Thursday, June 23, 2016

Jiading hosts Confucius temple, scholarly museum

Scene at Jiading Confucius Temple
China is home to many temples devoted to the ancient philosopher Confucius. One of the oldest and prettiest is located in a small water town near Shanghai.

Jiading isn’t on the well-known water town route that includes Suzhou and Tongli, which makes visiting here a treat as it’s not overrun by tourists. Jiading, though, was a flourishing town before Shanghai was barely  a gleam in anyone’s eye.

The Confucius temple here oozes peace and serenity, and barely shows its age. Constructed in the 13th century, it took 30 years to complete. It underwent 10 renovations by various dynasties, which is why it is so well-preserved today.

Study hall
Three bridges, with the traditional lion heads, cross a quiet canal into the main hall. A statue of Confucius surrounded by musical instruments and documents stands in the center of the hall.

The temple is next to the Confucian academy, which turned out nearly 200 imperial scholars over the centuries, thus earning Jiading the title of “state of education.” As you wander the academy grounds, you can see the doorless cubicles where scholars sat for their examinations. Today the temple is home to the Shanghai Museum of the Chinese Imperial Examination System. The examination system was used to select government officials.

The temple is a Shanghai Municipality Protected Historic Site.

The temple and academy are located at No. 183 Nandajie Street in Shanghai. Admission is charged.
Scholar at study

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