Scholar-Officials' Properties in Hangzhou

‘Scholar-official’ is a generic term used to refer to ancient scholars who rose to the upper-class of society through doing great in the imperial examinations of different levels conducted across the country. Usually, they specialized in Confucian classics and four arts, i.e. Qin (Chinese stringed instrument), Qi (Chinese chess), Shu (Chinese calligraphy) and Hua (Chinese painting).

For most Scholar-officials in history, politics were their priority. They were ambitious with some focusing on climbing to the top of the ruling class and some eager to serve their country even if it may cost their lives. In the meantime, for the education they had received, they were destined to be the successor and creator of Chinese traditional culture like literature, calligraphy, painting, seal-engraving, collecting etc. A look into this special class helps to understand Hangzhou culture if not the entire Chinese culture even better.

  • yuqian

    Yu Qian (1398–1457)



    Renowned as 'Three Heroes of West Lake' together with Yue Fei, Zhang Huangyan, Yu Qian is the native of the current Hangzhou city which was known back then as Qiantang County. Just like Yue Fei, Yu Qian was executed wrongly for political reasons and was posthumously rehabilitated. Yu Qian started his political life at the age of 23 and got promoted several times after suppressing a rebellion by the prince of Han together with the Xuanzong Emperor of the Ming Dynasty in 1421.

  • Yu Quyuan

    Yu Quyuan (1821 - 1907)



    Yu Quyuan (1821 - 1907) is a great master in Confucian studies from the Qing Dynasty and was born in Deqing, Zhejiang. Becoming a successful candidate in the highest imperial examinations in 1850 and promoted junior compiler in the Imperial Academy in 1852, he was appointed as Provincial Education Commissioner in Henan in 1855. After his eventual dismissal from office, he devoted himself to academic research, while serving as Dean of Ziyang Academy, Qiuzhi Academy and Gujing Academy respectively.
  • Ruan Yuan

    Ruan Yuan (1764~1849)



    Ruan Yuan (1764~1849), courtesy name Boyuan and art name Yuntai, was a quite accomplished scholar-official of the Qing Dynasty. He was born in a privileged family in Yangzhou City, Jiangsu Province with his grandfather the Wujinshi (a degree offered after passing Military Examinations), his father the master of ancient literature and his mother good at writing poems. Consequently, at a young age, he was already good at archery, horsemanship, literature and military tactics.