On Oct. 28, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H. Res. 784, to honor the 2,560th anniversary of the birth of Confucius and recognize his global contributions to philosophy and social and political thought.
One year later, in the spirit of the legislation, the Library of Congress Asian Division presented a program titled “Confucianism as the World Cultural Heritage.”
The Sept. 11 program was sponsored by the Asian Division in cooperation with the Washington, D.C., chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans; the Confucius Memorial Ceremony Committee; and the Hai-Hua Community Center.
The program featured lectures by prominent scholars, a Confucian memorial dance, calligraphy from the immortal teachings that appear in the “Analects of Confucius” and a display of books in all languages on Confucianism drawn from the Library’s collections.
The cornerstone of the event was a ceremony marking a special donation to the Library of Congress of the Confucian genealogy. Ling-He Kung, a 76th-generation descendant of the revered Chinese philosopher, will donate an 80-volume set that documents Confucius’s family tree. Published by the Beijing-based Culture and Literature Publishing House, the volumes record 83 generations (more than 2 million people) descended from Confucius. It is believed to be the biggest family tree in the world.
Born in 551 B.C. in Qufu in eastern China’s Shandong Province, Confucius was a great teacher and thinker whose theories were the orthodox ideology in China for more than 2,000 years. His teachings, which advocate peace and social harmony, have enjoyed a renaissance in recent years.
The Library of Congress is the central repository for all types of Asian publications that are not broadly available at other locations in the United States. Initiated in 1869 with a gift of 10 works in 934 volumes offered to the United States by the Emperor of China, the Library’s Asian collection of more than 2 million items is the largest and most comprehensive outside of Asia. Visit the Asian Division online.