Confucius, known in China as Kongzi, given name Qiu and alias Zhongni, was born 2,500 years ago in Qufu, Shandong Province. As the founder of Confucian culture, Confucius is a world-renowned great thinker, statesman and educationist.
Confucius is an ancient sage to Chinese people, his words and life story were recorded by his disciples and their students in The Analects, which is an enduring classic of Chinese culture. The Analects has influenced all thinkers, writers and politicians in the over 2,000-year-long history of China after Confucius. No scholar could truly understand this long-standing culture or the inner world of the ancient Chinese without this book. Confucius has enjoyed the reputation of being “Ultimate Sage, Foremost Teacher”, “Great Perfection, Ultimate Sage, Culture-Propagating King”, “Model Teacher of All Ages”. His historical status in the Chinese cultural and ideological history has been matchless.
Confucianism founded by Confucius experienced ups and downs in China’s long feudal history. After Emperor Wu of the Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C. – A.D. 24) decided on “paying supreme tribute to Confucianism while banning all other schools of thought”, Confucius’ doctrines began to be carried forward and has gradually become the orthodox and traditional base of Chinese culture. In the following 2,000 years, Confucianism has always occupied the dominant position. As a headstream of the Eastern civilization, Confucianism has exerted extremely significant influence on the formation of the national characters of the Chinese people.
While Confucius was given numerous posthumous titles and honors in successive dynasties, his descendants also received many titles and honors. The eldest grandson of Confucius received the hereditary title Duke Yansheng, who was top-rank civil official in the Ming Dynasty and was allowed to ride a horse in the Forbidden City in the Qing Dynasty, which is a great honor in ancient time because everyone needed to dismount from the horse when entering the Forbidden City.
The later generations have not only built up a large number of temples of Confucius all over the country, but also kept expanding his temples, adding numerous materials to the records of the Temple of Confucius in Qufu. The former Imperial Palace in Beijing, the Mountain Resort of Chengde and the Temple of Confucius in Qufu are known as the three major complexes of ancient Chinese architectural structures in China. The Kuiwen Pavilion in the Temple of Confucius is the largest pavilion among China’s existing ancient pavilions. The Dacheng Hall in the Temple of Confucius, the Hall of Supreme Harmony in the former Imperial Palace in Beijing, and the Tiankuang Hall at the Daimiao Temple in Tai’an are known as the three major palaces in China.
With an area of over 70,000 square meters, the Mansion of Confucius has nine courtyards, the most prestigious style in traditional Chinese architecture. The Cemetery of Confucius is a family cemetery with the longest history in China. After the disciples of Confucius buried their teacher here in 479, a large number of the descendants of Confucius of over 76 generations have been buried here over the past 2,500 years. You can read “Temple and Cemetery of Confucius and the Kong Family Mansion” for more details.