The imperial sons of the Qing dynasty received a strict upbringing from an early age, studying the ancient classics, learning to ride and shoot, while being quite accomplished in the field of art, especially in calligraphy and painting. The best calligraphy belongs to the Qing Emperor Yongzheng, he grew up learning Dong Qichang’s words, but also wonderful and many styles.
Emperor Yin Zhen of the Qing Dynasty succeeded the throne at the age of forty-five, and when he was still an imperial son, he often traveled alone in microscopic clothes. Once at the West Lake, he had a “strange encounter” with a writing man, which is recounted in “The Great History of the Qing Dynasty”.
Yinzhen went to Hangzhou to tour the West Lake. He took the Yongjin Gate in the west wall of Hangzhou. Yongjinmen was first built in the Five Dynasties to draw water from the West Lake into the city. When Yinzhen out of the Chungjin Gate saw a scholar in the lakeside stall selling words. Calligraphy attainments of Yinzhen is subtle to look forward to the end. He looked at the calligraphy of the scholar, handwriting elegant, so he asked him to write a couplet, which has a “autumn” character. The scholar quickly wrote it on the spot, but the word “autumn” and “fire” were written as the opposite of left and right.
Yinzhen asked the scholar “autumn” word is written wrong? The scholar is not panic to take out the name card, methodical defense. Yinzhen said: “Mr. so learned and talented, why not from the imperial examinations to obtain a reputation, but here to sell words?”
The scholar replied, “To be honest, I once took the Imperial examination and won the examination, but because of the family poor no constant production, wife and children’s life without support, so I had to sell words for a living, do not dare to hope for success and wealth.”
At that moment, Yinzhen took out a few pieces of horseshoe gold and gave them to the scholar, and said to him, “I have made some money from my business, so I will finance you to seek merit. In the future, if you are successful, I hope you will think of me as a merchant.”
The scholar was overjoyed to meet the nobleman unexpectedly at the West Lake. He thanked Yongzheng and accepted the gold as his allowance to attend the examinations in the capital and to settle his wife and children’s living expenses. In the next session of the capital examination, the scholar high school scholar, point Hanlin bachelor, green cloud to get ambition.
Later, Yinzhen reigned as the Yongzheng Emperor. The Yongzheng emperor was diligent in politics, approving zhengzhi very seriously, and replying to his subjects’ instructions were also wise and humorous, even surprising.
Once Yongzheng saw the name of a scholar on a memorial, and the word “autumn” jumped out from a couplet on the West Lake. He then summoned the man to discuss calligraphy with him. Yongzheng wrote the character “和” with a brush, and then had someone show it to the scholar Hanlin.
The scholar replied that the character was a forgery. In fact, the word “wo” was written on the right side of the character “和” in both Jinwen and Xiaozhuan. Yongzheng just laughed on the spot and didn’t say anything. Then, Yongzheng Emperor wrote an imperial edict and ordered Hanlin, a scholar, to go to the governor’s office in Zhejiang.
Zhejiang governor received the imperial edict to open a look, only to see that the Yongzheng Emperor wrote an edict to the scholar Hanlin: order a certain someone to Chungjin Gate to sell words for three years, and then come to the court to serve.
At this point, the scholar Hanlin to receive the decree only suddenly understand, the original year in the West Lake Chungjinmen send horseshoe gold to finance their exams in Beijing “merchants”, but is now the emperor ah! When the “autumn” word, and their own “mouth” argument, the emperor remembered clearly. The Yongzheng Emperor’s learning is to try out the scholar’s learning is not enough to be Hanlin!
Source: The master of Xiao Hengxiang Room: “The Great View of the Wild History of the Qing Dynasty