Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Cha Shên-hsing

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CHA Shên-hsing 查愼行 (T. 悔餘, H. 初白, 他山, 查田, 橘州), June 5, 1650–1727, Oct. 14, poet, was a native of Hai-ning, Chekiang. Both his father, Cha Sung-chi 查崧繼 (T. 桂浮, H. 學圃, Jan. 2, 1627–1678), who changed his name after the Ming dynasty to Cha I 查遺 (T. 逸遠), and his mother, Chung Yün 鍾韞 (T. 眉令, d. 1672), were poets. Pressed by poverty after the death of his father, Cha Shên-hsing went to Kweichow in 1679 to attend to the literary work of the governor, Yang Yung-chien 楊雍建 (T. 自西, H. 以齊, 1627–1704), who was a fellow townsman. After three years in Kweichow he returned home and became a pupil of Huang Tsung-hsi [q. v.]. In 1684 he proceeded to Peking where he became a student in the Imperial Academy at a time when Wang Shih-chên [q. v.] was libationer. In 1686 he was engaged by the Grand Secretary, Mingju [q. v.], to teach his son, K'uei-hsü [q. v.]. Early in the autumn of 1689 he attended a convivial gathering at which the recently completed drama, Ch'ang-shêng tien (see under Hung Shêng), was enacted. Unfortunately the performance took place within the mourning period for a female member of the imperial family when amusements, particularly music, were forbidden. For this offense he was dismissed from the Imperial Academy and debarred from further examinations. But by changing his name from Cha Ssŭ-lien 查嗣璉 (T. 夏重), by which he was known up to this time, to Cha Shên-hsing meaning "watchful of conduct", he was able to take the examinations later. Other notables involved in the same case were Hung Shêng [q. v.], author of the drama Ch'ang-shêng tien, and Chao Chih-hsin [q. v.].

Cha Shên-hsing was then engaged by Hsü Ch'ien-hsüeh [q. v.] to assist in the compilation of the Ta-Ch'ing i-t'ung chih or Comprehensive Geography of the Empire. The two left Peking together early in 1690 to carry on the work near Soochow. Two years later Cha went to Kiukiang where he was invited to compile the gazetteer at Lu-shan, a mountain range more familiar to westerners as Kuling. In 1693 he returned to Peking and stayed in the home of Mingju, taking his chü-jên that autumn in the provincial examination of Shun-t'ien-fu. His eldest son, Cha K'o-chien 查克建 (T. 求雯, H. 用民, 1668–1715), likewise became a chü-jên in Chekiang in the same year. In 1694 his pupil, K'uei-hsu, who had recently been appointed sub-expositor of the Hanlin Academy, invited him for a brief visit in Peking. After 1695 Cha travelled nearly two years in Honan, Anhwei, and Kiangsi returning to Peking early in 1697. In that year his son, Cha K'o-chien, became a chin-shih and the two returned home together. In 1698 Cha accompanied his cousin, Chu I-tsun [q. v.], on a journey to Fukien lasting half a year. Late in 1699 his wife died and soon thereafter he went north to compete in the metropolitan examination of 1700, but again failed to pass. His second brother, Cha Ssŭ-li 查嗣瑮 (T. 德尹, 朗山, H. 查浦, 晚晴軒主人, 1652–1733), passed that examination, became a chin-shih and entered the Hanlin Academy. Cha Shên-hsing returned home but before long (1702) joined his son, Cha K'o-chien, who was then magistrate of Shu-lu, Chihli. On the recommendation of Chang Yü-shu [q. v.], he was summoned to Tê-chou, Shantung, where he was granted an audience with Emperor Shêng-tsu who was detained from proceeding south because his son, Yin-ssŭ [q. v.], took ill. When the emperor returned to Peking Cha was given an examination and, though he was only a chü-jên, he was ordered to serve in the Imperial Study (南書房). Three other chü-jên were accorded the same honor, namely Ho Ch'o [q. v.], Ch'ien Ming-shih (see under Nien Kêng-yao), and Wang Hao (see under Tai Ming-shih). All four became chin-shih and entered the Hanlin Academy in 1703. Cha won approval as a court poet, and early in 1705 was made a Hanlin compiler. In 1706 his third brother, Cha Ssŭ-t'ing [q. v.], also became a chin-shih, entering the Hanlin Academy as a bachelor.

While at court Cha Shên-hsing served as one of the compilers of the classified anthology of poetry, 佩文齋詠物詩選 P'ei-wên chai yung-wu-shih hsüan (completed in 1706 and printed in 1707), and of the phrase dictionary, P'ei-wên yün-fu (see under Ts'ao Yin). After his retirement in 1713 he spent most of his time at home except for short visits to Fukien (1715), Kwangtung (1717-1718), and Kiangsi (1719-1720). While sojourning in Kiangsi he edited the provincial gazetteer, 西江志 Hsi-chiang chih which was printed in 1720 in 207 chüan. For nearly ten years he and his second brother, Cha Ssŭ-li, who had retired in 1715, lived quietly together in their native place. In 1724 the three brothers, now all in their sixties and seventies, and a fourth, Cha chin 查謹 (T. 信虔), the youngest of the family who was born about 1665 and lived to the age of 93 (sui), had a happy reunion. But unfortunately two years later (1726) Cha Ssŭ-t'ing was tried for covertly attacking Emperor Shih-tsung in his writings, with the result that all male members of the family were placed under arrest, escorted to Peking and imprisoned. Possibly the real cause of their calamity was the intimate association of the Cha brothers with K'uei-hsü, and their connection with the thorny problem of Emperor Shih-tsung's succession to the throne (see under Yin-t'ang and Lungkodo). In 1727 Cha Ssŭ-t'ing died in prison and Cha Ssŭ-li was exiled. But Cha Shên-hsing was released, possibly for his ability as a poet, or for the great loyalty to the preceding emperor which his writings showed. He died at home about three months later. As a poet Cha Shên-hsing was highly praised by the compilers of the Imperial Catalogue (see under Chi Yün) and was compared with such famous poets of the Sung dynasty as Su Shih (see under Sung Lao) and Lu Yu (see under Chao I). His collected verse in 50 chüan, entitled 敬業堂詩集, Ching-yeh-t'ang shih-chi, was edited chronologically and printed in 1719—a supplement in 6 chüan was printed after his death. This, together with a work on the Changes, 周易玩辭集解 Chou-i wan-tz'ŭ chi-chieh, in 10 chüan and a commentary on the poems of Su Shih, 補註東坡編年詩 Pu-chu Tung-p'o pien-nien shih, completed in 1702 and printed in 1761, was copied into the Imperial Library (Ssŭ-k'u ch'üan-shu, see under Chi Yün). He also had several titles of miscellaneous notes among which the 得樹樓雜鈔 Tê-shu-lou tsa-ch'ao, in 15 chüan, and the 人海記 Jên-hai chi arranged about 1713, are well known. He wrote a drama, entitled 陰陽判 Yin-yang p'an.


[Ch'ên Ching-chang 陳敬璋, 查他山先生年譜 Cha T'a-shan hsien-shêng nien-p'u occurs in Chia-yeh-t'ang ts'ung-shu (see under Cha Chi-tso); Hai-ning-chou chih kao (1922) chüan 13, 27, 29; 1/489/29b; 2/71/23b; 3/122/38a; 4/47/6b; 20/2/00 portrait; 26/1/42a; Ssŭ-k'u 6/8a, 154/2a, 173/10a; Ching-yeh-t'ang chi.]

Fang Chao-ying