The Beijing Confucius Temple. During the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) people paid homage to Confucius at this magnificent temple. Within it you’ll find 198 stone tablets, positioned on either side of the front courtyard and containing the names of more than 51 000 Jinshi (advanced scholars) of the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, as well as 14 pavilions holding various historical documents from ancient China. Your tummy should be grumbling by now!
Confucius (/kənˈfjuːʃəs/; 551–479 BC) was a Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher of the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history. The philosophy of Confucius emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity. His followers competed successfully with many other schools during theHundred Schools of Thought era only to be suppressed in favor of theLegalists during the Qin Dynasty. Following the victory of Han over Chuafter the collapse of Qin, Confucius's thoughts received official sanction and were further developed into a system known as Confucianism. Confucius is traditionally credited with having authored or edited many of the Chinese classic texts including all of the Five Classics, but modern scholars are cautious of attributing specific assertions to Confucius himself.Aphorisms concerning his teachings were compiled in the Analects, but only many years after his death. Confucius's principles had a basis in common Chinese tradition and belief. He championed strong family loyalty, ancestor worship, respect of elders by their children and of husbands by their wives. He also recommended family as a basis for ideal government. He espoused the well-known principle "Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself", an early version of the Golden Rule.
The Temple of Confucius at Beijing (simplified Chinese: 北京孔庙; traditional Chinese: 北京孔廟; pinyin: Běijīng Kǒngmiào) is the second largest Confucian Temple in China, after the one in Confucius' hometown of Qufu. The temple was built in 1302, and officials used it to pay their respects to Confucius until 1911. The compound was enlarged twice, during the Ming andQing dynasties and now occupies some 20,000 square meters. From 1981 until 2005, the Temple of Confucius also housed part of the art collection of theCapital Museum. It stands on Guozijian Street near the Imperial Academy. The complex includes four courtyards aligned along a central axis. From south to north, noteworthy structures includes the Xianshi Gate (先师门), Dacheng Gate (Gate of Great Accomplishmen, 大成门), Dacheng Hall (Hall of Great Accomplishment, 大成殿) and Chongshengci (崇圣祠). Inside the temple there are 198 stone tablets positioned on either side of the front courtyard, and they contains more than 51,624 names of Jinshi (advanced scholars) of the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, and 14 stone stele pavilions of the Ming and Qing dynasties that hold various historical documents of ancient China. The temple also contains stone tablets recording the names of many generations of scholars who passed the Imperial Examination, a reproduction of a Western Zhou period stone drum made during the reign of Qianlong (1735–96), and stonesteles containing the Thirteen Confucian Classics, presented by the city of Jintanin Jiangsu Province. There is set of carved stone drums made between 1736–1795 during the Qianlong period of the Qing Dynasty held within the Gate of Great Accomplishment, and there is also a large collection of ancient Chinese musical instrument located within the Hall of Great Perfection, along with the central shrine to Confucius. There are various carvings inside the temple ground. One notable example is a famous carving of "two flying dragons playing a pearl among clouds"; this rare image is seldom to be found in other Confucius temples in China or East Asia, and it is often used in the imperial palaces as dragon is usually solely reserved for emperors. The Temple has many old trees, including one Cypress tree known as the "Touch Evil Cypress" (Chu Jian Bai), that has been made famous by folklore through the ages. Its name derives from a story from the Ming Dynasty that when a famously corrupt official was passing by, the tree knocked off his hat, and since then people have thought this particular tree could distinguish between good and evil.