"Sincerely hold fast the due Mean." (Confucius, Analects 20:1): Kongzi (551- 479 BC) is the ancient historical figure who exerted the most influence on Chinese civilization.
Master Kong (Latinized as "Confucius" by Jesuit missionaries) advocated harmony in human relations structured by rites and morality, whose key values are kindness, honesty, propriety, wisdom, loyalty, and filial piety. Followers seek to attain the ideal of the Perfect Man (shengren).
The teaching of Confucius is based on the study of the "six arts" - ritual, music, archery, chariot driving, calligraphy and mathematics - and the contemplation of the canonic works, the Four Books and Five Classics.
The humanistic philosophy of the "first of the sages," the "teacher of ten thousand generations," gave rise to Confucianism ("School of the Scholars"), a political and social doctrine, an ideological instrument of power, adopted as a "state religion" and spread throughout Asia.