庙号 – Chinese philosophy and culture

miàohào 庙号

Temple Titles of Emperors

古代帝王死后被追加的在庙中被供奉、祭祀时所用的敬称。一般认为起源于商朝。常用“祖”字或“宗”字,如“太祖”“高祖”“太宗”“高宗”等。庙号的选定有着严格的制度规定,如有功者称“祖”,有德者称“宗”,创立基业者称“太”,功勋卓著者称“高”等。和谥号制度一样,庙号制度也是中国传统政治中的重要制度文化。它通过对死者的评价垂范后人。受中国影响,朝鲜、越南也曾实行这项制度。

Temple titles (miaohao 庙号) were accorded to deceased emperors for use at ancestral sacrifices. This practice is believed to have originated in the Shang Dynasty. The last character of such names were customarily zu (祖 progenitor) or zong (宗 ancestor). The temple names were given according to strict rules. Those with great achievements would have names ending with zu and those of high virtue would have zong. For instance, the founder of a dynasty could be named taizu (太祖) or taizong (太宗), and someone with outstanding achievements might be named gaozu (高祖) or gaozong (高宗). Like the bestowal of posthumous names to emperors, the use of temple titles was an important political tradition in Chinese culture. By honoring past emperors, they provided a standard for later generations of rulers to follow. Due to Chinese influence, Korea and Vietnam used to follow this practice.

引例 Citation:

◎古者天子庙号,祖有功而宗有德,始自三代,迄于两汉,名实相允,今古共传。(刘知几《史通·称谓》)

(古时的天子之所以有庙号,是为了崇尚效法祖上的功业和德行,它发源于夏商周三代,一直到两汉,这一时期的庙号名称与天子的实际功德还是比较符合的,因此才能自古及今继承下来。)

In ancient times, emperors were given temple titles, so that later rulers can learn their great achievements and high virtue. This practice began in the three dynasties of Xia, Shang and Zhou and continued in the Western and Eastern Han dynasties. Emperors of this period deserved their temple titles, since they did make great achievement and have high virtue. That’s why this practice has been adopted by later dynasties. (Liu Zhiji: All About Historiography)

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