Book of Rites

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The Book of Rites (), also known as the Book of Customs, Classic of Rites, the Record of Rites, Liki, Li Ji, Li Gi or Li Ch'i, was one of the Chinese Five Classics of the Confucian canon. It described the social forms, governmental system, and ancient/ceremonial rites of the Zhou Dynasty (c. 1050–256 BCE). The original text is believed to have been compiled by Confucius himself, whilst the edition usually referred to today was edited and re-worked by various scholars during the Han Dynasty (202 BCE – 220 CE).

The work is not to be confused with two other classical texts on rites: The Rites of Zhou 周礼 and the Book of Etiquette and Ceremonies 仪礼/儀禮. On the relationship between the three books see history of etiquette and ceremonies.


The Confucian Classics, such as the Book of Rites, have had a significant influence on Chinese history. Among these texts are those in which Confucius recorded his thoughts, ideas and teachings in an attempt to restore social and political order during a tumultuous time in history. During the Warring States Period (475-221 BCE) China was forced to face a time of brutal wars and political upset. Immediately following this period, under the rule of the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang of the Qin Dynasty, many of the Confucian Classics were destroyed. The destruction of Confucian Classics is referred to as the "The Burning of the Books." This occurred in 213 BCE when all traditional books...
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