Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Hao I-hsing

HAO I-hsing 郝懿行 (T. 恂九, 尋韭, H. 尋皋), Aug. 20, 1757–1825, Mar. 25, scholar, was a native of Ch'i-hsia, Shantung. After the decease of his first wife, née Lin 林 (1758–1786), he married, late in 1787, a talented woman, Wang Chao-yüan 王照圓 (T. 瑞玉, H. 婉佺, 1763–1851), who collaborated in many of her husband's scholarly works and left several contributions of her own. Having received his chü-jên degree in 1788 and his chin-shih degree in 1799, Hao I-hsing became a second class secretary in the Board of Revenue and remained at that post, without promotion, for twenty-seven years. He was primarily interested in the study and observation of natural phenomena, and therefore never aspired to eminence in official life. He left some forty treatises, twenty-five of which were printed in the 郝氏遺書 Hao-shih i-shu which includes also three works by his wife, Wang Chao-yüan, and one by his father, Hao P'ei-yüan 郝培元 (T. 萬資, H. 梅葊, d. 1800). These works show that Hao I-hsing was a keen observer of nature and that he might have become an outstanding natural scientist if the proper methods for such a study had then existed in China.

A treatise of his on agriculture, entitled 寶訓 Pao-hsün, 8 chüan, with a preface by himself dated 1790, discusses not only the operations of farming but sericulture, forestry, medicinal herbs, and domesticated animals. He left three interesting shorter treatises; one on the life of bees, entitled 蜂衙小記 Fêng-ya hsiao-chi; one on swallows, entitled 燕子春秋 Yen-tzŭ ch'un-ch'iu; and one on sea food, entitled 記海錯 Chi hai-ts'o. As his ancestral home was not far from the sea, and as he lived in Chefoo for a time (1788) after his marriage to Wang Chao-yüan, he had a good opportunity to become acquainted with sea foods produced along the coast of Shantung. In pursuance of this same scientific interest Hao I-hsing annotated the ancient dictionary, Êr-ya (see under Ku Kuang-ch'i), which has many references to plants and animals. Concerning these annotations he explains that in the course of many years of residence in rural districts he noted the habits of herbs, trees, worms, and fish and that whenever he encountered a phenomenon which he did not understand he inquired from others about it, noted its forms, and then searched for further information in books. His conclusions, therefore, are based more on actual observation than on theory. His work on the Êr-ya, in 20 chüan, was originally designated 爾雅略義 Êr-ya lüeh-i, but the title was later changed to Êr-ya i-shu (義疏). Hao I-hsing also wrote on the Classics, and on ancient geography, history and philosophy—in particular on the Shan-hai ching (see under Hsü Wên-ching), the Bamboo Books (竹書紀年 Chu-shu chi-nien), and the writings of Hsün-tzŭ 荀子 (ca. 300–ca. 230 B.C.).

During a period of convalescence in 1813–15 Hao I-hsing made notes on the official histories of the Chin (265–419) and the Sung (420–477) dynasties, which he published under the titles 晉宋書故 Chin Sung shu-ku and 宋瑣語 Sung so-yü. As that history of the Sung lacks sections on law and economics he supplied them under the titles 補宋刑法志 Pu Sung hsing-fa chih and Pu Sung shih-huo chih (食貨志) respectively. His various literary works are published under his studio name, Sai-shu t'ang 曬書堂. He left two collections of miscellaneous notes, entitled 證俗文 Chêng-su wên and Sai-shu t'ang pi-lu (筆錄). After his death his works were preserved and arranged by his wife and were printed about the years 1879–84 by his grandson, Hao Lien-wei 郝聯薇 (T. 小翔, H. 近垣, b. 1825), as the above-mentioned Hao-shih i-shu.

Wang Chao-yüan annotated the well known Lieh-nü chuan or "Noted Women of Antiquity" (see under Ku Kuang-ch'i), giving it the title Lieh-nü chuan pu-chu (補注), 8 chüan. She also collated the 列仙傳 Lieh-hsien chuan, an old biographical source-book on the lives of seventy-one Taoists who are said to have attained immortality. This collation is entitled Lieh-hsien chuan chiao-chêng (校正). Wang Chao-yüan was also co-author with her husband of a work, entitled 詩問 Shih-wên, 7 chüan, on the Classic of Poetry. A collection of verse in 46 stanzas which she matched with those of her husband is entitled 和鳴集 Ho-ming chi. She also left a short treatise on the interpretation of dreams, entitled, 夢書 Mêng-shu. All the titles mentioned above appear in the Hao-shih i-shu. Wang Chao-yüan also achieved some distinction as a calligrapher.

Early in 1882 four works by Hao I-hsing were presented to the throne by Yu Po-ch'uan 游百川 (T. 匯東), a chin-shih of 1862, who was then governor of Shun-t'ien (Peking). Late in the same year seven other works, including Wang Chao-yüan's Lieh-nü chuan pu-chu, were presented to the throne by Pi Tao-yüan 畢道遠 (T. 東河, chin-shih of 1841, d. 1889) in his capacity as governor of Shun-t'ien. It is reported that many manuscripts of Hao I-hsing, comprising some fifty titles in more than two hundred volumes (冊) were offered for sale by his descendants in 1933.

[1/488/4a; 2/69/13a; 3/148/23a; 5/72/4a; 登州府志 Têng-chou fu chih (1881) 39/24a; the following concerning Wang Chao-yüan: 1/513/18b; 21/7/20a; 29/11/11a; Hsü Wei-yü 許維遹, 郝蘭皋夫婦年譜 in 清華學報 (Tsing Hua Journal) vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 185-233; 大公報 Ta-kung pao, Oct. 12, 1933.]

Tu Lien-chê