The Temple of Confucius in Xi'an was first built in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). After several relocation in the Song Dynasty (960-1279), it was finally arranged at the current site in the Forest of Steles Museum in Xi'an. With changing times, the Temple of Confucius now majorly retains buildings from the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1636-1912) Dynasties, among which the Gateway of Universal Vitality was built in 1592 during the Ming Dynasty and the Seven -Stele pavilions were built in the Qing Dynasty. The buildings in whole form the architectural pattern of the temple.
The Gateway of Universal Vitality was built in 1592 during the Ming Dynasty. The outer wall of the gate is carved with the words "Kong Miao" (the temple of Confucius), written by the famous painter Liu Hui in the late Qing Dynasty.
In front of the gateway, there is a semi-circular pond called "Pan Chi", which was first built in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368).
Ji Men, the third door of the temple, was built in the Ming Dynasty. It is mainly used for the civil and military officials of the sacrificial ceremony to tidy up their clothes and familiarize themselves with the ritual.
Walking through the Ji Men, you may capture two pavilions on the left and right sides, within which the national treasure Tang Jingyun Bell and the Stone Horse of Grand Xia are well displayed.
The Tang Jingyun Bell, located in the east pavilion, was cast in the second year (711) of the Emperor Ruizong in the Tang Dynasty and was named after the reign title. Upon several turnover in the history, the bell finally settled in the Forest of Steles Museum of Xi'an in 1953.
Tang Jingyun Bell was cast in bronze and weighs about 6 tons. The bell body is engraved with exquisite vines, auspicious clouds, phoenix, lion, cow, crane and 32 stalactites, which not only decorate the bell but also regulate the rhyme. The 292-character inscription, engraved on the front of the bell, came from Ruizong Li Dan's handwriting and was considered the rare calligraphy legacy of the emperor. Featuring in unique shape, exquisite carving, classic calligraphy, serene sound, and superb smelting technology, the Tang Jingyun Bell ranks among the top of its kind in the world.
The stone horse in the west pavilion is the only cultural relic from the kingdom Grand Xia (one of the kingdoms during the sixteen-kingdom period of Eastern Jin Dynasty 317-420), it perfectly reflects the brave cavalry fighting through wars.
The Temple of Confucius in Xi'an was originally a sacrificial place where Confucius, the founder of Confucianism, was worshiped. With Confucianism venerated through dynasties, the temple has developed into a cultural and holy place for teaching and propagating Confucian classics. Nowadays, the temple needs not only the reconstruction, but also the recovery of its in-depth connotation. This way the Sinology (Chinese traditional culture and academics with Confucianism the main theme) will largely thrive and carry forward the spiritual legacy of mankind from a new angle.