Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Yung-hsing

YUNG-hsing 永瑆 (T. 鏡泉, H. 少厂, 即齋), Mar. 22, 1752–1823, May 7, the first Prince Ch'êng (成親王) was the eleventh son of Emperor Kao-tsung and a brother of Yung-hsüan [q. v.] by the same mother. From youth on he excelled in calligraphy, and for his skill in this field he evoked the Emperor's admiration. In 1779 he was appointed a director-general of the Ssŭ-k'u Commission (see under Chi Yün). He accompanied his father on several tours, and in 1789 was made a prince of the first degree with the designation, Ch'êng. In 1795 he served in the capacity of lieutenant-general of a Manchu Banner. Four years later, after the death of Emperor Kao-tsung he was named, by the succeeding Emperor Jên-tsung, a Grand Councilor and concurrently supervisor of the Board of Revenue. At the same time he was placed in charge of the Board of Civil Office. These three posts had, up to this time, been filled by the powerful minister, Ho-shên [q. v.], but after the latter was imprisoned Emperor Jên-tsung ordered Yung-hsing and Yung-hsüan to reorganize the administration in such a way that the followers of Ho-shên could not again assume control. When the property of Ho-shên was confiscated. part of his garden near the summer palace. Yüan-ming Yüan (see under Hung-li), was given to Yung-hsing—another portion remained still in the hands of the deposed minister's son. The garden is now part of the site of the Yenching University campus.

After serving six months on the Board of Revenue, Yung-hsing was released from his duties; and after another three months, was discharged from the Grand Council. His dismissal was not due to incompetency, but to a practice of the dynasty not to entrust a prince with undue authority. It seems that Yung-hsing was perhaps unintentionally involved in the case of Hung Liang-chi [q. v.] who had addressed to him a letter criticizing the government. Though Yung-hsing at once passed the letter on to the Emperor—and thus effected the banishment of Hung—he could not himself escape a measure of suspicion.

After relinquishing all his important posts in the government Yung-hsing devoted himself once more to calligraphy and poetry. He and his brother, Yung-jung (see under Hung-li), were also known as great painters in their day. In 1814 he was ordered by Emperor Jên-tsung to select the best specimens of his handwriting, to be inscribed on stone and reproduced in the form of rubbings. The Emperor gave the collection of rubbings the title, 詒晉齋法帖 I-chin chai fa-t'ieh, after the name of the studio where Yung-hsing stored a large collection of books and objects of art. In 1819, owing to an error he made in offering sacrifices at the Temple of Earth, Yung-hsing was deprived of all his posts and was made to pay a fine. He died four years later.

The literary works of Yung-hsing bear the title, I-chin chai chi (集), 8 + 1 chüan. There is also a supplement of miscellaneous notes entitled I-chin chai sui-pi (隨筆) in 1 chüan. This collection was originally printed during his lifetime and was twice reprinted. One reprinting was made in 1846 by his great-grandson, Tsai-jui 載銳 (d. 1859, posthumous name 恭), who succeeded in 1823 to the reduced rank of a prince of the second degree (郡王) and became the second Prince Ch'êng. Tsai-jui's father and grandfather died earlier than Yung-hsing. Among Yung-hsing's grandsons the most illustrious was I-ching [q. v.].

The residence of Yung-hsing in Peking, which was situated on the bank of the pond known as Shih-ch'a hai 十剎海, was originally the palace of Mingju [q. v.].


[71/13b; 1/227/4a; 19 ting hsia 8a; 29 shou 2b; Ch'ing Huang-shih ssŭ-p'u (see under Fu-lung-an); Hung, William, Ho-shên and Shu-ch'un-yüan; Ching-shih fang-hsiang chih (see bibl. under Ulgungga), 6/7a; L.T.C.L.H.M.]

Fang Chao-ying