Cemetery of Confucius

Last updated by chinatravel at 2014/5/1

The tomb of Confucius is the longest preserved and largest of the clan graves and artificial gardens. The walls here were constructed out of grey bricks; it is 3 to 4 meters high, 7.3 kilometers long and covers an area of 3000 mu (a unit of area). Inside the walls are many flourishing ancient trees. It was said that Confucius’ disciples collected and planted the trees of their hometowns in the Tomb of Confucius Forest. The tombs, with many graves, steles and ants inside, include 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. Numerous gravestones were moved here during the Han Dynasty along with numerous autographical epigraphs of some famous calligraphers from previous dynasties, like Li Dongyang, Yan Song, Weng Fanggang, He Zhaoji, Kang Youwei, ect. 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 long, with lush pines and cypresses, which were mainly planted in Song and Yuan dynasties, on both sides.. At the end of the route is a wooden memorial archway inscribed with “Zhisheng Forest.” 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 the well-known Zhushui River. Xiang Hall is just to the north of Zhushui Bridge and is where Xiangtan is put during sacrifices to Confucius. In front of the hall there are some stone beasts like Wengzhong, Wangzhu, Wenbao and Jiaoduan. Behind Xiang Hall Confucius’ grave lies 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, Yushi workshop, belongs to Kong Xianpei’s (the 72nd generation of Confucius) wife’s.. This lady was originally Emperor Qianlong’s daughter. Due to the rule of non-intermarriage between Man and Han people at that time, the 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 the Qing Dynasty, who was famous for his works “Peachblossom Fan”; his grave is located in the north-east corner. He was the guide for Emperor Kangxi when he visited Confucius’ Temple and the Tomb of Confucius and gained his recognition due to his extensive knowledge and vivid descriptions.

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