Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Ku Kuang-ch'i

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KU Kuang-ch'i 顧廣圻 (T. 千里, H. 澗薲, 澗蘋, 鑑平, 思適居士, 無悶子, 一雲山人), 1776–1835, Mar. 17, scholar, was a native of Wu-hsien, Kiangsu, and a descendant of Ku Yeh-wang 顧野王 (T. 希馮, 519–581), author of the lexicon, 玉篇 Yü-p'ien, completed in 543 A.D. His father, Ku Wên-i 顧文熤 (T. 庭有, 1740–1771), and several ancestors before him, were physicians by profession. His uncle, Ku Wên-hsüan 顧文烜 (T. 玉田), was a noted physician in Yangchow and his cousin, Ku Chih-k'uei 顧之逵 (T. 抱冲, 1753–1797), was a bibliophile who owned a large library named Hsiao tu-shu tui 小讀書堆. As his father died young, Ku Kuang-ch'i was brought up by his mother (née Chêng 鄭, 1746–1816). Despite great difficulties she managed to rear this sickly and only son who later became a brilliant scholar. In 1790 Ku Kuang-ch‘i became a disciple of Chiang Shêng [q. v.] from whom he obtained his technique in textual criticism and with whom he stayed until the latter's death. In this way Ku Kuang-ch'i had an opportunity to associate with many famous local scholars, such as Chou Hsi-tsan He 周錫瓚 (T. 漪塘, H. 香巖, d. 1819); Yüan T'ing-t'ao 袁廷檮 (T. 又凱, H. 綬階, 1764–1810); P'êng Chao-sun 彭兆蓀 (T. 湘涵, H. 甘亭, 1769–1821); Niu Shu-yü; Huang P'ei-lieh [qq. v.], and others. But despite his scholastic ability, he was throughout his life weighed down by poverty, and so was obliged to live at the home of Huang P'ei-lieh and work for him for seven years beginning in 1794.

During the years 1801–02 Ku took part in the compilation of the Shih-san-ching chu-shu chiao-k'an-chi (see under Juan Yüan). In the spring of 1804 he visited the island of Chiao-shan (see under Ma Yüeh-kuan), and then, at the call of Chang Hsiang-yün 張祥雲 (T. 鞠園), prefect of Lu-chou (1799–1806), he went to Lu-chou where he taught in the prefect's home. In the following year he was invited to Yangchow by Chang Tun-jên 張敦仁 (T. 仲䈞, 古餘, 1754–1834) who was prefect of that area in the years 1804–05. There Ku became acquainted with a famous bibliophile, Ch'in Ên-fu 秦恩復 (T. 近光, 澹生, H. 敦夫, 1760–1843), owner of the library, Shih-yen chai 石研齋, which was housed in a magnificent structure known as the Wu-ssŭ hsien-kuan 五笥仙館. Before long Chang Tun-jên was transferred to the prefectship of Chiang-ning (Nanking). Ku accompanied him and worked for both Chang and Sun Hsing-yen [q. v.] in whose residence he lived. Three years later he moved with Sun to Yangchow where he remained until his mother's death, late in 1816, forced him to return home. Shortly after the death of Sun, in February 1818, Ku was invited by Wu Tzŭ (see under Wu Hsi-ch'i) to Yangchow to edit the manuscripts left by Sun. He finished this assignment in the following year and returned home. In 1821, at the call of Hung Ying 洪瑩 (T. 賓華, H. 鈐庵, chin-shih of 1809), Ku returned several times to Yangchow, but about the year 1828 retired to his native place. Two years later he was affected by paralysis, and died after four years in bed.

Ku Kuang-ch'i spent most of his life as a collator of books—more than a hundred texts of various kinds being subjected to his revision. But the majority of the books which he collated and edited were published under the names of the above-mentioned scholars who supported him financially. He assisted Huang P'ei-lieh in editing the Wang-pên Li-shih k'an-wu, and collating the Kuo-yü, and other works (see under Huang P'ei-lieh). The following titles, reprinted by Sun Hsing-yen, were chiefly collated and edited by Ku: T'ang-lü shu-i; Ku-wên yüan; Pao-p'o tzŭ; Ku-wên shang-shu k'ao-i (for these see under Sun); 華陽國志 Hua-yang kuo-chih, a topographical account of West China, completed about the year 347 A.D.; 紹熙雲間志 Shao-hsi yün-chien chih, a topography of Sungkiang compiled in 1193, etc. For Chang Tun-jên, Ku collated the Sung editions of the Book of Rites (Li-chi) and the Decorum Ritual (I-li, see under Lu Wên-ch'ao), and the 1501 edition of the 鹽鐵論 Yen-t'ieh lun, or "Discourses on Salt and Iron," compiled by Huan K'uan 桓寬 (T. 次公) in the first century B.C. The corrected texts of these three works were printed in the years 1806–07 under Chang's name. At the request of Hu K'o-chia 胡克家 (T. 占蒙, H. 果亭, 1757–1816), Ku and P'êng Chao-sun collated the 1181 edition of the Wên-hsüan (see under Wêng Fang-kang) and the Yüan edition of the Tzŭ-chih t'ung-chien (see under Yen Yen) annotated by Hu San-hsing (see under Ch'ien Ta-hsin). The former was printed in 1809 with critical remarks by Ku Kuang-ch'i in 10 chüan; and the latter was printed in 1817—both under the name of Hu. For Wu Tzŭ, Ku collated and edited the Yen-tzŭ ch'un-ch'iu (see under Liu Fêng-lu) and the 韓非子 Han-fei tzŭ. The critical remarks on the Wên-hsüan and the Han-fei tzŭ, chiefly written by Ku, are still regarded as authoritative. For Ch'in Ên-fu, whose library he often visited, Ku edited the Chih-p'ing (1064–68) edition of the 法言 Fa-yen, an apocryphal book attributed to Yang Hsiung 揚雄 (T. 子雲, 53 B.C.–18 A.D.), and written in imitation of the Analects; and some other works of the T'ang period. For Hung Ying, he collated and reprinted the 宋名臣言行錄 Sung ming-ch'ên yen-hsing lu, "Memoirs of Sung Officials," originally compiled by Chu Hsi and later revised. The Seikadō Library, Tokyo (see under Lu Hsin-yüan), has several rare manuscripts which bear the annotations of Ku Kuang-ch'i.

With the financial support of Ku Chih-k'uei, he collated and edited, during the years 1795–96, the Sung edition of the 列女傳 Lieh-nü chuan, "Noted Women of Antiquity," a biographical work in 8 chüan, commonly attributed to Liu Hsiang 劉向 (T. 子政, first century B.C.) and later provided with illustrations purporting to be by the fourth century painter, Ku K'ai-chih 顧愷之 (T. 長康, H. 虎頭). Expanded editions appeared in 1403 and in 1779 with other illustrations. But in 1796 Ku published his emended text of the ancient Lieh-nü chuan, in 8 chüan, without illustrations. In 1806 he collated and reprinted the 1538 edition of the 爾雅 Êr-ya, a lexicon with the words and phrases arranged under categories, which was published not earlier than the second century B. C. and was later provided with commentaries by Kuo P'u 郭樸 (T. 景純, 276–324) and by Hsing Ping 邢昺 (T. 叔明, 932–1010). The two last mentioned works have been handed down as his own.

Ku Kuang-ch'i was one of the great students of textual criticism of the Ch'ing period, but for a long time his contribution was little recognized owing to the fact that almost all his works were published under the names of other scholars. As evidence of his scholastic ability and foresight it is worth mentioning that in July 1805 he completed the collation of a manuscript copy of the 元朝秘史 Yüan-ch'ao pi-shih, "Secret History of the Mongols," which he found in the library of Chang Hsiang-yün. This work is a phonetic transcription in Chinese characters with a Chinese translation (made in 1369) of the Mongholum Niucha Tobchiyan, completed in 1240 and phonetically transcribed into Mongol by means of Uigur characters. Ku Kuang-ch'i was the first scholar of the Ch'ing period to take notice of this first Chinese edition, and modern scholarship owes much to his fore- sight in bringing it again to notice. Similar credit belongs to the Archimandrite, I. K. Palladius (1817–1878) who in 1866 translated, the corrupt Chinese text into Russian. In 1872 he, like Ku Kuang-ch'i, found a complete text in Peking which he made known to the western world.

Ku Kuang-ch'i also had literary talent—a poem, entitled 百宋一廛賦 Po-Sung i-ch'an fu, which he dedicated to Huang P'ei-lieh, being regarded as his masterpiece. His literary collection, 思適齋集 Ssŭ-shih chai chi, 18 chüan, was published in 1849 by his grandsons, and was later reprinted in various ts'ung-shu. This collection contains a number of prefaces and postscripts valued by bibliophiles. A supplementary collection of his writings on bibliographical matters appeared in 1935 under the title 思適齋集外書跋 Ssŭ-shih chai chi wai shu-pa.


[1/487/16b; 3/422/39a; 13/2/18b; 顧千里年譜 Kosenri nempu by Kanda Kiichirō 神田喜一郎 in Shinagaku, vol. 1, nos. 11, 12 (1921), translation into Chinese in 國學 Kuo-hsüeh, vol. 1, no. 1; Ku Ch'ien-li nien-p'u by Wang Tsung-yen 汪宗衍 in Lib. Sc. Quart., vol. 4, no. 2 (1930); Ku Ch'ien-li nien-p'u by Chao I-ch'ên 趙詒琛 in 復廬叢書 Fu-lu ts'ung-shu (1930); Ch'ên Yüan 陳垣, 元秘史譯音用字考 Yüan pi-shih i-yin yung-tzŭ k'ao (1934).]

Hiromu Momose