Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Shên Ping-chên

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SHÊN Ping-chên 沈炳震 (T. 寅馭, H. 東甫), Feb. 24, 1679–1738, Jan. 22, scholar and historian, was a native of Kuei-an, Chekiang. In 1736 he and his youngest brother, Shên Ping-ch'ien 沈炳謙 (T. 幼牧, H. 勞山, b. 1685), were recommended as suitable competitors in the po-hsüeh hung-tz'ŭ examination of that year (see under Liu Lun). Although neither was successful, Shên Ping-chên's scholarship attracted wide recognition in the capital. Of all the competitors, he had been most active as a writer. One of his most valuable works was a comparative study of the old and new official histories of the T'ang dynasty, entitled 新舊唐書合鈔 Hsin-chiu T'ang-shu ho-ch'ao, in 260 chüan, which was presented to the throne by Ch'ien Ch'ên-ch'ün [q. v.] about 1743. This work was published in 1871 with a supplement of 18 chüan, with corrigenda. When, in 1739, the government initiated the re-editing of the Twenty-one Dynastic Histories (二十一史 Êr-shih-i-shih, completed and printed in 1747), the Hsin-chiu T'ang-shu ho-ch'ao was frequently consulted, and parts of it were incorporated in the editorial notes. In consequence of this re-editing, the Twenty-one Dynastic Histories were increased to twenty-three by the addition of the newly-completed 明史 Ming-shih and the older of the two histories of the T'ang dynasty, 舊唐書 Chiu T'ang-shu. The so-called Twenty-four Dynastic Histories did not appear until the recovery of the Chiu Wu-tai shih (see under Shao Chin-han).

Another contribution of Shên Ping-chên to the study of history was the 卄一史四譜 Nien-i shih ssŭ p'u, in 54 chüan, which was printed in the Kuang-ya ts'ung-shu (see under Chang Chih-tung). It consists of four chronological lists of imperial reign-titles, the nobility, names of ministers of state, and posthumous names. To each list he appended an index arranged according to the syllabary of rhymes. Another work by him is the 九經辨字瀆蒙 Chiu-ching pien-tzŭ tu-mêng, 12 chüan, an etymological study of the characters used in the Nine Classics, which received notice in the Imperial Catalogue and was copied into the Ssŭ-k'u library (for both see under Chi Yün). Manuscript copies of this work are preserved in the Kiangsu Kuo-hsüeh Library, Nanking, and the Seikadō Library, Tokyo. His collected verse appears under the title 增默齋集 Tsêng-mo chai chi, 8 chüan. One chüan of this collection, entitled 蠶桑樂府 Ts'an-sang yüeh-fu, is devoted to sericulture. Critical notice is given to it in the Imperial Catalogue. A work by Shên, entitled 唐詩金粉 T'ang-shih chin-fên, 10 chüan, is an anthology of phrases from T'ang poetry. This work was printed prior to 1736.

A younger brother, Shên Ping-hsün (see under Ch'üan Tsu-wang), was a student of the ancient work on the water courses of China, known as Shui-ching chu (see under Chao I-ch'ing). He wrote a treatise on this subject, entitled 水經注集釋訂譌 Shui-ching chu chi-shih ting-ê, in 40 chüan, which received notice in the Imperial Catalogue and was copied into the Ssŭ-k'u. According to Ch'üan Tsu-wang [q. v.], this work was really initiated by Shên Ping-chên, and was completed by his brother. It was recently reproduced in the Ssŭ-k'u ch'üan-shu chên-pên (see under Chi Yün).


[1/490/5b; 3/418/12a; 31/10/8a; 湖州府志 Hu-chou fu-chih (1874) 76/19a; Ssŭ-k'u 33/12a, 69/1b, 185/4b.]

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