Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Mo Yu-chih

MO Yu-chih 莫友芝 (T. 子偲, H. 郘亭, 眲叟), 1811–1871, Oct. 27, scholar and bibliophile, was a native of Tu-shan, Kweichow. His father, Mo Yü-ch'ou 莫與儔 (T. 猶人, 傑夫, H. 1763–1841), was a chin-shih of 1799 and for many years after 1808 he served as prefectural director of schools in Tsun-i, Kweichow. Mo Yü-ch'ou left several works, among them a collection of his literary works, entitled 貞定先生遺集 Chên-ting hsien-shêng i-chi, in 4 chüan. Mo Yuchih was the fifth of nine sons. While studying under his father at Tsun-i, he began his lifelong friendship with Chêng Chên [q. v.] with whom he later collaborated in compiling the gazetteer of Tsun-i. In 1831 he became a chü-jên, and thereafter made several journeys to Peking to participate in the metropolitan examinations, but failed. In 1858 he had an opportunity to become a magistrate, but in view of the disturbed condition of the country, and the rapid spread of the Taiping Rebellion, he declined. He then joined the secretarial staff of Hu Lin-i [q. v.] whose headquarters were then in Tai-hu, Anhwei. In the following year he joined the secretarial staff of Tsêng Kuo-fan [q. v.] in Anhwei, and five years later (1864) followed Tsêng to Nanking. He was one of the scholars connected with the printing establishment which Tseng Kuo-fan set up at Anking early in 1864. Later in that year, after the recovery of Nanking, the office was moved to that city and named Chin-ling Shu-chü 金陵書局. In 1865 the printing of the Ch'uan-shan i-shu (see under Wang Fu-chih) was completed, and not long after several Classics and official Histories were re-edited and printed with the help of Mo Yu-chih, Chang Wên-hu 張文虎 (T. 孟彪, 1808–1885), and others. Books published by the Chin-ling Shu-chü were very popular and were well edited. Later (1875) the name of this establishment was changed to Kiangnan Shu-chü 江南書局. From 1865 onward Mo Yu-chih made his home in Nanking—at the same time travelling much in southeast China, particularly in Kiangsu and Chekiang, in the hope of rescuing stray volumes of the three sets of the Ssŭ-k'u ch'üan-shu (see under Chi Yün and Ting Ping) which had been deposited in Yangchow, Chinkiang, and Hangchow, but had been dispersed during the Taiping Rebellion. Thus he had an opportunity to examine rare works and good editions and to know some of the owners. It was on such an errand that he went to Yangchow in 1871 and there died in the nearby city of Hsing-hua.

Mo Yu-chih attained high rank as a bibliophile, and in the field of bibliography left three works as follows: 宋元舊本書經眼錄 Sung Yüan chiu-pên shu ching-yen lu, 3 chüan, with a supplement in 2 chüan; 郘亭知見傳本書目 Lü-t'ing chih-chien ch'uan-pên shu-mu, 16 chüan; and Ch'ih-ching chai ts'ang-shu chi-yao (see under Ting Jih-ch'ang), 2 chüan. The first, printed in 1873, is a collection of bibliographical notes on Sung and Yüan editions that came to his notice in the years 1865–69. It has a supplement in 2 chüan consisting of notes on inscriptions on stone and bronze. The second is a classified list of the books he saw—with notes on the authors, the contents, and the editions. It was first printed in Peking in 1909 by a Japanese, Tanaka Keitaro 田中慶太郎. The third is an annotated catalogue of the rare editions of Ting Jih-ch'ang's [q. v.] library that Mo Yu-chih catalogued for Ting during the years 1867–69. He left two collections of verse: Lü-t'ing shih-ch'ao (詩鈔), 6 chüan; and Lü-t'ing i-shih (遺詩), 8 chüan; and a collection of prose, Lü-t'ing i-wên (文), 8 chüan. There is a short work of his on the Shuo-wên dictionary, entitled 仿唐寫本說文解字木部箋異 Fang T'ang hsieh-pên Shuo-wên chieh-tzŭ mu-pu chien-i. He also left a brief work on versification, entitled the 韻學源流 Yün-hsüeh yüan-liu, which was not printed until 1929. His collections of prose and verse, his notes on Sung and Yüan editions, his work on the Shuo-wên, and his father's collected literary works were printed by Mo Yu-chih during his lifetime, under the collective title, 影山草堂六種 Ying-shan ts'ao-tang liu-chung.

Two of his younger brothers, Mo T'ing-chih 莫庭芝 (T. 芷升, 1817–1889) and Mo Hsiang-chih 莫祥芝 (T. 善徵, H. 抢筹, 1827–1889), were also well known in their day.

[1/491/2b; 2/69/15b; 5/79/1a; Ts'ang-shu chi-shih shih (see under P'an Tsu-yin) 6/54; Liu I-chêng, on the History of the Kuo-hsüeh shu-chü, Nanking, Kiangsu Provincial Library Annual, 3d year; 上江二縣志 Shang-Chiang êr-hsien chih (1874), 12 shang 14a.]

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