Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Lu Wên-ch'ao

LU Wên-ch'ao 盧文弨 (T. 紹[召]弓, H. 磯漁, 檠齋, 弓父, 抱經先生, 鬯庵, 萬松山人, original ming 嗣宗), July 11, 1717–1796, Jan. 7, scholar, was a native of Hangchow, Chekiang, the place to which his family had moved from Yü-yao in the same province, at the close of the Ming dynasty. His father, Lu Ts'un-hsin 盧存心 (T. 敬甫, H. 玉巖, d. ca. 1759), was an unsuccessful candidate for the second special examination known as po-hsüeh hung-tz'ŭ (see under Liu Lun) which was held in 1736. His mother was the daughter of Fêng Ching 馮景 (T. 山公, 少渠, 1652–1715), a well known scholar, but she died in 1721 when her son was only five sui. Thereafter he was cared for by his paternal grandparents. Lu Wên-ch'ao was a diligent student who early in life took to the practice of copying books to enrich his private collection. In 1736 he began to study under the scholar, Sang Tiao-yüan 桑調元 (T. 伊佐, H. 弢甫, 1695–1771). Two years later he was in Peking and there became a chü-jên. But in 1739 he returned to Hangchow where he taught in a private family. In 1741 he returned to Peking, living in the house of Chin Jung 金溶 (T. 廣薀, 1705–1777), then a censor. A year later, after passing an examination, he was appointed a secretary of the Grand Secretariat. In this capacity he served for the following ten years (1742–52) during which he was several times selected a calligrapher or collator of official works then in course of compilation. In 1747 he was one of twenty scholars chosen for their skill in calligraphy (ten from the Grand Secretariat and ten from the Hanlin Academy) to make a manuscript copy of the anthology, Chao-ming wên-hsüan (see under Wêng Fang-kang). It was the first of four manuscript copies of this anthology made during the Ch'ien-lung period by order of Emperor Kao-tsung—the other three being written in 1749, 1754, and 1770.

In addition to his work as an official, Lu Wênch'ao applied himself diligently to the Classics and the histories. In 1750 he began to live in the home of Huang Shu-lin [q. v.] where he had access to Huang's large collection of books and had an opportunity to meet eminent scholars of the day. In 1752 he became a chin-shih with high honors (third of the first class of three). He was made a compiler in the Hanlin Academy and six years later a sub-reader. In 1759 his father died and he returned home to observe the period of mourning. In 1764 he was promoted to be a reader, and from 1765 to 1767 served as educational commissioner of Hunan. But because he ventured in a memorial to ask for more lenient treatment of students, he was recalled in 1768, subjected to a severe reprimand, and apparently was cashiered. At any rate, he left Peking in 1769. From 1772 until early in 1796, when he died, he taught in various Academies, or Shu-yüan 書院, among them being: the Chung-shan (鍾山) Academy at Nanking (1772–78, 1785–88); the Ch'ung-wên (崇文, 1779), and the Tzŭ-yang (紫陽 1780, 1793) Academies at Hangchow; the San-li (三立) Academy at Taiyuan, Shansi (1781–83); the Lou-tung (婁東) Academy at T'ai-ts'ang, Kiangsu; and the Lung-ch'êng (龍城) Academy at Chang-chou, Kiangsu (1788–93, 1794?–96), where he died.

Lu Wên-ch'ao spent a large part of his working life collating the texts of ancient works. Pressed by poverty, he began when he was only about sixteen sui to make copies of the books he wished to study. By 1750 he had access to Huang Shu-lin's collection, and from then on until his death he worked continuously for more than forty-five years, comparing the texts and editions of ancient works, making note of the differences, and printing the corrected texts. This branch of study, known as chiao-k'an hsüeh 校勘學, became popular in the Ch'ien-lung period as one of the activities of the School of Han Learning (see under Tai Chên) which demanded sound texts for the pursuit of exact scholarship. Ho Ch'o [q. v.] and Lu Wên-ch'ao were the first scholars of the Ch'ing period to devote their entire lives to this study. Their work was continued by such scholars as Sun Hsing-yen, Wang Nien-sun, Pao T'ing-po, Huang P'ei-lieh [q. v.], and others. As a result the scholastic world was provided with reliable editions of many ancient works which had been rendered unreadable after centuries of mistaken copying and reprinting.

In the course of his life Lu Wên-ch‘ao collated the texts of several hundred works. Being a speedy and accurate transcriber, he often copied an entire work before he undertook the collation. Between the years 1782 and 1792 he printed his corrected texts of eleven ancient works, of which the most important are: 荀子 Hsün-tzŭ, 20 chüan; Ch'un-ch'iu fan-lu (see under Liu Wên-ch'i), 17 chüan; 逸周書 I Chou-shu, 10 chüan; and 經典釋文 Ching-tien shih-wên, 30 chüan. To the last work he added a collection of his collation notes, and comments by other scholars, under the title Ching-tien shih-wên k'ao-chêng (考證), 30 chüan, printed in 1791. His edition of the Decorum Ritual (儀禮 I-li), entitled I-li chu-shu hsiang-chiao (注疏詳校), 17 chüan, printed in 1795, is considered authoritative. His collation notes on thirty-eight other works were brought together and printed under the title, 群書拾補 Ch'ün-shu shih-pu, 39 chüan, printed in 1787. He also left two collections of miscellaneous notes on the classics and histories; one entitled 鍾山札記 Chung-shan cha-chi, 4 chüan, printed in 1790; the other, 龍城札記 Lung-ch'êng cha-chi, 3 chüan, printed six years later. The printing of his collection of short works in prose under the title 抱經堂文集 Pao-ching t'ang wên-chi, 34 chüan, was begun by himself in 1795, and after his death was finished (1797) by Pao T'ing-po. These seventeen works, together with the collected works of his maternal grandfather, Fêng Ching, are collectively known as the Pao-ching t'ang ts'ung-shu (叢書), printed during the years 1782–97, and reprinted in 1923.

The Kuo-hsüeh Library at Nanking is reported to possess sixty-three items which once belonged to Lu Wên-ch'ao—fifty-six of them containing collation notes or punctuation marks in his handwriting. These notes, being often dated, afford valuable information about his life. It appears that some of these works he collated as many as four times. In addition, he collated a number of works for Lu Chien-tsêng, Pi Yüan [qq. v.] and others-works included by the owners in their own ts'ung-shu or collectanea.

[國學圖書館年刊 Kuo-hsüeh t'u-shu kuan nien-k'an, no. 1 (1928, a nien-p'u); no. 4 (1931, 江蘇書院志初稿); no. 5 (1932, on his collation manuscripts); 1/487/16a; 2/68/38a; 3/127/28a; 16/14/26a; 17/4/36a.]

Fang Chao-ying