Book title: The Aura of Confucius: Relics and Representations of the Sage at the Kongzhai Shrine in Shanghai
Speakers: Julia K. Murray and James Robson
Date: Friday, 22 April 2022
Time: 1-2:30 pm (US Central Time)
Organized by: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA
The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Department of Art History and the Center for East Asian Studies are pleased to host an online launch for Julia K. Murray’s new book, The Aura of Confucius: Relics and Representations of the Sage at the Kongzhai Shrine in Shanghai (Cambridge University Press), a conversation between the author and Professor James Robson of Harvard University.
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. Centered on the Tomb of the Robe and Cap, with a Sage Hall noteworthy for displaying sculptural icons and not just inscribed tablets, Kongzhai attracted scholarly pilgrims who came to experience Confucius’s beneficent aura. 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.