Welcome to the Cult of Confucius

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The figure of Confucius as an object of cult veneration might not be familiar to many readers today, yet most Chinese in the late imperial era (960-1911)--and all clasically educated males--encountered him in the Confucius Temple. To understand why the court expended such great care in venerating the cultic Confucius, it is important to consider how this ceremony fits into the larger pantheon of gods and spirits venerated by court authorities in thousands of temples and shrines throughout the capital, across the empire and beyond. Civil officials in late imperial times drew upon the Classics to compose the rites celebrated at these temples.