Did “The Oldest Living Man,” Li Ching-Yuen, Actually Live 256 Years?
Li Ching-Yuen or Li Ching-Yun was a man of Huijiang County, Sichuan Province, said to be a Chinese herbal medicine expert, martial artist and tactical advisor. He once claimed to have been born in 1736 during the period of Qianlong―the sixth Emperor of the Qing dynasty. But there are also conflicting records that Lee was born in 1677 during the reign of Kangxi―the fourth Emperor of the Qing dynasty. However, it has not been yet confirmed.
Li Ching-Yuen is widely known for his supposed extreme longevity, living an age at death of 197 or 256 years. Both far exceed the highest record of verified ages in this world.
Life of Li Ching-Yuen
Many believe that Li Ching-Yuen was born on February 26th of 1677 in Huijiang County, Sichuan Province―in the present day, Huijiang District, Chongqing City. He allegedly spent an entire lifetime collecting Chinese herbs and collecting tips for longevity. In 1749, at the age of 72, Li Ching-Yuen went to Kai County to join the army and became a martial arts teacher and tactical advisor of the army.
In 1927, Li Ching-Yuen was invited by General Yang Sen to work as a guest in Wan County, Sichuan. Yang Sen was deeply attracted to the old man’s ancient and masterful herbal collection skills. After six years, the old man Li Ching-Yuen died in 1933. Some believe that he died naturally, others claim that he once told friends, “I’ve done what I need to do and now I’ll go home”―then he dies immediately.
After Li Ching-Yuen’s death on May 6th of 1933, Yang Sen sent someone specifically to investigate his true age and background and published a report. In the same year, some Sichuan people, when they were interviewed, said they already knew Li Ching-Yuen when they were young children, and that Li did not become very old when they were finally old. Others said Li was once a friend of their grandpas. Li Ching-Yuen was buried at the Xicunxian Village Cemetery Luoyang, Henan, China.
About the real age of Li Ching-Yuen
According to a 1933 obituary published in “Time Magazine” and “The New York Times,” Li Ching-Yuen, at his age of 256, was already married to 24 wives from different time segments who raised total of 180 children, over 11 generations. There’s a version of Li Ching-Yuen’s married life in which he had buried 23 wives and lived with his 24th wife, who was 60 at the time.
According to “The New York Times“: Wu Chung-Chieh, head of the education department at Chengdu University in 1930, discovered Li Ching-Yuen’s “birth certificate” that suggests he should have been born on February 26th of 1677. Another report conveys that the Qing government also held a 150-year-old celebration for him in 1827.
However, such kinds of reportings are hard to prove because the demographics of China in the 17th century were mostly inaccurate and unverified. The Time Magazine had also described, Li Ching-Yuen has six-inch-long fingernails in his right hand.
According to legend, Li Ching-Yuen was the creator of Jiulong Baguazhang or Nine Dragons Baguazhang.
Other oldest supercentenarians
A supercentenarian is someone who has reached the age of 110. This age is achieved by about one in 1,000 centenarians.