Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Hu Wei

HU Wei 胡渭 (T. 朏明, 東樵, original ming 渭生), 1633–1714, Feb. 22, scholar, was a native of Tê-ch'ing, Chekiang, where his ancestors had migrated from Yü-yao in the same province. His great-grandfather, Hu Yu-hsin 胡友信 (T. 成之, H. 思泉, chin-shih of 1568), appointed (1570) district magistrate of Shun-tê, Kwangtung, is said to have achieved in his day a literary fame equal to that of Kuei Yu-kuang (see under Kuei Chuang). Hu Wei's father, Hu Kung-chüeh 胡公角, was a chü-jên of 1624 who died in 1644 when his son was twelve sui. The country was then in turmoil and the youth took refuge with his mother (née Shên 沈) on a near-by mountain, continuing his studies under her supervision. At the age of fifteen (sui) he became a licentiate of the second class but failed, after several attempts, to qualify for a higher degree. He then went to Peking where he continued his studies in the Imperial Academy. Later he became a private tutor in the family of Fêng P'u [q. v.], teaching the latter's sons, among them Fêng Hsieh-i 馮協一 (T. 躬暨, H. 退菴, 1661–1737). In 1678, when high officials were ordered to recommend scholars who might compete in the special examination known as po-hsüeh hung-tz'ŭ (see under P'êng Sun-yü), it is said that Fêng P'u offered to submit Hu's name, but that the latter declined. When, in the spring of 1690, Hsü Ch'ien-hsüeh [q. v.] went home to continue the compilation of the Ta-Ch'ing i-t'ung chih (see under Hsü Ch'ien-hsüeh) Hu Wei and three other scholars, Yen Jo-chü, Ku Tsu-yü [qq. v.], and Huang I 黃儀 (T. 子鴻), were invited to assist him at Tung-t'ing shan 洞庭山, southwest of Soochow. Having there at his disposal many works on geography, Hu took extensive notes which, during the years 1694–97, he brought together in an important treatise on the geographical section of the Classic of History (Yü-kung or "Tribute of Yü"), under the title 禹貢錐指 Yü-kung chui-chih, 20 + 1 chüan, including 47 maps. The last two characters of the title, chui-chih, "pointing at the earth with an awl", he took from the chapter "Autumn Floods" in Chuang-tzŭ to indicate that his treatise was only a modest approach to a vast subject. But the work is lauded by the editors of the Imperial Catalogue (1781, see under Chi Yün) as the most reliable and comprehensive treatment of the subject. James Legge says of it, in his translation of the Shoo-king (see under Wang T'ao), "The work cannot be too highly spoken of". It attempts to correct earlier identifications of place names and mountain ranges and to trace the courses of rivers—particularly the various inundations of the Yellow River. He also sets forth a number of suggestions for river conservancy. In 1699, while visiting his nephew, Hu Hui-ên 胡會恩 (T. 孟綸, H. 苕山, chin-shih of 1676), in Peking, Hu Wei presented a copy of the Yü-kung chui-chih to Li Chên-yü 李振裕 (T. 維饒, H. 醒齋, chin-shih of 1670, d. age 68 sui) who wrote a preface for it. This preface, which was not included until a later printing of the work in 1705, is based largely on an earlier preface composed by Yen Yü-tun 嚴虞惇 (T. 寶成, 思菴, 1650–1713) during the years when Hu was in Peking (1699–1701). In the meantime Hu Wei completed another important work, entitled I-t'u ming-pien (see below), which he often discussed with scholars in Peking, such as Li Kung, Chin Tê-ch'un, and Wan Ssŭ-t'ung [qq. v.]—the latter writing a preface to the work in 1700. Hu Wei returned to his native place in 1701 and completed drawing in 1702 a total of 47 maps, entitled 禹貢圖 Yü-kung tu, which were included in a later printing (1705) of the Yü-kung chui-chih. In 1705, when Emperor Shêng-tsu made his fifth tour of South China, Hu Wei presented this work to the throne through Cha Shêng (see under Cha Chi-tso), together with a prose poem, entitled 平成頌 P'ing-ch'êng

sung. Hu was granted an audience with the Emperor and was honored with four large characters in the Imperial handwriting, reading 耆年篤學 Ch'i-nien tu-hsüeh, "Advanced in Age but Diligent in Study". A summary of the Yü-kung chui-chan, entitled Yü-kung chui-chih chieh-yao (節要), 1 chüan, was made by Wang Hsien-k'o 汪獻珂, a native of Chang-chou, Kiangsu; and a list of corrections to Hu's work, prepared by Ting Yen [q. v.] under the title Yü-kung chui-chih chêng-wu (正誤), 1 chüan, is included in the I-chih chai ts'ung-shu (see under Ting Yen). Hu's maps were corrected by Ch'ên Li [q. v.] under the title 胡氏禹貢圖考正 Hu-shih Yü-kung t'u k'ao-chêng, 1 chüan, which appears in the Huang-Ch'ing ching-chieh hsü-pien (see under Juan Yüan).

In 1706 Hu printed his second important work on the Classic of Changes, entitled 易圖明辨 I-t'u ming-pien, "A Clarification of the Diagrams in the Changes", 10 chüan, which was completed in 1700 when the author was visiting Peking. This work was regarded by Liang Ch'i-ch'ao (see under T'an Ssŭ-t'ung) as the most valuable contribution of Hu Wei to Chinese scholarship, and as significant in its sphere as the Shang-shu ku-wên shu-chêng by Yen Jo-chü. In the I-t'u ming-pien Hu Wei investigated the origin and development of the various illustrations or diagrams (known as 河圖 Ho-t'u, 洛書 Lo-shu, etc.) which had been so long attached to the text of the Classic of Changes that they came to be regarded as an integral part of it. These illustrations were originally drawn by the Taoist priest, Ch'ên Tuan 陳摶 (T. 圖南, H. 扶搖子, 希夷先生, d. 989), and were transmitted through Mu Hsiu 穆修 (T. 伯長, 979–1032) and Li Chih-ts'ai 李之才 (T. 挺之, chin-shih of 1030, d. 1045) to the great Sung philosopher, Shao Yung 邵雍 (T. 堯夫, H. 安樂先生, 1011–1077). Thereafter the illustrations attracted the attention of other Sung scholars such as Chou Tun-i 周敦頤 (T. 茂叔, H. 濂溪, 1017–1073), Ch'êng Hao 程顥 (T. 伯淳, H. 明道先生, 1032–1085), Ch'êng I 程頤 (T. 正叔, H. 伊川先生, 1033–1107), and Chu Hsi 朱熹 (T. 元晦, 仲晦, 晦庵, H. 雲谷老人, 晦翁, 滄洲病叟, 遯翁, 1130–1200), who founded a new Confucian scholarship later known as the Sung Learning 宋學. By the time of Hu Wei the conclusions of the Sung scholars had dominated Chinese thought for some 600 years. Their interpretations of the Changes were regarded as authoritative and the diagrams were attributed to a remote antiquity, even to the time of the legendary emperor, Fu Hsi 伏羲. By disclosing the real provenance of the diagrams and differentiating them from the actual text of the Changes, Hu Wei was able to deal a severe blow to the cosmology of Sung Neo-Confucianism and thus place the study of the Changes on a sound historical basis. Prior to his investigations several similar studies appeared, among which are the following: I-hsüeh hsiang-shu lun, 6 chüan, by Huang Tsung-hsi [q. v.], written in 1661; I-hsüeh pien-huo, 1 chüan, by Huang Tsung-yen [q. v.]; and 河圖洛書原舛編 Ho-t'u Lo-shu yüan-ch'uan pien, 1 chüan, and the 太極圖說遺議 T'ai-chi t'u-shuo i-i, 1 chüan, both by Mao Ch'i-ling [q. v.]. But it was Hu Wei who made the most exhaustive study of the subject.

During the years 1704–09 Hu Wei completed a work on the chapter in the Classic of History known as the Great Plan, which he entitled 洪範正論 Hung-fan chêng-lun, 5 chüan. This work was first printed by Hu Hui-ên's grandson, Hu Shao-fên 胡紹芬 (T. 念會), in 1739. Hu Wei also wrote a work on the Great Learning under the title 大學翼真 Ta-hsüeh i-chên, 7 chüan. The above-mentioned four works by Hu were copied into the Ssŭ-k'u Manuscript Library (see under Chi Yün). Other works attributed to him are: 詩箋辨疑 Shih-chien pien-i, 2 chüan; 吳興典錄 Wu-hsing tien-lu; and 他山錄 T'a-shan lu; but these seem to be no longer extant. Hu's verse was collected under the title 東樵遺詩 Tung-ch'iao i-shih.

Hu Wei had four sons, one of whom, Hu Fang-t'êng 胡方騰 (T. 黃間, pa-kung of 1697), was district magistrate of Ta-t'ung, Shansi, during the years 1721–23. Two of Hu Wei's grandsons achieved distinction as writers: Hu Yen-Ying 胡彥穎 (T. 石田, chin-shih of 1715) left a work entitled 北窗偶談 Pei-ch'uang ou-t'an, 3 chüan; and Hu Yen-shêng 胡彥昇 (T. 國淵, 仲升, H. 竹軒, chin-shih of 1730, d. age 88 sui), a musician, produced a work on music, entitled 樂律表徵 Yüeh-lü piao-wei, 8 chüan, completed in 1755. Like his grandfather, Hu Yen-shêng presented this work to Emperor Kao-tsung in 1762 when the latter was on a tour of South China. It was copied into the Ssŭ-k'u Manuscript Library.


[1/487/5a; 2/68/15b; 3/416/1a; 4/131/17a; 7/33/6b; 13/1/10b; 15/3/4b; 16/12/10a; 17/6/81a; 23/3/17b; 24/2/1a; Tê-ch'ing hsien-chih (1673) 6/7b, 16a, 7/16b, 22b, 續志6/2a–b, 3a, 8/4b–6b; Liang Ch'i-ch'ao 梁啟超, 清代學術概論 Ch'ing-tai hsüeh-shu kai-lun, passim; id. 中國近三百年學術史 Chung-kuo chin san-pai-nien hsüeh-shu shih, pp. 112–13; Ssŭ-k'u, 6/6b, 12/8b, 36/6a; Hsia Ting-yü 夏定域, 德清胡朏明先生年譜 Tê-ch'ing Hu Fei-ming hsien-shêng nien-p'u in 文瀾學報 Wên-lan hsüeh-pao (1936) vol. II, no. 1.]

J. C. Yang