The Aura of Confucius: Relics and Representations of the Sage at the Kongzhai Shrine in Shanghai
By Julia K. Murray
Cambridge University Press, forthcoming October 2021
The Aura of Confucius is a ground-breaking study that reconstructs the remarkable history of Kongzhai, a shrine founded on the belief that Confucius’ descendants buried the sage’s robe and cap a millennium after his death and far from his home in Qufu, Shandong. Improbably located on the outskirts of modern Shanghai, Kongzhai featured architecture, visual images, and physical artifacts that created a ‘Little Queli,’ a surrogate for the temple, cemetery, and Kong descendants’ mansion in Qufu. Although Kongzhai gained recognition from the Kangxi emperor, its fortunes declined with modernization, and it was finally destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. Unlike other sites, Kongzhai has not been rebuilt and its history is officially forgotten, despite the Confucian revival in contemporary China.