The Cradle of Confucius

Trip Start Jun 03, 2006
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Trip End Jun 03, 2009


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Monday, April 30, 2007

Confucius...Chinese Idenity and Culture...Feudal Hierarchies...Respect and Deference... They are all embedded in the continuum of Chinese Dynastic History, the unspoken and unquestioned realities of modern day Leninist Corporate China, and will remain so in whatever happens in the nation's future.  After all this is not a fly-by night fashion, it's been followed by hundreds of millions of people over thousands of years.  Confucius is deeply woven into the fabric of Chinese society, so a visit to his home town is something of a pilgrimage for many Chinese.  This devotion extends to many Japanese and in particular Korean visitors too.

It is here that I really feel like an outsider.  It is not that I'm am forced out or closed off from the importance of Confucius.  I'd even like to think it's not my ignorance.  It's simply that what this man and his system of thinking and social organisation represents is so deep in this society that it is beyond anything that I can relate to.  I might see the symptoms of what he has helped to shape, but I don't understand them, nor do I feel any of the connections that the visitors around obviously do.  This is a serious place.  It may look like "another" garden and temple, yet there is not the ribaldry and constant cackling amongst visiting tourists that I have found in so many other parts of China.  Perhaps I'm just imagining this, but I had the impression that this really is someone and somewhere that matters to the Chinese people.

Maybe, one day I will have a better feeling for the significance of Confucius, but right now, my only solace is that nobody really followed or believed in him until about one hundred years after his death.  It obviously takes time!

That said, Qufu itself is a nice enough place to visit for 24 hours anyway, with plenty of good value accommodation inside and outside the newly reconstructed old city walls and - as always - some interesting street food on offer.  Duck soup and mutton and jiu cai dumplings were on the menu for lunch.  I'd never heard of jiu cai before, and be warned, because although it's pretty tasty it has side effects necessitating urgent lavatory action in some people's stomachs - fortunately not mine.  I wonder how Confucius got on with the stuff?
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