Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family
    2009-12-24 09:12:26     CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Zhang
 

The project was completed in 1874 and illustrates the Chinese tradition of successful family members investing in a legacy to worship their ancestors. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com/Dominic]

By Dominic Swire

Central Guangzhou is a highly dynamic place to visit, but if you get a little dazed by the traffic, noise and neon lights, a visit to the Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family is a perfect way to refresh the mind.

Situated bang in the centre of downtown Guangzhou, the Chen Family Temple is one of the main cultural highlights of the city. Colourful Chinese architecture and a peaceful atmosphere make this complex of nine halls and six courtyards the perfect place for a little meditative reflection on life and the universe.

The temple was built with money from the wealthy Chen family clan, which spreads across 72 counties in southern China's Guangdong province. The project was completed in 1874 and illustrates the Chinese tradition of successful family members investing in a legacy to worship their ancestors. The Chen's have been well known in the region since the late Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911) when one of their members achieved third place in the highest nationwide imperial examination and thus received a high ranking position in the imperial court.

The complex is designed in a traditional Chinese symmetrical style with the main hall forming the centre of the temple. There is a particularly impressive variety of carvings made from wood, lime, pottery and even brick, a perfect setting to appreciate some exquisite examples of Chinese craftsmanship.

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