Enjoy the stunning architecture and sculptures of this ancestral temple, which once served as a place for study and is now a folk art museum.
Explore one of Guangdong Province’s most important cultural treasures, renowned for its stone, wood, plaster and brick sculptures. The Guangdong Folk Arts Museum is a large complex that includes six courtyards, nine halls and a number of other buildings. It was completed in 1894, financed by Chen family members who lived in 72 counties of Guangdong Province. The temple served as a place to honor Chen ancestors and as an academy to educate Chen children.
As you walk around the courtyards and through the buildings, pay particular attention to the fixed sculptures adorning roofs, walls and doors. These include real and mythical creatures, many of which are vivid representations of classical stories and legends. This is an excellent visual introduction to Chinese folklore.
In 1959 the government founded the Guangdong Folk Arts Museum in the temple in order to showcase the area’s history of handicrafts. Study ivory carvings and sculptures as well as ornaments and utensils intended for daily use.
View displays dedicated to other traditional crafts such as paper-cutting, porcelain and embroidery. Marvel at intricate wood carvings on folding screens and rosewood furniture.
The temple also used to provide lodgings for Chen family members. Inside the compound you can see the period furniture that used to fit out these rooms.
Have your camera at the ready in the courtyards for pictures of the life-like statues of figures from classical Chinese literature. Relax on one of the many seats dotted around the temple, and soak up the serenity of the calm temple surroundings.
Situated in downtown Guangzhou, the Guangdong Folk Arts Museum is easily reached by bus and by subway via the Chen Clan Academy Station. The compound is open daily; set aside at least an hour for your visit.