It is almost impossible for even a modern Chinese to imagine that the archery range was an integral part of Chinese academy compounds, and was promoted as a part of its Confucian education. It is true that in Confucius’s classical teaching, archery was a part of the so-called six arts that constituted the education of a gentleman, but it’s becoming a part of government schools’ educational curriculum appeared quite late, only in the Song times. Before that, archery was taught only in military camps, and at most as a part of civil rituals, taking place mainly for ceremonial purposes, such as “Village Libation Ceremonies.” Systematic and wholesale rethinking on the purpose and curriculum of education in the 11th to 13th centuries, during which both government and privately or family organized schools began to appear in large numbers, led to significant consequences. Debates on the relationship of schools and the imperial examination system that was also rising in importance, and the rise and intensified activity of the so-called private academies, resulted in a rethinking on how Confucian ideals could be implemented both within and without the public/government educational sphere, archery becoming part of this rethinking. The re-emergence of Confucian thinking resulted in the idea of “Confucian-military generals,” in that civil officials were expected to involve themselves in military policing and martial activities, and that military officials should receive sufficient Confucian education to enable them to help realize Confucian ideals of a stable and harmonious civil order. Several famous Song thinkers were singled out as quintessential “Confucian generals”—Fan Zhongyan most prominently. It grew into a tradition in that many thinkers in later times were also praised for their military aptitude. Actually, the conception was not new, but it became a widely embraced conception in the Song times, and it was at this time that “archery ranges” (shepu 射圃) first appeared notably in school compounds. The academies also gradually caught up. Although there is no evidence that Song academies already had archery ranges, the practice had definitely begun to appear in various government school compounds or government offices. Obviously, this reflected at least a preliminary or fledgling realization again of archery as education or rite. By the Mongol Yuan times, the building of archery ranges had become widespread, and references to academies with archery ranges began to appear in the early Ming. By the mid-Ming times, the academies were almost uniformly equipped with them. Many influential scholars wrote essays extolling their importance and even expounded on their educational values, advocating their construction. Archery ranges continued to be built in academies, especially after the academies had become largely an integral part of government schools and preparatory institutions of the imperial examinations. The rise of archery ranges in Chinese academy education was not intended to make academies realize the ideal of complete education for the upbringing of a gentleman (junzi 君子)—one who has a balanced life in both mind and body (originally conceived to be similar to an uomo universale)—but rather, was designed to help cement a society of uniformity, managed in an orderly way according to moral ideologies. Indeed, the archery range’s perpetuation depended ironically on its function as a site where members of government schools (of which many academies had evolved into) gathered for ritualistic performances and, perhaps even more often, to listen to imperial decrees and prescripts. The existence and continuation of the ranges thus reflected perfectly the Chinese penchant for “squares”—the peculiar Chinese equivalent of “public spaces.”
Confucian academies in post-liberation North Korea became subject of a complex political and intellectual debate motivated by the needs of the new regime to reevaluate the Korean past according to the ideological framework of Marxism-Leninism. Confucian academies were designated as institutions belonging to the past feudal order and as such their traditional functioning was severed and liquidated. On the other hand they were to a certain degree recognized as cultural relics belonging to the people of the DPRK and North Korean scholars devoted considerable effort to describe the role of Confucian academies within the traditional Korean society. The present study analyzes North Korean discursive strategies concerning Confucian academies during the 1950s and 1960s. It focuses on both popular and academic depictions of these educational, religious, and political institutions, including the most recent developments in the field.
Oksan Academy is one of the oldest Korean Confucian academies. Dedicated to famous scholar Yi Ŏnjŏk, the academy belonged to the upper echelons of Korean academies and during its long existence concentrated significant influence. Thanks to its uninterrupted existence and prestige the academy was able to preserve its book collection and now presents one of the best examples of traditional book culture of Korean Confucian academies. Thanks to the unusual number of documents available in the academy archive we may have a close insight into both the practical operation and the theoretical framework of the academy book collection. The present study focuses on the structure and form of the book collection of Oksan Academy, the nature of the collected publications, the management of the book collection, the print culture of Oksan Academy, the financing of academy printing, and book distribution. Oksan Academy is a prime example of how a Korean academy and its book collection adjusted to the changing environment and new challenges during their long existence.
Previous scholarship has taught us a great deal about the intellectual, institutional, and pedagogical history of Confucian academies in late imperial China. In this chapter, I argue that we can further expand our knowledge of this important institution by situating academies in their local environments. During the Qing era, these environments were most often urban environments. Focusing on Confucian academies in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou (Canton) during the 19th century, this chapter seeks to broaden the range of historical sources that are brought to bear on the study of Confucian academies. By situating the study of Qing-era academies in their urban context, this study shows that academy leadership was closely identified with officialdom and academy activities were an important component of the “examination economy.” As deeply embedded in urban environments as they were, however, Confucian academies competed with a number of other institutions and activities for influence over the urban population.
Since its arrival in China, Buddhism stood in a complex relation of both harmony and struggle with Confucianism. Starting in the Tang and Song dynasties, the concrete manifestations of this relation were often expressed through interactions of the institutions of both teachings—Confucian academies and Buddhist monasteries. During the reign of the Jiajing emperor, the Confucian scholars of Yongkang county in Zhejiang province—with the backing of their families and the local government—demolished the local Buddhist Arhat Hall and built Wufeng Academy in its place. These activities caused tensions with nearby Shoushan Monastery. In 1541, monks and members of the influential Hu family joined together and accused the Confucian scholars of erecting heterodox shrines and advocating false learning. During the following litigation case, leaders of the academy drew support from fellow scholars and influential officials and successfully rallied support for their academy. The academy was preserved and exonerated, and its accusers punished. As the Wufeng Academy lawsuit involved both the court and various regional forces, it displays the ties and interactions between the academy and all levels of local society.