Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Wang Shan

WANG Shan 王掞 (T. 藻儒, H. 顓庵), Feb. 3, 1645–1728, official, the eighth son of Wang Shih-min [q. v.], was a native of T'ai-ts'ang, Kiangsu. Taking his chin-shih in 1670, he was selected a bachelor of the Hanlin Academy and later was given the rank of compiler. He served for a term as commissioner of education of Chekiang (1684–87) and several times as examiner in provincial examinations. After several promotions he was appointed junior vice-president of the Board of Revenue (1694) and thereafter held the following posts: a vice-president of the Board of Revenue (1698–99), and of the Board of Civil Offices (1699–1704); president of the Board of Punishments (1704–08), of the Board of Works (1708–10), of the Board of War (1710) and of the Board of Ceremonies (1711–12); and Grand Secretary (1712–23).

In 1712, a few months after Wang Shan became Grand Secretary, he witnessed the imprisonment of Yin-jêng [q. v.], the one-time Heir Apparent to the throne. Five years later he memorialized Emperor Shêng-tsu on the importance of designating a successor to Yin-jêng. The Emperor was displeased, but did not make an issue of the matter. Later in the same year (1717) eight censors jointly memorialized the throne to the same effect. The Emperor, suspecting them of having formed a coalition with Wang Shan at their head, reprimanded them. In 1721, in a memorial congratulating the Emperor on the sixtieth year of his reign, Wang Shan, still undaunted, entreated the Emperor to appoint an Heir Apparent. Soon afterwards eleven censors importuned the Emperor on the same subject, three of whom had done so four years previously. The Emperor, now highly incensed, accused Wang of definitely creating a faction to effect the release and restoration of Yin-jêng as Heir Apparent, in the hope that when the latter became Emperor he would elevate them all to positions of power and responsibility. Ten of the censors were banished, Wang was imprisoned forthwith, but was soon released. Had it not been for his age, he would have been banished to Sining to assist the armies that were fighting the Eleuths. His son, Wang I-ch'ing 王奕清 (T. 幼芬, 拙園), was however sent in his stead. Another son, Wang I-hung 五奕鴻 (T. 樹先, chin-shih of 1709, d. 1754?, age 82 sui), voluntarily resigned his post as intendant of a circuit in Hunan to accompany and console his brother. In 1722 Wang Shan was pardoned and reinstated as Grand Secretary, but he displeased the succeeding Emperor Shih-tsung by requesting to retire shortly after the latter ascended the throne. Although the request was granted (1723), he was reprimanded and was forbidden to return to his home. Two years later, when Nien Kêng-yao [q. v.] was indicted, Wang Shan was charged with having encouraged his sons, I-ch'ing and I-hung, who were subordinates to Nien, to seek the latter's approbation. To signify his displeasure, the Emperor decreed that the two sons be banished still farther into western Mongolia, thus depriving Wang himself of the pleasure of seeing them before he died. The two brothers were recalled from exile when the succeeding Emperor Kao-tsung ascended the throne. Wang I-hung served as intendant of the Ch'uan-tung circuit in Szechwan from 1737 to 1739 and then retired.

The family of Wang Shan was distinguished for producing two famous Grand Secretaries, the first one being his great-grandfather, Wang Hsi-chüeh (see under Wang Shih-min). Several brothers and nephews of Wang Shan were painters or poets (see under Wang Yüan-ch'i). Wang Shan himself is credited with having left a collection of memorials, entitled 西田奏議 Hsi-t'ien tsou-i, and a collection of literary works, entitled Hsi-t'ien chi (集), in 4 chüan. The existence of both works is questionable.


[1/292/1a; 3/11/24a; Tai-ts'ang chou-chih (1919) 20/1la, passim; Wang Ch'ang [q. v.], Hu-hai wên chuan 33/7b; 康熙建儲案 K'ang-hsi chien-ch'u an in Wên-hsien ts'ung-pien (see bibl. under Dorgon) no. 4; Tung-hua lu, K'ang-hsi 56:11; 60:3; 3/135/27a; Chao-lien [q. v.], Hsiao-t'ing tsa-lu 4/9b.]

Fang Chao-ying