Guangzhou Chen Clan Temple, China
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Chen Clan Temple
The Chen Clan Temple is located on North Zhongshan Road of Guangzhou. It took seven years to built the temple from 1888, the 14th year of Emperor Guangxu of Ch'ing Dynasty, to1894. The Chen clans from 72 counties of Guangdong Province, raised funds to built the temple. This is to help the family members coming to Guangzhou for the Keju exam ("the civil service exam system in ancient China"), this way they could have a place to stay. This is why the temple also called "the Chen Clan Lyceum".
The gate of the temple is facing south. The form of the construction is square. There is a large square in front of the gate it has four courtyards. The main constructions are all 80 x 80 meters. The total area is 13,200 square meters including nine halls and six yards. The main hall is 2.7 meters wide and 12.75 meters long with front and rear corridors.
The Juxian Hall is the center of the temple, which the family members used to sacrifice and for meetings. Its gate has a 4 meters high colorful painting portrait of Gate Spirit and the it has blue brick walls. On both sides of the gate, there are tow cannons made up of stone. In front of the cannons, there is a 2.55 meters high stone drum. The temple is a typical construction style of Guangdong area.
There are exquisite decoration inside and outside, it including different art styles: carved wood, carved stone, carved brick, carved pottery, wall painting and statues made up of copper and iron. The designs and the decorations make the temple looks splendid and elegant. Wooden artwork was used more than other, the carved art piece of Caocao, a general of the Three Kingdoms (221-263A.D.), is the most vivid one.
You can see the general is sitting on a Copper Sparrow Stand and looking at the soldiers. Many flowers, fruits and birds are carved with stones, when you walk in it make you feel as if you are going into the tropic. Going through the temple, you will find splendid carved stone everywhere: on the corridors, railings and stairs, among them, the stone lions are the typical decorate style of Guangdong.
As time went on, the usage of the temple changed. In 1905, the imperial court stopped the Keju Exam and the temple changed into a school. From then on, the Wenfan School, the Sports College of Guangdong, and the Juxian Middle School were open here. In 1950, the Administrator School of Guangzhou was open in the temple.
In 1957, it became an important protection monument of ancient relics listed by the local government of Guangzhou. Because of its splendid art of construction, the temple became a museum of Guangdong Nationality Arts in 1959. In 1960, it became the essential protection monument of ancient relics of Guangdong Province. In 1988, it became an important protection monument of ancient relics listed by the State.