Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Wan T'ai

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3672713Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period, Volume 2 — Wan T'aiTu Lien-chê

WAN T'ai 萬泰 (T. 履安, H. 悔庵), Mar. 19, 1598–1657, Nov. 11, scholar, native of Yin-hsien, Chekiang, was the son of Wan Pang-fu 萬邦孚 (T. 汝永, H. 瑞巖, 1554–1628). When he was nineteen (sui), he and his friend, Lu Fu 陸符 (T. 文虎, d. 1646 age 50 sui), studied under Liu Tsung-chou [q. v.]. They together became known as Lu-Wan—two pioneers who set a high standard of scholarship for the region in which they lived. In 1632 Wan T'ai made the friendship of Huang Tsung-hsi [q. v.], and his sons thereafter became the latter's pupils. He took the degree of chü-jên in 1636. When, in 1645, the Prince of Lu (see Chu I-hai) set up a temporary government at Shaohsing, Wan T'ai was offered a secretaryship in the Board of Revenue. He assisted in that capacity, but declined the title which went with the post. When Shaohsing fell in the following year he retired, indicating his determination never to enter political life by wearing the costume of a Taoist monk. He endeared himself to his contemporaries in a time of turmoil by burying his deceased friends and by saving others from death or imprisonment as political offenders. In 1656 he made a journey to Kwangtung, but died on his way back in the autumn of the following year. His literary collection, 續騷堂集 Hsü-sao t'ang chi, contains his writings for the period 1646 to 1650. Another collection, entitled 寒松齋稿 Han-sung chai kao, is reported in some catalogues, as well as some writings concerning his journey to Kwangtung, entitled 粵草 Yüeh-ts'ao.

Following are the names of his eight sons in the order of their ages; all became scholars and as such were styled the "Eight Dragons of the Wan Family" 萬氏八龍. The four younger became especially well-known.

Wan Ssŭ-nien 萬斯年 (T. 祖繩, 1617–1693) studied under Ch'ien Su-yüeh (see under Huang Tsung-hsi) in his youth.

Wan Ssŭ-ch'êng 萬斯程, 1621–1671, a student of medicine.

Wan Ssŭ-chên 萬斯禎 (T. 正符, 1622–1697), a student of the Changes, the Odes and the Spring and Autumn Annals.

Wan Ssŭ-ch'ang 萬斯昌 (T. 子熾, 1625–1654).

Wan Ssŭ-hsüan [q. v.]

Wan Ssŭ-ta [q. v.]

Wan Ssŭ-pei [q. v.]

Wan Ssŭ-t'ung [q. v.]

In 1935 his villa, Po-yün chuang 白雲莊, was restored; the graves of Wan Ssŭ-chang and Wan Ssŭ-hsüan were repaired; and tablets of eighteen members of the Wan family were entered in the shrine. Since the Po-yün chuang is the place where Huang Tsung-hsi lectured, Huang's tablet and those of eighteen of his pupils were likewise entered in the shrine.

[3/470/37; Yin-hsien chih (1877) 39/13a; Chronological biography (nien-p'u), compiled by Wang Huan-piao, printed in Fifth Annual Bul. of Kuo-hsüeh Library, Nanking (1923); Kao-t'ang wên-ch'ao (see bibl. under Wan Ssŭ-pei); Hsü Chao-ping 徐兆昺, 四明談助 Ssŭ-ming t'an-chu (1828) 24/12a; Ch'ên Hsün-tz'ŭ, "On the Restoration of the Wan Family's Po-yün chuang and the Entry of Their Tablets in the Local Shrine" (in Chinese), Bulletin of the Chekiang Provincial Library, Hangchow, vol. 4, no. 6.]

Tu Lien-chê