Brief Introduction of Songyang Academy
Songyang Academy was an institution of higher
education in ancient China. Together with the
Yuelu Academy in Changsha, Hunan Province,
the Bailu Dong Academy on Lunshan Mountain in
Jiangxi Province, and the
Suiyang Academy in Shangqiu, Henan Province, it was
one of the four great academies in ancient China.
The academies were a
unique form of higher education in the society of China. The
system appeared in the Tang Dynasty, reached its peak in the
North Song Dynasty, and came to an end at the end of the Qing
Dynasty, which was only about 100 years ago.
You can see the style of the Qing Dynasty in the layout of the
academy. More than 500 rooms still exist so far in the academy.
The Great Tablet
Outside the gate, there is a tablet inscription of the Tang
Dynasty which is called the "King Tablet of Songshan Mountain".
The very old trees and tablet are just two of the ancient relics
in this ancient academy.
The General Cypresses
In the yard of the academy there are two weirdly shaped giant
"General Cypresses" that were planted in the Han Dynasty, which
stand opposite to each other. One of them is separated from the
middle of the trunk and the other is resting on the wall. Some
experts and scientists said that these two cypresses can still
live for about 1,000 years.
The 5 Areas in the Academy
Firstly, the Xianshi Temple is a place where teachers and
masters of the past are enshrined. Behind it is the lecture hall
and then the Daotong Temple. And behind the Daotong Temple lies
the Book Collection Building. The rooms on both sides are book
rooms, classrooms and so on. On the walls of the bungalows in
the yard, there are inscriptions of the scholars of the past
dynasties. The content and calligraphy of those inscriptions
have their own characteristic styles. In the west, some
buildings stand which were used as classrooms and examination
rooms during the Qing Dynasty.
Songyang Academy was called Songyang Temple in the past.
Songyang Temple was created in the 8th year of Taihe, during the
reign of Emperor Xiaowen of the Northern Wei Dynasty. The temple
had several hundred monks, and Songyang Temple used to be where
Buddhist activities were held.
During the years of Daye, in the reign of Emperor Yang of the
Sui Dynasty, the temple's name was changed to Songyang Taoist
Temple, and it was where Taoist activities were held. In the 2nd
year of Jinghu, during the reign of Emperor Renzong of the Song
Dynasty, the Songyang Taoist Temple became the Songyang Academy,
a major Confucian academy. Then, the Songyang Academy was an
educational institution where famous scholars gave lectures on
At the end of the Ming Dynasty, the Songyang Academy was
destroyed in the war. Emperors of the Yuan Dynasty, the Ming
Dynasty and the Qing Dynasty all helped to build the Songyang
Academy. Once, the Songyang Academy had over 1,750 mu of land,
several hundred students and more than 2,000 books.
At the end of the Qing Dynasty, the Imperial Civil Examination
System was abolished and new schools were set up. As a result,
the Confucian academic system that had a history of over 1,000
years came to an end. However, as a bright pearl in the
educational history of ancient China, the Songyang Academy would
be written into the annals of history.