Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Yün Ching

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3678473Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period, Volume 2 — Yün ChingMan-kuei Li

YÜN Ching 惲敬 (T. 子居, H. 簡堂), Mar. 20, 1757–1817, Oct. 3, scholar and official, was a native of Wu-chin, Kiangsu, but usually referred to himself in his writings as from the neighbouring district of Yang-hu. He was a member of the same family as the great painter, Yün Shou-p'ing [q. v.]. For his early education he was indebted to his uncle, Chêng Huan 鄭環 (T. 清如, 1730–1806). He received his chü-jên degree in 1783, and four years later was appointed tutor in the School for Bannermen in the Hsien-an-kung 咸安宮 (Palace of Universal Peace). During this period of teaching he made the acquaintance of many prominent men in the capital, among them his life-long friend, Chang Hui-yen [q. v.]. In 1794 he was made magistrate of Fuyang, Chekiang. There he planned to revise the local history (gazetteer) of the district. But his plan was frustrated by a jealous superior who sent hint to Kweichow in charge of the transport of supplies to the army which was then fighting the Miao tribesmen (see under Fu-k'ang-an). Despite this affront he took the post with delight. Upon his return from Kweichow in 1796 he was appointed magistrate of Chiang-shan, Chekiang. At the close of that year his father died. After spending some four years at his home he proceeded to the capital to resume his political career. In 1800 he served as magistrate of Hsin-yü, Kiangsi, where he rebuilt the city wall, and removed the granary to a more suitable site. In 1805 he was transferred to Jui-chin, Kiangsi, where his administration was efficient and well-received. In 1812 he was promoted to the post of first-class sub-prefect of Nanchang, Kiangsi. Notwithstanding his recognized reputation as an honest official, he was accused by his enemies, in 1814, of overlooking the fact that his servants had accepted bribes. He was impeached and dismissed from office. Without protest, he calmly retired to devote the remainder of his life to literature.

Yün Ching married twice and had seven daughters and one son, Yün Ku 惲穀. His brother, Yün Fu 惲敷 (T. 子寬, H. 遜堂, 1769–1829), was also a well-known official of his time. In the field of literature, Yün Ching and Chang Hui-yen were regarded as the founders of the school of ku-wên 古文 prose writers known as the Yang-hu School 陽湖派 after the district from which they came (compare sketch of Yao Nai, founder of the T'ung-ch'êng School). Yün's broad knowledge and acquaintance with many subjects gave him the advantage over Yao Nai as well as the reputation of writing more substantially. He admired the writings of the historian, Ssŭ-ma Ch'ien (born 145 B.C.), and imitated his style. His literary works which include his essays, journals, biographies, epitaphs, short articles, and some letters of importance, were collected in 8 chüan under the title 大雲山房文稿 Ta-yün shan fang wên-kao. The first 4 chüan. were published in 1811, and the other 4, with a supplement of letters, in 1815. The complete collection was reprinted in 1863. His other works were: 子居決事 Tzŭ-chü chüeh shih, in 4 chüan, which comprised the records of his decisions in various criminal cases; a collection of miscellaneous notes called Ta-yün shan-fang tsa-chi (雜記), in 2 chüan; and Ta-yün shan fang shih-er chang t'u-shuo (十二章圖說), in 2 chüan, in which he studied and interpreted the twelve decorative designs on off cial costumes, and traced their development, with comments. These last two works are now found in the Chih-chin chai ts'ung-shu (see under Yao Wên-t'ien).

[1/490/16b; 3/243/38a passim; 23/48/1a; Wu-chin Yang-hu hsien-chih (1879) 19/35b, 2S/41a; 富陽縣志 Fu-yang hsien-chih (1906) 17/21b; see bibl. under Yao Nai.]

Man-kuei Li