Travelogues

Changsha Part 2: Yuelu Academy – 1,000 years of education 嶽麓書院

Established in AD 976, Yuelu Academy was one of the four famous ancient academies in China. The Academy accepted students throughout the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, and it was officially named Hunan University in 1926.

Having defied the ravages of Changsha’s history, the 1,000-year-old Yuelu Academy lies at the foot of the 300-metre Yuelu Mountain, on the west bank of the Xiang river. Though destroyed several times by war, it has remained one of the most important research centres in China.

嶽麓山自古是文化名山。西晉以前為道士活動地,曾建有萬壽宮、崇真觀等。西晉武帝泰始四年(268年)麓山寺創立,至今仍保存完好。東晉陶侃曾建杉庵讀書於此。六朝建道林寺。唐代馬燧建「道林精捨」。唐末五代智璇等二僧為「思儒者之道」,在麓山寺下,「割地建屋」,建起了「以居士類」的學捨,嶽麓書院是在智辦學的基礎上「因襲增拓」而誕生的。

1986湖南大學宣佈完成修復嶽麓書院,並正式對外開放。1988年,岳麓書院建築群被國務院批准為第三批全國重點文物保護單位。

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Layout of the academy

The whole campus can be divided into 6 main sections, with a museum that was built in modern times.

嶽麓書院主體建築面積有31000多平方米,分為書院主體、附屬文廟及新建的中國書院博物館。主體建築有頭門、二門、講堂、半學齋、教學齋、百泉軒、御書樓、湘水校經堂、文廟等,並先後恢復重建設了延賓館、文昌閣、崇聖祠、明倫堂及包括供祀孔子、周濂溪、二程、朱熹、張栻、王船山、羅典等的六大專祠建築原貌。 岳麓書院為中國現存規模最大、保存最完好的書院建築群。

1/6 Hexi Platform 赫曦台

Walking through the main entrance, you will come to the Platform of Splendour of Sunrise. This was where visitors of the academy will be welcomed and introduced to the academia, where the visitor’s intellectual prowess will be tested by the students and academics before they are invited further in.

Hexi Platform 赫曦台

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Hexi Platform 赫曦台

In Song dynasty, the principal of the Academy, Zhang Shi, and the great Neo-confucianism philosopher, Zhu Xi, climbed the Yuelu Mountain together and built a platform on the top of the hill. Zhu Xi named the platform “the splendour of sunrise“. In 1790, Luo Dian, the principal of the Academy then, built a platform on the present site. In 1821, Ouyang Houjun, the new principal, renamed it Hexi Platform in memory of Zhu Xi and Zhang Shi. The current platform was restored in 1868.

公元1167年,朱熹自閩來長沙訪張栻,停留二月,常晨起登麓山觀日出,名岳麓山頂曰赫曦。張在山頂築一台以詠嘉游,朱題額「赫曦台」。在此後600年間,山頂的赫曦台漸漸湮沒於歷史的長河之中。公元1790年,書院山長羅典在岳麓書院大門前坪建一台,曰前亭。羅典之後的第四任書院山長歐陽厚均發現赫曦台原碑刻,為存朱子故址,更改前亭名為「赫曦台」

On the inner walls of the platform are two big Chinese characters 福 Blessing and 壽 Longevity. Legend has it that the character Longevity was written using broom soaked in yellow mud but Taoist master at the time when Principal Luo Dian was attending a banquet in hour of the examination officials and students that passed the civil exams. When he returned, instead of being angry with the mud on the wall, he was amazed by the “celestial” touch. In a spur of moment, he wrote the character for Blessing on the opposite wall in a complimentary style.

赫曦台前後開敞。南、北兩壁上,分別有高達一米余高的「福」「壽」二字,和赫曦台上的其他詩文雕刻渾然一體。據傳,公元1807羅典外出重赴「鹿鳴宴」時,有一道士來院。因遭輕慢對待,道士用掃帚蘸黃泥水在南壁上書就一個「壽」字,飄然而去。羅典回到書院後,驚為仙跡,遂在西壁補書一個「福」字,與「壽」字輝映。此「福」「壽」二字立成完壁。這些都是傳說,真假難辨。但是,赫曦台上的「福」「壽」二字慢慢沈澱,融入岳麓書院的歷史和文化。

2/6 Lecture Hall 講堂

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Main Door 大門

After you have gone past Hexi Platform, you come to the main door of the academy. This was referred to as the “Middle Door” during the Song Dynasty, and is considered the most important door in the whole place. In Chinese classical architecture, the Middle Door is only opened for the owners and VIP guests – servants come through the back doors, and lesser guests go by the side doors.

嶽麓書院大門宋代曾名「中門」,現存大門系清同治七年(1868)重建。

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Middle Door 二門

Enter a second door and you will see the main lecture hall.

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瀟湘槐市 : 湖南文化氣息最濃郁的地方

二門五間單檐懸山,中三間開三門。二門背面有「瀟湘槐市」匾,原為清代學監程頌萬撰書。

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Main Lecture Hall 講堂

Lecture Hall is the main teaching ground of Yuelu Academy and the place where major activities are held. It is also the centre of the Academy. The wall of the lecture hall is embedded with the “Four Virtues” plaques (Loyalty, Piety, Honesty, Integrity) written by Zhu Xi and carved by Ouyang Houjun.

講堂位是岳麓書院的教學重地和舉行重大活動的場所,也是書院的核心部分。講堂壁上還嵌有由朱熹手書、清代山長歐陽厚均刻的「忠孝廉節」碑

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In Search of Truth 實事求是

The “Seeking Truth from Facts” plaque hung in front of the eaves of the lecture hall was written by Bin Bucheng, the president of Hunan Institute of Technology in the early Republic of China.

講堂位檐前懸有「實事求是」匾,是民國初期湖南工專校長賓步程撰。

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Plaques by Emperors Kangxi and QIanlong 康熙 乾隆 牌匾

A gilt wood plaque “The True Way of the South” was hung in the center of the lecture hall, which was conferred by Emperor Qianlong. A gilt wooden plaque “Understanding the Way of the Universe” was hung in the center of the lecture hall and was conferred by Emperor Kangxi.

講堂大廳中央懸掛鎏金木匾「道南正脈」,由乾隆皇帝御賜。講堂大廳中央懸掛鎏金木匾「學達性天」,由康熙皇帝御賜。

Hundred Springs Lodge 百泉軒

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Hundred Springs Lodge 百泉軒

The lodge, where Zhu Xi, a great philosopher and Zhang Shi (Principal of Yuelu) gave their legendary series of lectures, was constructed during the Song dynasty. It underwent repairs and restoration many times and was the official residence of the principals of the academy.

百泉軒始建於北宋之初,地處岳麓山清風峽谷口,溪泉薈萃,乃岳麓書院風景絕佳之地。歷代山長愛溪泉之妙,築軒而居,享盡自然的天籟之音。南宋乾道三年(1167),朱熹訪院,與山長張栻「聚處同游岳麓」,「晝而燕坐,夜而棲宿」,都在百泉軒中,相傳二人曾在此論學三晝夜而不息。

Literature Spring 文泉

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Literature Spring 文泉

To the north of the lodge is “Literature Spring“, a natural spring that was accidentally discoed when the academy underwent renovation in 1779. Water came gushing out when they were building the foundations to the halls, and they set up a well to commemorate this auspicious sign of a never-ending flow of literati.

位於百泉軒天井內。乾隆四十四年(1779岳麓書院大修,打地基的時候,挖出一股泉水,命名為「文泉」。文泉,意為文如泉湧,亦喻岳麓文教有如泉水一樣源遠流長。清代貢生馮東颺有首寫文泉的詩,其中有兩句「尋源遠接朱張脈,印月遙分洙泗光」,暗喻文泉(書院)源頭在孔子(洙泗)設壇講學之所、朱()()會講之地。泉邊有《岳麓書院文泉記》、《文泉紀事並序》、《文泉》碑刻。

Xiangshui Hall of Revising the Classics 湘水校經堂

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Xiangshui Hall of Revising the Classics 湘水校經堂

The hall was built in 1527 but got its current name in 1831 when Wu Rongguang, Military Attache of Hunan, and Principal Ouyang Houyun rebuilt it based on the Xuehai Hall. This was the School of Chinese History and Civilisation, and focused on Han and Song dynasties Confucian teaching. Famous students include the military strategy in Qing dynasty, Zuo Zongtang 左宗棠, whom they named General Tso’s Chicken after.

Staff and Student Hostel 教學齋

The side of the lecture hall were hostels for students and staff.

教學齋為昔日師生居舍。

3/6 Hall of Great Achievement 大成殿

The tree behind the Hall fell during a storm later in the year (2014) and destroyed part of the building and killed a visitor (RIP). I just have to be thankful because it was raining when I visited the place, but then I had a life-altering experience in 2015 that completely changed me. Such is the uncertainty of life.

文廟位於書院左側,自成院落。嶽麓書院的「文廟」: 文廟即孔廟,唐玄宗開元27年,御封孔子為文宣王,因此孔廟在當時被稱為「文廟」或「文宣王廟」。嶽麓書院的「文廟」,是歷代書院負責人「山長」宣揚儒教的場所;其發揮了「崇尚聖人、規礪勸戒、踐履識禮」之功能。

4/6 Imperial Library 御書樓

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Imperial Library 御書樓

The Imperial Library is located on the central axis of the rear of the academy, and is one of the three main components of the academy. It was built in AD 999 in the early Song dynasty, and books were sent here by the imperial courts in subsequent dynasties and reach its current form in the 26th year of Emperor Kangxi (1687) in the Qing Dynasty. The library has a collection of classic books, royal imperial books, etc., totaling more than 14,000 volumes. .

「御書樓」位於書院後方中軸線上,為書院三個組成部分之一;目前的御書樓建立於清康熙26年,書樓內收藏了典藉圖冊、朝廷御書等,總數達一萬四千餘卷。1986重建。

The two small pavilions were built during Song and Ming dynasties and restored to the right and left of the library compound.

Alongside the Imperial Library are several memorial shrines and pavilions for ex-principals of the academy. There’s a Lianxi Memorial Shrine that was built in 1812 to commemorate the first principal Zhou Dunyi (who was also called Zhou Lianxi), who was a great Confucianism philosophy and founder of the Idealist school. And there’s the Pavilion of Four Advices that was built in 1530 to remember the groundbreaking works of the Cheng brothers, Cheng Hao and Cheng Yi. They were students of Zhou and the “The Four Shall Not” is engraved and displayed on the walls in the pavilion.

御書樓東側主要是祠廟建築群,祭祀的人物為書院所尊奉的學派代表、文化名流、建院功臣、知名山長以及著名學生等,祭祀逝者,樹立榜樣,對端正學風、啓發後人起到一定的作用。濂溪祠始建於清嘉慶十七年(1812年),嘉慶二十五年(1820年)遷於今址。「濂溪」是周敦頤的別稱。晚年,周敦頤築室廬山蓮花峰下的一條小溪上,故居以「濂溪」名,後人據此尊稱為濂溪先生。程子四箴即宋代大儒程頤所撰視、聽、言、動四箴。明世宗推崇理學,親自註解,頒行天下學校。嘉靖九年(1530年),岳麓書院得御制四箴及世宗親撰的敬一箴,特建敬一箴亭保存。四箴碑現藏四箴亭內,其中《視箴碑》殘缺嚴重,箴文全缺。碑分四塊,每碑高46釐米,寬108釐米,字體正楷,碑四周雕有龍紋。

5/6 Back Garden 後園

One the left hand side of the Imperial Library is a cluster of buildings that form the back garden of the academy.

Current Affairs Hall 時務軒

Current Affairs Hall 時務軒 is a commemorative building built to commemorate School of Current Affairs 時務學堂, a school founded by the late Qing reformists. In the Shiwu Hall, there is now a plaque written by Liang Qichao. The School of Current Affairs was established by the Reform Movement. However, it was shutdown by Empress Dowager after she executed all the reformists who proposed that she is removed from power. It marked the transformation of the old academy system to the modern school system.

時務軒是為紀念清末維新派創辦的學校時務學堂而築的紀念性建築。時務軒內現嵌有梁啓超《時務學堂故址》碑。時務學堂,是晚清維新運動期間,湖南所創辦的第一所新式學堂。它標誌著湖南教育由舊式書院制度向新式學堂制度的轉變,也是湖南近代化教育的開始。

Lushan Temple Stele Pavilion 麓山寺碑亭

The original Lushan Temple Stele is one of the most influential steles in China. The Lushan Temple Stele is known as the “Stele of Three Bests” because of its excellent text, calligraphy and carving.

麓山寺碑是中國現存碑刻中影響較大的一塊碑。麓山寺碑因文、書、刻三者俱佳,故有「三絕碑」之稱。

6/6 Rear Gate 山門

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Rear Gate 山門

Coming down from Mt Yuelu, this is the backdoor of the academy. Either you can climb the mountain and lead to the Yuelu Mountain park, or you can choose to walk down from top of the mountain to this mountain door. Once you enter, you can follow the corridors to go to the front of the academy.

Shrine of Qu Yuan 屈子祠

This shrine was built in memory of Qu Yuan in 1796. Qu Yuan  (340-278 BC) was a mandarin and a great poet of State of Chu. The King refused to take his advice so he committed suicide by jumping into the river. The Dragon Boat and Dumpling Festival was in commemoration of him. The shrine was a rebuilt at the present site in 2006.

屈子祠由長沙知府張翙、學府範鏊與麓山書院山長羅典創建。屈子祠專祀戰國時期偉大愛國主義詩人屈原

Hunan University 湖南大學

Now known as Hunan University, the campus includes a lecture hall with a podium for teachers and characters on the walls proclaiming the Confucian virtues of loyalty, integrity, respect for elders and self-discipline. A highlight is the vermilion temple, with tall wooden columns supporting a broad roof that curves upwards at the outer edges, to ward off evil spirits. Behind the campus is a traditional garden and a pond stocked with carp.

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Commemorating 1020 years of Yuelu and 70 years of founding of Hunan U

From ancient academy to modern university, it carries on tradition and bred generations of talents. It is an important base of Huxiang Culture, and a cradle of the talents in Chu district. Nowadays, relying on the modern educational resources of Hunan University and its own profound culture heritage, the academy preliminary fulfilled its transformation from an ancient academy to a modern university, and became a new type of academy cultivating both experts of Chinese ancient civilisation and research-type talents.

嶽麓書院在清末1903年,更名為「湖南高等學堂」後,便步入了「中華民國」殿堂,接著又走進「中華人民共和國」領域。今日,在遊客們的眼中,嶽麓書院或許只是一個觀光景點;但在實際上,它堅強的的生命卻依然在延續中。嶽麓書院目前是湖南大學的一所學院,下轄「人文社會科學、國學、湖湘文化」三個碩、博士班研究所;開授的課程包括 : 「專門史、中國思想文化史、中國古代史、中國哲學、中國近現代史、歷史文獻學、史學理論、史學史、考古學、博物館學」等。有了嶽麓書院的堅固基石,因此湖南大學在「宋明理學、中國書院史、湖湘文化史、中國禮制史」等領域之研究水平,在中國大陸學術界處於領先地位。

Date Visited : Feb 2014

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