An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

He Zhuo 何焯

Feb 2, 2014 © Ulrich Theobald

He Zhuo 何焯 (1661-1722), early name He Runqian 何潤千, courtesy name Qizhan 屺瞻, style Yimen xiansheng 義門, Xiang'an xiaoli 香案小吏, Chaxian 茶仙, and many more, was an early Qing period 清 (1644-1911) collector and publisher. He hailed from Changzhou 長洲 (modern Suzhou 蘇州, Jiangsu) and was bestowed the title of a juren 舉人 in 1704, and after successful participation in the examintion of the Ministry of Rites (libu 禮部) that of jinshi 進士. He was therefore appointed auxiliary head of the Southern Study (Nanshufang 南書房) and concurrently junior compiler (bianxiu 編修) in the Hall of Military Glory (Wuying Dian 武英殿), a job in which he proved to be an excellent collator (see jiaokan 校勘) of ancient texts.

During the time he lived in Suzhou he acquired a huge amount of books, with a focus on Song 宋 (960-1279) and Yuan period 元 (1279-1368) prints and ancient manuscripts from private collections. In his study Jiyanzhai 賫硯齋 he owned several ten thousand scrolls of books. He Zhuo collated the texts of his collection and republished them in excellent editions. Particularly noteworthy are He's edition of the official dynastic histories Hanshu 漢書, Houhanshu 後漢書 and Sanzhouzhi 三國志.

The many books he edited are marked with many different imprints, like Yugu xiaozhai 語古小齋 or Qixian laoren 憩閑老人.

In 1740, the philosopher Fang Bao 方苞 (1668-1749) decided to submit a memorial to the throne in which he asked for permittance to have He Zhuo's editions printed by the Directorate of Education (guozijian 國子監). By his publications He Zhou became so famous that at his death, the Kangxi Emperor 康熙 (r. 1661-1722) was so desolate that he awarded to him posthumously the title of academician expositor-in-waiting (shijiang xueshi 侍講學士).

He Zhou wrote notes on reading, Yimen dushu ji 義門讀書記, the biji 筆記 "brush notes" style book Daoguzhai shi xiaolu 道古齋識小錄, and the collected writings Xingyuan ji 行遠集. Besides his critical editions, He Zhou was one of the famous early Qing period calligraphers, and he was admired side by side with Wang Shihong 汪士鋐 (1658-1723).

Li Yu'an 李玉安, Chen Chuanyi 陳傳藝, ed. (1989). Zhongguo cangshujia cidian 中國藏書家辭典 (Wuhan: Hubei jiaoyu chubanshe), 185.
Liang Zhan 梁戰, Guo Qunyi 郭群一, ed. (1991). Lidai cangshujia cidian 歷代藏書家辭典 (Xi'an: Shaanxi renmin chubanshe), 144.
Liu Bo 劉波, ed. (1994). Zhongguo lidai wenhua yishu mingren da cidian 中國歷代文化藝術名人大辭典 (Xianggang: Guoji wenhua chuban gongsi), 604.