The Tomb of Confucius
The tomb of Confucius is a biggest clan graves and artificial gardens that have been most completely preserved for the longest time. All the walls here were built by grey bricks, 3 to 4 meters high, 7.3 kilometers long and covered an area of 3000 mu (a unit of area). Inside the walls are many flourishing ancient trees and it was said that Confucius’ disciples collected and planted the trees of their hometown in the Tomb of Confucius Forest, thus it got various trees here. The tombs, with many graves, steles and ants inside, includes not only the graves and building for Confucius, Kong Li (Confucius’ son), and Kong Ji (Confucius’ grandchild), but also the graves of Kong lingyi, Kong yugou, Kong Wenshao and Kong Shangren. As to the gravestones, besides some famous ones in Han Dynasty were moved here, there are also the autographical epigraphs of some famous calligraphers in previous dynasties, like Li Dongyang, Yan Song, Weng Fanggang, He Zhaoji, Kang Youwei, ect, thus the Tomb of Confucius was also called the forest of steles and can be regarded as treasure-house of calligraphy art.
The middle route of the Tomb of Confucius is 1000 meters lone, with lush pines and cypresses in two sides, which were mainly planted in Song and Yuan dynasties. At the end of the route is the wooden memorial archway written with “Zhisheng Forest”, also the entrance door. The second door is to its north and is a castle-like building, called “Watching Building”, which is surrounded by walls, with a height of 4 meters and a perimeter of over 7000 meters. Within the walls is a river, i.e. the well-known Zhushui River. Xiang Hall is just to the north of Zhushui Bridge and is where Xiangtan is put during sacrificing Confucius. In front of the hall there are some stone beasts like Wengzhong, Wangzhu, Wenbao and Jiaoduan. Behind Xiang Hall is Confucius’ grave in the middle, with the inscription “the grave of great sage Emperor Wenxuan” by Huang Yangzheng of Ming Dynasty. To the east is the grave of “Marguis Sishui”, his son Kong Li while the front is the one of his grandchild Kong Zisi. It is said that this kind of special layout of graves was called “taking son and grandson together”. To the east of Confucius’ grave are three pavilions where Song Zhenzong, Qing Shengzu and Qing Gaozong stayed to offer sacrifice to Confucius, called “Zhubi Pavilion”. Behind the pavilions, around 200 meters away, is the trees planted by Zigong and “Zigong’s Grave”. Besides Confucius’ grave, the most grandiose one with high-quality decoration goes to Kong Xianpei (the 72nd generation of Confucius) wife’s grave, i.e. Yushi workshop. This lady was Emperor Qianlong’s daughter originally. Due to the rule of non-intermarriage between Man and Han people at that time, Emperor made her the stepdaughter of a minister and then married her to Mr. Yansheng, thus her grave was called Mr. Yushi. The grave of another celebrity in the Temple of Confucius is Kong Shangren, a playwright in Qing Dynasty, who was famous for his works “Peachblossom Fan” and his grave is located in the north-east corner. He had ever been the guide for Emperor Kangxi when he visited Confucius Temple and the Tomb of Confucius and got his recognition due to his extensive knowledge and vivid description.