The Chen Clan Ancestral Hall

Once gung-ho and eager about seeing all that Guangzhou has to offer, it now takes us some reminders to venture into the city on our days off from work and view the sites that we had at one time read about with enthusiasm. Of course, every time we kick this indifference in the butt and take on a new adventure, we’re glad we did.

This time we went to the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, The Ancestral Temple of the Chen Clan, and the Chen Clan Academy. While we were at it, we decided to hit the Guangdong Museum of Folk Art. Actually, they’re all in the same place- which was convenient.

And inspiring! What a beautiful building! It’s amazing what you can see in the span of a few hours. The building itself is the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall which was paid for by 74 different patrons of the Chen Family. It was built to be the family’s ancestral temple and to be an academy for future generations of the family. Later, the building came to house the Guangdong Museum of Folk Art (hence the many names).

The Chen Clan Ancestral Hall ...and Academy ...and Temple ...and the Guangdong Museum of Folk Art

It’s worth coming to see the building alone. It has been decorated by incredible artists in painting, brick carving, wood carving, etched glass, and colorful tile art. Not to mention the peaceful little garden and bonsais everywhere.

The museum itself is a little sparse and scattered, but still fun to explore. The English captions were really helpful; otherwise we wouldn’t have realized what we were looking at. The best part was that each gift shop (and there were many) hosted a local artist partaking in a traditional craft- painting the insides of snuff bottles, calligraphy, paper cutting, etc.

Proof we were there! 😛

If you come to Guangzhou, you absolutely must see this place!

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