16/9b; Portrait, with Ch'üan Tsu-wang, in 青鶴 Ch'ing-ho, vol. IV, no. 7 (April 1, 1934); Chêng T'ien-t'ing, 杭世駿三國志補注與趙一清三國志注補 in 國學季刊 Kuo-hsüeh chi-k'an, vol. 5, no. 4 (1935); Chiang T'ien-shu, 蔣天樞, 全謝山先生年譜 Ch'üan Hsieh-shan hsien-shêng nien-p'u (1932); Ts'ai Tien-ch'i 蔡殿起, 國朝閨閣詩鈔 Kuo-ch'ao kuei-ko shih-ch'ao, ts'ê 4.]

Fang Chao-ying