No visit to Qufu should be complete without a visit to the Temple of the Duke of Zhou. The traditional Zhou dynasty rituals that were carried out at the temple in honor of Confucius’s great hero were the primary source of inspiration for the sage’s philosophy and teachings. They provided the living and breathing symbols that fueled his calls for a return to the golden age at the beginning of the Zhou dynasty when China reached its zenith under the duke’s wise and benign leadership.
The Duke of Zhou (周公) was the fourth son of King Wen of Zhou (周文王), the spiritual founder of the Zhou dynasty. He played an instrumental role in helping his second oldest brother, King Wu (周武王), to defeat the Shang dynasty (商朝) at the Battle of Muye (牧野之戰) in around 1046 BCE and formally establish the dynasty. Continue reading Notes from the field: the Temple of the Duke of Zhou→
Like the Cemetery of Confucius’s Parents, the Zhusi Academy probably isn’t on the must-see list for Qufu, but it’s worth checking out if you have the time.
The Zhusi Academy marks the place where Confucius is said to have taught and edited ancient canonical texts, including the so-called Five Classics (1) and the Book of Music, after returning to his home state of Lu in 484 BCE after spending fourteen years in exile. It provides an elegant and graceful symbol of the importance attached to learning in Chinese culture. Continue reading Notes from the field: Zhusi Academy→
One of the most delightful surprises I had on my first trip to Qufu a couple of years ago was an unplanned visit to the Temple of Mencius, second only to Confucius in the Confucian Pantheon. This time I decided to double down by taking a trip out to see his tomb at the Mencius Cemetery and the tomb of his redoubtable mother at the Cemetery of Mencius’ Mother.
Having recently read about the opening of the new Confucius Museum in Qufu, I decided it would be worth having a look at it during this trip to China and so took a train here from Wuzhen this morning.
The museum is located about 5km south of the center of Qufu. A taxi there from the city center cost me 20RMB and took about 15 minutes. The building housing the museum looks stunning from the outside with its ultra-modern design. Its interior is also very attractive with a circular tower of books arranged in patterns forming the centerpiece. Continue reading Notes from the field: Confucius Museum in Qufu→
子貢曰：「貧而無諂，富而無驕，何如？」子曰：「可也，未若貧而樂，富而好禮者也。」子貢曰：「詩云：『如切如磋，如琢如磨』，其斯之謂與？」子曰：「賜也，始可與言詩已矣，告諸往而知來者。」 Zigong said: “’Poor but not subservient; wealthy but not arrogant.’ What do you think of that?” Confucius said: “Not bad, but this would be better still: ‘Poor but content; wealthy but loves ritual.’” Zigong said: “In the Book of Songs it is said: ‘Like carving and polishing stones, like cutting and grinding gems.’ Is this not the same idea?” Confucius said: “Wonderful, Zigong! At last I can discuss the Book of Songs with you! Based on what I’ve already said, you can work out what’s coming next!” (1) (2)
The history of Qufu stretches back far beyond the lifetime of the Confucius to the dawn of recorded antiquity when the foundations of the Chinese state were laid by the mythical sages known as The Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors. Continue reading Shouqiu and the Tomb of Shaohao→
Mencius is second only to Confucius in the Confucian pantheon. Born in 372 BC, just over a hundred years after the sage’s death, he was also born in the state of Lu only twenty or so kilometers away from Qufu in the small town of Zoucheng. Continue reading Temple of Mencius and Meng Family Mansion→
The Temple of Yan Hui may not be as large and grandiose as the Temple of Confucius, but it has a tranquil beauty that makes it well worth a visit. The temple is a fifteen-minute walk from the exit of the Kong Mansion. You can stop off there before heading on to the Kong Forest. Continue reading Temple of Yan Hui→