Hanlin Academy

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The Hanlin Academy (Chinese: 翰林院; pinyin: Hànlín Yuàn; literally: "Brush Wood Court") was an academic and administrative institution founded in the eighth-century Tang China by Emperor Xuanzong.

Membership in the academy was confined to an elite group of scholars, who performed secretarial and literary tasks for the court. One of its main duties was to decide on an interpretation of the Chinese classics. This formed the basis of the Imperial examinations, which aspiring bureaucrats had to pass to attain higher level posts. Painters working for the court were also attached to the academy.

Academy members[edit]

Some of the more famous academicians of Hanlin were:

The title Wujing boshi 五經博士 was created in the Han dynasty.[1][2][3][4][5] Holders of the title were considered part of Hanlin.[6]

A Ming dynasty Emperor granted a hereditary title within the Hanlin academy to a descendant of Mencius.

A Ming Emperor awarded the office of Wujing boshi 五經博士 to the southern branch of the Duke Yansheng (descendants of Confucius) at Quzhou, while the northern branch at Qufu retained the title Duke Yansheng.

In 1452 Wujing Boshi was bestowed upon the offspring of Mengzi-Meng Xiwen 孟希文 56th generation[7][8][9][10][11][12][13] and Yan Hui-Yan Xihui 顔希惠 59th generation,[7][8][9][10][11][12][13] the same was bestowed on the offspring of Zhou Dunyi-Zhou Mian 週冕 12th generation,[14][15][16][17][18][19] the two Cheng brothers (Cheng Hao and Cheng Yi-Chen Keren 程克仁 17th generation[7][8][9][10][11][12][13]), Zhu Xi-Zhu Ting 朱梴 (Zhu Chan?) 9th generation,[20][21][22] in 1456-1457, in 1539 the same was awarded to Zeng Can's offspring-Zeng Zhicui 曾質粹 60th generation, in 1622 the offspring of Zhang Zai received the title and in 1630 the offspring of Shao Yong.[23][24] Biographies of those who were awarded the title of Wujing Boshi in the Ming dynasty are found in Volume 284, Biographies 172 of the History of Ming (明史).

Confucian sages (Disciples of Confucius and Neo Confucian scholars) offspring were granted the office of "Wujing Boshi" (五经博士; 五經博士; Wǔjīng Bóshì).[25] There were 22 of them.[26][27][28] "Present Day Political Organization of China" by V.V. Hagelstrom and H.S. Brunnert contains a list of people who were awarded the title:[29] The title of 五經博士 Wu3 Ching1 Po2 Shih4, or simply 博士 Po2 Shih4 (literary designation, 大瀚博 Ta4 Han4 Po2), is also transmitted to the eldest, in a direct line, of the descendants of the following famous men of antiquity : 1. 周公 Chou1 Kung1, 2. 顏淵 Yen2 Yüan1, 3. 曾子輿 Tsêng1 Tzu3-yü2, 4. 閔子騫 Min3 Tzu3-ch'ien1, 5. 仲季路 Chung4 Chi4-lu4, 6. 有子有 Yu3 Tzu3-yu3, 7. 端木子貢 Tuan1 Mu4 Tzu3 Kung4, 8. 卜子夏 Pu3 Tzu3-hsia4, 9. 言子游 Yen2 Tzu3-yu2, 10. 冉伯牛 Jan3 Po2-niu2, 11. 冉仲弓 Jan3 Chung4-kung1, 12. 顓孫子張 Chuan1 Sun1 Tzu3 Chang1, 13. 孟子 Mêng4 Tzu3, 14. 伏生 Fu2 Shêng1, 15. 韓愈 Han4 Yü4, 16. 周敦頤 Chou1 Tun1-i2, 17. 邵雍 Shao4 Yung1, 18. 程顥 Ch'êng2 Hao4, 19. 程頤 Ch'êng2 I2, 20. 張載 Chang 1 Tsai3, 21. 朱熹 Chu1 Hsi3, and 22. 關羽 Kuan1 Yü3.[30][31][32][33][34][35][36][37][38][39][40][41][42][43] It was also granted to the cadet branch of the Confucius family at Quzhou.[44][45][46][47][48] Zhang Zai's offspring received the appointment as wujing boshi along with Zhu Xi's, Cheng Hao's, Cheng Yi's, and Zhou Dunyi's offspring.[49]

Bureau of Translators[edit]

Subordinated to the Hanlin Academy was the Bureau of Translators (Chinese: 四夷館/四译館; pinyin: Sìyí Guǎn/Sìyì Guǎn; Wade–Giles: Szu4-i2 Kuan3/Szu4-i4 Kuan3).[50] Founded by the Ming dynasty in 1407, after the first expedition of Zheng He to the Indian Ocean, the Bureau dealt with the memorials delivered by foreign ambassadors and trained foreign language specialists. It included departments for many languages[51] such as the Jurchen,[52][53][54] "Tartar" (Mongol),[55][56][57][58] Korean,[59] Ryukyuan, Japanese,[60][61][62][63][64] Tibetan,[65][66][67][68][69] "Huihui" (the "Muslim" language, Persian)[55][70][71][72] Vietnamese[73] and Burmese languages,[73][74][75] as well as for the languages of the "various barbarian tribes" (Bai yi 百夷, i.e., Shan ethnic groups on China's southwestern borders), "Gaochang" (people of Turfan, i.e. Old Uyghur language),[55][71][76][77][78][79][80] and Xitian (西天; (Sanskrit, spoken in India)). In 1511 and 1579 departments for the languages of Ba bai (八百; Lao) and Thai were added, respectively.[81] A Malay language vocabulary (Ma La Jia Guo Yi Yu) 滿剌加館譯語 (Words-list of Melaka Kingdom) for the Malay spoken in the Malacca Sultanate was compiled.[82][83][84][85][86][87][88][89][90][91][92][93][94] A Cham language vocabulary 占城館 was created for the language spoken in the Champa Kingdom.[95][96]

When the Qing dynasty revived the Ming Siyiguan 四夷館, the Manchus, who "were sensitive to references to barbarians", changed the name from yi 夷 "barbarian" to yi 彝 "Yi people", and changed the Shan exonym from Baiyi 百夷 "hundred barbarians" to Baiyi 百譯 "hundred translations".[97]

The later Tongwen Guan set up by the Qing dynasty for translating western languages was subordinated to the Zongli Yamen and not the Hanlin.

1900 fire[edit]

The Academy and its library were severely damaged in a fire during the siege of the Foreign Legations in Beijing in 1900 by the Kansu Braves while fighting against the Eight-Nation Alliance. On June 24, the fire spread to the Academy:

The old buildings burned like tinder with a roar which drowned the steady rattle of musketry as Tung Fu-shiang's Moslems fired wildly through the smoke from upper windows.

Some of the incendiaries were shot down, but the buildings were an inferno and the old trees standing round them blazed like torches.

An attempt was made to save the famous Yung Lo Ta Tien, but heaps of volumes had been destroyed, so the attempt was given up.
— eyewitness Lancelot Giles, son of Herbert Giles[98]

Many ancient texts were destroyed by the flames.[99]

The Academy operated continuously until its closure during the 1911 Xinhai Revolution.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Foreign language vocabularies[edit]