Qufu: Confucius' birthplace and historic home

By Bruce Connolly| (chinadaily.com.cn)| Updated : 2019-11-22

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Confucius statue outside Confucius Museum Qufu [Photo by Bruce Connolly/chinadaily.com.cn]

Confucius, regarded as China's greatest philosopher, lived his life from 551to 479 BC around today's Qufu in western Shandong. Throughout my long association with China I would regularly hear his name while increasingly understanding his teachings and their significance even within contemporary society. Today Confucianism is also associated with ways of encouraging an interest in and knowledge of Chinese culture and history both domestically and overseas. Surprisingly, having traveled extensively across China, I had never visited Qufu until recently. This was partly because rail connections with the city were then not convenient. Trains stopped 16 kilometers westward at Yanzhou, along the main Beijing-Shanghai railway.

Earlier this year, in Tianjin, my interest in both Confucius and Qufu was rekindled. I had been invited to photograph Confucian rituals, ceremonies and related cuisine preparation at the city's Shangri-La Hotel. Performers and leading chefs had come north from Qufu for a weeklong event. While filming, I kept thinking how beautiful the red and golden costumes were, how precise the practitioners' movements and how different the cuisine appeared to what I have long associated with China. I knew then that I had to reach Qufu, to realize first-hand learning experiences such a city could possibly offer. It proved a good decision. November proved an excellent time to visit. The weather was mostly perfect for walking and photography, the trees turned golden, creating colorful contrasting vistas, while the main attractions were not crowded.

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