Duke Yansheng

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Kong or K'ung
Country China
Estates Kong Family Mansion (Qufu), Quzhou Mansion,
Parent house Shang Dynasty, State of Song
Titles Duke Yansheng, Sacrificial Official to Confucius,[1] Wujing Boshi, Count of Changwon
Founded 551 BCE
Founder Confucius
Current head Kung Tsui-chang (Northern Branch), Kong Xiangkai (Southern Branch), Gong Dae-sik (Branch in Korea)
Ethnicity Han Chinese
Cadet branches The other main branch was the Southern branch at Quzhou, many other branches are scattered all over China, one branch in Korea.[2]
Duke Yansheng,[3] Sacrificial Official to Confucius
Creation date 1055[4]
Monarch Emperors of the Song dynasty, Jin dynasty, Yuan dynasty, Ming dynasty, Qing dynasty
Peerage Chinese nobility
First holder Kong Zongyuan(孔宗願)
Present holder Kung Tsui-chang
Heir apparent Kung Yu-jen(孔佑仁)
Kong Weining(孔維寧)(Heir presumptive)
Seat(s) Kong Family Mansion[5][6][7][8][9]
another abode in Beijing[10]
Duke Yansheng
Traditional Chinese 衍聖公
Simplified Chinese 衍圣公
The spirit way of Kong Yanjin, the 59th-generation senior-line direct descendant of Confucius and Duke Yansheng, in the Cemetery of Confucius, Qufu.

The Duke of Yansheng, literally "Duke Overflowing with Sagacity", sometimes translated as Holy Duke of Yen, was a Chinese title of nobility. It was originally created as a marquis title in the Western Han dynasty (206 BCE – 9 CE) for a direct descendant of Confucius.[4]

From the Western Han dynasty to the mid-Northern Song dynasty (960–1127), the title undergone several changes in its name, before it was finally settled as "Duke Yansheng" in 1005 by Emperor Renzong of the Northern Song dynasty. Kong Zongyuan, a 46th-generation descendant of Confucius, became the first person to hold the title "Duke Yansheng".[11] The dukes enjoyed privileges that other nobles were denied, such as the right to tax their domain in Qufu while being exempt from imperial taxes. Their dukedom had its own judicial system and the legal capacity to mete out capital punishment, although such sentences had to be ratified by the imperial court.

In 1935, the Nationalist government of the Republic of China converted the Duke Yansheng title to a political office, "Dacheng Zhisheng Xianshi Fengsi Guan" (大成至聖先師奉祀官), which simply means "Sacrificial Official to Confucius". This political office is not only hereditary, but also had the same ranking and remuneration as that of a cabinet minister in the government of the Republic of China. In 2008, with permission from the Kong family, the political office became an unpaid one which is purely ceremonial in nature. It is currently held by Kung Tsui-chang, a 79th-generation descendant of Confucius.

There are also similar political offices for the descendants of the other notable members of the Confucian school, (the Four Sages) such as "Sacrificial Official to Mencius", "Sacrificial Official to Zengzi", and "Sacrificial Official to Yan Hui".[12][13][14][15]

The tombs of the Dukes Yansheng of the Ming and Qing dynasties are located at the Cemetery of Confucius in Qufu, Shandong.[16]

History[edit]

Kong Qiu (551–479 BCE), better known as Confucius, was a teacher, politician and philosopher of the State of Lu in the Spring and Autumn period of ancient China. He was a descendant of the royal family of the Shang dynasty (c. 1558–1046 BCE) through the dukes of the State of Song (11th century – 286 BCE).

Qin dynasty (221–206 BCE) and the Western and Eastern Han dynasties (206 BCE – 220 CE)[edit]

During the reign of Qin Shi Huang (r. 247–210 BCE), the First Emperor of the Qin dynasty, Kong Fu (孔鮒), a ninth-generation descendant of Confucius, was awarded the title "Lord Wentong of Lu" (魯國文通君) and the appointment of shaofu (少傅).

In 190 BCE, Emperor Gao of the Han dynasty awarded the title "Lord Fengsi" (奉祀君; "Lord Who Offers Sacrifices") to Kong Teng (孔騰), Kong Fu's younger brother.

During the reign of Emperor Yuan (r. 48–33 BCE), Kong Ba (孔霸), a 13th-generation descendant of Confucius, was granted the title "Lord Baocheng" (褒成君). In addition, the income gained from the 800 taxable households in Kong Ba's fief were used to finance the worshipping of Confucius. Kong Ba also instructed his eldest son, Kong Fu (孔福), to return to their ancestral home to serve as a sacrificial official to their ancestor.

The title "Marquis[4] Yinshaojia" (殷紹嘉侯) was conferred on Kong Ji (孔吉),[17] a 14th-generation di descendant of Confucius, by Emperor Cheng (r. 33–7 BCE). The emperor also allowed Kong Ji to perform ritual sacrifices to Cheng Tang, the first king of the Shang dynasty, and granted him the er wang san ke (二王三恪) ceremonial privilege.

During the reign of Emperor Ping (r. 1 BCE – 6 CE), granted the title "Marquis Baocheng" (褒成侯) to Kong Jun (孔均), a 16th-generation descendant of Confucius.[18][19]

Emperor Ming[20] (r. 58–75 CE) awarded Kong Juan (孔損), an 18th-generation descendant of Confucius, the title "Marquis of Bao Village" (褒亭侯).

Emperor An (r. 106–125 CE) gave the title "Marquis of Fengsheng Village" (奉聖亭侯) to Kong Yao (孔曜),[21] a 19th-generation descendant of Confucius.

The title of Duke of Song and "Duke Who Continues and Honours the Yin" (殷紹嘉公) were bestowed upon Kong An (孔安 (東漢) by the Eastern Han dynasty because he was part of the Shang dynasty's legacy.[22][23] This branch of the Confucius family was a separate branch from the line that held the title of Marquis of Fengsheng village and later Duke Yansheng. This practice was referred to as 二王三恪.

Three Kingdoms period (220–280 CE) through Northern and Southern dynasties era (420–589)[edit]

During the Three Kingdoms period, the state of Cao Wei (220–265) renamed the title "Marquis Baocheng" (褒成侯) to "Marquis Zongsheng" (宗聖侯).

The Jin (265–420) and Liu Song (420–479) dynasties changed the title to "Marquis of Fengsheng Village" (奉聖亭侯).

The Northern Wei dynasty (386–535) changed the title to "Marquis Chongsheng" (崇聖侯) while the Northern Qi dynasty (550–577) called it "Marquis Gongsheng" (恭聖侯). Under the Northern Zhou dynasty (557–581), the title was promoted from a marquis title to a ducal title, "Duke of Zou" (鄒國公).

A fief of 100 households and the rank of 崇聖侯 Marquis who worships the sage was bestowed upon a Confucius descendant, Yan Hui's lineage had 2 of its scions and Confucius's lineage had 4 of its scions who had ranks bestowed on them in Shandong in 495 and a fief of ten households and rank of 崇聖大夫 Grandee who venerates the sage was bestowed on 孔乘 Kong Sheng who was Confucius's scion in the 28th generation in 472 by Emperor Xiaowen of Northern Wei.[24][25]

Sui (581–618) and Tang (618–907) dynasties[edit]

In the Sui dynasty, Emperor Wen (r. 581–604) awarded the title "Duke of Zou" (鄒國公) to Confucius's descendants, but Emperor Yang (r. 604–618) downgraded and renamed the title to "Marquis Shaosheng" (紹聖侯).

During the early Tang dynasty, the title was renamed to "Marquis Baosheng" (褒聖侯). In the Kaiyuan era (713–741) of the reign of Emperor Xuanzong, the emperor posthumously honoured Confucius as "Prince Wenxuan" (文宣王)[26][27] and promoted the "Marquis Baosheng" title to "Duke Wenxuan" (文宣公).[28][29][30][31][32]

Duke Wenxuan Kong Renyu lived during the Later Tang dynasty.[33]

A line in the Book of Rites had an interpretation written by Kong Yingda.[34] Kong Yingda wrote some interpretations on the Record of Music.[35] 禮記正義 was compiled by Kong Yingda.[36] Kong Yingda wrote a new edition of the Shijing.[37] Confucius' scion in the 32nd generation Kong Yingda wrote interpritations of the Confucian 5 Classics called the 五經正義 Wujing zhengyi.[38] A description was written by Kong Yingda on the Di sacrifice.[39][40] Zhaomu were also mentioned by Kong.[41][42]

Northern and Southern Song dynasties (960–1279)[edit]

In 1055, Emperor Renzong, changed the "Duke Wenxuan" title to "Duke Yansheng" (孔宗願) to avoid naming taboo associated with the posthumous names of the earlier emperors. The title "Duke Yansheng" was then awarded to Kong Zongyuan (孔宗願), a 46th-generation descendant of Confucius.[43][44][45][46] It was later changed to "Duke Fengsheng" (奉聖公) but was quickly restored back to "Duke Yansheng", and has since then been known as "Duke Yansheng".

During the wars between the Song dynasty and Jurchen-led Jin dynasty (1115–1234), the Song capital, Kaifeng, was conquered by Jin forces in 1127. Remnants of the Song dynasty retreated south and established the Southern Song dynasty, with Emperor Gaozong (r. 1127–1162) as their ruler. Kong Duanyou (孔端友), who then held the Duke Yansheng title, also moved to the south and settled in Quzhou, Zhejiang, where the southern branch of Confucius's descendants was created. Kong Duancao (孔端操), Kong Duanyou's brother, remained in Qufu, Shandong, where he called himself the "acting Duke Yansheng". Later on, the Jin dynasty recognised Kong Duancao's legitimacy. This resulted in a north-south split among the descendants of Confucius.[47][48][49][50][51][52][53][54][55][56][57] Historians regarded the southern branch as the di (legitimate) successor to Confucius's line, while the northern branch is seen as a shu (offshoot) branch.

The Kongs in Qufu had a genealogy compiled during the Northern Song which described disciples with Confucius images. A pavilion was built by the Jin in the 1190s in the Confucius temple of Qufu over a Song dynasty era dais constructed in 1022.[58] The dias built by the Song and modified by the Jin was depicted in the 1242 Kongshi zuting guangji genealogy written by Kong Yuancuo. The genealogy written by Kong Yuancuo contains Kong Chuan's 祖庭廣記 Zuting zaji with 孔瓌 Kong Gui's (scion in the 49th geneartion) introduction.[59] Kongshi zuting guangji shows pictures of the Song and Jin dynasty era temple of Confucius.[60]

Quzhou was where the Gaozong followers from the Kong family evacuated to.[61]

The Quzhou temple is home to a rubbed Confucius portrait while the Qufu one has a tablet amade out of stone with a rubbed portrait of Yan Hui and Confcuius while the Qufu temple has another Confucius icon.[62]

孔清覺 Kong Qingjue led a White Cloud 白雲宗 group.[63]

In 1134 東家雜記 Dongjia zaji was written by 孔傳 Kong Chuan.[64][65]

In the temple in Qufu an image on a stele was set up by the scion in the 48th generation Kong Duanyou. The temple contained the smalle portrait of Yan Hui and Confucius as recorded by Kong Zonghan. A cadet branch scion in the 49th generation 孔瑀 Kong Yu in 118 patronized the construction of the portrait on a second stele.[66]

孔宗壽 Kong Zong scio, a scion in the 46th generation in 1096 in the temple in Qufu installed a tablet depicting a portrait of 10 disciples with Confucius which Kong Zonghan mentioned. The portrait was included in the genealogy Kongshi zuting guangji of Kong Yuancuo. Another image was not redrawn by Kong Yuancuo by was mentioned by Kong Zongyuan, which showed all 72 disciples with Confucius.[67]

In the Quzhou temple Kong Chuan and Kong Duanyou patronized the creation of a Confucius image.[68]

46th generation descendant 孔宗翰 Kong Zonghan wrote in 1085 a new genealogy. Confucius portraits were spread around in Qufu by Confucius's scions.[69] A genealogy was written in 1085 by Kong Zonghan which described disciples and Confucius images. The genealogy of Kong Yuancuo contained one of the images which also appeared in the temple in Qufu and according to Kong Chuan it was drawn by Qu Daozi.[70]

孔氏祖庭廣記 Kongshi zuting guangji was compiled by 孔元措 Kong Yuancuo.[71]

Kong Chuan's genealogy was succeeded in 1242 the publishing of the 1227 genealogy written by the Jin dynasty Duke Yansheng of the 51st generation 孔元措 Kong Yuancuo.[72]

The Quzhou based scion in the 53rd generation during the Yuan dynasty 孔濂 Kong Lian wrote commentary on a stele at Quzhou which said that Kong Chuan and his nephew Kong Duanyou created a stone carved image of Confucius.[73]

Yuan dynasty (1271–1368)[edit]

From 1127 up to the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty, there were two Duke Yanshengs – one in Quzhou, Zhejiang (in the south) and the other in Qufu, Shandong (in the north). In 1233, Ögedei Khan (r. 1229–1241) granted the Duke Yansheng title to Kong Yuancuo (孔元措), a 51st-generation descendant of Confucius from the northern branch.

Kublai Khan (r. 1260–1294) originally wanted to merge the two Duke Yanshengs under the southern one by making Kong Zhu (孔洙), the southern branch's leader, the legitimate successor to the Duke Yansheng line. However, since Kong Zhu declined the offer, Kublai Khan abolished the southern Duke Yansheng title and appointed Kong Zhu as the jijiu (祭酒) of the Imperial Academy. Since then, the northern branch has remained as the "legitimate" heir to the Duke Yansheng line.[47][74][75][76][77]

In 1307, shortly after his enthronement, Külüg Khan (r. 1307–1311) awarded the posthumous honorary title "Prince Dacheng Zhisheng Wenxuan" (大成至聖文宣王) to Confucius.

Kong Ruogu 孔若古 aka Kong Chuan(孔傳)[78] 47th generation[79][80][81][82][83][84][85] was claimed to be the ancestor of the Southern branch after Kong Zhu died by Northern branch member Kong Guanghuang.[49][86][87]

The Southern Branch of the Confucius family at Quzhou

During the Yuan dynasty, one of Confucius' descendants, who was one of the Duke Yansheng Kong Huan's 孔浣 sons, named Kong Shao 孔紹, moved from China to Goryeo era Korea and established a branch of the family there after wedding a Korean woman (Jo Jin-gyeong's 曹晉慶 daughter) during Toghon Temür's rule. This branch of the family received aristocratic rank in Joseon era Korea.[88][89][90][91][92][93] 曲阜孔氏 (朝鲜半岛) 곡부 공씨

The Liyang Kongs were descendants of Confucius who lived in southern China during the Yuan dynasty's final years. 孔克齊 Kong Keqi or 孔齊 Kong Qi was a scion of the 55th generation.[94] An account was written by Kong Qi on this era.[95]

Ming dynasty (1368–1644)[edit]

In 1506, the Zhengde Emperor (r. 1505–1521) appointed Kong Yansheng (孔彥繩), a member of the southern branch, as a "Wujing Boshi" (五經博士; "Professor of the Five Classics") in the Hanlin Academy.[76][86][96][97] The appointment was equivalent to that of an eighth-grade official in the Ming imperial administration. Kong Yansheng's descendants were allowed to inherit the title "Wujing Boshi".

(1592-1647) 孔胤植 Kong Yinzhi 孔貞叢 in 1609 Kong Zhencong in 1552 孔弘干 Kong Honggan 闕里誌 all edited the Queli zhi genealogy.[98][99]

Qing dynasty (1644–1912)[edit]

On 31 October 1644, the Shunzhi Emperor (r. 1643–1661) of the Manchu-led Qing dynasty confirmed and recognised the legitimacies of the Duke Yansheng and Wujing Boshi titles after the Qing capital was established in Beijing following the Qing conquest of China.[100][101]

毕沅 Bi Yuan's, 李长森 Li Changsen's and 方受畴 Fang Shouchou's (nephew of Fang Guancheng) female progeny married 孔繁灏 Kong Fanhao.[102][103]

Kong Luhua (relative of the Duke Yansheng) was the second wife of Ruan Yuan.[104]

Headgear was worn by Kong Lingyi in an official portrait.[105]

Republic of China (1912–present)[edit]

After the 1911 Xinhai Revolution which overthrew the Manchu-led Qing dynasty, most of the nobility titles used in the imperial era were abolished. The Duke Yansheng title, however, was an exception along with the Marquis of Extended Grace and the descendants of Mencius, Zengzi, and Yan Hui. During the revolution, some Westerners were told that a Han Chinese would be installed as the emperor. The candidate was either the bearer of the Duke Yansheng title,[106][107][108][109][110] or the holder of the title "Marquis of Extended Grace", a title granted to descendants of the imperial family of the Ming dynasty.[111]

In 1913, the Beiyang government, led by Yuan Shikai, passed a law allowing the Duke Yansheng title to be retained and held by Kong Lingyi (孔令貽), a member of the northern branch. The Wujing Boshi title, on the other hand, was renamed to "Dacheng Zhisheng Xianshi Nanzong Fengsi Guan" (大成至聖先師南宗奉祀官) and held by Kong Qingyi (孔慶儀), a member of the southern branch.

Yuan Shikai conferred the title of Prince on the Duke immediately before declaring the Empire of China (1915–16).[112]

The regent for the underage Duke Kong Te-cheng was Kong Lingjun 孔令儁.[113] He was the Kong Family Mansion steward.[114][115]

In 1935, the Nationalist government abolished the hereditary peerage systems of the imperial era and converted the Duke Yansheng title into a political office, "Dacheng Zhisheng Xianshi Fengsi Guan" (大成至聖先師奉祀官), which simply means "Sacrificial Official to Confucius".[116]

During the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945), Kung Te-cheng (Kong Decheng), the Sacrificial Official to Confucius, evacuated to Hankou, Wuhan, where he was received by Kung Hsiang-hsi (Kong Xiangxi), a fellow descendant of Confucius.[117] They moved to Chongqing later, where the Nationalist government was based during the war.

After the victory of the Communists in the Chinese Civil War, Kung Te-cheng evacuated with the Nationalist government to Taiwan where the current Sacrificial Official to Confucius is based. Until 2008, the office of "Sacrificial Official to Confucius" had the same ranking and remuneration as that of a cabinet minister in the government of the Republic of China in Taiwan.

In 1998, the Taiwanese government demolished the office building of the sacrificial official but retained the appointment. The hostel of National Chung Hsing University along Guoguang Road in South District, Taichung is situated at the former location of the office building.

In 2008, with approval from the Kong family, Taiwan's Ministry of the Interior converted the sacrificial official appointment into an unpaid one. The office is currently held by Kung Tsui-chang (Kong Chuichang), a 79th-generation descendant of Confucius who was appointed in September 2009 after the death of his grandfather, Kung Te-cheng. The Ministry of Interior also declared that female descendants of Confucius are eligible for future appointment.

The southern branch still remained in Quzhou where they lived to this day. Confucius's descendants in Quzhou alone number 30,000.[118][119] The leader of the southern branch is 孔祥楷 Kong Xiangkai.[120]

The descendants of Confucius still use generation poems for their names given to them by the Ming and Qing Emperors along with the descendants of the other Four Sages 四氏.[121][122]

Xiaochi county 小池镇(黄梅县) is home to Confucius descendants.[123]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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