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Academies in the Changing Religious Landscape

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Chapter Summary

Beginning in the 10th century, the Song state treated academies much as it did Buddhist and Daoist temples, bestowing recognition and approval through the granting of official name plaques. Like imperial patronage of Buddhist and Daoist institutions, academies were the beneficiaries of state land endowments and collections of books. Academies also shared sacred space with Buddhist and Daoist institutions, and the Southern Song academy movement developed its own sacred geography by identifying places connected with Daoxue scholars as sites of numinosity. Studies of individual scholars often became the sites of new academies, centered on shrines where their disciples carried out Confucian rituals to venerate them. The construction of academies alongside Buddhist, or more rarely Daoist, temples, as well as local temples and shrines, created a new institutional balance among these religions, and transformed the cultural geography and religious landscape of Song-Yuan China.

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