Chinese city stages online exhibition of portraits of Confucius

December 20 16:49 2022

An exhibition of Confucius was recently launched online, which includes over 3,000 portraits of the ancient Chinese philosopher from books, paintings, statues, and stone carvings around the world.

The exhibition is part of this year’s Southern Confucianism Culture Season in Quzhou of Zhejiang province, which is the second home of Confucius’s descendants and considered an origin of Confucianism. 

The exhibits are categorized by their types and time of creation, demonstrating the ebb and flow of Confucius’ popularity and the evolution of art forms through history. The exhibition aims to give people a better understanding of the Chinese philosopher and promote Confucianism.

These portraits were created either to remember the former sage by his disciples or to highlight the importance of enlightenment. They might also be created to serve sacrificing purposes.

The online exhibition includes Confucius-themed artworks collected by Confucius temples and museums across China and from around the world.

There was no written record of his image when Confucius was alive. The earliest record can be found in Sima Qian’s “Historical Records: Confucius Family,” written more than 300 years after the death of Confucius.

In 1128, after the downfall of the Northern Song dynasty (960-1127), Kong Duanyou, a 48th-generation descendant of Confucius, moved to China’s south and settled in Quzhou.

Quzhou has held memorial ceremonies to celebrate the birth of Confucius every year since 2004. The ceremonies focused on carrying forward fine traditions and fostering Confucianism in modern times. In recent years, the city has also scaled up efforts to promote Confucianism as its city brand.

The online exhibition was initiated by Quzhou Southern Confucianism Culture Development Center, and supported by Nishan World Center for Confucian Studies, the headquarters of Confucius Institute and Confucius Temple Protection Association of China.

The Chinese and English editions of the online exhibition can be reached at http://www.子曰.cn/

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