The Story of China Studies(6)

Chapter II Zhāng Tàiyán, A Soldier and a Master(2)

This is Tàiyán’s third time in Japan in expatriation. On July 15, 1906, organized by the Alliance League, over 2,000 Chinese students in Tokyo got together to give him a grand welcome. He gave a most passionate speech at the meeting. He told the students what was most imperative was to “first of all build up confidence with religious approach and elevate the moral level of Chinese, and secondly the sense of race has to be enlivened by disseminating national treasures in academics so that patriotic feelings can be enhanced.” At the introduction of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, Tàiyán joined the Alliance League on July 7, he also accepted the league’s request to become the Editor-in-Chief and distributor of 《Civil News 民报Mín Bào》, the organ of the Alliance League and was created on November 26, 1905, before Tàiyán took over five issues were published. Under the stewardship of Tàiyán from July 25, 1906 to October 1908 when the newspaper was closed down by the Japanese government, the paper played a key role in promoting the league and mobilizing the people in revolution. It was regarded by most revolutionaries as a “party banner”, something people looked up at as Mount Tài and the dipper in the sky. He wrote many articles himself. He also worked closely with Dr. Sun and Huáng Xīng (黄兴) in formulating policies of the league and in drafting important documents. The Qīng government and the Japanese authorities worked hand in hand in splitting the league and undermining the paper. Somehow, Tàiyán and Dr. Sun got into discords after the latter was forced to leave Japan. In order to secure its interests in China, the Japanese government finally agreed to the request of the Qīng government to close down the paper. During this period, Tàiyán made friends with Kotoku Shusui, Sakai Toshihiko and a few others who were promoting socialism and anarchism in Japan, and was very much influenced by them in thinking.

Aside from publishing his philosophical essays on the “Civil News”, he also wrote two books, “Assessing National Academic Heritage 国故论衡Guógù Lùnhéng” and “Annotations to ‘On Equalization of Things’ 齐物论释Qíwùlùn Shì”. All these writings constituted a large and complicated philosophical system of his own. His system was based on his studies of Buddhism, Chinese masters other than Confucius and western philosophy. He said a resourceful person could not but believes in Buddhism, a less resourceful person could not but believes in the disciplines of Buddhism, of which he favored most Dharma Character School and Huáyán School (the School of Flower Garland Sutra). Many revolutionaries opposed Buddhism. Tàiyán explained to them, “What Buddhism hates most is monarchy”, “Buddhism attaches importance to equality,” and “Buddhism can enhance social morals and it is most important for our revolutionary army to acquire high morality.” In his “Annotations to ‘On Equalization of Things’ 齐物论释Qíwùlùn Shì”, he used the skeleton of the work of Zhuāng Zǐ(庄子) , filled it with the critiques of Kant and the contents of Buddhist Dharma Character and Huáyán Schools. What he quoted most were contents from “Critique of Pure Reason” and “The Critique of Practical Reason” of Kant. We can also see traces of the influence of old Indian philosophy, such as the theories of Sarvstivdins, Vaicesika-Sutra and Vedanta. Because of these writings, Tàiyán has been regarded as the first most erudite person with profound thoughts. Tàiyán developed his own theory of epistemology. He elaborated his concept of “Zhēn Rú 真如”, in Sanskrit “tathata”, in English it could mean a thing “like its true original”. In Buddhism it means one can not use language or thinking to describe a thing, because the language or thinking may add or lose some degree of the original. Tàiyán used this word to describe the original of all things in the world, he also compared to Kant’s “thing in itself”, Plato’s “idea” and “Dao or law” of Hánfēi Zǐ (韩非子) . His works on philosophy are rich and profound. Yet we have to point out that Tàiyán himself was rather disappointed for not having anybody inheriting his theory of philosophy.

Parallel to his editorial work, he also organized, with help of some revolutionaries, a work shop on China studies, which was opened in July 1906. The purpose was to build a base for reviving the country, as it said in its “Mandate”, “the existence of the country would be impacted when there is no one to develop China Studies.” It is true in the rise or fall of a modern national state, national language, culture, common mentality and traditions play an important role. The work shop was divided into preparatory course and regular course. Grammar, composition and history were taught at the preparatory course, while literature, history, studies of systems, New Confucianism in the Sòng and Míng Dynasties and Buddhist courses were in the regular courses. Tàiyán also gave presentations himself, in the “Brief Introduction to China Studies Work Shop” published in Japan in September 1906, three of his talks were included, namely “On Language and Characters”, “On Literature” and “On Studies of Masters.”

Shortly after the opening of the work shop, Tàiyán personally organized the Society of Revitalizing China Studies (国学振起社 Gúoxuē Zhènqǐ Shè). He took the position of its president and composed teaching materials himself. Each year six volumes were published in six subjects: studies of masters, history of literature, studies of systems, Buddhist classics, New Confucianism in the Sòng and Míng Dynasties and Chinese history. The first volume published in Japan in December 1906 contained two of his talks: “A Systemic Talk on Studies of Masters” and “More about Guǎn Zǐ (管子)”. During the period from 1906-1908, his areas of study covered language and characters, phonology, ethics, logic, literature and history. What he accomplished was summative and pioneering.

Starting from April 1908, at the request of a group of students he began to teach “Interpreting and Decoding Characters(说文解字Shuōwén Jiězì)” and notes by Duàn Yùcāi. The teaching was at an auditorium of a middle school in Tokyo and was twice a week with many attendants. According to the diaries of Zhū Xīzǔ (朱希祖) who later became a noted historian and Qián Xuántóng (钱玄同) who later became a famous master of characters, and both were among the first groups of listeners: Tàiyán gave 25 talks on “Interpreting and Decoding Characters(说文解字Shuōwén Jiězì)” from April 4 to July 25; he talked on phonology on August 1; on Zhuāng Zǐ six times from August 5 to 20; on “Songs of Chu” four times from August 26 to September 5; six times on “The Exegesis of ‘Towards Elegance’ (尔雅义疏Eryǎ Yìshū) from September 9 to October 28 and starting from October 31, he began talks on “The Expended Exegesis of ‘Towards Elegance’” (广雅疏证) . Lǔ Xùn (鲁迅) who later became a great banner of the New Culture Movement and Xǔ Shòushāng (许寿裳) who became a biography writer and educator were in Japan as well, both admired Tàiyán and wanted to attend the lectures, yet their time was in conflict and they asked if Tàiyán could give a separate class. Tàiyán readily agreed and used one or two mornings every week for the two and six others at his residence at the “Civil News”. Lǔ Xùn wrote in his article “One Thing or Two about Mr. Tàiyán”, “I know of Mr. Tàiyán not because of his learning of classics and elementary Chinese studies, but because he was put into western prison for his critique of Kāng Yǒuwēi and the prelude he wrote for Zōu Róng’s ‘Revolutionary Army’”. Lǔ Xùn said he went to the “Civil News” to listen to Tàiyán not because he was a scholar but a revolutionary with a great learning. We could easily detest the influences of Tàiyán in Lǔ Xùn’s writings. The student and teacher relationship was long lasting, it was already 1933 when Lǔ Xùn remarked that he would treat Tàiyán as a tutor with courtesy if he met him again.

He devoted more time to writing after the “Civil News” was closed down. He wrote during this period “Questions and Answers on Elementary Chinese (小学答问)”, “New Dialects (新方言)”, “Beginning of Writing (文始)”, “Assessing National Academic Heritage (国故论衡)” and “Annotations to ‘On Equalization of Things’ (齐物论释)”. Most of these works were carried on “Words of Today on Education” edited by Qiān Xuāntóng and “Forest of Studies” edited by Huāng Kǎn (黄侃),both were his students. The former was mainly for popularizing knowledge and the latter was more specialized. The fostering of modern Chinese national culture is a continuation and development of the ancient traditional culture and at the same time a critique and denial of culture legacy. The first and foremost important task in building modern national culture of China was to clear up the base that was covered by various garbage. One thing Tàiyán did was to clarify what “classics (经Jīng)” were. Both scholars of “contemporary” and “ancient” classic schools regard “classics (经Jīng)” as a doctrine for planning and controlling the world, as an eternal truth that will never change. Bān Gù (班固) said, “classics (经Jīng) mean consistency. There are five things in consistency; therefore there are ‘Five Classics’.” Liú Xī (刘熙) said, “classics (经Jīng)are paths and norms that can lead to anywhere.” Liú Xié (刘勰) said in his “The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragon”, “Jīng is an eternal and best road and an incontestable truth”. Tàiyán pointed out on basis of facts that the so-called “Jīng” was a kind of silk thread to bind bamboo slips into a book, and then such books were called “Jīng”. The books like “The Book of Songs (诗经)”, “Records of History(尚书)”, “Records of Rite (礼记)”, “The Book of Music (乐经)”, “The Book of Changes (易经)” and “Spring and Autumn (春秋)” were canonized as holy classics, most probably, some scholars believed Confucius wrote and taught them. Tàiyán overthrew such a conclusion and pointed out the five books except “Spring and Autumn” were compiled by Confucius and the anecdotes in the six books were not first written by Confucius, they were told many times by Lǎo Zǐ and Mò Zǐ(墨子) . While explaining the process of the compilation of the “Six Books”, Tàiyán pointed out to us the common features of these “Jīng” books are that academics, culture and classical books were very much a state affair and governed by the government; that these official books were called “Jīng”, not because they expressed eternal truth, but because the bamboo slips that carried them were of special size (2.4 Chinese foot in length) and each carved with thirty characters; that all six could be considered as historic books, “Documents of History(尚书)” and “Spring and Autumn (春秋)” were obviously historic books, “The Book of Songs (诗经)” dealt with politics in various states, “Records of Rite (礼记)” and “The Book of Music (乐经)” talked about ritual systems of the Zhóu Dynasty, and “The Book of Changes (易经)” was used in divination by the official in charge of recording events for historic purpose, so they were all historic books; that Confucius was only able to compile the six books after his courtesy call on Lǎo Zǐ, who was an official in charge of documentations, codes and records.

Tàiyán not only affirmed, in “Studies of Masters”, Confucius’ devotion to education, his ideas of self-cultivation and administering state affairs and that his contribution to Chinese culture was next to nobody in years to come, but also removed his holy cloak by pointing out Confucius minded fame and personal gain a lot, he and his seventy-two disciples were the first group in lobbying, which in essence was flub dubs and his doctrines of the mean always led people into bewilderment, and all these proofed Confucius was an ordinary man, not a saint and his thought should not be treated as eternal teachings.

Tàiyán proposed the following principles for the study of “classics or Jīng books”: firstly, regard the six Jīng books as historic books; secondly the purpose of study was to get a clear knowledge of historic facts, not for applying the doctrines; thirdly more attention should be paid to the ancient writing that was used in these books, because “contemporary writing” was only started in the Hàn Dynasty, which is not as reliable as the former; fourthly rigorous and strict attitude was necessary in studies and finally new ideas should be used when re-assessing the old studies.

The Hàn language was the oldest and most stable language of the world. It has played a very positive role in the development of the Chinese nation. But how to benchmark the development of the Hàn language and how to turn it into a unified language throughout the nation was something Tàiyán spent most of his efforts on. In “Questions and Answers on Elementary Chinese (小学答问)”, “New Dialects (新方言)”, “Beginning of Writing (文始)”, “Assessing National Academic Heritage (国故论衡)” he studied these questions. His studies also touched on the origin of language, the relationship between language and society, the process of language development, relations among elements in a language and the developing trend of language. We could say without any exaggeration that with his diligent and tenacious efforts Tàiyán gave an excellent summary of China’s ancient language and phonology and laid a foundation for the development of China’s linguistic in the modern times. He called on the nation to attach importance to the language, saying that the strength of the nation hinges on it. He stressed that the study of elementary Chinese was the roots of academic heritage and the beginning of education, which could lead to promotion of previous classics on the one hand and also facilitate the practice of customs on the other hand. He explored on ways to unify dialects. Sinologists of the Qīng did an excellent job in the characters and phonology, yet none of them touched on the origin of the language. Tàiyán filled in the gap in his “On Studies of the Language and Characters”. He pointed out Chinese characters evolved from drawings. He gave new definitions to “synonymous characters (转注Zhuǎn Zhù)” and “phonetic loan characters (假借Jiǎ Jiè)”, because he thought the previous explanations were not accurate. He said a “synonymous character” is a derivative from the same radical in the same pronunciation to express a new meaning, and a “phonetic loan character” is to give a new meaning to an existing character if the meaning can be amplified and the pronunciation unchanged without making a new character. He said “Interpreting and Decoding Characters” was the first work on the composition of characters, “The Exegesis of ‘Towards Elegance’” was the first work on exegetics and “Phonetic Types (声类Shēng Lèi)” was the first work on phonology; Equal efforts should be spent on all of them; otherwise, the elementary Chinese study would not attain a desirable result. On the basis of the outstanding work of such Qīng Dynasty phonologists as Gù Yánwǔ (顾炎武),Jiāng Yǒng (江永),Dài Zhèng (戴震), Qiān Dàxīn (钱大昕), Duàn Yùcāi (段玉裁),Kǒng Guǎngsēn (孔广森) and Wáng Niànsūn (王念孙), Tàiyán divided ancient phonetics into twenty-three parts, unlike any of the above mentioned masters, he also gave phonetic values to each part; Even though the table was not as accurate as the International Phonetic Alphabet, it was a kind of pioneering work for others to follow. After he defined the table of vowels, he also, for the first time ever in China, defined the table of consonants, and there are twenty-one of them. At this time, Tàiyán had a fierce polemic with the editors of “The New Century” that was published in Paris. “The New Century” was touting for replacing the Hàn language with Esperanto. Tàiyán refuted them that Esperanto was based on several European languages, it failed to contain any Asian factors. He pointed out that a language is closely connected with a nation, its people, the characters of the people and its academics. He said the unified language in China is based on a commonly used written language, if it was replaced by a romanized or phoneticized system, there would be disorders and it wouldn’t work. Tàiyán’s academic views and his achievement deeply influenced a generation of scholars. After the 1911 Revolution, on the platform of linguistics in China most lecturers were his students. In 1913, the then Ministry of Education adopted his phonetic notation system thanks to the proposal by his students like Lǔ Xùn, Xǔ Shòushāng and a few others. This phonetic notation system was used in China for several decades.

Over the millenniums Confucianism ruled China, as a result, worship of ancestors and paramountcy of imperial power were the mentality of the Chinese people. Such a mentality helped maintain the feudal system. However, it became a historical inertness in modern times. To push forward a modern nation, a new mentality with refreshing features of our times had to be brought about. Tàiyán was in the fore front in the struggle for “liberation of man”, which meant to be the core of the new mentality. In his “On Bacteria (菌说Jǔn Shuō)”, he expounded that man was a product of the development of nature, he examined man’s social attributes; in his “On Thinking (辩性Biàn Xìng)”, he analyzed the speculation attributes of man. He nailed down man’s spiritual activities into two pairs of contradictions, one is “I seek” and “I win”, the other is “I am wise” and “I am retarded”. He tried to connect the shifting of man’s characters with the shaping of a common national mentality.

What his student Zhāng Jì said of him was very true, “Many people, from Shànghǎi to the ranges of the Yangtse River liked Mr. Zhāng’s writings, people from the lower ranks to intellectuals are the same. This played a big role in securing the success of the revolution.” Tàiyán was a giant in carrying forward the cream in China’s traditional culture thanks to his firm and complete grasp of China studies and he was most at home in meeting the challenges from western culture and did it well. He left a deep print in China’s history and he exerted his influences, which was in duality, on the one hand the staunch heroes in the New Culture Movement like Lǔ Xùn, Qián Xuántóng, Zhōu Zuòrēn (周作人), Chēn Dúxiū and Hú Shì who were all his students and on the other strong opponents of the New Culture Movement like Huáng Kǎn and Liú Shīpéi were his students as well.

The first shot of the 1911 Revolution was fired on October 10 in Wǔchāng. Tàiyán did not believe it when he read it from a Japanese newspaper on the morning of the next day. It was only when he heard the peddling of the Extra News in the streets about the revolution; he was convinced of what had happened in China. The victory in Wǔchāng took him away from his rostrum. When he heard that Dr. Sun Yat-sen was coming back to the country, he wired Chén Qíměi, the Military Governor of Shànghǎi and asked him to welcome Dr. Sun, despite previous dissension between them; he decided to forget past unpleasant discord and support Sun as a national leader. The military government was established in Shànghǎi on November 7. Tàiyán decided to return home. On November 11, 1911, he left Japan where he had stayed for five years and four months from Kobe on a ship for home. Yet, the way forward was much more complicated than what he anticipated. As soon as he set his foot on the home soil, he was being used as a tool or a weight by various forces, and he himself didn’t have enough knowledge of these forces to make a clear decision. When he returned to Shanghai, he was met by and taken away by Wú Xièhē, the Military Governor of Wúsōng Area near Shànghǎi. What he proposed, “When the revolutionary army rises, the revolutionary parties should disappear” in particular, was strongly opposed by the Nationalist Party. His comrade in arms Mr. Taó Chéngzhāng was assassinated by Chiang Kai Shek sent by Chén Qíměi. This was a big blow on him. Dr. Sun called a meeting of provincial leaders of the Alliance League on December 30, Tàiyán was excluded. He made another mistake in this period, which was having trust on Yuán Shìkaǐ (袁世凯) in establishing the Republic. Yuán was the only person at the time who could force the abdication of the Qīng emperor and save the country from a civil war. As Lǔ Xùn said in “Objection to ‘A Wrong Kill’”, “What is wrong is revolutionaries are being deceived, thought that (Yuán) would turn into a revolutionary in a flip from a Qīng minister in charge of northern coastal provinces. They take him as their own; the blood shed by everybody hoisted him onto the chair of the president.” Tàiyán was most typical among those who had been deceived. His theory of “Political Revolution” was quickly shattered by Yuán’s betrayal. Not satisfied of being a provisional president, Yuán dispatched people to assassinate Sòng Jiàorén (宋教仁) who would be most likely elected as the full-fledged national president, he used his army to threaten the parliamentarians to “vote” him into the regular presidency, he deposed from the cabinet persons from the revolutionary parties, replaced them with his own people, he even tried to be an emperor himself.

These cold facts taught Tàiyán a lessen. He re-joined Dr. Sun and admitted his mistakes. The Nationalist party gave him a hearty welcome; they issued a notice of welcome and addressed him as “Revolutionary pioneer and a great man of the Republic” A meeting was held on April 23, 1913 for him, Chén Qíměi in his speech said, “Mr. Tàiyán was the first to awaken in China and advocated revolution. Four hundred million people adore him as they look up at Mount Tài and the big dipper for his rich learning and high moral.” Tàiyán had been single after his wife passed away in 1903. He married a lady teacher Tāng Guólí (汤国梨) on June 15, 1913. Cài Yuánpēi presided over the wedding, Dr. Sun, Huáng Xīng and Chén Qíměi attended the ceremony in attire.

In July 1913, Jiāngxī and a few other provinces declared independence and started the so called “Second Revolution”. Yuán crushed it without much difficulty. As a result, Dr. Sun, Huáng Xīng and a few others had to flee. Tàiyán refused to run away, he thought it was a burning shame for a forerunner of revolutionary like him to flee when the Qīng rule was overthrown and the Republic was founded. Instead, he decided to go to Běijīng at the request of the Republican Party. But he was put under surveillance by Yuán soon after he arrived on August 11. Yet, he was able to give lectures at the headquarters of the Republican Party, starting from December he taught classics, history, philosophy and language and characters. Gù Jiégāng (顾颉刚)、Máo Zǐshuǐ (毛子水) and Jīn Yùfú (金毓黻) were among the listeners and were important scholars later. Of course, he kept writing letters and articles to fire on the Yuán regime, which tried to buy him with high official positions and failed. Tàiyán wanted to leave Běijīng and return to Shànghǎi , but his request was refused several times. Out of anger, he put on a sheep skin coat and a big fan that had a medal as a pendant, and went to the President’s office at Xīnhuá Gate on the morning of January 7, 1914 and requested to see Yuán. He kept scolding Yuán at the reception for a few hours and by now Yuán tore up his pretence of cordiality and sent a few armed police to take him away and put him under house arrest. Lǔ Xùn commented later that there was no second man who dared to reveal the true face of Yuán at the President’s office. He refused to eat twice, each time lasted several days. He wanted to die, he sent to his newly wed wife a kimono and told her that even he died his spirit would be with that kimono. He wrote to his son-in-law saying that no books in the past 1,600 years could match his “Annotations to ‘On Equalization of Things’ (齐物论释)” and “Beginning of Writing (文始)”, and that there would be no time for him to write more.

He felt slightly better when he was moved to Qiánliáng (Money and Grain) Lane and he began his second revision of “Words of Truth in Urgent Search”. He deleted quite a number of essays and added new articles and re-named it “Words in Confinement检论Jiǎn Lùn” since he was being confined. Yet, when he saw there was no hope to save the Republic, he wrote two characters “Die Quickly (速死)” on a piece of seven foot long rice paper and hung it on the wall. He also entrusted somebody to buy a piece of land, near the tomb of Liú Jī (刘基) in Sūzhōu as his graveyard. Apparently, he compared himself to Liú Jī (1311-1375) who was well versed in classics, history and military skills and helped the establishment of the Míng Dynasty. He also wrote for his own tomb tablet “The Tomb of Zhāng Tàiyān”. Tàiyán was released ten days after Yuán’s death on June 6, 1916. Again, he was warmly welcomed in Shànghǎi when he returned south.

Strangely enough, we can not find much about his activities during the May 4th Movement period (1919), except a memoir by Chēn Cūnrēn, one of his student, about how Tàiyán reproached Liū Bànnōng (刘半农) who was known for his saying, ”Classical Chinese is a dead language. Who he uses classical Chinese is a dead man. Vernacular Chinese is a lively language. Who he uses vernacular Chinese is a lively man.” Vernacular Chinese was what the New Cultural Movement and the May 4th Movement tried to promote. Apparently, Tàiyán found it difficult to accept. So, when this Professor Liū of Běijīng University came to Shànghǎi to call on him, he questioned, “Vernacular language didn’t start from today. Mao’s edition of ‘The Book of Songs’ (the edition edited by Máo Hēng (毛亨) of Western Hàn) was in vernacular language. All vernacular novels were written in the language used at the time, for instance ‘Outlaws of the Marsh’, ‘The Travels of Lao Can’ and so on. Which language do you use as a benchmark for your vernacular language?” Liū replied, “The national language, that is Běijīng language.” Tàiyán laughed hearing that, and asked again, “Do you know what is Běijīng Language?” Liū answered without thinking, “The language that has been used in Běijīng since the Míng and Qīng.” Tàiyán asked, “Do you know what kind language it was in the Míng?” Seeing that Liū was unable to come up with a reply, he recited a poem in the Míng language, which sounded quite different from Běijīng Language. He then said, “The so-called national language, to be strict, contains a few dozen percent Manchu phoneme, many of which are not Hàn pronunciations or character.” He told Liū scientific inventions have been recorded with classical Chinese, for instance Zhòu Bì Suàn Jīng 周髀算经 written by Zǔ Chōgnzhī (祖冲之) contains his calculation of the circumference ratio, which is over one thousand years earlier than western mathematicians. Before Tàiyán, this vanguard of the New Cultural Movement could do nothing, but nodding his head. Apparently Tàiyán showed little interest in the New Cultural Movement and the May 4th Movement.

When Japan stepped up aggression of China, we heard his voice again. He wrote articles and sent out telegrams calling on the government to resist Japanese aggression. Yet, when he found out he was given a deaf ear, he decided to go to Sūzhōu to run a school of China studies and devote his time to lecturing. He declined an official invitation to Nánjīng on the excuse of illness and in the fall of 1934, his whole family moved to Sūzhōu. Chiang Kai Shek, then, sent a representative to deliver thirty thousand cash. They have been on bad terms, not only because Chiang killed his friend Táo, but also because Chiang didn’t let him write the eulogy for Dr. Sun Yat-sen after Sun’s death to be carved on a stone tablet, and if Tàiyán, the most qualified person for such a job, didn’t write it nobody would dare to do so. So, until today, in Dr. Sun’s tomb there is no eulogy. Tàiyán didn’t want to accept the money. But, his wife and friends told him that the money should not be regarded as given by Chiang himself and it could be used for the school. Having accepted the money, he bought a house and used it as classrooms and dormitories for the students. Aside from Tàiyán himself, other teachers like Wáng Xiǎoxú (王小徐), Jiǎng Zhúzhuāng (蒋竹庄), Shěn Diémín (沈瓞民), Zhū Xīzǔ (朱希祖) and Wáng Zhòngluò (王仲荦) were invited. Over 500 students (some said there were over 1,000) came from provinces to study. The schooling was two years in four semesters. The school continued after Tàiyán passed away in 1936, and when Sūzhōu fell into the hands of Japanese aggressors, the school was moved to Shànghǎi.

Tàiyán led a simple life, he was a heavy smoker, smoked whatever brands he could lay his hands on. He ate the dishes only in front of him. He didn’t bother to reach out for more. He never really cared about money. He married twice; his first wife gave him three daughters and the second two sons. If he was on his own in the street, he could not find his way home. He once yelled at a rickshaw boy, “don’t you know where I live, I am the mad man Zhāng! Everybody knows where I live!” The poor boy had to send him back to where he got on because this was his only customer who didn’t know where his own home was.

Tàiyán died of nose cancer on June 14, 1936. The nationalist government allotted 3,000 yuan for funeral services. At the request of Tàiyán’s friends and students like Zhāng Jì, Féng Yùxiáng and others, the 17th session of the Political Conference of the Central Committee of the Nationalist Party decided on July 1st to give a State Funeral to Tàiyán. An order for the State Funeral was carried on the “Central Daily” on July 10. According to Tàiyán ‘s will, the funeral should take place in Hángzhōu beside the tomb of Zhāng Cāngshuǐ (1620-1664), a hero of resisting the occupation of the Qīng rulers. Yet this order was never executed. Not knowing when the funeral would take place, his wife had to bury him temporarily in the rear garden of their house in Sūzhōu. The funeral only took place some 19 years later, on April 3, 1955 in Hangzhou. His student at the Sūzhōu school Mǎ Yīfú (马一浮) presided over the service. The National People’s Political Consultative Conference, provincial committees of the Chinese Communist party of Zhèjiāng and Jiāngsū presented wreaths. Quite a number of related persons attended the ceremony for Tàiyán, some of them came from other places of the country. All the cost was borne by the state. A few gave addresses of condolence. Mrs. Zhāng thanked the government of the People’s Republic for finally holding the funeral.

It has to be pointed out that in the fall of 1966, his remains were taken out of the coffin by some rebels and were expose to open air. Because the wood was precious, the coffin also disappeared. Thanks to the kind heart of a gardener who took the remains to the foot of a hill and buried them. It was only on October 12, 1981, his remains were put back into a coffin and buried in a newly built tomb beside that of Zhāng Cāngshuǐ in Hángzhōu. A tomb completion ceremony was held on that day. The provincial government also named the tomb a venue for cultural relic protection. In front of the tomb a memorial hall of 870 square meters on a land print of 1,900 square meters was built. 《The Complete Works of Zhāng Tàiyán》was published by Shànghǎi People’s Publishing House in February 1985. Tàiyán was listed as one of the 83 most outstanding personages of China by the People’s Republic when the 70th anniversary of the 1911 Revolution was marked. The Chinese people will always remember him as a solider and a master of China Studies.