Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family, also known by different names such as Chen Family Temple and Chen Clan Academy, is a famous historical monument located in Guangzhou. It also houses the Guangdong Folk Art Museum as well. This place is an academic temple, which established 1894 to prepare the children of the 72 Chen clans for the imperial examinations during the Qing Dynasty (1636–1912).
History of Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family
During the late Qing Dynasty era, a man called Chen took part in the highest imperial examination, achieved third place, and presented with a distinguished office title. This led to the fame of the Chen family.
The idea of building this place was first proposed by two members of the Chen family, Chen Ruinan, and Chen Zhaonan. They were Cantonese people who had spent some time in America and started raising funds from different Chen lineages to build something with two functions.
The first function was to build a temple to worship their ancestors. The second function was to create an academy to train their family members and prepare them for the Qing Dynasty imperial examinations.
The capital was donated by Chen’s family living abroad and 72 counties in Guangdong. After raising the money, the construction started and then finished in 1894. In 1905, the imperial exam was canceled, and after this incident, the academy changed into a practical school for the Chen family.
In 1957, the Guangzhou municipal government defined the hall as special construction. Later in 1959, a folk arts and crafts gallery was introduced here. After the Cultural Revolution of China, there were some efforts to destroy this place as it was considered a symbol of the Imperials. But these efforts were not successful as intelligent local officials installed a print shop for publishing Mao Zedong’s works. Today it functions as Guangdong Folk Art Museum.
Inside Chen Clan Academy
This temple is situated at Zhongshan’s 7th Road and has a traditional Chinese symmetric complex. The complex consists of 19 buildings, nine halls, and six courtyards linked by corridors.
In front of the entrance door, there is a pair of stone drums with a height of 2.55 meters (around 8.36 feet). Also, there are two colored pictures of Menshen (door-god) in this place too, which are among the best artworks in Guangdong.
The main hall
Located in the center of the temple, the main hall of this place is called the Juxian Hall. Here is where the Chen family members used to assemble before the establishment of the temple. However, now it is used as the ancestral hall.
There is a stone gazebo facing the hall, which is surrounded by stone balustrades. Inside the hall, you can find an exquisitely carved folding screen with excellent woodcarvings, which can impress anyone.
The Chen Clan Ancestral Hall has a vast collection of southern Chinese art in different forms of pottery, brick, wood, and stone. The Chen Family Temple is an excellent example of traditional Chinese architecture and decoration style.
|How to get to|
|By Metro||Get on Line 1 to Chenjiaci Station. Use Exit D to reach the main entrance of the Chen Family Temple.|
|By Bus||You need to take bus 17, 85, 88, 104, 105, 109, 107, 128, 193, 204, 233, 205, 250, 286, 413. Also, you can take Tourism Bus Line 1 or Line 2 and leave at Chenjiaci Station.|
|Entrance Fee||10 Yuan|
|Every Day||08:30 -17:30|
On Wednesday of the third week of each month, you can get a free entry to the temple; however, there is one exception, which is in June. In this month, you can enter the museum freely on the second Saturday since it’s National Cultural Heritage Day. Don’t forget to visit this temple and tell us about your experience. Also, feel free to leave your questions so that our professional guides reply as soon as possible.