Photo Gallery

Fuzi Miao Confucian Temple (1500 years old, recently reconstructed)

The Fuzi Miao Confucian temple was first built in 1034 during the Song dynasty. The style of the temple and surrounding buildings is based on the 1869 construction that was burned down during the Japanese sack of Nanjing in 1937. The current buildings were put up in 1986 using as much of the original stonework as possible.

The temple consists of two big courtyards separated by a small one. The entrance to the front of the temple (to the south) is through the Gate of the Great Saint (dashengmen). The first courtyard is dominated by the Hall of the Great Saint (dashengdian), which was where the spirit tablets of Confucius and other important masters and sages were kept and venerated. These tablets were honored in formal ceremonies held by the government official in charge of Nanjing on specified dates in the 2nd and 10th months of the Chinese lunar calendar. This hall is the largest building in the complex and has a tall double-eaved roof

Behind the Hall of the Great Saint is a small courtyard surrounded by gates. The back gate, to the north, leads to another courtyard where the main building is the Hall of Bright Virtue (mingdetang), a single-eaved building that is the second largest one in the compound. This square was the home of the state-sponsored Confucian academy for Nanjing. It was one of the more famous academies in all of China and was known by the name of, �First School of the South East�. This courtyard also has a drum tower to the west and a bell tower to the east. The halls around the outside of the courtyard contain an exhibition on Confucian ceremonies and rites. The Hall of Bright Virtue is used as a concert hall for classical Confucian music.

About three or four hundred yards to the east of the Confucian temple is the Jiangnan Examination School. (Jiangnan is a name used for the lower reaches of the Yangtze River.) This school was first established in 1168 during the Southern Song dynasty. When Nanjing became the capital of China at the beginning of the Ming dynasty it served as the examination hall for both provincial examinations and the palace examinations for candidates from all over China. After the court moved to Beijing in 1421 it was used as the site for countywide exams. During the Qing dynasty as Nanjing grew again in importance, it grew to the point that it had more than 20,000 cloisters, where those sitting for the exams were locked away for several days to write their essays. Almost all of the complex was torn down during the first few decades of the 20th century to make room for the shops and businesses that now crowd this area. Of the buildings here now, only the triple-eaved Mingyuan Tower dates from the Qing dynasty. The rest of the buildings are reconstructions from 1989.


All images copyright 2001 Professor Kerk L. Phillips of Brigham Young University, Utah, USA

Boyd, Andrew. Chinese Architecture and Town Planning: 1500 B.C. - A.D. 1911
  Holmesdale Press Ltd, 1962. London

Visit Kerk L. Phillips' website at

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Maggie posted on Sun Jan 29, 2012 7:28 am:

Cool Page.