Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Sun Ch'êng-tsê

3654392Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period, Volume 2 — Sun Ch'êng-tsêDean R. Wickes

SUN Ch'êng-tsê 孫承澤 (T. 耳伯, H. 北海 H. 退谷), Nov. 29, 1593–1675, scholar and official under two dynasties, was a native of Tahsing, which includes part of Peking, his ancestor in the sixth generation having moved to the neighborhood of Peking from I-tu, Shantung. He became a chin-shih in 1631, serving first as magistrate of Ch'ên-liu and then of Hsiang-fu (1635–1637), Honan. In recognition of his ability, he was rapidly promoted under the Ming dynasty to the post of senior metropolitan censor. When Li Tzŭ-ch'êng [q. v.] took Peking in April 1644, Sun made three unsuccessful attempts at suicide, but was kept from harm by one of Li's followers who had known him in Honan. He accepted office under Li Tzŭ-ch'êng's short-lived regime, and for this was later censured by the Ming government under the Prince of Fu (see under Chu Yu-sung). With the establishment of the Ch'ing dynasty he accepted office under it in June or early July 1644 as a senior metropolitan censor. Late in the same year he was promoted to be sub-director of the Court of Sacrificial Worship and superintendent of Residence for Envoys of the Four Tributary States (四譯館). After a number of promotions he was finally made senior vice-president of the Board of Civil Offices in 1652. He also had conferred on him the honorary titles of Grand Guardian of the Heir Apparent and President of the Censorate. In 1653, when the presidency of the Board of Civil Office was vacant, Sun petitioned that a Grand Secretary, Ch'ên Ming-hsia [q. v.], be made president of this Board. But as charges had previously been brought against Ch'ên, this request displeased the Emperor and led to Sun's being suspected of improper motives. Early in 1654 he asked to be relieved of his post, and although this was disallowed, he was permitted to retire after a second request two months later. He was then accused by a censor, Yang I 楊義 (chin-shih of 1628, d. 1662), of being a follower of Ch'ên Ming-hsia, and was permanently relieved of office.

After his retirement Sun devoted himself to study and wrote on the Classics, history, geography, philosophy and art. Twenty-three of his works are noted in the Imperial Catalogue and a number were copied into the Imperial Manuscript Library (for both see under Chi Yün). Among these may be mentioned the 春明夢餘錄 Ch'un-ming mêng-yü lu, a work in 70 chüan on Peking and its environs as it was in the late Ming period. This work dealing with the palaces, gardens, temples, and public buildings of the capital, is much quoted by later writers on the topography of the Metropolitan area, notably by Chu I-tsun [q. v.] in his Jih-hsia chiu wên of 1688 (see under Chu). A rather similar work by him, entitled 天府廣記 T'ien-fu kuang-chi, in 44 chüan, has until now circulated only in manuscript, although it was utilized in the compilation of the Shun-t'ien-fu chih (see under Chang Chih-tung), the official gazetteer of Peking, published in 1889. His 元朝典故編年考 Yüan-ch'ao tien-ku pien-nien k'ao, in 10 chüan, presents events of the Yüan dynasty arranged chronologically, with quotations from sources, some of which are now rare or inaccessible and differing in some respects from the official histories. The Chih-pu-tsu chai ts'ung-shu (see under Pao T'ing-po) reproduces a small work by Sun in one chüan, entitled 閒者軒帖考 Hsien-chê hsüan t'ieh k'ao. This is a study (completed in 1647) of 38 sets of specimens of calligraphy engraved on stone, with critical comments on each.

Sun Ch'êng-tsê is best known to students of art by a work in 8 chüan entitled 庚子銷夏記 Kêng-tzŭ hsiao-hsia chi, "Notes Written to Idle Away the Summer of 1660." These notes consist of criticisms of paintings and calligraphy (from various dynasties) which he had in his own collection or had examined in the homes of others. It circulated in manuscript for more than a hundred years, that is until 1761, when it was collated and printed under the auspices of Pao T'ing-po [q. v.], the sponsor of the Chih-pu-tsu chai ts'ung-shu. Prior to its printing, however, Ho Ch'o [q. v.] issued in 1713 a series of criticisms and corrections of it under the title, Kêng-tzŭ hsiao-hsia chi chiao (校), which was included with some later editions of the original work.

The name of Sun's studio, Yen-shan chai 研山齋, which appears in the title of a number of his works, was used also, it seems, by his grandson Sun Chiung 孫炯 (T. 挈菴). A work, entitled Yen (硯) shan chai tsa-chi (雜記), 4 chüan, which was copied into the Ssŭ-k'u Library, is thought by the editors of that collection to be the work of this grandson. It was deemed sufficiently valuable to be reproduced in 1934 in the Ssŭ-k'u ch'üan-shu chên-pên (see under Chi Yün). The editors gave notice to another work by the grandson entitled Yen-shan chai chên-wan chi-lan (珍玩集覽).

[2/79/47a; 4/10/13a; Shun-t'ien-fu chih (1885) 105/33a; Wang Shih-chên [q. v.], Ch'ih-pei ou-t'an 15/14a, and I-nien lu hui-pien (see under Ch'ien Ta-hsin) for dates of birth and death; Wang Ch'ung-chien [q. v.], Ch'ing-hsiang t'ang wên-chi 5/18a.]

Dean R. Wickes