宗庙 – Chinese philosophy and culture

zōngmiào 宗庙

Ancestral Temple

奉祀祖先的专用庙宇,是人们为自己的祖先亡灵修建的寄居之所。人们将写有先祖名讳的神主(牌位)放在里面供奉、祭祀。在古代中国的宗庙制度中,宗庙主要是指天子、诸侯等祭祀祖先的专用庙宇。按周朝礼制规定,天子可建七庙,诸侯可建五庙,大夫可建三庙,士只能建一庙,一般百姓不准设庙。如果一个国家或政权被灭,它的宗庙往往也会随之被毁。因此,“宗庙”和“江山”“社稷”一样,常被用来作为王室、朝廷或国家政权的代称。它是祖先崇拜的延续,也是“家国同构”制度的体现。

Ancestral temples were built for the spirits of people’s deceased ancestors. Tablets bearing the names of the ancestors were housed in the temples for worship and sacrificial purposes. In the ancient Chinese temple system, ancestral temples mainly referred to the special temples where kings, princes and others offered sacrifices to their ancestors. According to rules of the Zhou Dynasty, a sovereign ruler could have seven temples, a prince could build five, a minister three, a shi (士 a person at the social stratum between the aristocracy and the common people) could only have one. A common person was not allowed to have any temple. If a state or dynasty was defeated and no longer in existence, its ancestral temples would often be destroyed. Therefore, just like terms such as “Rivers and Mountains,” or “Soil and Grain,” “Ancestral Temples” was often used as a term to refer to the royal family, the court or state power. Ancestral temples were a product of the continuation of ancestral worship and a manifestation of the principle that family and state share the same structure.

引例 Citation:

◎天子不尊,宗庙不安。(《史记·袁盎晁错列传》)

(天子不受尊重,国家就不安定。)

When the Son of Heaven is not respected, the state suffers from instability. (Records of the Historian)

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