Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Pien Yung-yü

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PIEN Yung-yü 卞永譽 (T. 令之, H. 仙容), d. 1712, age 68 (sui), official and connoisseur of painting and calligraphy, came from a family of Liaotung which served the Manchus under the Chinese Bordered Red Banner. His grandfather, Pien Wei-fêng 卞爲鳳 and his father, Pien San-yüan 卞三元 (T. 月華, H. 桂林, d. 1697, age 82 sui), both became chü-jên in 1641 at the second civil service examination that was held at Mukden in the reign of Abahai [q. v.]. During the Shun-chih period, Pien San-yüan served at various posts in the provinces of Shantung, Kiangsu, Hupeh, Shensi, Shansi and Kweichow. Promoted to the post of governor-general of Yunnan in 1661, he allied himself with Wu San-kuei [q. v.]. However, as he retired early in 1669, he was not involved in Wu's rebellion, which lasted from 1673 to 1681. He died in 1697 and was canonized as K'o-min 恪敏. But all honors and ranks bestowed upon him in the K'ang-hsi reign period were withdrawn by Emperor Kao-tsung in 1781 because he had been on intimate terms with Wu San-kuei.

Pien Yung-yü started his official career as assistant commissary of records (知事) in the Office of Transmission and in 1677 was appointed prefect of Hsing-hua-fu in Fukien. In 1680 he was made intendant of couriers of Shantung, a post that was abolished two years later. He was appointed provincial judge of Chekiang in 1688 and, in the next year, financial commissioner of the same province. Beginning in 1690, and for seven years thereafter, he served as governor of Fukien. After three years of mourning for the death of his father, he was made junior vice-president of the Board of Punishments and then senior vice-president of the same Board in 1700. He retired in 1711 and died the next year.

In his youthful days in Peking Pien Yung-yü had the opportunity not only to make the acquaintance of such expert collectors as Sun Ch'êng-tsê and Ts'ao Jung [qq. v.], but also to study many original masterpieces and to make notes on what he saw or heard. While in Shantung during the years 1680–1682, he completed a chronological list (with annotations of his own) of masterpieces of painting and calligraphy, in 60 chüan, entitled 式古堂書畫彙攷 Shih-ku t'ang shu-hua hui-k'ao. For this he consulted more than 130 works, collecting information about each article he listed. This compendium was copied into the Imperial Manuscript Library (see under Chi Yün), and some errors in it are enumerated in the Ssŭ-k'u Catalogue. Another work of Pien Yung-yü was a chronological list of about 6,700 painters and calligraphers from the earliest times down to the end of the Ming Dynasty. Under each artist there is given biographical information drawn from various sources, the information being arranged chronologically. This work, in 80 chüan (58 on calligraphers and 22 on painters), entitled Shih-ku t'ang chu-mo shu-hua chi (朱墨書畫記) was compiled during the years 1691–1697 while he was in Fukien. It was never printed. The original manuscript, three chüan of which are missing, is preserved in the National Library of Peiping.

Pien Yung-yü, his father, and his younger brother, Pien Yung-chi 卞永吉 (T. 謙之) each had a few poems reproduced in the anthology, Hsi-ch'ao ya-sung chi (see under T'ieh-pao). Pien Yung-yü's daughter, Pien Shu-yüan 卞淑媛 was a painter and poet.


[2/7/46a, 47b; 19/乙下/17a, 癸上/19a; 21/3/14a; 23/1/lb, 20/3b; 26/1/54b; 27/16/20a; Ssŭ-k'u 113/7a; Yü Shao-sung (see bibl. under An Ch'i), Shu-hua shu-lu chieh-t'i (1932) 1/17b, 6/45a; Shantung t'ung-chih (1911) 53/44a; T'oung Pao 1925–26, p. 189; Contag, V. und Wang, C. C., Maler- und Sammler-Stempel aus der Ming- und Ch'ing-Zeit (1940).]

Fang Chao-ying