Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Liu Wên-ch'i

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LIU Wên-ch'i 劉文淇 (T. 孟瞻), 1789–1856, scholar, was a native of I-chêng, Kiangsu, but lived in Yangchow where his father, Liu Hsi-yü 劉錫瑜 (T. 懷瑾, H. 琢齋, 1749–1840), practiced medicine. After studying with his father's friend, Pao Shih-ch'ên [q. v.], and with a local scholar, Ling Shu (see below), Liu Wên-ch'i became a hsiu-ts'ai in 1807. About the same time he began a life-long friendship with Liu Pao-nan [q. v.]. He became a senior licentiate in 1819 and visited Peking in the following year. During the succeeding years he competed fourteen times in the Kiangnan provincial examination at Nanking but was unsuccessful, and therefore remained a private teacher the rest of his life.

Liu Wên-ch'i was often employed by men of wealth to assist them in their scholarly activities. During the years 1848–49 he was engaged by Tung Lien 董濂 (T. 石塘), assistant Salt Controller of the Yangchow region, in the annotation of two histories, 北史 Pei-shih and 南史 Nan-shih, of the Northern and Southern Dynasties respectively. Early in the eighteen-forties he and Lo Shih-lin [q. v.] collated for Ts'ên Chien-kung (see under Wu Ch'ung-yüeh) the Old History of the T'ang Dynasty (Chiu T'ang-shu), which was printed by Ts'ên in 1843. In addition Liu wrote a criticism of the entire text, entitled 舊唐書校勘記 Chiu Tang-shu chiao-k'an chi, 66 chüan, which was printed by Ts'ên in 1846 under Liu's name.

Liu Wên-ch'i was the first Ch'ing scholar to set his hand to a critical study of the entire text of Tso's Commentary to the Spring and Autumn Annals. His work on that commentary, entitled 左傳舊疏考證 Tso-chuan chiu-shu k'ao-chêng, is reported to have consisted of some 80 chüan. As this laborious work was not completed before his death, his son, Liu Yü-sung [q. v.], continued the task. A part of this work, which criticizes at many points the comments of Kung Ying-ta (see under Yen Jo-chü), was printed in 1838 under the title Tso-chuan chiu-shu k'ao-chêng (考正), 8 chüan. It was reprinted in the 湖北崇文書局叢書 Hupeh Ch'ung-wên shu-chü ts'ung-shu (1877) and in the Huang-Ch'ing ching-chieh hsü-pien (see under Juan Yüan). In the field of historical geography Liu Wên-ch'i not only collated and criticized the Yü-ti chi-shêng (see under Wu Ch'ung-yüeh), but also wrote a criticism in 4 chüan of two early gazetteers of Chinkiang: 嘉定鎭江志 Chia-ting Chên-chiang chih, 22 chüan, compiled in the Chia-ting reign-period (1208–25); and Chih-shun (至順) Chên-chang chih, 21 chüan, compiled in the Chih-shun reign-period (1330–33). These gazetteers were printed with Liu's criticism about 1844 by a native merchant named Pao Liang-ch'êng 包良丞. Two other geographical works by Liu are entitled, 楚漢諸侯疆域考 Ch'u-Han chu-hou chiang-yü kao, 3 chüan (1876), and 揚州水道記 Yangchow shui-tao chi, 4 chüan (1845). The former is a study of the fiefs of the lords subject to Hsiang Chi 項籍 (T. 羽, 232–202, B.C.), a rival of the founder of the Former Han dynasty, Liu Pang 劉邦 (T. 季, posthumous title as Emperor 高祖, 247–195, B.C.); and the latter is a history of the water-courses in the Yangchow region. A collection of Liu's prose and verse was printed in 1883 in 11 chüan, under the title 青溪書屋集 Ch'ing-hsi shu-wu chi. It is reported that he also left a collection of miscellaneous notes, entitled 讀書隨筆 Tu-shu sui-pi, 20 chüan.

Liu Wên-ch'i's maternal uncle, and at the same time his master, Ling Shu 淩曙 (T. 曉樓, 1775–1829), was a private teacher in Yangchow, who late in life served as assistant to Juan Yüan and as a tutor to the latter's sons. As a critic of the Kung-yang Commentary to the Spring and Autumn Annals (see under Liu Fêng-lu) Ling Shu produced the Ch'un-ch'iu Kung-yang li-shu (禮疏), 11 chüan (1819), and a few other works. He also annotated the 春秋繁露 Ch'un-ch'iu fan-lu, 17 chüan, an ancient history written by Tung Chung-shu 董仲舒 (philosopher, second century B.C.) based on the Kung-yang Commentary to the Spring and Autumn Annals. Ling printed (1815) these annotations with the text of the Ch'un-ch'iu fan-lu. On the Four Books he wrote the 四書典故覈 Ssŭ-shu tien-ku ho, 4 chüan (1808). All the works by Ling Shu were collected under the title 斐雲閣淩氏叢書 Fei-yün ko Ling-shih ts'ung-shu (or simply Ling-shih ts'ung-shu) and were reprinted with a preface by Juan Yüan dated 1849. Five of Ling's works were printed in the Huang-Ch'ing ching-chieh and its continuation (see under Juan Yüan).


[1/488/21b; 2/69/41b; 5/74/2a; T'ung-i tang wên-chi (see under Liu Yü-sung) 6/66b; Ch'ing-hsi shu-wu chi (see above, with portrait); I-chih chai wên-ch'ao (see under Ting Yen); Preface to the Nan-pei-shih pu-chih (see under Wang Shih-to); for Ling Shu, 2/69/39a; 3/422/29a; 5/74/3a.]

Hiromu Momose