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British Academy Lectures 2013-14$
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Janet Carsten and Simon Frith

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265864

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265864.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 14 April 2021

A heavenly aura

A heavenly aura

Confucian modes of relic veneration

(p.59) A heavenly aura
British Academy Lectures 2013-14

Julia K. Murray

British Academy

Although concepts and practices related to the veneration of relics are usually identified with Buddhism in China, this article will suggest that they are also relevant to Confucius (551-479 BC) and ‘Confucianism’. Ideas about the special efficacy of great persons and things associated with them predate Buddhism, which spread from India to China in the 1st century AD. The display of personal items that had once belonged to Confucius and places that figured in his biography powerfully evoked the ancient sage to scholarly pilgrims who visited his home area and temple in Qufu, Shandong. Drawing on Buddhist scholarship for working definitions and typologies, the material forms of relic-related practices in the Confucian milieu, particularly at Qufu, are investigated. Analysis is also given of a now-destroyed shrine, near modern Shanghai, in which multiple media were employed to replicate relics of Confucius and bring his beneficent presence to a place he never visited.

Keywords:   Confucius, Relics, Qufu, Kongzhai, Shrine, Confucian Religion Association, Kong lineage

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