Exercise Essays from the Enfutang Hall


The compiler of this manuscript, in two volumes, was Yinghe (1771–1839), a Manchu official and writer, who achieved his jin shi (doctoral degree) in 1793. He entered the Hanlin Academy and became a compiler there two years later. In 1799 he was appointed subchancellor of the Grand Secretariat, and a year later was made a vice president of the Board of Rites. In 1801 he was given the concurrent post of minister of the Imperial Household, where his great-grandfather also once served. In the same year he was transferred to the Board of Revenue. In 1804 he became a grand councilor. In 1829 he was deprived of his offices, his property was confiscated, and he was banished to Heilongjiang Province, northeast China, together with his two sons. While in exile, he studied local conditions in Qiqihar, the provincial capital, and wrote two works about the region. Later pardoned and permitted to return to the capital, he bought a garden in the Western Hills and lived out his remaining years. He was posthumously given the rank of a third-grade official. In his last years, he edited his own writings, collectively known under the title En fu tang quan ji (Complete collection of works at the Enfutang Hall), among which was this work. The essays were written in the examination hall style. In 1800–9, as part of his official career, Yinghe directed two provincial and two metropolitan examinations. Many renowned scholars and officials achieved their positions by taking examinations that Yinghe conducted and styled themselves as his disciples. An inscription on the cover of volume one, written by the author himself, acknowledges his teacher Li Jing’an as the editor of the work.

Last updated: January 13, 2012