Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Chu Yün

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CHU Yün 朱筠 (T. 竹君, 美叔, H. 笥河), July 1, 1729–1781, Aug. 16, scholar, official and calligrapher, came from Ta-hsing (Peking) where his grandfather had settled. The ancestral home was Hsiao-shan, Chekiang. Chu Yün was born in Chou-chih, Shensi, where his father, Chu Wên-ping 朱文炳 (T. 豹采, 1696–1764), was magistrate from 1728 to 1735. He was the third of four sons. The eldest, Chu T'ang 朱堂 (T. 冠山), was assistant district magistrate of Hsin-chien, Kiangsi (1749–1757), and of Ta-li, Shensi (1761). The second, Chu Yüan 朱垣 (T. 維豐, 仲君, H. 冬泉居士, 1723–1773), was a chin-shih of 1751 who served as magistrate of Chi-yang and Ch'ang-ch'ing, Shantung, retiring in 1759 and devoting his later years to Buddhistic studies. Chu Yün became a chü-jên in 1753 and a chin-shih in 1754. He and his youngest brother, Chu Kuei [q. v.], were both members of the Hanlin Academy. Appointed in 1757 a compiler in the Wu Ying Tien (see under Chin Chien), Chu Yün assisted in the compilation of the P'ing-ting Chun-ko-êr fang-lüeh, the official record of the subjugation of Sungaria (see under Fu-hêng). Three times (in 1761, 1769 and 1771) he was associate examiner of the metropolitan examinations, and in 1768 of the Shun-t'ien provincial examination, In 1770 he was chief examiner of the Fukien provincial examination. He served as commissioner of education of Anhwei from 1771 to 1773, and filled a similar post in Fukien from 1779 to 1781.

Chu Yün is remembered as the official who suggested to Emperor Kao-tsung the collection and preservation of rare books and manuscripts and the initiation of a great bibliographical project which finally resulted in the compilation of the Imperial Manuscript Library known as the Ssŭ-k'u ch'üan-shu (see under Chi Yün). On February 7, 1772, the emperor issued a decree ordering that a search be made in every part of the empire for rare books and manuscripts to be forwarded to the capital for examination, transcription and preservation. Chu Yün, then commissioner of education of Anhwei province, memorialized the throne (December 10, 1772) on certain rare works which he himself had already assembled for the object the emperor had in view. Shortly thereafter Chu submitted another memorial in which he outlined four ways to facilitate the collection of rare books. Officials at Court, led by Liu T'ung-hsün [q. v.], advised against three of Chu's recommendations, but accepted one concerning the copying of rare books from the Ming encyclopedia, 永樂大典 Yung-lo ta-tien. [This enormous work was compiled during the years 1403–07 in 11,095 manuscript volumes. Two additional sets were transcribed in the 1560's (see under Ch'ü Shih-ssŭ), but by the time Chu Yün's project was under way only about three-fourths of one set was extant. At present only some 370 volumes are known, forty-one of these (two of them loaned) being in the Library of Congress.] The Emperor approved Chu's suggestion and at least 365 rare works were copied from the Yung-lo ta-tien, thus preserving many items which otherwise might have been lost. Another of Chu's recommendations dealt with the compilation of an annotated, descriptive catalogue, which was presented to the throne in the second moon of 1781 and later published under the title, Ssŭ-k'u ch'üan-shu tsung-mu t'i-yao (see under Chi Yün).

On March 13, 1773, the emperor issued a decree giving to the compilation of rare books and manuscripts the name Ssŭ-k'u ch'üan-shu, "Complete Library in Four Branches of Literature", because the works to be included were classified according to the four recognized divisions of Chinese literature, namely, Classics (ching 經), History (shih 史), Philosophy (tzŭ 子), and Belles-lettres (chi 集). Four sets of the Manuscript Library, each comprising more than 36,000 volumes, were completed in 1785 and three others early in 1788. Fourteen works, comprising 332 chüan, were copied from Chu Yün's private library, not including those that he and the governor of Anhwei submitted.

During his term as commissioner of education in Anhwei, Chu Yün edited and reprinted the well-known etymological dictionary, Shou-wên chieh-tzŭ (see under Tuan Yü-ts'ai) which was completed in 100 A.D. and presented to the throne in 121 A.D. He memorialized recommending that the Thirteen Classics be authentically inscribed on stones to be erected in the Imperial Academy (國子監). This suggestion was not put into effect until 1791 when the stones were carved in the facsimile calligraphy of Chiang Heng 蔣衡 (original ming 振生 T. 湘帆, 1672–1743), who had previously written the characters in a style the emperor approved. During the years 1774 to 1779 Chu Yün served on the Ssŭ-k'u Commission. He also assisted in the compilation of the Jih-hsia chiu-wên k'ao (see under Chu I-tsun). Owing to his service in many educational posts, he had a large number of admirers who regarded themselves as his pupils, among whom may be mentioned Wang Chung, Wu I, Hung Liang-chi, Sun Hsing-yen, Huang Ching-jên, Chang Hsüeh-ch'êng, and Wang Hui-tsu [qq. v.]. Other prominent contemporary scholars such as Wang Nien-sun, Shao Chin-han, and Tai Chên [qq. v.] were his friends, and worked with him at one time or another as his private secretaries.

A collection of his prose writings in 16 chüan, entitled 笥河文集 Ssŭ-ho wên-chi, was edited by his second son, Chu Hsi-kêng 朱錫庚 (T. 少白, b. 1762, chü-jên of 1788), and printed in 1815. His collected poems in 20 chüan, entitled Ssŭ-ho shih-chi (詩集), were printed earlier. Seventy-two poems, written by him in 1745 (age 17 sui), were printed in 1928 in the 殷禮在斯堂叢書 Yin-li tsai-ssŭ t'ang ts'ung-shu, under the title 乙丑集 I-ch'ou chi.

[3/128/22a; 10/23/13b; 20/3/00 (portrait); 29/5/17b; Nien-p'u by Lo Chi-tsu 羅繼組 (1931); Nien-p'u by Yao Ming-ta 姚名逹 (1933); Nien-p'u by Wang Lan-yin 王蘭蔭 in 師大月刊 Shih-ta yüeh-k'an, vol. I, no. 2; 蕭山縣志稿 Hsiao-shan hsien-chih kao (1935), chüan 18.]

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