Shang Xiang

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Shang Xiang (Chinese: 上庠; pinyin: shàng xiáng; Wade–Giles: Shang Hsiang), was a school founded in the Yu Shun (虞舜) era in China. Shun (2257 BCE–2208 BCE), the Emperor of the Kingdom of Yu (虞, or 有虞/Youyu), founded two schools. One was Shang Xiang (shang (上), means up, high), and the other one was Xia Xiang (下庠, xia (下) means down, low).[1][2] Shang Xiang was a place to educate noble youth. Teachers at Shang Xiang were generally erudite, elder and noble persons.

The original meaning of Xiang (庠) is provide for (養), and Xiang, including Shang Xiang and Xia Xiang, were initially places to provide for the aged persons, and then became places for aged persons with their knowledge and experiences to teach youth.

Shang Xiang is classified as a kind of Guo Xue (國學), meaning the National School in capital city, which is the imperial central school, the nation's supreme school in China, in contrast with regional schools. Cheng Jun (成均) is also a kind of ancient institution with educational function in the Five Emperors eras before Shang Xiang as recorded in literature.[3] The imperial school was called Dong Xu (東序, literally eastern school) in Xia Dynasty, while Xi Xu (西序, western school) was equivalent to Xia Xiang. In Shang Dynasty the upper school was You Xue (右學, literally right school) and the lower school was Zuo Xue (左學, left school). The imperial central school was named Taixue in Han Dynasty. From Sui Dynasty to Qing Dynasty it was named Guozijian.

Shang Xiang was also one of the five imperial schools in the capital city in Zhou Dynasty. The other four were: Dong Xu (東序), Cheng Jun (成均), Gu Zong (瞽宗) and Pi Yong (闢雍). Pi Yong, also called Taixue at the time, was a central school, located in a central location, where the Son of Heaven may often prelect and also learn and ask for advisement (承師問道). Dong Xu was an eastern school. Cheng Jun was a southern school. Gu Zong was a western school and it is a music school. Shang Xiang was a northern school. The schools established by vassal states were called Pan Gong (泮宮). The schools in the Zhou Dynasty mainly taught the Six Arts: Li (禮, rite), Yue (樂, music), She (射, archery), Yu (禦, charioteering), Shu (書, literature), Shu (數, maths).


  1. ^ Classic of Rites·System of King: Youyushi (Yu) provided for noble elders in Shang Xiang, and provided for plebeian elders in Xia Xiang. Zheng Xuan: Shang Xiang was a Daxue (大學, great study, big school, today it translates to English as university) and it is located in the west of capital city (《禮記·王制》:“有虞氏養國老於上庠,養庶老於下庠”。鄭玄:“上庠為大學,在王城西郊。”).
  2. ^ The Chinese System of Public Education by Kuo. Ping Wen, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York city, 1915 (Page 9, Earliest Schools and Colleges on Record): During the reigns of Yao and Shun there were in existence near the Imperial Palace at least two kinds of educational institutions, one called Shang Hsiang, and the other Hsia Hsiang. The former was a college devoted to higher education or Ta Hsüeh, and the latter was a college for lower education or Siao Hsüeh. These institutions also existed during the Hsia and Shang, but were then known by different names.
  3. ^ Dong Zhongshu: The Five Emperors named Daxue as Cheng Jun and it is similar to Xiang in Yu era (董仲舒:“五帝名大學曰成均,則虞庠近是也”。).