Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Wang Hung-hsü

WANG Hung-hsü 王鴻緒 (T. 季友, H. 儼齋, 橫雲山人, original ming 度心), Sept. 22, 1645–1723, Sept. 14, official and calligrapher, was a native of Hua-t'ing, Kiangsu. He was the youngest brother of Wang Hsü-ling [q. v.]. After taking the chin-shih degree and becoming a Hanlin compiler in 1673, he held various official posts at Court and educational positions in the provinces. In 1682 he was made one of the chief editors of the official history of the Ming Dynasty (明史 Ming-shih) with which he was connected off and on for the ensuing forty years. After mourning the death of his father, he returned to Peking in 1689 but was soon ordered to retire owing to a charge of corruption brought against him by the president of the Censorate, Kuo Hsiu [q. v.]. Kuo accused him of being in collusion with Kao Shih-ch'i [q. v.], Wang Hsü-ling, and others who had received bribes. In 1694 Wang Hung-hsü was recalled to Peking as a co-director for the compilation of the Ming-shih. Not long after, he was made president of the Board of Works, and in 1708 president of the Board of Revenue. During this time and in later years he acted as a spy for Emperor Shêng-tsu, submitting secret reports about other officials, sometimes with scandalous details. However, early in 1709 he was again forced to retire, this time for having taken the side of Maci [q. v.] in support of Yin-ssŭ [q. v.] on the question of the succession to the throne.

In 1714 Wang Hung-hsü submitted to the throne 208 chüan of biographical sketches intended for the Ming-shih, which he had compiled at home with a staff under his direction. The next year he was recalled to Peking for editorial work. In a private capacity, during the following years, he expanded his draft of the Ming-shih to include not only biographies but also other sections, using, without recognition, the manuscripts of many historians, especially that of Wan Ssŭ-t'ung [q. v.], who had died in 1702 after almost completing a draft of the history. In 1723 Wang submitted to the throne his draft of the Ming-shih, entitled Ming-shih kao (稿), 310 chüan. Although the work was based on the labors of Wan and other historians, Wang treated it as his own work and had his name inscribed on the margin of every page of the manuscript as though it constituted a part of his collected works. He did spend some time in editing it, but the changes and omissions which he made were frequently unwarranted.

Wang Hung-hsü was a celebrated calligrapher. His collected poems, entitled 橫雲山人集 Hêng-yün-shan-jên chi, 27 chüan, were printed in 1719.


[1/277/3a; 3/58/16a pu-lu; 29/2/12a; Hua-t'ing hsien-chih (1879) 16/14a; Wên-hsien ts'ung-pien (see bibl. under Dorgon), nos. 2, 3; Ch'ên Shou-shih, "A Study of the Ming-shih kao" (in Chinese), Kuo-hsüeh lun-ts'ung (Chinese Classical Review, Tsinghua University), 1927; Li Chin-hua, Ming-shih tsuan-hsiu k'ao (A History of the Compilation of the Ming Dynastic History), Harvard-Yenching Monograph Series, no. 3 (1933).]

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