Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Hsü Wên-ching

HSÜ Wên-ching 徐文靖 (T. 位山, 禺尊), 1667–after 1756, classicist, was a native of Tang-t'u, Anhwei. He did not become a chü-jên until 1723. Thirteen years later (1736) he was recommended by Kan Ju-lai (see under Li Fu), for the po-hsüeh hung-tz'ŭ examination (see under Liu Lun), but failed to qualify. In 1744, Chang P'êng-ch'ung (see under Chang P'êng-ko), recommended him to Emperor Kao-tsung and presented two of his classical studies and some of his poetry to the throne. Again, in 1750, the governor of Anhwei, Wei Chê-chih 衛哲治 (T. 我愚, H. 鑑泉, 1702–1756), recommended him for his classical scholarship to the Emperor. In the following year Hsü participated in the metropolitan examination and failed to pass, but because of his advanced age was awarded the rank of corrector in the Hanlin Academy. He spent his remaining years as the chief lecturer at the Ts'ui-lo 翠螺 Academy in his native town.

Eighty or ninety percent of Hsü's writings were lost during the floods and political strife of the first half of the nineteenth century. There is, however, a collection of six of his works (printed at different times) under the title, 徐位山先生六種 Hsü Wei-shan hsien-shêng liu-chung. The first work, entitled 天下山河兩戒考 T'ien-hsia shan-ho lang-chieh k'ao, 14 chüan, printed in 1723, is a study in fên-yeh 分野, the ancient rudimentary scientific attempt to demarcate geographical boundaries by reference to the stars. The first eight chüan are critical notes to an earlier study by the T'ang Buddhist monk, I-hsing 一行 (683–727), cited in the New History of the T'ang Dynasty, 新唐書 Hsin T'ang-shu (31/13b). The last six chüan are inquiries into material of the Chin, Sui, and Sung histories, and into the theories of Westerners contemporary with Hsü. This work contains, in addition, 24 astronomical and geographical charts. The second work in the compilation, the 竹書統箋 Chu-shu t'ung chien, 12 chüan, printed about 1750, is a running commentary on the text of the Chu-shu chi-nien (see under Hao I-hsing). The third work, entitled 禹貢會箋 Yü kung hui-chien, 12 chüan, printed in 1753, is a historico-geographical study of the Yü kung section of the Shu-ching, or Classic of History. It contains a catalogue of the mountains and rivers cited in the Classic, and eighteen maps with explanations. It compares favorably with a similar work by Hu Wei [q. v.] because it pushes further into problems unknown to the latter, but in certain respects is inferior to Hu's study, in that it places too much reliance on the mythological parts of the 山海經 Shan hai ching. The fourth work, entitled 管城碩記 Kuan-ch'êng shih chi, 30 chüan, printed about 1744, is a collection of Hsü's study notes on the classics and on philosophical, historical and other matters. The fifth, entitled 周易拾遺 Chou-I shih-i, 14 chüan, which Hsü wrote when he was eighty-nine sui, and the preface of which he wrote when he was ninety sui (1756), appears in this compilation under the title Ching-yen (經言) shih-i, with Chou-I shih-i as the sub-title. The sixth work is a collection of Hsü's literary efforts, entitled 志寧堂稿 Chih-ning t'ang kao, or 詩賦全集 Shih-fu ch'üan-chi.


[1/490/9a; 3/127/2a; 當塗縣鄉土志 Tang-t'u hsien hsiang-t'u-chih (1916), 2/31b.]

Rufus O. Suter