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

SUN Yüan-hua 孫元化 (T. 初陽, 火東), d. Sept. 7, 1632, official and mathematician, known in Jesuit accounts as Ignatius Sun (or Sung), was a native of Chia-ting, Kiangsu. He received the degree of chü-jên in 1612. Having studied some Western mathematics and the use of firearms under Hsü Kuang-ch'i [q. v.], he presented in 1622, after the fall of Kuang-ning (see under Wang Hua-chên) to the Manchus, a memorial on the defense of the frontiers with the aid of cannon. His suggestions were adopted by Sun Ch'êng-tsung in 1622 and, in 1626 by the eminent soldier, Yüan Ch'ung-huan [qq. v.]. In 1630, because of his familiarity with the situation in Manchuria, he was made governor of Tengchow and Laichow in the Shantung peninsula where many Manchurian troops on the Ming side were encamped. A detachment of these soldiers, led by Kêng Chung-ming and K'ung Yu-tê [qq. v.], rebelled on January 19, 1632, and Sun, in a vain attempt to bring about peace, lost the opportunity of putting down the revolt. On February 22 the city of Tengchow, where Sun resided, fell into the hands of rebels and he was captured. He was spared by the rebels, because of his former kindness to them, and was allowed to go free. But soon afterwards he was arrested by the Ming government, court-marshalled and executed, despite the protests of his friend and patron, Hsü Kuang-ch'i. Sun wrote, in addition to other works, several treatises on geometry and military science. Two works by him on geometry—both in manuscript—are listed in the Ch'ih-ching chai shu-mu (see under Ting Jih-ch'ang).

A grandson, Sun Chih-mi 孫致彌 (T. 愷似, H. 松坪, 1642–1709), a chin-shih of 1678, attracted notice in 1678 because—though he was then only a student in the Imperial Academy—he was specially selected as one of the envoys sent on a mission to Korea to collect poetry there. He achieved some note also as a poet and a calligrapher.


[Chia-ting hsien-chih (1742) 8/31b, 10 shang 20a, (1880) 16/32b; M.1/248/19b; M.3/245/2b; 3/121/24a; Mao Pin [q. v.], P'ing-p'an chi; Li Yen, "A Bibliography of Mathematical Works by Ming Authors" (in Chinese), T'u-shu kuan hsüeh chi-k'an (Library Science Quarterly), vol. 1, p. 122f.; T'oung Pao, 1934, pp. 89, 182; Pfister, Notices Biographiques etc., p. 177.]

Fang Chao-ying