Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Sun Yüan-hsiang

SUN Yüan-hsiang 孫原湘 (T. 子瀟, H. 心清), Dec. 17, 1760–1829, Mar. 6, poet, was a native of Chao-wên, Kiangsu. He began seriously to write verse after he married in 1776 the poetess, Hsi P'ei-lan 席佩蘭 (T. 韻芬, 道華, H. 浣雲). In 1779 he went to Mukden where his father, Sun Hao 孫鎬 (T. 豐謀, 芑溪, H. 訥夫, 1733–1789), was serving as sub-prefect of Fêng-t'ien-fu. When the father was promoted to prefect of Lu-an-fu, Shansi, the whole family, including Sun Yüan-hsiang and his wife, joined him there. In 1784 when the father was degraded to a second-class sub-prefect of Chengtu, Szechwan, the family went back to Chao-wên. After Sun Yüan-hsiang returned home he made the acquaintance of the older poet, Yüan Mei [q. v.]. In the meantime he competed unsuccessfully in the provincial examinations, but finally obtained the chü-jên degree in 1795. In 1800 he began to teach in the Academy, Yü-wên Shu-yüan 玉文書院, Kunshan, and in 1803 printed his first collection of verse, entitled 天眞閣集 T'ien-chên ko chi, 4 chüan. He became a chin-shih in 1805 and was selected a bachelor of the Hanlin Academy, but took leave that same year. He never returned to Peking for official appointment, being prevented by illness in 1808, and subsequently by poverty. (It should be explained that in those days members of the Hanlin Academy had a very small income and often had to wait many years before rising to profitable positions). In 1818 and 1819 Sun taught in the Yü-wên (毓文) Shu-yüan at Ching-tê, Anhwei, and later directed other Academies, until his death.

Sun Yüan-hsiang was highly praised by Yüan Mei as a poet of outstanding ability. Another poet, Fa-shih-shan [q. v.], also praised him highly and referred to Sun, Shu Wei [q. v.], and Wang T'an (see under Shu Wei) as "The Three Gentlemen [Poets]" 三君. Sun Yuan-hsiang counted among his other literary friends: Sun Hsing-yen, Wang Ch'ang, Hsü Sung, Chao I, Wu Hsi-ch'i, Hung Liang-chi, Wang Chung, Chang Wên-t'ao, Chang Hai-p'êng [qq. v.], Yang Fang-ts'an 楊芳燦 (T. 才叔, H. 蓉裳, 1754–1816), and Wu Sung-liang 吳嵩梁 (T. 子山, H. 蘭雪, 1766–1834).

The collected works of Sun Yüan-hsiang, entitled T'ien-chên ko chi, 54 chüan, contain 32 + 6 chüan of poems, 6 chüan of poems in irregular meter (tz'ŭ), and 16 chüan of essays. The collection was printed in or after 1829 and was reprinted about 1891. To it was appended a collection of poems by his wife, Hsi P'ei-lan, entitled 長眞閣集 Ch'ang-chên ko chi, 7 + 1 chüan. She is known as a painter of orchids and as a pupil of Yüan Mei who declared her to be, up to his day, the best poetess of the Ch'ing period. A great-great-grandson of Sun Yüan-hsiang was the well-known writer, Sun Hsiung 孫雄 (original ming 同康, T. 師鄭 H. 鑄翁, 味辛老人, 1866–1935), chin-shih of 1894 and a member of the Hanlin Academy. He taught in the Department of Liberal Arts of Peking University from about 1907 to 1911, and produced several collections of verse and prose, among them the following: 詩史閣壬癸詩存 Shih-shih ko jên-kuei shih-ts'un, 6 + 1 chüan, printed in 1924; 舊京詩存 Chiu-ching shih-ts'un, 8 chüan, and Chiu-ching wên-ts'un (文存), 8 chüan, both printed in 1931; and 鄭齋類稿 Chêng-chai lei-kao. He also prepared an anthology of the poets of the later Ch'ing period from 1821 to 1908, entitled 道咸同光四朝詩史 Tao, Hsien, T'ung, Kuang, ssŭ-ch'ao shih-shih, in 2 series, each in 8 chüan. The first series was printed early in 1911, and the second a year later. Sun Hsiung's wife, Chang Yüan-mo 張元默 (T. 蕙芬), has produced a collection of verse, entitled 雙修閣詩存 Shuang-hsiu ko shih ts'un.


[1/490/16b; 5/76/10a; 20/4/00; 29/8/10a; 19/癸下/1a; 21/6/1a; Ch'ên Shou-ch'i [q. v.], Tso-hai wên-chi 10/16a; Li Chao-lo [q. v.], Yang-i-chai wên-chi 10/21b; Wan-ch'ing i shih-hui (see bibl. under Huang T'i-fang) 192/42a.]

Fang Chao-ying