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Yan Yuan (Chinese: ; pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Yen Yuan;(1635 - 1704), courtesy name Yizhi or Hunran, art name Xizhai (Chinese: ; pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Hsi-chai) founded the practical school of Confucianism to contrast with the more ethereal Neo-Confucianism that had been popular in China for the previous six centuries. Like the Han learning scholars, he rejected the abstract metaphysics of the Neo-Confucians. However, he considered Han learning as too obsessed with philology and textual criticism and not enough emphasis on pragmatism. His school promoted the Six Arts.
He was born on April 27, 1635 in the Zhili province (now called Hebei) in China and spent his youth in poverty, after his father was taken into the Manchu army and never returned. He died on September 30, 1704 in the same province.
The ideas of Yan Yuan were developed by his disciple Li Gong zh: (Yan-Li school). Yan's intellectual heritage was addressed by Wu Han in the 20th century. Wu elaborated on the Yan's concept of the relation between history and the present.
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