Confucian Temple (originally 1035, current buildings 1474 onward)
Suzhou�s Confucian Temple was originally established by Fan Zhongyan in the 1035 under the Northern Song Dynasty for use as part of a school. The current buildings date from 1474 during the Ming Dynasty, or later. The complex consists of two courtyards: one to the east and one to the west. The east courtyard was used for the worship of Confucius and is dominated by the huge Hall of Great Attainment (Dashengdian) where the spirit tablets of Confucius and other important sages were housed. To the west is a second courtyard separated from the first by a wall, where the Confucian academy was located. The academy was run by the state and had facilities for students to live and study. The large hall to the north was where the local civil service exams were given. This part of the temple is now used for a flea market, and the buildings are currently used as storage spaces for old Suzhou beds that are dismantled and sold in pieces for their engravings.
The temple is directly to the west of the Surging Waves Pavilion, so visitors are advised to see both sites at the same time.
All images copyright 2008 Timothy M Ciccone.
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