Gu Yanwu (Ku Yen-wu) 1613-2682

One of the most eminent scholars of the early Qing period. Born in Kunshan, he was influenced by his family's Neo-Confucian principles and, ashamed that he could do nothing to prevent the collapse of the Ming dynasty, he turned his attention to practical learning. He did not rely on intuitive knowledge, as had the Wang Yangming School of Neo-Confucianism, but on perceptive knowledge, with the Confucian Classics as a guide. He committed himself to historical research, which he believed would lead to enlightenment, and produced numerous important works, including geographical studies and books on phonetics and archaic Chinese. He also wrote on economics and politics and composed mostly anti-Manchu poetry.