Sometimes referred to as “the 5th invention of China”, the civil service examination system in imperial China was designed to select candidates for the state bureaucracy. This system was in place between 650 CE and 1905, making it the world’s longest-lasting meritocracy. In the course of over 1200 years, the examination system helped shape China’s intellectual, cultural, political, and religious life, giving rise to a unique gentry class of scholar-bureaucrats. The Chinese civil examination system was adopted by a number of neighboring Asian countries, such as Vietnam, Korea and Japan, in one form or another. To help understand this important institution in traditional China, the Renwen Society presents a lecture by Ms. Feng Jiahong, President of the Imperial Examination Museum of China in Nanjing, on the history, process and significance of the imperial examinations. The Imperial Examination Museum of China in Nanjing was built on the former site of the largest imperial examination center in China. The rare archives, records, actual examination papers as well as the breathtaking architecture of the museum will also be introduced in the lecture.

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