Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Li Ch'ing

LI Ch'ing 李清 (T. 心水, H. 映碧 and 天一居士), 1602–1683, historian, fifth generation descendant of Li Ch'un-fang 李春芳 (b. 1510, chin-shih of 1547), was a native of Hsing-hua, Kiangsu, and a chin-shih of 1631. Living in the Ming-Ch'ing transitional period, he remained to the last a loyal subject of the former dynasty. He served as a censor first in Peking (1638–40, 1642), and then in Nanking under the Prince of Fu (1644–45, see under Chu Yu-lang). After Nanking fell in 1645 he retired to his home, and for 38 years devoted himself to writing. In this period he was twice recommended to posts in the new régime, but each time declined on the pretext of ill health. One of his historical works 諸史同異錄 Chu-shih t'ung-i lu, also known under the title 二十一史同異 Êr-shih-i-shih t'ung-i, in 68 chüan, was a study of similarities and differences in the Twenty-one Dynastic Histories. It was singled out of the Ssŭ-k'u ch'üan-shu by Emperor Kao-tsung for complete destruction, in a special edict of 1787, on the ground that it made invidious comparisons between the reigns of the last Ming emperor and the first emperor of the Ch'ing. His longest work, 南北史合注 Nan-pei shih ho-chu, comprising comments on the official histories of the period 386–589 A.D., although banned in the eighteenth century is preserved in the Library of the Palace Museum. Among his shorter works may be mentioned the 三垣筆記 San-yüan pi-chi, consisting of historical notes covering the years 1637 to 1645 during which he served as censor in three Boards. It was reprinted in 1927 and also appears in the collective work 古學彙刊 Ku-hsüeh hui-k'an which was published in 1912–13.

[1/505/1b; 3/474/47a; Ming-shih 193/13b; Hsing-hua-hsien chih (1852) 8 列傳/25a; Wang Chung-min 王重民, 李清著述考 in Lib. Sc. Quart. II, No. 3, pp. 333–342; W.M.S.C.K. 9/9a ff., 18/25b; Goodrich, L. C., The Literary Inquisition of Ch'ien-lung; 明狀元圖考 Ming chuang-yüan t'u-k'ao 3/14b.]

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