Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Wang Ch'ung-chien

WANG Ch'ung-chien 王崇簡 (T. 敬哉), Dec. 10, 1602–1678, Dec. 30, official, was a native of Wan-p'ing (Peking). He became a chin-shih in 1643 at the last of the civil service examinations held under the Ming dynasty. When Peking fell to the Manchus in the following year he moved his family to Kiangnan. Returning to the capital in 1645, he submitted to the new regime and in the ensuing year was made a bachelor in the Kuo-shih yüan 國史院. He became sub-chancellor of the Kuo-shih yuan in 1656 and his son, Wang Hsi [q. v.], was made sub-chancellor of the Hung-wên yüan 弘文院 in the following year—a rare coincidence in Chinese officialdom. In 1658 he became president of the Board of Ceremonies. Retiring in 1661, he spent the rest of his life in quiet seclusion, often making pleasure trips to the Western Hills outside the walls of Peking. His son built for him the famous "Garden of Felicity", or I-yüan 怡園, which was located in the southwestern part of Peking, outside the gate popularly known as Shun-chih Mên, in the street called Shêng-chiang hu-t'ung 繩匠胡同. This garden, planned by Chang Jan [q. v.], was a favorite topic for contemporary poets. He was canonized as Wên-chên 文貞. His literary collection, entitled 青箱堂集 Ch'ing-hsiang tang chi, printed in 1676 and reprinted in 1689, contains 33 chüan of verse, 12 chüan of essays, and 1 chüan consisting of an autobiographical nien-p'u. Two collections of miscellaneous notes, entitled to 冬夜箋記 Tung-yeh chien-chi and 談助 T'an-chu, attributed to Wang Ch'ung-chien, appear in the collectanea, 說鈴 Shuo-ling, published (1702–05) by Wu Chên-fang (see under Ku Yen-wu). But since the first of these two works contains a passage about the destruction of the tomb of Wei Chung-hsien [q. v.] in 1701, it is evidently not entirely from Wang's hand.

Wang Ch'ung-chien had six sons. The eldest, Wang Hsi, was a Grand Secretary. The third, Wang Jan 王然 (b. 1647), rose from magistrate to governor of Chekiang (1706–1709, Jan.). The fourth, Wang Chao 王照 (1650–1693), served as salt intendant of Yunnan (1687–92). The fifth, Wang Yen 王燕 (T. 子喜, H. 个庵, 1652–1708), held the following posts: prefect of Chin-kiang, Kiangsu (1685–92); provincial judge of Kiangsu (1692–94); financial commissioner of Hupeh (1694–98); and governor of Kweichow (1698–1703). One daughter of Wang Ch'ung-chien married Mi Han-wên (see under Mi Wan-chung), and another married Sun Tao-lin 孫道林, a son of Sun Ch'êng-tsê [q. v.].

Four generations of this family were represented in the Hanlin Academy. They were, aside from Wang Ch'ung-chien himself: his son, Wang Hsi; his grandson, Wang K'o-hung 王克弘 (T. 能四, H. 龍四, chin-shih of 1721); and his great-grandson, Wang Ching-tsêng 王景曾 (T. 岵瞻, 霽巖, H. 枚孫, b. 1682, chin-shih of 1700). The last-mentioned rose to be a vice-president of the Board of Ceremonies (1723–25).


[4/9/1a; 27/1/8a; Ch'ing-hsiang t'ang chi (1689 ed.); Nien-p'u of Wang Hsi.]

Fang Chao-ying