Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Nikan (d. 1652)

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NIKAN 尼堪, d. 1652, age 43 (sui), member of the Imperial Family, was the third son of Cuyen [q. v.] and a grandson of Nurhaci [q. v.]. After taking part in wars against the Dolot and other Mongol tribes, he was associated with Dodo [q. v.] in 1635 in the latter's attempt to engage the attention of the Chinese on the eastern front while other armies invaded Shansi from the north. In the next year he received the rank of beise and accompanied Dodo into Korea. From 1639 on he was in the expedition led by Ajige and Dorgon [qq. v.] which carried the war on towards Shanhaikuan, and when this pass was forced in 1644 he received promotion to beile. Until 1648 he served chiefly in the west of China with Dodo and Haoge [q. v.]. Like Bolo [q. v.], he was a supporter of Dorgon and in October 1648 was given a second degree princedom designated Ching-chin Chün-wang 敬謹郡王. Shortly afterwards, he was sent to Shansi at the head of the expedition against the rebel, Chiang Hsiang [q. v.]. He was then promoted to Ch'in-wang 親王, or prince of the first degree, and in 1650 was associated with Mandahai [q. v.] and Bolo in directing the work of the Six Boards. Within nine months he was twice degraded in rank on minor charges and was twice reinstated. He turned against Dorgon after the latter died and so kept his position. For a time he was put in charge of the Board of Ceremonies, and in 1652 was made head of the Imperial Clan Court. On August 18, 1652 he was given the title of Ting-yüan Ta Chiang-chün 定遠大將軍, and proceeded against the Ming loyalist, Li Ting-kuo [q. v.], in Hunan. At Heng-chou, while pursuing Li's general, Ma Chin-chung 馬進忠 (T. 葵于), he was surrounded by the enemy and died in battle. His body was brought to Peking and buried with honors, and the posthumous name, Chuang 莊, was conferred upon him. Nikan's wife was a niece of Ebilun [q. v.].

In 1659 Nikan was posthumously accused, among other things, of having appropriated for his own use part of Dorgon's confiscated property. But because he had died in battle for the dynasty, his hereditary rank was allowed to continue. In 1669 his son, Lambu 蘭布 (d. 1678), was reduced to a prince of the fifth degree for concealing the misdemeanors of his wife's grandfather, Oboi [q. v.]. Lambu's descendants inherited the lower rank of a sixth degree princedom, but in 1778 Emperor Kao-tsung, in honor of Nikan, raised that rank one degree and gave it the rights of perpetual inheritance.

[1/222/3b; 2/2/34b; 3/ shou 7/1a; 34/128/5a.]

George A. Kennedy