Innumerable sacrificial altars and ancestral temples bear witness to the role of Confucianism, which was the dominant ideology in China for over 2000 years. Many of these elegant ritual and ceremonial buildings are devoted exclusively to the remains of illustrious forebears, emperors and kings. The scale and form adopted by the various buildings was dictated by the strict codes of Confucian rites which were often also dedicated to the moon, the sun, the universe and the rivers. Among the most elegant examples are the Temple of Heaven, The Temple of Confucius, The Ancestral Temple, The Temple of State and the Dai Temple.
Photographs: North China; Central China; South China; Northeast China; North China.- Text: Formation and Historical Development of Ritual Architecture - From the Confucian Ritual Concept to the Sacrificial Architecture of the Ming and Qing Dynasties: Ritual Architecture and Confucianism; Formation and Development of Ritual Architecture.- The Forms and Artistic Significance of Ritual Architecture - Ritual Architecture for Human Worship and the Worship of Nature From the Imperial Family to that of the Common People: Altars and Temples for the Worship of Natural Gods; Temples for the Worship of Ancestors; Temples of the Sages; Ming Tang and Biyong; Artistic Significance.- Appendices.- Notes on the Photographs.- Maps and Chronology.-