Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Ma Yüeh-kuan

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MA Yüeh-kuan 馬曰琯 (T. 秋玉, H. 嶰谷), 1688–1755, July 29, and his younger brother, Ma Yüeh-lu 馬曰璐 (T. 佩兮, H. 半槎, 1697–after 1766), were both poets and bibliophiles. Their ancestral home was Ch'i-mên, Anhwei, but as the family was engaged in the salt business at Yangchow, Kiangsu, the brothers regarded the latter place as their home. For this reason, and also by virtue of their literary accomplishments, they were known as "The Two Mas of Yangchow" (揚州二馬). Ma Yüeh-lu was recommended as a suitable competitor in the po-hsüeh hung-tz'ŭ examination of 1736 (see under Ch'ên Chao-lun), but declined to participate. The library of the Ma family, known as Ts'ung-shu lou 叢書樓, was rich not only in books but also in examples of calligraphy, paintings, rubbings, and engravings.

When in later years (1772) the Imperial Manuscript Library, Ssŭ-k'u ch'üan-shu (see under Chi Yün), was instituted, Ma Yüeh-lu's son, Ma Yü 馬裕 (T. 元益, H. 話山), submitted about 700 works for transcription, and was rewarded with a set of the encyclopedia, Ku-chin t'u-shu chi-ch'êng (see under Ch'ên Mêng-lei), an honor also conferred on three other bibliophiles who each submitted more than 500 items to the Ssŭ-k'u editors. The titles of the 229 works that were first submitted by Ma Yü are listed in an old manuscript catalogue preserved in the Library of Congress, under the title, 呈送書目 Ch'êng-sung shu-mu. They also appear in the collectanea, Han-fên lou mi-chi (see under P'êng Sun-i) under the title 進呈書目 Chin-ch'êng shu-mu. Among the family's studio names the Hsiao ling-lung shan-kuan 小玲瓏山館 is the best known. The fame and the richness of the library and the cordiality of its owners attracted many scholars to it. Such well known figures as Ch'üan Tsu-wang, Hang Shih-chün, and Li Ê [qq. v.], were friends of the Ma brothers and sojourned with them. We are told that it was principally in their library that Ch'üan Tsu-wang wrote his K'un-hsieh chi-wên san-chien, and Li Ê his Sung-shih chi-shih. It was from the Ma brothers, too, that Lu Chien-tsêng [q. v.], for two terms (1737–38 and 1753–62) Salt Commissioner of the Liang-Huai region, received help in printing Wang Shih-chên's [q. v.] Yü-yang kan-chiu chi and Chu I-tsun's [q. v.] Ching-i k'ao.

The collected literary works of Ma Yüeh-kuan were entitled 沙河逸老小稿 Sha-ho i-lao hsiao-kao in 6 chüan, and his poems in irregular metre (tz'ŭ) were named 嶰谷詞 Hsieh-ku tz'ŭ. Ma Yüeh-kuan also compiled two collections of verse written by himself, his brother, and their friends on pleasure trips: one entitled 林屋唱酬集 Lin-wu ch'ang-ch'ou chi, on excursions to Soochow, Kiangsu, in 1752; the other, 焦山紀遊集 Chiao-shan chi-yu chi, on boat trips to Chiao-shan, an island in the Yangtze River, opposite Yangchow. Ma Yüeh-lu's collected literary works in 6 chüan, with 2 chüan of tz'ŭ appended, were entitled 南齋集 Nan-chai chi. All the afore-mentioned works appear in the Yüeh-ya t'ang ts'ung-shu (see under Wu Ch'ung-yüeh).


[3/435/17a, 20a; 20/2/00 (portrait); 31/4/12b; Ts'ang-shu chi-shih shih (see under P'an Tsu-yin) 5/9b; Hui-chou-fu chih (1827) 11/4/46a, b.]

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