Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Li Tsung-wan

LI Tsung-wan 勵宗萬 (T. 滋大, H. 衣園), 1705–1759, official, painter and calligrapher, was a native of Ching-hai, Chihli. He was a son of Li T'ing-i [q. v.], a grandson of Li Tu-no [q. v.] and a son-in-law of Huang Shu-lin [q. v.]. A precocious youth, he was made a chü-jên in 1720 and a chin-shih the following year at the early age of seventeen (sui). Like his father and grandfather, he entered the Hanlin Academy and after 1724 he served in the Imperial Study. After a term (1727–29) as director of education in Shansi, he was promoted in 1729 to the post of censor of that province. Denounced by the governor of Shansi for alleged misuse of the postal service and for allowing his servants to take bribes, he was dismissed from office.

In the summer of 1732 Li Tsung-wan was recalled, and by 1735 rose to the vice-presidency of the Board of Punishments. Denounced in 1736 for carelessness in recommending to office his personal friends, he was dismissed, but was ordered to serve on literary projects. After several promotions he became vice-president of the Censorate (1744) and a year later was again made a vice-president of the Board of Punishments. In 1746 he was concerned in a bribery case involving the secretary of one of his brothers, and was discharged. In 1748, when his youngest brother, Li Tsung-i 勵宗奕, was accused of using force to collect rent on land to which he had no clear title, Li Tsung-wan was sentenced to flogging for failure to restrain his brother. But the emperor allowed him to redeem himself by repairing, at his own expense, the city walls of Ku-an, Chihli.

Li Tsung-wan was recalled in 1751 as an expositor of the Hanlin Academy. After further vicissitudes as a government official, he died in 1759 at his post as director of the Court of Imperial Entertainment. A contemporary, Ch'ên Chao-lun [q. v.], who wrote his epitaph, accounted for his political misfortunes on the ground that he was obstinate, harsh in his criticism of others, and careless of social proprieties. As an artist, Li Tsung-wan achieved prominence at Court, and five items of his painting and calligraphy are reported as in the Palace Museum in Peiping.


[1/272/3b; 3/60/11a; 19/丙上/5a; 26/1/43b; Ching-hai hsien chih (1873) 6/9b; L.T.C.L.H.M., p. 438, lists of works of art by him.]

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