Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Yü Chi
YÜ Chi 余集 ( 秋室, 蓉裳), Jan. 29, 1739–1823, man of letters, painter and calligrapher, was a native of Jên-ho (Hangchow). A hsiu-ts'ai of 1757, he became a chü-jên in 1762. When his father died in Kwangtung in 1763 he made a journey to that province to bring back the remains. In 1766 he became a chin-shih, but was not chosen to be a member of the Hanlin Academy. The reason for this decision, according to his own account, was his habit of writing certain characters in their archaic form. Be that as it may, another account asserts that as a painter he was celebrated primarily for his drawings of female figures, and for that reason was nick-named, "Yü, the Painter of Beauties" (余美人). We are told that owing to this, conceivably undignified, reference he was excluded from membership in the Academy.
When the Bureau for the compilation of the Ssŭ-k'u ch'üan-shu was instituted in 1773 (see under Chi Yün) Yü Chi was recommended by Ch'iu Yüeh-hsiu [q. v.] and, together with Shao Chin-han, Chou Yung-nien [qq. v.] and others, was made an assistant editor. At the same time he was raised to the rank of a member of the Hanlin Academy as of the year 1772. He served among other posts, in the course of his official career, as chief examiner of the Hupeh provincial examination (1786), associate examiner of the Szechwan provincial examination (1794), and finally rose to be a reader of the Hanlin Academy. After 1804 he retired to become director of the Ta-liang 大梁 Academy at Kaifeng, Honan, for a period of eight years. In 1822, on the sixtieth anniversary of his becoming a chü-jên, he was given the rank of a third-grade official and participated in the banquet known as Lu-ming yên (see under Liang T'ung-shu), held in honor of the successful competitors in the provincial examination of that year.
In addition to being a skillful painter, Yü: Chi was an accomplished calligrapher and poet. A collection of his poems was printed early in his life time under the title 秋室百衲琴 Ch'iu-shih po-na ch'in. His miscellaneous literary collections, entitled Ch'iu-shih hsüeh-ku lu (學古錄), 6 chüan; 梁園歸櫂錄 Liang-yüan kuei-chao lu, 1 chüan; and 憶漫庵賸稿 I-man an shêng-kao, 1 chüan, were printed in 1822. It is worthy of note that Yü Chi was the collator of the first printed edition of the Liao-chai chih-i (see under P'u Sung-ling).
[1/509/2b; 2/72/27a; 3/130/28a; 26/2/20b; Hangchow fu-chih (1922) 146/12b; L.T.C.L.H.M. 93b.]