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Published: 3/18/14

Confucianism Symbols



What are the symbols of the Confucian religion?

confucianism

Name: "Confucius"

The most significant historical figure in the Confucian religion is of course Confucius (551-479 BC). Confucius was a Chinese philosopher, politician, teacher, and more who was interested in the moral conduct of people and socieities. His teaching is contained in the Analects. (See a link to the book in lefthand column.)

Go here for an overview of Confucianism.






chinese character for water
Name: Chinese charater for water

Water is one of the five elements of Chinese philosophy, along with wood, fire, earth, and metal. Water is viewed as a life source, which likely stems from its importance in the natural world and for sustaining life. China’s east coast contain 9,000 miles of shoreline and its home to two of the world’s six largest rivers, the Yangtze, which is the third largest, and the Yellow, which is the 6th.

Learn more about Chinese religion here.




yin yang symbol

Name: Yin Yang

The yin yang symbol is common in many kinds of Chinese thought. It is especially prominent in Taoism, but it is also used in Confucianism. There are variations to its meaning depending on which school of Chinese thought is using it. In general, the circle represents a whole, while the halves and dots depict opposites, interactions, or balance.


Learn more about Taoism here.





chinese character for scholar

Name: Chinese symbol for scholar

There are different scripts that reflect the idea of "scholar" or a "learned person" in the Chinese language. This version of the idea is especially connected to Confucian thought and can be rendered as "scholar, as in a Confucian."

Go here for a timeline on Chinese religious history.



 

Confucius image

Name: Confucius

Visual representations of Confucius are common in the religion and philosophy. However, this popular image dates only to the 18th century.



Get an overview of Confucianism here.




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