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Chen Clan Academy

The Chen Clan Academy, which was completed in the 20th year of the reign of Emperor Guangxu (1894) after seven years of construction, was actually a massive ancestral hall taking the name of "academy" to circumscribe the Qing government's restriction of construction of sizable halls.

The academy does not look like a solemn ancestral hall off limits to outsiders; rather, it is an exquisite and spacious courtyard. This is because the building was designed not only as an ancestral home and academy for a noble family, but also as a club for people from the same town to get together, something like a present-day Guangzhou representative office for a city. Shortly after its completion, the Chen Clan Academy began attracting people from various counties who had come to the provincial capital for business. They relaxed at the academy, making friends, renewing friendships, looking for business opportunities, and facilitating business deals. A map at the academy contains directions for ships from other cities to "pass by Shamian, sail along the southern shore of Aokou into the Litchi Bay and anchor at the academy".

The Chen Clan Academy is noted for its massive collection of Lingnan objects and items of Chinese cultural heritage. Permanently fixed ornaments at the academy include 58 stone sculptures, 57 wooden sculptures, 57 clay sculptures, 58 ceramic sculptures, 41 stone sculptures, and 13 cast bronze and iron sculptures and murals. The majority of them depict auspicious motifs dating back to the final years of the Qing Dynasty. The cultural motifs are so rich that visitors to the academy actually get a crash course in Chinese folklore and classical arts. There are sculptures depicting stories from classical novels Romance of Three Kingdoms and Outlaws of the Marsh, murals featuring the Pavilion of Prince Teng and Feasting in the Peach-plum Garden at Night, and brick sculptures with inscriptions of Dedication of Yueyang Tower by Song-dynasty poet Song Zhongyan and seven-character quatrains by Qing-dynasty poets.

The academy survived a massive town renewal project during the Republic of China period as its location was beyond the red lines of the eastern and western axial lines in the zoning plan. On October 19, 1918, the Guangzhou Municipal Council released its first announcement, declaring that the ancient walls and town gates would be demolished to make way for roads. The western gate and walls of the town, where were just 859 meters from the Chen Clan Academy, were torn down to make way for the foundation of the roads. Later, a road was built right in front of the academy, called "Chen Clan Academy Road". Members of the Chen clan are believed to have played an instrumental role in the construction of the road. Thus, the Chen Clan Academy has earned a spot in Guangzhou's history of town renewal and road construction.

※ Opening hours: from 8:30 to 17:30

※ Admission: RMB10; no ticket sale after 17:00

※ Transportation:
· Metro: take Line1 to the station of Chen Clan Academy
· Bus: take Line 85, 88, 104, 107, 128, 193, 196, 204 and 275 to the station of Chen Clan Academy

>> Related Attractions: The Chen Clan Academy is 1.5 kilometers from the Litchi Bay Creek, Liwan Lake, arcade buildings on Enning Road, Xiguang Grand House, and Litchi Bay renovations in "Xiguang Heritage". You can take the westbound bus from the southern square of the Chen Clan Academy, disembark on the Zhongshan Road VIII station, Bantang Station, or Liwan Road station, and then walk to the academy. Alternatively, you can take Metro Line 1 and disembark on Changshou Road.

>> Related Attractions: The Chen Clan Academy is 3.3 kilometers from the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Zhenhai Tower, Five-Ram Sculpture, and Sun Yat-sen Monument. You can take Bus No. 109 or 85 to the academy. Alternatively, you may take Metro Line 1 and transfer to Metro Line 2 and disembark at the Memorial Hall station, and then begin your tour along the "Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Sun Yat-sen Monument, Zhenhai Tower, and Five-Ram Sculpture" route. As another option, you can disembark at the Yuexiu Park station on Metro Line 2 and begin you tour along the "Zhenhai Tower, Five-Ram Sculpture, Sun Yat-sen Monument, and Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall".

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