Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Ling T'ing-k'an

LING T'ing-k'an 凌廷堪 (T. 次仲, 仲子), Oct. 2, 1757–1809, July 14, scholar, was born in the village of Pan-p'u, in Hai-chou, Kiangsu, although his ancestral home was in Shê-hsien, Anhwei. His father, Ling Wên-ch'ang 凌文焻 (T. 燦然, 1706–1763), who for business reasons settled in Pan-p'u, died when his son was little more than six sui. Ling T'ing-k'an was able to attend school but a few years—until he was thirteen sui—when, owing to financial reasons, he became an apprentice. Nevertheless, his love for literature continued and in his leisure he learned to write verse. In 1779 he went to Yangchow where he was engaged as an assistant editor in the Tz'ŭ-ch'ü chün 詞曲局, a temporary bureau charged with the censorship of dramatic works, primarily to see that these contained nothing which might be interpreted as prejudical to the reigning dynasty. The bureau, headed by Huang Wên-yang 黄文暘 (T. 時若, H. 秋平, b. 1736), was established in 1777 (1778?) and the project was completed in four years, resulting in an annotated catalogue of dramatic works under Huang's editorship, entitled 曲海 Ch'ü-hai, 20 chüan. This work seems to have been lost, although a list of about one thousand titles compiled by the bureau is preserved by Li Tou 李斗 (T. 北有, H. 艾塘) in his famous work about Yangchow, known as 楊州畫舫錄 Yang-chou hua-fang lu, 18 chüan, printed in 1795. While editing these dramatic works Ling T'ing-k'an developed a keen interest in music. At Yangchow, in 1779, he also wrote a long poem entitled 辨志賦 Pien-chih fu, "In Defense of My Purpose"—his purpose being to satisfy his thirst for knowledge. At Yangchow, too, he became acquainted with many men who became famous in later years, the most important of these being his life-long friend, Juan Yüan [q. v.] whom he met in 1781.

In the autumn of 1782 Ling T'ing-k'an went to Peking where he met Wêng Fang-kang [q. v.] who thought highly of him and accepted him as a pupil. Profiting by Wêng's advice and guidance, Ling began to concentrate on the studies required for the examination system. While in the capital he also made the acquaintance of many contemporary scholars such as Shao Chin-han, Wang Nien-sun, and later Wu I and K'ung Kuang-sên [qq. v.]. In 1787, at the summons of Wêng Fang-kang, he went to Kiangsi where Wêng was then commissioner of education. While at Nanchang he established a friendship with Hsieh Ch'i-k'un (see under Hsü Shu-k'uei). Later in the same year he went to Honan as a member of Pi Yüan's [q. v.] secretarial staff, where he met other scholars, including Hung Liang-chi [q. v.]. In 1789 he became a chü-jên, and in the following year a chin-shih, but he did not take the Palace examination until 1793. Though he qualified as a magistrate he was given (1794), at his own request, an educational post, namely that of director of schools of Ning-kuo fu, Anhwei. He assumed office early in 1795, and remained at this post for more than ten years. The year 1805 was for Ling an unfortunate one, for in it his brother, Ling T'ing-yao 凌廷堯 (T. 致堂, 華峰, 1737–1805), his mother, and then his wife died. Resigning from office, he returned to his ancestral home at Shê-hsien to observe the period of mourning. Two years later (1807) he was appointed director of the Tzŭ-yang Academy (紫陽書院) at Shê-hsien. Upon visiting Hangchow (1808), where Juan Yüan was then living as governor of Chekiang, he was invited by Juan to teach his son, Juan Ch'ang-shêng (see under Juan Yüan). While in Hangchow Ling T'ing-k'an made a journey to Ningpo where he visited the famous T'ien-i Ko library of the Fan family (see under Fan Mou-chu). He died in 1809, aged fifty-three (sui).

As a classical scholar, Ling T'ing-k'an was an authority on the Classic of Rites. His 禮經釋例 Li-ching shih-li, in 13 chüan, is the product of a long laborious effort. First taking shape in 1792, it went through five revisions and finally was printed by Juan Yuan in 1809, after Ling's death. Ling's interest in music bore fruit in two works, the 燕樂考原 Yen-yüeh k'ao-yüan, in 6 chüan, first printed in 1811, and the 笛律匡謬 Ti-lü k'uang-miu, 1 chüan. As a literary man he was very accomplished, both in prose and verse. His collected prose, 校禮堂文集 Chiao-li t'ang wên-chi, 36 chüan, was first printed in 1812, and his collected verse, Chiao-li t'ang shih (詩)-chi, 14 chüan, was first printed in 1826. He wrote a chronological biography of the great thirteenth century poet, Yüan Hao-wên 元好問 (T. 裕之, H. 遺山, 1190–1257), entitled 元遺山先生年譜 Yüan I-shan hsien-shêng nien-p'u. About the year 1802 Juan Yüan proposed to Ling to print his works, but Ling declined with the remark that many former scholars had rushed into print too early and had lived to regret it. When Ling T'ing-k'an died, only the manuscript of his Li-ching shih-li was ready to print and this was preserved by Juan Yüan. In 1810 Ling's pupil, Chang Ch'i-chin 張其錦 (T. 褧伯), collected some of his teacher's manuscripts, edited them and later printed several items. Chang Ch'i-chin compiled a chronological biography of Ling in 4 chüan under the title 凌次仲先生年譜 Ling Tzŭ-chung hsien-sheng nien-p'u. Several works by Ling are included in various collectanea. In 1935 seven of his works, including the nien-p'u written by Chang Ch'i-chin, were printed under the collective title Ling Tz'ŭ-chung hsien-shêng i-shu (遺書) as the fourth series of the An-hui ts'ung-shu (see under Yü Chêng-hsieh). In addition to the six above-mentioned works there is a collection of tz'ŭ, or poems in irregular meter, entitled 梅邊吹笛譜 Mei-pien ch'ui-ti p'u, 2 chüan.


[1/487/37a; 3/258/18a; 4/135/3b.]

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