Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Fan Ching-wên

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FAN Ching-wên 范景文 (T. 夢章, H. 質公 and 思仁), Nov. 29, 1587–1644, Apr. 25, Ming official, poet and painter, native of Wu-ch'iao, Chihli, was the son of a prefect of Nan-ning, Kwangsi. After becoming a chin-shih in 1613 he made a good record as police magistrate in Tung-ch'ang, Shantung, and was promoted to the post of assistant director in the Board of Civil Appointments. He retired in 1620, was reappointed a director in the same Board in 1625, but resigned after less than a month as a result of difficulties with the eunuch Wei Chung-hsien [q. v.]. Made governor of Honan in 1629, he drilled a model army which he brought to the defense of the capital when it was threatened by a Manchu incursion in the following spring. He remained for two years in Tungchow (twelve miles east of Peking) to assist in defense operations, and then retired on account of his father's death. In 1635 he was made president of the Board of War at Nanking and maintained a firm resistance to the bandit-leader, Chang Hsien-chung [q. v.].

In 1642 Fan Ching-wên was summoned to Peking and made president of the Board of Works. Two years later, soon after he was promoted to a Grand Secretary, the capital was taken by Li Tzŭ-ch'êng [q. v.]. Believing that the emperor had fled safely to the south, he committed suicide by throwing himself into a well after the bandit forces entered the city. For this, his chief claim to fame, he was given the posthumous, title of Grand Tutor and was canonized by the southern Ming government as Wên-chên 文貞. In 1652 he was honored, along with others, by the Manchu government and canonized as Wên-chung 文忠. (One source states that he was finally canonized as Wên-lieh 文烈.) His literary works, 范文忠公集 Fan Wên-chung kung chi, are found in 10 chüan in the collection Chi-fu ts'ung-shu (see under Ts'ui Shu).

[M.1/265/1a; M.2/382/1a; M.3/252/1a; M.30/7/1b; M.39/8/1a; M.40/72/7a; M.58/上/1b; M.84/辛3/1a; Wang Ch'ung-chien [q. v.], Ch'ing-hsiang t'ang wên-chi, 7/1a; Wu-ch'iao-hsien chih (1673) 6/10a, 10/8a; Wang Sun-hsi 王孫錫, Fan Wên-chung kung nien-p'u; Waley, Arthur, An Index of Chinese Artists, p. 28.]

George A. Kennedy