Introduction of Donglin Academy

  Donglin Academy, built in Zhenghe primary era of Northern Song Dynasty (1111), was the place for Yang Shi, a well-known scholar at that time, to give lectures for quite a long time. In Wanli 32nd years (1604) in Ming Dynasty, Gu Xiancheng, Gao Panlong and other scholars suggested to rebuild the academy by donation, and in the period, they assemble a crowd and hold lectures so that there is praise saying “For master scholars, Donglin takes the first place”. The famous couplet, “the sounds of the winds, rain and reading all come into our ears and the affairs of the family, state and world all draw our attention”, written by Gu Xiancheng, is known at home and abroad and is the true portrayal of Donglin scholars studying, lecturing as well as worrying about the country.

  Donglin Academy after rebuilding covers an area of 13,500 M2, including over 15 blocks of exhibition buildings, and over 40 pieces of various kinds of inscribed boards and couplets, so that the layout and shape as well as style and features of academy at its best in Ming and Qing Dynasty are represented. Since it is open after full restoration, the academy has been awarded as one of “Eighteen Scenic Spots in Wuxi”, Patriotism Education Foundation of the province and the city, and it was announced as National Key Relics Conservation Unit by the State Council in 2006.

Entrance Hall

  Donglin Academy is the Neo-Confucianism dissemination center in the South of Yangtze River of our country in Song and Ming Dynasty and national well-known academy. It is built in the first year of the reign of Zhenghe in the Northern Song Dynasty (1111) by Yang Shi, a well-known scholar. The tablet hanging above the gate is inscribed by Lu Dingyi, the former Head of Propaganda Department of the CPC Central Committee. The gatepost couplets are derived from the allusion of Yang Shi, the founder of this academy and inscribed by Qian Weichang, a well-known scholar of Wuxi.

  In the 28th year of the reign of Guangxu Emperor (1902), under the imperial edict, the title of Donglin Academy was changed to Donglin Senior Primary School. The photos displayed in the showcase are about those former Donglin's students from the first year of the reign of Xuantong (1909) to the 37th year of the Republic of China (1948).

Stone Memorial Archway

  The Stone Memorial Archway, a sign and symbol of the academy, was founded in the 32nd year of the reign of Wanli (1604) of Ming Dynasty. In the 6th year of the reign of Tianqi (1626), the academy was destroyed by the Eunuch Party, so was this Stone Memorial Archway. In the 5th year of the reign of Qianlong, the Stone Memorial Archway was rebuilt and the tablet was inscribed “Donglin Historic Site” and ”the Guide for Junior Scholars”. This archway, with the total height of 7.24m, has the structural frame as three entrance, four column and five layers. With its exquisite carving patterns, reasonable design and compact, it can surely be named as the treasure for stone structure architecture.

Pan Pool

  It was dug in the 32nd year of the reign of Wanli of Ming dynasty (1604) and was called Moon River at that time. It traverses from east to west as from Daonan Memorial Temple to Donglin College, semicircular in shape and yellow stone for embankment with a bridge arching over the pool. Origining from the same indication of the Pan Pool dug in front of the ancient colleges, the Pan Pool in Ming Dynasty is now still deeply embedded underground. In 1994, based on the excavation of Pan Pool in Ming Dynasty, it is reconstructed to the square pool and arched bridge. The Pan Pool nowadays is just 1/6 of the original Moon River, but has the same depth as the original one.

Donglin College

  Built in the 32nd year of the reign of Wanli (1604), it used to be the inner gate of Donglin Academy, and is also called Yimen (the second main entrance behind the first one). In the 2nd year of the reign of Chongzhen of Ming Dynasty (1629), the local people Wu Guisen had it reconstructed and then inscribed it as Donglin College. It is for education and learning. The living brick carved head casings of both the Donglin College and Luomin Hub is the relic from the early years of Qianlong in Qin Dynasty.

  Donglin Party: Those scholars in Donglin Academy and their related people with integrity and honesty were falsely called with this accused name by the Eunuch Party, but later it becomes a specialized appellation. The Donglin Party struggle coveres every aspect of national economy and people's livelihood. It is a long time competition between two political power and is the major historical events in late Ming Dynasty.

  In the 6th year of the reign of Tianqi (1626), Wei Zhongxian, the leader of the Eunuch Party, as well as his henchman, compiled the black book with all kinds of titles, like the list of Donglin Party and the list of Donglin cabal, etc. The Eunuch Party would never feel ease unless they have everyone listed slaughtered. For venting their own spite, the Eunuch Party set a trap for the loyal and the honest, so numerous Donglin people suffered a tragic death or put in prison, hence came the Donglin massacre startled both China and the outside world.

  The two poems were separately written by Mr. Dengtuo and Mr. Dong Biwu in the early 1960s when they were inspired after visiting around Donglin Academy. As the alias of the founder, Yangshi, is Guishan (named after the Guishan Mountain where Yangshi lived after retirement), so Donglin Academy is also called Guishan Academy. Gaogu is respectively the family name of Gao Panlong and Gu Xiancheng, both of whom are leaders of Donglin school.

  Donglin School imitates the ethos of free lectures and insists on integrating giving lectures with discussing politics. With firm determination of innovation, it advocates personal practice and opposes prating. The Donglin scholars' spirit as caring about national affairs, concerning about people's livelihood, being honest and upright and never stooping to flattery has already become the valuable heritage of the Chinese nation and leaves a good name forever.

  Donglin Academy was built in the first year of the reign of Zhenghe in the Northern Song Dynasty (1111) by well-known scholar Yangshi. Yangshi is the disciple of Chengyi and Chenghao, famous scholars of neo-confucianism. He took many years touring and giving lectures in southeast areas. Donglin Academy is the place for him to give lectures in Wuxi for quite a long time. It once fell into disuse until Yuan Dynasty. In the 32nd year of the reign of Wanli of Ming Dynasty (1604), a group of scholars, headed by Gu Xiancheng,rebuilt Donglin Academy and gave lectures inside. At that time, those scholars were called Donglin Eight Men with noble character.

Li Ze Hall

  The constructing was begun in the 32nd year of the reign of Wanli of Ming Dynasty (1604). The title of this hall, Li Ze, is used to indicate that friends learn from each other by exchanging views and giving lectures. Li Ze Hall is an important site for congregation and lectures. At that time, scholars assembled here from all over the country, gathered in this hall and hold discussion, and it was always filled with scholars and students and the occasion was exceptionally grand.

Yiyong Hall

  The construction was begun in the 32nd year of the reign of Wanli of Ming Dynasty (1604). The title of the hall means to be obedience to the Doctrine of the Mean, a confucian classics. Yiyong Hall is an important architecture of Donglin Academy and is the place for etiquette and rituals prepared for lectures before holding the Donglin assembly. It is called the symbol for academic territories of Donglin School.

  "The sounds of the winds, rain and reading all come into our ears and the affairs of the family, state and world all draw our attention”, the famous couplet, is written by Gu Xiancheng, leader of Donglin, and is the true portrayal of Donglin scholars studying, lecturing as well as worrying about the country. The couplet is hung in Yiyong Hall now which was handwritten by Liao Mosha in 1982.

Yanju Temple

  It was built in the 38th year of the reign of Wanli of Ming Dynasty (1610) as an exclusive temple for offering sacrifice to Confucius, the sacrosanct scholar of the older generation. The title, Yanju, is from the Analects of Confucius. As the academy is the place for privately lectures for society, and it is different from the “Dacheng Hall” of Confucian Academy (Prefecture and County College), so it is entitled “Yanju”, a famous ancestral temple, which means that live a secluded life.

Sacrificial Utensils Room

  It was built in the 38th year of the reign of Wanli of Ming Dynasty (1610) for storing sacrificial utensils and musical instruments. According to convention, at the beginning of each General Assembly in the academy, the ceremony of Shicai (a kind of ritual for offering sacrifice for the former scholars on students' first school day) and Shidian (a kind of ancient ritual for preparing food and wine to offer sacrifice for the former scholars) shall be hold, for which all musical instruments used are stored here. Now there still stores such sacrificial utensils as Ding (an ancient cooking vessel), Gui (a round-mouthed food vessel with two or four loop handles), Jue (an ancient wine vessel with three legs and a loop handle), Zun (wine vessel) and musical instruments such as serial bells. Besides, some ceramic plates and brick carvings unearthed during the renovation of academy are also exhibited.

Room for Ancient Books and Records

  It was built in the 38th year of the reign of Wanli of Ming Dynasty (1610) and is mainly used for storing academy's classics and books. Now it has 39 books about surname and pedigree and over 1000 volumes of genealogy. Besides, the collection of books also includes the History of Ming Dynasty, the General Drawing About All the Discussion of Si Ku Quan Shu (the Complete Library in Four Divisions), the Collected Publications from the Four Categories and the Kangxi Dictionary, etc.

Place for Pursuing Pleasure

  It was constructed by Wang Yunqian, the county magistrate of Jinkui (a county administered by Changzhou government), in the 2nd year of the reign of Qianlong of Qing Dynasty (1737). It is a place for scholars to rest and relax. The title “Pursuing Pleasure” means that enjoying digesting the profound implication of the former scholars by repeated exploration, so as to encourage the teachers and students to be diligent with their studies.

Laifu Room

  It was built in the 2nd year of the reign of Chongzhen of Ming Dynasty (1629) and was the study room of Wu Guisen, the Donglin Shanzhang (the honorific title for scholars giving lectures) and the well-known scholar. The title “Laifu” is derived from the Book of Changes, indicating that Donglin Academy was restored to give lectures very soon.

Wancui House

  It was built in Qing Dynasty and was one of the study rooms for giving lectures in the academy. Wancui, generally means that trees are still in their flashy green after winter, or the verdant landscape when the sun sinks below the horizon. However, here implies the above both meanings. House indicates a quiet place for study.

Shiyu Room

  It was constructed by Wang Yunqian, the county magistrate of Jinkui (a county administered by Changzhou government), in the 2nd year of the reign of Qianlong of Qing Dynasty (1737). In Qing Dynasty, this room was an official studying place for imperial examinations, and it marked the beginning of transformation to official schools from the academy lecture. In the 28th year of the reign of Guangxu (1902), Donglin Academy was renamed as “Donglin Senior Primary School”. In this fertile land, it has brought up many patriots and distinguished scholars. A “Well-known Scholars Exhibition of Donglin” is displayed in this room.

Daonan Memorial Temple

  It is constructed in the 32nd year of the reign of Wanli of Ming Dynasty (1604) and is the exclusively memorial temple to offer sacrifice to the founder of the academy, Yangshi, and his students and disciples. It is an important place for inspiriting the scholars of younger age. When Yang Shi was returning his hometown which is in the south, his teacher, Cheng Hao, watching him leaving, said “My way is towards the south”, that is why the temple is named “Daonan” (road to the south) which means his theory will spread to the south. This temple was built with governmental funds, and is one of the local virtuous temples of Wuxi.

Zhengxin Pavilion

  The names recorded in the inscribed tablet in the Zhengxin Pavilion were in the memory and honor of the outstanding scholars of Wuxi in the imperial examinations of the past dynasties. In Wuxi's history, there were total 5 Number One Scholars, 3 Number Two Scholars, 6 Number Three Scholars and more than 600 successful candidates. “Nine successful candidates in one national unified exam”,” Continuous three scholars winning the first place in 6 provincial imperial examinations”, and other stories passed on with approval till now. Gu Xiancheng, Gao Panlong and Ye Maocai, the sages of the Donglin Party, are also among these names,