Temple of Confucius

This is currently a proposed good article.
From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Temple of Confucius
Kohsiung Confucian Temple in Taiwan.
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese孔廟
Simplified Chinese孔庙
Literal meaningTemple of Confucius (Kong)
Temple of Literature
Traditional Chinese文廟
Simplified Chinese文庙
Temple of the Sage
Traditional Chinese聖廟
Simplified Chinese圣庙
Temple of the Master
Traditional Chinese夫子廟
Simplified Chinese夫子庙
Temple of Study
Traditional Chinese學廟
Simplified Chinese学庙
Palace of Study
Traditional Chinese學宮
Simplified Chinese学宫
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese alphabetVăn Miếu
Văn Thánh Miếu
Chữ Hán文廟
Literal meaningTemple of (the Sage of) Literature
Korean name
Literal meaningTemple of Literature
Temple of Confucius
Japanese name
Indonesian name
IndonesianBoen Bio
Manchu name
Manchu scriptᡴᡠᠩᡶᡠᡯ ᡳ ᠮᡠᡴᡨᡝᡥᡝᠨ
MöllendorffKungfudzi-i muktehen

A temple of Confucius or Confucian temple is a place of worship where people show respect to Confucius and other people of Confucianism.[1] Confucianism is a folk religion in China and other countries in East Asia and Southeast Asia. Its history is more than 2,500 years.[2]

In the past, these temples were where the imperial examination happened. This was in China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. They often included schools and other places for studying.[3][4][5]

The birthplace of Confucius is Qufu, Shandong. The city has a large and famous temple of Confucius. Inside is a very tall statue (72 meters) made of brass and strengthened with steel. This temple is the biggest and oldest Confucius temple in the world. It has also been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1994.[6]

Names[change | change source]

The temples have many different names in East and Southeast Asia. The most important ones in Qufu and Beijing are now called "Temples of Confucius" in Chinese (Kǒngmiào, 孔廟). In some places, they are called "Temples of Literature" (文廟) (Chinese: wénmiào; Vietnamese: văn miếu; Korean: munmyo; Indonesian: boen bio) or "Temples of the Sage of Literature" (Vietnamese: văn thánh miếu). In Southern China, temples with these names usually honor Wenchang Wang, a different deity linked to the scholar Zhang Yazi. In Japan, they are often known as "Temples" or "Halls of the Sage" (Japanese: seibyō or seidō).[7][8]

History[change | change source]

Historical plan of the Temple of Confucius at Qufu, 1912.

People built temples to honor Confucius as he became more popular. In 195 BC, Han Gao Zu, who started the Han dynasty, paid respects to Confucius at his tomb in Qufu. People started to worship Confucius and his disciple Yan Hui at the Imperial University around 241.[9]

Japanese painting of Confucius, by Kanō Sansetsu. From a folio depicting various Confucian figures.

In 454, the Liu Song dynasty in southern China built an important state Confucian temple. By 489, the Northern Wei built another Confucian temple in the capital, beyond Qufu in the north. In 630, the Tang dynasty said schools had to have Confucian temples across provinces and counties. After thism they spread throughout China. There are famous Confucian shrines in Jianshui, Xi'an (now the Forest of Steles), Nanjing's Fuzi Miao, and Beijing which was first started in 1302. The old Confucian Temple in Tianjin, near Traditional Culture Street, covers 32 acres. It is the largest group of traditional architecture buildings still left in Tianjin.[9]

Main hall of Temple of Confucius in Qufu, the oldest Confucian temple in the world.

The biggest and oldest Temple of Confucius is in Qufu, Shandong Province of China. This is where Confucius was born. Duke Ai of the State of Lu ordered its creation in 479 BC, a year after Confucius died. The temple grew larger over more than 2,000 years. It became the huge place it is today. There is also another temple in Quzhou. As well as Confucian temples linked to the state, there were ancestral temples for the Kong lineage, buildings to remember what Confucius' did in the country, and private temples within educational institutions.[5][10]

Design of temples[change | change source]

The gates of the Temple of Confucius in Datong, Shanxi.

Starting from the Tang dynasty (618–907), people built Confucian temples in schools across the empire. They built these temples at the front or on the side of the schools. The front gate of a temple is called the Lingxing Gate. Inside, there were usually three courtyards, but sometimes only two.[11] However, the Qufu complex has nine courtyards with many stone slabs commemorating visits by emperors or imperial noblemen to Confucius' descendants.[12] The main building is called the Dachengdian, translated as "Hall of Great Achievement", "Hall of Great Completion," or "Hall of Great Perfection". It is in the inner courtyard. People go inside through the Dachengmen. In imperial China, these halls housed the Spirit Tablets of Confucius and other important sages. In front of the Dachengdian in Qufu is the Apricot Pavilion or Xingtan. Another important building behind the main one is the Shrine of Adoring the Sage. It honors Confucius' ancestors and the fathers of the Four Correlates and Twelve Philosophers.[3]

The Dachengdian Hall of Temple of Confucius, Qufu.

Confucian temples, unlike Taoist or Buddhist ones, usually do not have statues. In the early years of the Qufu temple, the spirits of Confucius and his disciples were shown in wall paintings.[13] Official temples had images of Confucius, but some did not like this as it copied Buddhist temples. The focus was argued to be on honoring Confucius's teachings rather than the man himself.[10][14]

Spirit tablets of paternal ancestors of Confucius in the Tainan Confucius Temple in Taiwan.

To solve the lack of uniformity in Confucius statues, Emperor Taizu of the Ming dynasty ordered that new Confucian temples should only have spirit tablets and no statues.[13] In 1530, it was decided that existing images of Confucius in imperial temples should be replaced with spirit tablets.[15] However, many modern Confucian temples still have statues, especially those run by Confucius's family descendants, like the one in Qufu.[6]

Practice of worship[change | change source]

Musicians at a Confucian ceremony in Munmyo Shrine, South Korea.

Confucian worship mainly means offering sacrifices to Confucius's spirit at the Confucian temple.[16][17]

A dance called the Eight-Row Dance, which used to be the Six-Row Dance, is danced at these temples. The dance has eight columns of eight dancers each. It was granted to Confucius in 1477 as an imperial honor, given the title of king after his death. The accompanying musicians play yayue music.[17][18]

Apart from honoring Confucius, Confucian temples also pay tribute to the "Four Correlates", the "Twelve Philosophers", and other disciples and scholars of Confucianism in history.[13] The number of people and people worshipped changed over time. This lead to controversy over which Confucians to enshrine. By the 20th century, there were 162 figures worshipped, including the Four Correlates (Yan Hui, Zeng Shen, Kong Ji, and Mencius) and the Twelve Philosophers.[10][19]

Temples outside China[change | change source]

As Confucianism became popular across East Asia, people built temples for Confucius in Vietnam, Korea, and Japan. From the 18th century onwards, there were even some temples in Europe and the Americas. When Confucianism was most popular, there were more than 3,000 Confucian temples in the world.[20]

In Korea[change | change source]

Gimje Hyanggyo Daeseongjeon (Confucian shrine) in South Korea.

After China, Korea has the most Confucian temples. These temples were often linked to schools. They first started during the Goryeo period (918–1392). Confucianism became more popular in the Joseon dynasty. As a result, the government started Confucian schools (Hanggyo 항교) for training officials.[21] These schools had teaching buildings and a memorial tablet house called Daesongjeon 대성전. The temples were similar to Chinese models, but in Korea there were some changes such as building schools in front of temples. Korea also added its own scholars, the eighteen scholars of the East, to the Confucian pantheon (the five sages).[22]

In Korea's history, there were 362 Confucian temples. After World War II and the division of the country, people in the North changed into centers of traditional culture (Gukjagam). Some of the 232 temples in the South continued their activities. Alongside temples focused on Confucianism, the Republic of Korea also has twelve Confucian family temples, two temples in private schools, and three libraries.[23]

In Taiwan[change | change source]

Interior of Taipei Confucius Temple in Taiwan.

The first Confucian temple in Taiwan was the Taiwan Confucian Temple. It was built in Tainan in 1665 during the Tungning Kingdom. Another temple, the Taipei Confucius Temple, was built in Taipei in 1879. It was demolished in 1907 and rebuilt on Dalong Street from 1925 to 1939.[24] The new temple was designed by Wang Yi-Shun. It is a temple in the Fujian style. Every year, on September 28, Confucius's birthday, there is the Shidian Ceremony.

There is also a Confucian temple in Zuoying District, Kaohsiung. It was finished in 1974. It was built in the Northern Song architectural style. More Confucian temples are in Chiayi City, Taipei, Taichung, and Changhua County.[25][26]

In Japan[change | change source]

In Japan, Confucian temples (kōshi-byō) were often built next to Confucian schools.[27] The Yushima Seidō is the most famous. It was built in 1630 during the Edo period. At first it was a private school linked to the Neo-Confucianist scholar Hayashi Razan. It was first in Shinobi-ga-oka in Ueno. It was later moved to near present-day Ochanomizu by the Tokugawa Shogunate. The Shogunate also started an important school on its grounds. It was sponsored by the state and called Shoheikō.[28][29]

In Vietnam[change | change source]

Temple of literature in Hanoi, Vietnam.

In Vietnam, a Confucian temple is called a Văn Miếu. The earliest recorded Văn Miếu is in Hanoi. It was started in 1070 during the Lý dynasty. Starting from 1397, Confucian temples, such as the famous Văn Miếu in Hưng Yên City, became popular across Vietnam with the building of schools during the Tran dynasty.[21][30]

In Indonesia[change | change source]

Confucian temples are also in Indonesia. They are called "Churches of Confucius". Confucianism is a recognized religion in the country. The largest and oldest temple is Boen Bio in Surabaya. It was first built in the city's Chinatown in 1883. It was moved in 1907. Reports say there are over 100 Confucianist halls of worship across Indonesia.[31][32]

In Malaysia[change | change source]

The first Confucian temple in Malaysia was built in the Chung Hwa Confucian School in Penang in the early 20th century. The Qing dynasty ambassador to the British Straits Settlement at the time started this school. Later, it was divided into SJK(C) Chung Hwa Confucian A, B, and SMJK Chung Hwa Confucian. Parents brought their children to this temple for prayers before starting school, seeking good results in studies.[33][34]

Kuala Lumpur has two Confucian schools: SMJK Confucian and Confucian Private School. It also has a Confucian school in Malacca where ceremonies in honor of Confucius happen every year.[35]

References[change | change source]

  1. Huang, Chin-shing; Huang, Jinxing (2021). Confucianism and Sacred Space: The Confucius Temple from Imperial China to Today. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-19896-7.
  2. "Confucianism". education.nationalgeographic.org. Retrieved 2023-12-19.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Bell, Daniel A. (2021). "Review of Confucianism and Sacred Space: The Confucius Temple from Imperial China to Today, Chin-shing Huang". China Review. 21 (2): 241–245. ISSN 1680-2012. JSTOR 27019018.
  4. boguo (2013-08-28). "Confucius Temples: Houses of Worship in Ancient China". Retrieved 2023-12-14.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Berkshire Publishing Group LLC (2009). "Confucian Temples" (PDF). Confucian Sites at Qufu. 5. Retrieved 14 December 2023.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Global Cultural Exchange (GCE) and Beijing Shangdehongyi Cultural Exchange Ltd. (2021). "WHV - Temple and Cemetery of Confucius and the Kong Family Mansion in Qufu". Temple and Cemetery of Confucius and the Kong Family Mansion in Qufu, China.
  7. Guo, Hongdan (2020-12-01). "Protection and Utilization of Confucian Temple in Southern Shaanxi from the Perspective of Cultural Heritage". Open Journal of Social Sciences. 8 (12): 225–237. doi:10.4236/jss.2020.812017.
  8. Theobald, Ulrich. "Confucius Temples (www.chinaknowledge.de)". www.chinaknowledge.de. Retrieved 2023-12-14.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Huang, Chin-shing; Chin, Jonathan (2021). Confucianism and Sacred Space: The Confucius Temple from Imperial China to Today. Columbia University Press. doi:10.7312/huan19896. ISBN 978-0-231-19896-7. JSTOR 10.7312/huan19896. S2CID 230525317.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Tu, Weiming (1996). Confucian Traditions in East Asian Modernity: Moral Education and Economic Culture in Japan and the Four Mini-dragons. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-16087-3.
  11. Hoobler, Dorothy; Hoobler, Thomas; O'Brien, Joanne (2009). Confucianism. Infobase Publishing. ISBN 978-1-60413-107-9.
  12. Rainey, Lee Dian (2010-04-09). Confucius and Confucianism: The Essentials. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-4443-2360-3.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Murray, Julia K. (2021-11-25). The Aura of Confucius. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-316-51632-4.
  14. "Temple: Confucian Temple Compounds | Encyclopedia.com". www.encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2023-12-14.
  15. Watters, Thomas (1879). A Guide to the Tablets in a Temple of Confucius. American Presbyterian Mission Press. ISBN 978-0-524-02726-4.
  16. UNESCO.org (2011-11-19), Sacrificial Rite in the Confucian Temple, retrieved 2023-12-14
  17. 17.0 17.1 Wilson, Thomas A. (2020-03-23). On Sacred Grounds: Culture, Society, Politics, and the Formation of the Cult of Confucius. BRILL. ISBN 978-1-68417-377-8.
  18. Xiong, Ran; Wei, Ping (2020-07-07). "Influence of Confucian culture on entrepreneurial decision making using data from China's floating population". Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal. 48 (7): 1–12. doi:10.2224/sbp.9309. S2CID 225579173.
  19. Lee, Yun-Seok (October 31, 2002). "Structure and Change of Urban Sacrificial Centers in Late Imperial China: Confucian Temples and City-god Temples". Journal of Ming-Qing Historical Studies. 17: 1–38. doi:10.31329/jmhs.2002.10.17.1. ISSN 1598-2017.
  20. "Confucius Temple (Qufu), Confucius Cemetery, Kong Family Mansion". www.chinadiscovery.com. Retrieved 2023-12-14.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Tu, Weiming (1996). Confucian Traditions in East Asian Modernity: Moral Education and Economic Culture in Japan and the Four Mini-dragons. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-16087-3.
  22. "Confucian Temple, Chosen (Korea)". Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. Retrieved 2023-12-14.
  23. Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "Seowon, Korean Neo-Confucian Academies". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 2023-12-14.
  24. "Confucius Temple". Taipei Travel. Retrieved 2023-12-14.
  25. Crook, Steven (2016-08-31). "Taiwan's Confucian Temples". Life of Taiwan. Retrieved 2023-12-14.
  26. "Confucius Temple Cultural Park(孔廟文化園區)". Tainan Travel. Retrieved 2023-12-14.
  27. "Okinawa: The History of an Island People. By <italic>George H. Kerr</italic>. (Rutland, Vt.: Charles E. Tuttle Company. 1958. Pp. xviii, 542. $6.75.)". The American Historical Review. April 1959. doi:10.1086/ahr/64.3.664. ISSN 1937-5239.
  28. Organization, Japan National Tourism. "Taku Seibyo Confucian Temple | Travel Japan - Japan National Tourism Organization (Official Site)". Travel Japan. Retrieved 2023-12-14.
  29. "Yushima Seido | Japan Experience". www.japan-experience.com. Retrieved 2023-12-14.
  30. Tân, Trân (1951). "V. Étude sur le Vǎn-miêu de Hanoi (Temple de la Littérature)". Bulletin de l'École française d'Extrême-Orient. 45 (1): 89–118. doi:10.3406/befeo.1951.5513.
  31. MATAKIN. "Majelis Tinggi Agama Khonghucu Indonesia". Majelis Tinggi Agama Khonghucu Indonesia. Retrieved 2023-12-14.
  32. Coppel, Charles A. (1981). "The Origins of Confucianism as an Organized Religion in Java, 1900-1923". Journal of Southeast Asian Studies. 12 (1): 179–196. doi:10.1017/S0022463400005063. ISSN 0022-4634. JSTOR 20070420. S2CID 162731423.
  33. Coppel, Charles A. (1981). "The Origins of Confucianism as an Organized Religion in Java, 1900-1923". Journal of Southeast Asian Studies. 12 (1): 179–196. doi:10.1017/S0022463400005063. ISSN 0022-4634. JSTOR 20070420. S2CID 162731423.
  34. Tan, Chee-Beng (1983). "Chinese Religion in Malaysia: A General View". Asian Folklore Studies. 42 (2): 217–252. doi:10.2307/1178483. ISSN 0385-2342. JSTOR 1178483.
  35. "尊孔独立中学 Confucian Private Secondary School". cpss. Retrieved 2023-12-14.