The chief consecration officer offers up libation and bows three times to the altar, offering the secondary sacrifices. Throughout the ceremony, ritual officers are in small alcoves in the temple complex performing sacrifices to correlates, disciples, savants, and canon exegetes (or masters of the canon). In the main temple, the primary ritual consecrator offers sacrifice to the sages Mencius and Zengzi, as well as Kongzi's disciples and Zhu Xi.

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Sages, Correlates, Savants, Worthies, and Scholars

The main sacrifice is, clearly, to Kongzi, but some sages, include Mengzi and Zisi, are also honored in the central prayer. In the secondary sacrifices shown here, the primary consecration officer offers up the secondary sacrifices to the appropriate sages and correlates in the main temple area. Typically, the sages, correlates, and savants have their altars in the main house, while the worthies and scholars are housed in the eastern and western cloisters.

Offering silk to the correlates

In early imperial times, the masters and "former sages" did not refer to a fixed group, nor did it include Kongzi. By the Han, however, the groups became recognized as the founding masters of Rites, Music, Odes, and Documents, while the sages were understood as the ancient sage-kings and founding rulers of the ancient dynasties. Kongzi was inserted into the hierarchy of deities, spirit cults, and temple liturgies and, just as he was subject to changing titles, the sages, correlates, savants, worthies, and scholars were also subject to revision. By late imperial times, however, the sages were established as Master Yan, Master Zeng, Master Si, and Master Meng. For more, please see a chronology of the canonization of Kongzi and chronology of enshrinement.

The offerings made to the sages follows the same ritual procedures as those for Kongzi: incense, silk, and wine is offered up to each of the four correlates. While this is occuring, two consecrators perform the remaining sacrifices to the savants in the main hall and six consecrators perform the sacrifices to the worthies and scholars in the eastern and western cloisters. Altogether, four sages (Master Yan, Master Zeng, Master Si [Kong Ji], and Master Meng [Mencius]), four correlates, twelve savants, twenty-seven worthies, and forty-six scholars are honored and receive offerings in this ritual.

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