Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Yang Wên-ts'ung

3678091Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period, Volume 2 — Yang Wên-ts'ungTu Lien-chê

YANG Wên-ts'ung 楊文驄 (T. 龍友, 子山), 1597–1646, painter, poet and official, who died a martyr to the Ming cause, was a native of Kweiyang, Kweichow. His father, Yang Shih-k'ung 楊師孔 (T. 冷然), was a chin-shih of 1601 who became assistant financial commissioner of Chekiang in 1628. Yang Wênts'ung became a chü-jên in 1618 and was appointed director of studies of Hua-t'ing, Kiangsu. While holding that post he made the acquaintance of Tung Ch'i-ch'ang [q. v.] with whom he studied the art of painting. By the time he was thirty-three (sui) his fame as an artist had spread widely along the Yangtze valley. In Wu Wei-yeh's [q. v.] poem "The Song of the Nine Painters" (畫中九友歌), Yang Wên-ts'ung is ranked with Tung Ch'i-ch'ang, Wang Shih-min, and Wang Chien [qq. v.]. Toward the end of the Ch'ung-chên reign-period (1628–1644) he became magistrate of Chiangning (Nanking), but was charged with corruption and was dismissed in 1644. When the Prince of Fu (see under Chu Yu-sung) established his court in Nanking, Yang was appointed, at the suggestion of his brother-in-law, Ma Shih-ying [q. v.], a secretary in the Board of War, with supervision of military affairs along the Yangtze. In the following year he was made assistant military intendant of Changchow and Chinkiang in Kiangsu province, and concurrently supervisor of the armies of Chêng Hung-k'uei [q. v.] and Chêng Ts'ai (see under Chu I-hai). Manchu forces, stationed on the north bank of the Yangtze, crossed the river under a heavy fog on the night of May 29–30, 1645, defeated the Ming army, and took Nanking on June 8. Yang Wên-ts'ung fled to Soochow, but was pursued by special messengers who were sent to win him over to the Ch'ing side. Declining to comply, he killed the messengers and fled further south to Ch'u-chou. Under the rule of the Prince of T'ang at Foochow (see under Chu Yü-chien), he was made junior vice-president of the Board of War and was charged to undertake the recovery of Nanking. His son, Yang Ting-ch'ing 楊鼎卿, was also favorably received at Court. Early in the autumn of 1646 the Manchu forces advanced southward from Hangchow. Unable to hold his position, Yang Wên-tsóung retreated to Pu-ch'êng, Fukien, where he was captured. On refusing to renounce his allegiance, he was killed.

As was customary with many men of arts and letters in his day, Yang Wên-ts'ung led a life of conviviality and was fond of social and literary gatherings. One of his friends was Hsia Yün-i 夏允彝 (T. 彝仲, 1596–1645), a chin-shih of 1637 who organized the socio-political group known as Chi-shê 幾社 (a branch of the Fu-shê, see under Chang P'u), and who in 1645 drowned himself in loyalty to the Ming cause. Despite Yang's fidelity to the Fu-shê, he was criticized because of his relations with Ma Shihying and the latter's ally, Juan Ta-ch'êng [q. v.]. In K'ung Shang-jên's [q. v.] dramatic masterpiece, The Peach Blossom Fan (T'ao-hua shan) the name of Yang Wên-ts'ung figures prominently as the artist who painted the fan by converting blood-stains into peach blossoms. He is credited with a work on landscape painting, entitled 山水迻 Shan-shui i, and with a literary collection, entitled 洵美堂集 Hsün-mei t'ang chi. The L.T.C.L.H.M., pp. 351–52, lists a number of paintings attributed to him. Specimens of his calligraphy and a preface, written by him in 1627, appear in the manual of woodcuts known as 十竹齋畫譜 Shih-chu chai hua-p'u which was compiled by Hu Chêng-yen 胡正言 (T. 曰從, H. 次公), a native of Hsiu-ning, Anhwei.

[M.1/277/18a; M.59/18/1a; M.64 hsin 6/19b; Kweiyang fu-chih (1850) 73/25b; (Chekiang) Ch'ü-hsien chih (1929) 9/26a, for information on date of death.]

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