Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Hesu

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HESU 和素 (T. 存齋, 純德), 1652–1718, Manchu official and translator, was a member of the Wanyen clan and of the Bordered Yellow Banner. He was the second son of Asitan [q. v.] and was well versed in Manchu and Chinese. About the age of twenty he became a government clerk, and thereafter was promoted to the post of an assistant department director in the Imperial Household in charge of the bullion vaults where he carried out a reorganization which rendered further embezzlement difficult. Later, as a department director in the Imperial Stud, he won the recognition of Emperor Shêng-tsu, and when the emperor wanted a competent and serious tutor for his sons he appointed Hesu to that post. Once Hesu was discharged, but was recalled after a few days and was given the rank of an assistant department director in the Imperial Armory, retaining his duties as tutor to the princes. Thereafter he was promoted, until in 1712 he held the post of reader in the Grand Secretariat, in charge of the Manchu-Chinese Translation Office, the Printing Office, and the Book-bindery; and was captain of a company. For many years he taught the princes, and finally retired in 1712, highly respected for his integrity and honesty and esteemed as one of the most able Manchu translators. He died six years later.

P. Parrenin in a letter dated 1740 gives the following valuable account of Hesu: "Ho-sou, dont le nom est célèbre dans l'empire, l'a traduit en langue tartare [i.e. the 醒世要言 Hsing-shih yao-yen, Jalan de ulhibure oyonggo gisun-i bithe, translated in 1704]. C'est lui qui a enseigné à la plupart des enfans de l'empereur Cang-hi les langues tartare et chinoise, qui a présidé à toutes les traductions des King [經] et de I'histoire chinoise [i.e. the 資治通鑑綱目 Tzŭ-chih t'ung-chien kang-mu, ed. 1691], et qui a été le principal auteur du dictionnaire, dans lequel on a rassemblé tous les mots de la langue tartare, expliqués dans la même langue [i.e. the 清文鑑 Ch'ing-wên chien of 1708]. Il est mort depuis peu d'années, avec la réputation d'un des plus habiles Mantcheoux qu'il y ait eu en ces deux langues." (Lettres édifiantes et curieuses, ed. 1843, vol. III, p. 750).

In addition to his labors on the Manchu versions of the above mentioned works, he edited a ts'ung-shu of eight works in seven volumes, entitled 七本頭 Ch'i pên-t'ou, which included, among others, his revision of the previous translation of the Su-shu (see under Dahai), the T'ung-chien tsung-lun (see under Asitan), the Hsing-shih yao-yen and the Hsiao-ching. He also translated a collection of ancient melodies of poems, entitled 太古遺音 T'ai-ku i-yin by Yang Lun 楊掄 (H. 桐庵, 鶴漵), a musician of Nanking who lived in the early seventeenth century. In his joint Manchu-Chinese text Hesu renamed the work 琴譜合璧 Ch'in-p'u ho-pi, 18 chüan, and this was copied into the Imperial Manuscript Library (see under Chi Yün).

[3/74/補錄; 3/75/補錄; 4/52/27b; Fuchs, Beiträge zur Mandjurishen Bibliographie und Literatur (1936) p. 25; Ssŭ-k'u 113/9a, 114/8a; (see also bibliography under Asitan).]

Walter Fuchs