Hanlin Academy
The Hanlin Academy was an academic and administrative institution founded in the eighth century Tang dynasty
Tang Dynasty
The Tang Dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui Dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. It was founded by the Li family, who seized power during the decline and collapse of the Sui Empire...

Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 by Emperor Xuanzong
Emperor Xuanzong of Tang
Emperor Xuanzong of Tang , also commonly known as Emperor Ming of Tang , personal name Li Longji , known as Wu Longji from 690 to 705, was the seventh emperor of the Tang dynasty in China, reigning from 712 to 756. His reign of 43 years was the longest during the Tang Dynasty...


Membership in the academy was confined to an elite group of scholars, who performed secretarial and literary tasks for the court. One of its main duties was to decide on an interpretation of the Confucian
Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius . Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han...

Chinese classic texts
Chinese classic texts, or Chinese canonical texts, today often refer to the pre-Qin Chinese texts, especially the Neo-Confucian titles of Four Books and Five Classics , a selection of short books and chapters from the voluminous collection called the Thirteen Classics. All of these pre-Qin texts...

. This formed the basis of the Imperial examination
Imperial examination
The Imperial examination was an examination system in Imperial China designed to select the best administrative officials for the state's bureaucracy. This system had a huge influence on both society and culture in Imperial China and was directly responsible for the creation of a class of...

s, which aspiring bureaucrats had to pass to attain higher level posts. Painters working for the court were also attached to the academy.

Academy members

Some of the more famous academicians of Hanlin were:
  • Li Bai
    Li Bai
    Li Bai , also known in the West by various other transliterations, especially Li Po, was a major Chinese poet of the Tang dynasty poetry period. He has been regarded as one of the greatest poets in China's Tang period, which is often called China's "golden age" of poetry. Around a thousand existing...

     (701-762) - Poet.
  • Bai Juyi (772–846) - Poet.
  • Ouyang Xiu
    Ouyang Xiu
    Ouyang Xiu was a Chinese statesman, historian, essayist and poet of the Song Dynasty. He is also known by his courtesy name of Yongshu, and was also self nicknamed The Old Drunkard 醉翁, or Householder of the One of Six 六一居士 in his old age...

     (1007–1072) Historian.
  • Shen Kuo
    Shen Kuo
    Shen Kuo or Shen Gua , style name Cunzhong and pseudonym Mengqi Weng , was a polymathic Chinese scientist and statesman of the Song Dynasty...

     (1031–1095) - Chancellor.
  • Zhang Zeduan
    Zhang Zeduan
    Zhang Zeduan , alias Zheng Dao, also sometimes translated as Zhang Zerui, was a famous Chinese painter during the twelfth century, during the transitional period from the Northern Song to the Southern Song Dynasty, and was instrumental in the early history of the Chinese art style known as shan...

     (1085 — 1145) - Painter
  • Zhao Mengfu
    Zhao Mengfu
    Zhao Mengfu courtesy name Ziang , pseudonyms Songxue , Oubo , and Shuijing-gong Dao-ren , was a prince and descendant of the Song Dynasty, and a Chinese scholar, painter and calligrapher during the Yuan Dynasty.He was recommended by the Censor-in-chief Cheng Jufu to pay an audience...

     (1254–1322) - Painter, calligrapher, poet (rector, 1314–1320).
  • Weng Tonghe
    Weng Tonghe
    Weng Tonghe was a Chinese Confucian scholar and imperial tutor during the Qing dynasty. In 1856, he was awarded the highest degree in the imperial examinations and he subsequently became a member of the prestigious Hanlin Academy...

     (1830—1904) - Imperial Tutor.
  • Cai Yuanpei
    Cai Yuanpei
    Cai Yuanpei was a Chinese educator and the president of Peking University. He was known for his critical evaluation of the Chinese culture that led to the influential May Fourth Movement...

     (1868–1940) - Educator.

Bureau of Translators

Subordinated to the Hanlin Academy was the Bureau of Translators . Founded in 1407, after the first expedition of Zheng He
Zheng He
Zheng He , also known as Ma Sanbao and Hajji Mahmud Shamsuddin was a Hui-Chinese mariner, explorer, diplomat and fleet admiral, who commanded voyages to Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and East Africa, collectively referred to as the Voyages of Zheng He or Voyages of Cheng Ho from...

 to the Indian Ocean, the Bureau dealt with the memorials delivered by foreign ambassadors and trained foreign language specialists. It included departments for the Jurchen
Jurchen language
Jurchen language is an extinct language. It was spoken by Jurchen people of eastern Manchuria, the creators of the Jin Empire in the northeastern China of the 12th–13th centuries. It is classified as a Southwestern Tungusic language.-Writing:...

, "Tartar" (Mongol
Mongolian language
The Mongolian language is the official language of Mongolia and the best-known member of the Mongolic language family. The number of speakers across all its dialects may be 5.2 million, including the vast majority of the residents of Mongolia and many of the Mongolian residents of the Inner...

), Tibetan
Tibetan language
The Tibetan languages are a cluster of mutually-unintelligible Tibeto-Burman languages spoken primarily by Tibetan peoples who live across a wide area of eastern Central Asia bordering the Indian subcontinent, including the Tibetan Plateau and the northern Indian subcontinent in Baltistan, Ladakh,...

, "Huihui
Hui people
The Hui people are an ethnic group in China, defined as Chinese speaking people descended from foreign Muslims. They are typically distinguished by their practice of Islam, however some also practice other religions, and many are direct descendants of Silk Road travelers.In modern People's...

" (Persian, Arabic, or Turkic) and Burmese
Burmese language
The Burmese language is the official language of Burma. Although the constitution officially recognizes it as the Myanmar language, most English speakers continue to refer to the language as Burmese. Burmese is the native language of the Bamar and related sub-ethnic groups of the Bamar, as well as...

 languages, as well as for the languages of the "Hundred of Tribes" (Bai yi, i.e., ethnic groups on China's southwestern borders), "Gaochang" (people of Turfan, i.e. Uyghur
Uyghur language
Uyghur , formerly known as Eastern Turk, is a Turkic language with 8 to 11 million speakers, spoken primarily by the Uyghur people in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of Western China. Significant communities of Uyghur-speakers are located in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, and various other...

s), and Xitian (西天; (India?)). In 1511 and 1579 departments for the languages of Ba bai (八百; Lao
Lao language
Lao or Laotian is a tonal language of the Tai–Kadai language family. It is the official language of Laos, and also spoken in the northeast of Thailand, where it is usually referred to as the Isan language. Being the primary language of the Lao people, Lao is also an important second language for...

) and Thailand
Thai language
Thai , also known as Central Thai and Siamese, is the national and official language of Thailand and the native language of the Thai people, Thailand's dominant ethnic group. Thai is a member of the Tai group of the Tai–Kadai language family. Historical linguists have been unable to definitively...

 were added, respectively.

1900 fire

The Academy and its library were severely damaged in a fire during the siege of the Foreign Legations
Boxer Rebellion
The Boxer Rebellion, also called the Boxer Uprising by some historians or the Righteous Harmony Society Movement in northern China, was a proto-nationalist movement by the "Righteous Harmony Society" , or "Righteous Fists of Harmony" or "Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists" , in China between...

 in Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

 in 1900. On June 24 the fire spread to the Academy:
Many ancient texts were destroyed by the flames.

The Academy operated continuously until its closure during the 1911 Xinhai Revolution
Xinhai Revolution
The Xinhai Revolution or Hsinhai Revolution, also known as Revolution of 1911 or the Chinese Revolution, was a revolution that overthrew China's last imperial dynasty, the Qing , and established the Republic of China...

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