Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Lang T'ing-chi

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LANG T'ing-chi 郎廷極 (T. 紫衡 and 紫垣, H. 北軒), May 16, 1663–1715, Feb. 25, official and scholar, was the descendant of a native of Liaotung. A son of Lang Yung-ch'ing 郎永清 (T. 定庵, 1620–1687), governor of Shantung in 1686–87, he came of a family which had had some military reputation in the Ming dynasty, but which later served the early Manchu emperors and belonged to the Chinese Bordered Yellow Banner. In 1681, at the age of nineteen (sui), he began his official career as sub-prefect of Chiang-ning, Kiangsu. After being promoted for distinguished service through various offices in the provinces of Yunnan, Shantung, Fukien, and Chekiang, he was appointed governor of Kiangsi on June 17, 1705, remaining at this post until late in 1712.

His long term as governor of Kiangsi and his intelligent interest in the local potteries at Ching-tê-chên enabled him to produce certain ceramic wares which came to be known as Lang-yao 郎窰 "made in the furnace of Lang." They are of various colors, two of which are usually regarded as characteristic of his craftsmanship, one the well-known sang de boeuf, the other an "apple green," frequently with a crackle. His name is rightfully attached to these wares and not that of Lang T'ing-tso [q. v.] as reported, with qualifications, in nearly all Western treatises on Chinese porcelain. Since the Lang wares were primarily imitations in every detail of the best products of the Hsüan-tê (1426–1436) and Ch'êng-hua (1465–1488) reign-periods, they were often mistaken for the earlier wares.

In 1712 Lang was made director-general of grain transport. He died at this post three years later, and had conferred on him the posthumous name, Wên-ch'in 温勤. He is said to have prepared a volume of collected essays and poems, but it is doubtful whether it was ever printed. A compilation of his on the art of drinking, 勝飲篇 Shêng-yin p'ien, in 18 chüan, was printed in the Yüeh-ya-t'ang ts'ung-shu (see under Wu Ch'ung-yüeh) in 1853. It was probably first printed in 1710. This, and a minor work on the scholars whose tablets were placed in the temple of Confucius, entitled 文廟從祀先賢先儒考 Wên-miao ts'ung-ssŭ hsien-hsien hsien-ju k'ao, were given notice in the Imperial Catalogue (see under Chi Yün).

The porcelain ware of Ching-tê-chên manufactured under the direction of Lang T'ing-chi is also known as K'ang-hsi tz'ŭ 康熙磁 after the reign title of Emperor Shêng-tsu who encouraged Lang in the work. In the following two reign periods (Yung-chêng and Ch'ien-lung), two officials were famous in the manufacture of porcelain at Ching-tê-chên: Nien Hsi-yao (see under Nien Kêng-yao) and T'ang Ying 唐英 (T. 俊公, 叔子, H. 蝸寄老人). Especially celebrated were the latter's products, known as T'ang-yao. T'ang was a Chinese, a member of the Plain White Banner, who had served from boyhood as a page in the Court of Emperor Shêng-tsu. In 1723, after being a servant for more than twenty years, he was apppointed a secretary in the Imperial Household. He was connected with the imperial manufactory of porcelain at Ching-tê-chên from 1724 (1728?) to 1749. In the meantime he served as supervisor of customs at Huai-an (1736–38), at Kiukiang (1739–56?), and at Canton (1750–52). So enthusiastic was he about porcelain that he gave to his literary collection the title, 陶人心語 T'ao-jên hsin-yü, "Words from the Heart of a Porcelain Maker." It consists of 5 + 14 + 1 chüan and contains many articles concerning that industry.

[1/279/6a; 3/145/32a; 3/151/10b; 4/68/1b; Ssŭ-k'u, 83/6b, 133/2a; Ch'êng Chê 程哲, 窰器說 Yao ch'i shuo, in Chao-tai ts'ung-shu, 8th installment 40/8a; Têng Chih-ch'êng 鄧之誠, 骨董瑣記 Ku-tung so-chi (1926) 1/2b; Hobson, Chinese Pottery and Porcelain (1915), vol. II, pp. 118, 121, 122, and Later Ceramic Wares of China (1925), p. 51; T'oung Pao (1923), p. 54; Pa-ch'i wên-ching (see under Shêng-yü) 58/8a; Kiangsi t'ung-chih (1881) 14/4b, 16/1b, 93/10a; 淮安府志 Huai-an fu chih (1884) 12/6a; Kuangtung t'ung-chih (1872) 44/4b.]

Fang Chao-ying