Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Kuei Chuang

KUEI Chuang 歸莊 (T. 玄恭, 元公, 懸公, 園公, H. 恆軒, 普明頭陀, 歸妹, 歸乎來), Aug. 29, 1613–1673, Oct. 1, a native of K'un-shan, Kiangsu, was a great-grandson of the Ming teacher and prose writer, Kuei Yu-kuang 歸有光 (T. 熙甫, H. 震川, 1506–1571). He graduated as hsiu-ts'ai about the time the Manchu army advanced to the south of the Yangtze. When the residents of K'un-shan rose to a brave defense of the city against the invaders (August 6, 1645) Kuei was one of the leaders, another being Ku Yen-wu [q. v.]. On August 26 the city fell and Kuei fled disguised as a monk, changing his personal name to Tso-ming 祚明 (Long live the Ming Dynasty). He and Ku, both members of the political party known as Fu-shê 復社 were intimate friends, and because of their opposition to the Manchu conquerors were known to their neighbors as "Kuei the mysterious and Ku the strange" 歸奇顧怪.

Kuei Chuang was well versed in poetry and prose and excelled in the cursive style of calligraphy and in ink drawings of bamboo. He composed an epic of some eighteen hundred words, entitled "Sorrows of the Ages" (萬古愁曲 Wan-ku ch'ou-ch'ü), in which he relates in free verse the story of Chinese history from the legendary creation by P'an Ku 盤古 to the surrender of Nanking in 1645. In it he satirizes many of the saints, philosophers and statesmen of history and tells with great candor how the Ming officials bowed to the bandits and to the Manchus. Ch'üan Tsu-wang [q. v.] quotes Shên Ch'üan 沈荃 (T. 貞蕤, H. 繹堂, 1624–1684), a Supervisor of Education in the Palace, to the effect that Emperor Shih-tsu was so pleased with the poem that he often ordered the court musicians to sing it at meals. In his later years Kuei Chuang tried hard to raise funds to print the collected works of his great-grandfather. After many scholars had contributed to the fund and the printing had begun (1671), he died. Fortunately the project was carried out by his nephew and was completed in 1675 under the title 震川先生文集 Chên-ch'uan hsien-shêng wên-chi (40 chüan).


[Chao Ching-ta 趙經達, 歸玄恭年譜 Kuei Hsüan-kung nien-p'u (1924–25); Kuei Tsêng-ch'i 歸曾祁, Kuei Hsüan-kung nien-p'u 2/70/7b; 3/464/14a; 6/36/12b; 練川名人畫像 Lien-ch'uan ming-jên hua-hsiang (1849, with portrait), 附下/7; 崑山新陽合志 K'un-shan Hsin-yang ho-chih (1881), 32/12a.]

Fang Chao-ying