The sacred landscape of imperial China was dotted with Buddhist monasteries, Daoist temples, shrines to local deities, and the altars of the mandarinate. Prominent among the official shrines were the temples in every capital throughout the empire devoted to the veneration of Confucius. Twice a year members of the educated elite and officials in each area gathered to offer sacrifices to Confucius, his disciples, and the major scholars of the Confucian tradition.
The worship of Confucius is one of the least understood aspects of Confucianism, even though the temple and the cult were highly visible signs of Confucianism's existence in imperial China. To many modern observers of traditional China, the temple cult is difficult to reconcile with the image of Confucianism as an ethical, humanistic, rational philosophy. The nine essays in this book are an attempt to recover the meaning and significance of the religious side of Confucianism. Among other subjects, the authors analyze the social, cultural, and political meaning attached to the cult; its history; the legends, images, and rituals associated with the worship of Confucius; the power of the descendants of Confucius, the main temple in the birthplace of Confucius; and the contemporary fate of temples to Confucius.
About the Author
Thomas A. Wilson is Associate Professor of History at Hamilton College.
Huang Chin-shing is Head of the History Section of the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica.
Lionel M. Jensen is Associate Professor of East Asian Languages & Literatures and Concurrent Associate Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame.
Jun Jing is Professor of Anthropology at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Tsinghua University.
Abigail Lamberton is Visiting Instructor at Gustavus Adolphus College.
Table of Contents
Table, Maps, Music Examples, and Figures
Introduction: Culture, Society, Politics, and the Cult of Confucius
Thomas A. Wilson
PART I RITES AND MUSIC
1. Ritualizing Confucius/Kongzi: The Family and State Cults of the Sage of Culture in Imperial China
Thomas A. Wilson
2. Destroying Confucius: Iconoclasm in the Confucian Temple
3. Musical Confucianism: The case of 'Jikong yuewu'
Joseph S. C. Lam
PART II IMAGINING CONFUCIUS
4. The Genesis of Kongzi in Ancient Narrative: The Figurative As Historical
Lionel M. Jensen
Varied Views of the Sage: Illustrated Narratives of the Life of Confucius
Julia K. Murray
PART III POLITICS AND SOCIETY
6. The Cultural Politics of Autocracy: The Confucius Temple and Ming Despotism, 1368-1530
7. The Kongs of Qufu: Power and Privilege in Late Imperial China
PART IV THE PAST IN THE PRESENT
8. Knowledge, Organization, and Symbolic Capital: Two Temples to Confucius in Gansu
9. The Confucius Temple Tragedy of the Cultural Revolution