Zhang Yong (張咏), known as Fuzhi (復之), was a native of Jancheng, Shandong Province. He was a famous minister in the Northern Song Dynasty of Emperor Taizong and Emperor Zhenzong, and was known for his honesty and integrity. After his death, he was posthumously awarded the title of “Zhongding”, which is why he is also known as Zhang Zhongding. The world’s earliest paper money, “jiaozi”, which was created in the year of Chunhua of Emperor Taizong Zhao Gui of the Northern Song Dynasty, was invented by Zhang Yong when he was guarding Sichuan. The story of Zhang Yong’s youthful visit to Chen Tuan, the Sleeping Immortal, is contained in Shen Kuo’s “Mengxi Penjing”.
When Zhang Yong was a teenager, he went to Mount Hua to meet Chen Tunan (Chen Tuan), and after the meeting, he wanted to live in seclusion on Mount Hua. Chen Tuan said, “Others are namely unknowable. If you really want to do so, then I will definitely share half of Mount Hua with you. However, you are going to be an official in the future, not a hermit. This situation is like a house on fire waiting for you to put out the fire, will you ignore it?” So he gave him a poem, which read, “It is not unusual for me to enter Shu since Wu, and I am busy putting out fires in the midst of songs and dances. I beg to be free in Jinling, and I must thank you for the sores on my temples.” At that time, Zhang Yong did not know what the poem said.
Later he defended Yizhou and Hangzhou. In his later years, he developed a bad sore on the back of his head, which could not be cured for a long time, so he asked himself to be transferred to Jinling, as the poem suggests.
Another story about him is also recorded in the Mengxi Penshu.
When Zhang Yong was in Sichuan, he was good friends with a monk. When he was about to leave Sichuan, he said to this monk, “You should send me to Lutou, I have something to tell you.” The monk followed his words and went to Lutou Pass. When he parted, Zhang Yong gave him a sealed letter, saying, “Please keep it well until the 26th day of the 7th month of the year Yimao, when you go to see the official and open it in public. You must not open it privately. If you open it privately without waiting for the time, you will be in great trouble.”
The monk treasured the letter until the seventh year of the Dazhong Xianghu, the year of the B-Mao. At that time, when Ling was leading his troops in Shu, the monk visited Ling’s residence with this letter and presented Zhang Yong’s letter to Ling. The monk was also a Taoist, so Ling believed his words and called his officials to open the letter together. On the letter was a self-portrait of Zhang Yong, with his handwritten inscription: “When Yong eats blood here.”
After a few days, there was a report from the capital that Zhang Yong had died on July 26. Ling was waiting to build a temple for him in Chengdu.
There is also an account of foreknowledge of his death in the History of the Song Dynasty – Biography 52.
Zhang Yong and Fu Lin from Qingzhou were classmates when they were children. Fu Lin became reclusive and did not want to be an official. After Zhang Yong became a prominent official, he had begged Fu Lin for thirty years but could not get it, and this time he came to beg Zhang Yong in person.
When the official told Zhang Yong that Fu Lin was asking for an audience, he was rebuked by Zhang Yong, “Mr. Fu is a wise man in the world, I cannot be his friend, who are you to mention his name!” Fu Lin laughed and said, “It has been several decades since I parted from you, do you still remember there is a Fu Lin in the world?” Zhang Yong asked, “Why did you live in seclusion in the past, and why did you come back today?” Fu Lin replied, “You are going to go soon, so I have come to tell you.” Zhang Yong said, “Yong also knows it.” The next day Fu Lin left.
A month later, Zhang Yong died at the age of seventy.