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Ch'ien Tsai

Ch'ien Tsai 錢載 (T. 坤一, H. 蘀石, 根苑, 瓠尊, 萬松居士, 萬蒼翁, oct. 21,1708-1793, official, poet, and painter, was a native of Hsiushui, Chekiang, and a relative of Ch'ien Ch'ên ch'un [q.v.]. He came from a poor family but by dint of hard study early established a reputa tion as a poet. About the year 1725 he began to teach the sons of Ch'ien Ch'ên-ch'un, and while so engaged, learned painting from the latter's mother, Ch'ên Shu [q.v.]. In 1736 Ch'ien Tsai competed in the second special po-hsüeh hung-tz' ǔ examination of 1736 (see under Liu Lun) but failed to qualify. In 1751 he failed in another special examination for classical scholars (see under Ku Tung-kao). Nevertheless in the following year he became a chin-shih with high honors, was selected a bachelor of the Hanlin Academy and later was given the rank of a compiler. Thereafter he served several times as a provincial examiner (Kwangsi in 1759, Kiangnan in 1765 and 1780, Kiangsi in 1774 and 1779) and as diarist of the emperor's movements. In 1773 he was appointed a sub-chancellor of the Grand Secretariat and two years later, a teacher in the school known as Shang-shu fang (see under Yin-chên) where the sons of the emperor studied. He served a year as commissioner of education in Shantung (1776-77), and once represented the emperor in offering sacrifices to the sacred mountain [157] and the tombs of ancient emperors in Shênsi and Szechwan (1780). In 1780 he was promoted to a vice-presidency in the Board of Ceremonies, but three y ars later was ordered to retire on account of old age and deafness. He lived at his home for ten years more.

Ch'ien Tsai is known as a painter and as a connoisseur of paintings and calligraphy. Many of the verses which he wrote were about masterpieces by earlier artists. In the collection of his poetry, entitled 蘀石齋詩集 T'o-shih chai shih-chi, 50 chüan, are references to many celebrities of the Ch'ien-lung period who were his friends. There is also a collection of his prose writings, entitled Po-shih chai wen (文) chi, 2 6 chüan. Both collections were probably printed by himself.

[ 1/311/5a; 3/91/25a; 20/3/00; 26/2/8b; 27/12/1b; 2 9/5/17a; 31/9/1b; L.T.C.L.H.M., p. 425a; Ch'üan Tsu-wang [q.v.], Kung-chü<> chêng-shih lu, p. 6 8a.]