Chen Clan's Academy 陈家祠 (Chen Jia Ci)
Chen Clan's Academy, sitting in the west town of Guangzhou, has a recommendable collection of folk art and tradition in the city.
The academy was established in 1894 during the Qing Dynasty. Its construction was financed by all 72 Chen clans in Guangdong to provide to Chen juniors accommodation and a place to study and prepare for provincial examinations. Later it was changed to the Chen Clan's Industry College, and then a middle school afterwards.
It features classic typical Lingnan architecture, well balanced layout, exquisite, and richly-decorated. You are greeted by a spacious square just outside and then attracted into the open matrix of four landscaped courtyards, imposing halls and peaceful corridors inside. Wood, brick and stone carvings, clay and pottery sculptures, iron structuring, glazed glass windows, painting, calligraphies by local masters are all represented. It is now the biggest, best preserved and decorated clan complex in Guangdong.
Adding to its in-built cultural gems, wide collections of Cantonese folk craftworks and life items have been shown here, such as porcelain, embroidery, paper-cutting, historical furniture, ink slabs, and various carvings (such as ivory, jade, bone and nuts), since the ancient Academy was designated as the Guangdong Museum of Folk Art in 1959. Most highlighted is the clay sculpture collection of Xiguan (West end of Guangzhou downtown) Folklore for the Century, by Wan Zhaoquan, a local master sculptor. They give a lovely, vivid presentation of the very tradition of local life, tinted with passion, understanding, pride, humor and historic reminiscence.
Majestic buildings, exquisite constructional details, delicate courtyards and gardens, and fabulous art pieces are well mingled to pose tasteful pleasure at ease. The Academy has been named as one of the Eight Sightseeing Sites of Guangzhou in New Century and the National Key Historic Sites.
Snowy Plum Blossoms in Luogang 萝岗香雪 (Luo Gang Xiang Xue)
"Luo Gang Xiang Xue" one of the "Eight Attractions of Guangzhou", means "Snowy Plum Blossoms in Luogang, the city's Economic and Technological Development Zone." Actually Xiang Xue is a park, which is renowned for its plum blossoms.
Luogang has planted greengages since the Song Dynasty (960 A.D.-1279 A.D.) in ancient China. Every year, the sea of greengage trees is dressed in white when the winter comes. Then the park is as if covered by snow. That's how the name "Snowy Plum Blossoms" originated.
"Luo Gang Xiang Xue" was named one of the "Eight Attractions of Guangzhou" in 1963.
(by Carrot Chan, Alan Devey)