Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Li Tu-no

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LI Tu-no 勵杜訥 (T. 近公, 譫園), Sept. 3, 1628–1703, Sept. 7, calligrapher and official, was a native of Ching-hai, Chihli, although his ancestors were originally from Shaohsing, Chekiang. He married into a Tu family and used that surname until 1682 when by imperial permission he resumed the surname Li. While still a licentiate (hsiu-ts'ai) he passed first in an examination held in 1663 to select calligraphers to copy the official chronicles of Emperor Shih-tsu (see under Fu-lin). On the completion of this work he was rewarded with a position as sub-prefect of Fu-ning-chou, Fukien, but before he set out for this post he was appointed to serve in the Imperial Study. When a new tablet was ordered to be placed on one of the Palace gates, his calligraphy was selected by the emperor in preference to many others submitted by Hanlin graduates. Owing to his skill as a calligrapher, he was granted in 1680 the rank of Hanlin compiler just as if he had passed the special examination known as po-hsüeh-hung-tz'ŭ (see under P'êng Sun-yü) which was given in the previous year. Promoted to various offices, he finally rose in 1703 to a vice-presidency in the Board of Punishments, but died in the same year.

Li was noted for the conscientiousness and care with which he performed his official duties, not once having been cited for an error. In his memorials to the throne he made useful proposals for the improvement of the government service—one being that provincial governors should make annual reports. Two years after his death when Emperor Shêng-tsu stopped at Ching-hai on one of his tours to the south, the posthumous title, Wên-k'o 文恪, was conferred upon him. In 1723 his tablet was placed in the Temple of Eminent Statesmen and in 1735 he was given the honorary title of Grand Tutor. His son, Li T'ing-i [q. v.]; his grandson, Li Tsung-wan [q. v.]; and his great-grandson, Li Shou-ch'ien 勵守謙 (T. 自牧, H. 檢之, chin-shih of 1745), also became members of the Hanlin Academy. In the two and a half centuries and more of Ch'ing rule only five other families are said to have had in like manner four consecutive generations admitted to the Academy.


[1/272/2b; 3/60/1a; 26/1/20a; 29/2/6b; 32/3/32a; Ching-hai-hsien chih (1929) 酉集 69a.]

Tu Lien-chê