Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Ting Yen

TING Yen 丁晏 (T. 柘堂, 柘唐, H. 儉卿), 1794–1875, scholar, was a native of Shan-yang (Huai-an), Kiangsu. He was a brilliant student in the Li-chêng 麗正 Academy of his district and was highly praised by Juan Yüan [q. v.] in 1813 when, as director of grain transport, Juan sponsored that Academy. In 1821 Ting became a chü-jên but, despite repeated attempts, failed in the examinations for the chin-shih degree. He declined offers of minor official appointments, preferring to stay at home. In 1842, when the British fleet entered the Yangtze River and took Chinkiang, Ting led the local civilian corps in defense of his native city, Shanyang. He also had charge of the repair of the city walls—a task not completed until 1845. In 1843 he was rewarded, for various services, with the title of a secretary of the Grand Secretariat. Ten years later he again headed the local civilian corps, this time to defend the city against the Taiping rebels (see under Hung Hsiu-ch'üan). Accused, however, in 1853 of certain errors in organizing the militia, he was imprisoned in Yangchow. Later he was sentenced to banishment, but in 1855 paid a ransom and was released. His fame as a scholar spread and thereafter he directed several Academies in his own and neighboring districts. In 1860 he was again called to attend to military affairs when the Nien rebels (see under Sêng-ko-lin-ch'in) attacked Shan-yang. He joined the magistrate in successfully defending the city. In 1861 he was formally appointed, by imperial decree, to the commission for training the civilian corps of Northern Kiangsu and, for his efforts in defending the city of Shan-yang, was given the title of an official of the third rank with the decoration of a peacock feather. Later he was raised to the second rank.

Ting Yen was public spirited, being active in raising funds and in contributing his own time and fortune to famine relief, dredging of waterways, repairing public buildings, and other public works. He advocated issue of paper money—a subject he liked to discuss—and was greatly in favor of the strict prohibition of opium. In his last days he and Ho Shao-chi [q. v.] served as chief compilers of the Shan-yang hsien-chih of 1873. In 1872 he was feted in celebration of the sixtieth anniversary of his becoming a hsiu-ts'ai. He has some fifty titles of scholarly works to his credit, of which 23 were brought together under the title 頤志齋叢書 I-chih chai ts'ung-shu, printed in 1862. About half of the rest were printed in various ts'ung-shu, or separately. In a study of the Classic of History, which he entitled 尚書餘論 Shang-shu yü-lun, he adduced additional proofs for the views of Hui Tung [q. v.] and others that the so-called "ancient text" of the Classic of History (see under Yen Jo-chü) was written by Wang Su 王肅 (T. 子雍, 195–256 A.D.). Concerning the Yü-kung, or geographical section in that History, he collected a number of commentaries which he edited under the title 禹貢集釋 Yü-kung chi-shih, 3 chüan. On the study of the Odes and the three Classics of Rites he produced eight works, of which seven were printed in 1852 by Yang I-tsêng [q. v.] under the collective title 六藝堂詩禮七編 Liu-i-t'ang Shih Li ch'i-pien, but these were later incorporated in the I-chih chai ts'ung-shu. He found fault with the commentary to the Tso-chuan by Tu Yü 杜預 (T. 元凱, 222–284 A.D.) in a work which he entitled to 左傳杜解集正 Tso-chuan Tu-chieh chi-chêng, 8 chüan. Ting's poems and short writings in prose, entitled I-chih chai shih-wên chi (詩文集), 16 chüan, were never printed. A manuscript copy was bought by Lo Chên-yü (see under Chao Chih-ch'ien) who, judging it unworthy to be printed as a whole, selected a few examples containing biographical information, and printed them in the 雪堂叢刻 Hsüeh-tang ts'ung-k'o (1915) under the title I-chih chai wên-ch'ao (文鈔) and I-chih chai kan-chiu shih (感舊詩).

Two of Ting Yen's sons became chin-shih: the eldest, Ting Shou-ch'ang 丁壽昌 (T. 頤伯, H. 菊泉), in 1847; and the second, Ting Shou-ch'i 丁壽祺 (T. 仲山), in 1859. Both were writers and officials.


[1/488/22b; 2/69/44b; 5/74/11b; Kiangsu, Huai-an fu-chih (1844) 29/72b; Liu Wên-ch'i [q. v.], Ch'ing-hsi shu-wu chi 10/5b; 石亭紀事 Shih-t'ing chi-shih in I-chih chai ts'ung-shu; Shan-yang hsien-chih (1921) 10/1a.]

Eduard Erkes