China Connection Tours, a reputable China tour operator & travel agency from 1987
Chen Clan Academy
The Chen Clan Academy is not only an important heritage site under protection by the country, but also a local Guangdong handicraft museum. It was built as a collective effort by the Chen families from 72 counties all over Guangdong Province at the end of the 19th century during the reign of Emperor Guangxu of the Qing Dynasty. The Academy was built to honor and worship their ancestors. It was also used to house Chen family members who came from all over the province to sit for the imperial examinations. That is why it is also known as the Chen Family Academy. Today, it is the largest and best preserved example of the architecture and artistry of the time in all of Guangdong Province. The antique style of the academy and the numerous artistic treasures it holds will make you feel that you have gone back to the Qing Dynasty.
The Academy faces south and occupies an area of 13,200 square meters. It includes a main structure, the Eastern Courtyard, the Western Courtyard, the Back Garden and the Lawn. Juxian Hall is the central building within the Academy. Its central axle makes the Hall symmetrical. The inside and the outside of the Hall are decorated with stone, brick, wooden, ceramic and clay sculptures, as well as steel casting of a superb quality. Therefore, the tiled roof, the compartments and the corridors seem to contain too much for the eyes to grasp. However, all these cannot surpass the big board with the words "Chen Clan Academy" on the lintel of the main entrance. The doors are painted with colored door-gods. These, together with the huge stone lions at the entrance, are awe-inspiring indeed. Apart from the architectural style, the Chen Clan Academy is full of local handicraft of all sorts: ivory sculptures, coconut sculptures, jade sculptures, wooden sculptures, paper-cuttings, colored ceramics, costumes, and furniture, etc. The themes represented are wide-ranging and picturesque: historical legends, myths, nature, gardens, etc. Because every item in the collection is invaluable, the academy can be called the treasure house of handicraft.
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