Monday, 8 November 2010

Confucian Temple and Confucian Grove

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Confucian Temple stands in Qufu City, Shandong Province. It is an an-cestral temple built as a place to offer sacrifices to Confucius,  the famous thinker and educator in ancient China.
Confucius (551 - 479 B. C. ) was from Lu Dukedom in the Later Spring and Autumn Period. His theory on morality, ethics and education has influ-enced not only Chinese educators for over thousands of years but has also af-fected the whole world. Nearly all the Chinese emperors, scholars and histori-ans through the ages worshipped Confucius. Hence, a large-scale Confucian Temple, together with Confucian Mansion, a group of buildings for Confu-cius' later generation and Confucian Groves, his clan cemetery, was built in Confucius' hometown, the capital of the Lu Dukedom. Confucius Temple is one of the three largest ancient building groups which are kept in good condi-tion at this time.
    The construction of Confucian Temple started in 478B. C., one year after the death of Confucius. At first, his house was used as a temple where he was offered a sacrifice every year. As a result of extension of the temple, the sur-rounding area grew until it has become the largest Confucian Temple in Chi-na. Confucian Temple, like imperial palaces, is surrounded by a red wall with 4 towers in each corner. There are nine courtyards. The present halls, pavil-ions and rooms add up to 460 or so and the archways to 54 in all.
    Dacheng Hall is the principal hall, measuring 32 meters high, 54 meters 1ong from the east to the west and 34 meters wide from the south to the north. It is one of the four largest brick and wood halls left from ancient Chi-na. In front of the building stand ten stone columns carved with twining drag-ons in relief, each stone column about one meter in diameter. In the hall, sac-rifices are offered to Confucius. In rooms on two sides of the hall more than 2,000 steles are on display, together with carved stones and tablets with fig-ure pictures.
    Kuiwenge, also called Cangshulou, as the second high building in Confu-cian Temple, is the only place to store up the writings granted by the emper-ors, and contains a collection of books by Confucian clan.
    On the green stone terrace stands a kiosk with four angles. This is the well-known Apricot Altar. The kiosk is built of yellow tiles, carved beams and painted rafters, surrounded with bright red fences and apricot trees. It is said to be the place where Confucius delivered lectures.
    The well-known Confucian Grove is a cemetery for Confucius and his lat-er generations. It stands in the north of Qufu City, now the largest and oldest clan graveyard.
    The holly road in Confucian Grove is nearly 1,000 meters long, with green trees on either side, most of which were planted during the Song and Yuan dynasties. At the end of the road is a memorial archway named Zhishenglin -- the gate of Confucian Grove. The gray brick wall is about 3.4 meters high, and inside the wall flows a stream -- the famous holly river, named Zhushui River. Not far from the north of the bridge is the hall used to offer sacrifice to Confucius. It is called Xiang Hall. Just in the center behind Xiang Hall stands a huge tomb of Con-fucius, in front of which is a tombstone that was specially carried from Mount Tai according to the emperor's order.
    Confucius Grove contains another tomb of a notable person: that of Kong Shangren. He was Confucius' grandson of 64 generations, author of a well-known play The Peach Blossom Fan and a famous writer of the Qing Dy-nasty. Once he acted as a guide for Emperor Kangxi when the emperor visited Confucian Temple and Grove.

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