Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Wang Wan

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3672764Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period, Volume 2 — Wang WanFang Chao-ying

WANG Wan 汪琬 (T. 苕文, H. 純庵, 堯峯, 玉遮山樵), Mar. 5, 1624–1691, Jan. 8, writer, was a native of Ch'ang-chou (Soochow), Kiangsu. A chin-shih of 1655, he was made (1658) a secretary in the Board of Revenue and later (1660) rose to be a department director in the Board of Punishments. In 1661 he was named one of several thousand delinquents in the tax payment case of Kiangnan (see under Yeh Fang-ai) and was degraded to a police magistrate in the north city of Peking. In this post he was much praised by the common people for his justice and for the help he rendered to the poor and oppressed. In 1666 he was again appointed a secretary in the Board of Revenue, and three years later was sent to Nanking to serve concurrently as supervisor of the Hsi-hsin-kuan 西新關 customs district—one of two customs districts in the Nanking area which were merged in 1671 under one supervisor, and later were put under the charge of the superintendent of the Imperial Manufactory at Nanking.

Wang Wan returned to Peking in September 1670, but a few months later he retired to his home in the Western suburbs of Soochow. In 1678 he was summoned to Peking to take, in the following year, the special examination known as po-hsüeh hung-tz'ŭ (see under P'êng Sun-yü). Chosen as nineteenth among the fifty successful competitors, he was awarded the rank of a compiler in the Hanlin Academy, and was ordered to assist in the compilation of the official history of the Ming Dynasty (see under Wang Hung-hsü). In this capacity he completed 175 biographies. He resigned in 1681 and spent the remainder of his life at Soochow.

Straightforward and outspoken by temper, Wang Wan often criticized the writings of other scholars, provoking them at the same time to bitter criticisms of his own works. He was respected as a scholar and was regarded as one of the best essayists of his day. He printed his own collected works in two series: the first, entitled 鈍翁類稿 Tun-wêng lei-kao, 62 chüan, in 1674–76; the second, Tun-wêng hsü (續) kao, 56 chüan, in 1684–85. In 1690, shortly before his death, he edited a smaller collection of his works, selected from earlier publications and from his later writings. This new edition includes ten chüan of verse, entitled 堯峯詩鈔 Yao-fêng shih-ch'ao, and forty chüan of essays, entitled Yao-fêng wên-ch'ao. The final manuscripts for this edition, transcribed personally by one of his disciples, Lin Chi [q. v.], were printed in facsimile in 1692–93. Another edition of his essays, entitled Yao-fêng wên-lu (錄), 16 chüan, was made in 1887 by Chin Wu-lan 金吳瀾 (T. 螺青, 鷺卿), magistrate of K'un-shan, 1876–81; acting magistrate of Wu-hsien, 1884–85.

[Chao Ching-ta 趙經達, Wang Yao-fêng hsien-shêng nien-p'u (年譜); 1/489/13b; 3/120/18a; 4/45/10b; 20/1/00; 30/1/22b.]

Fang Chao-ying