Chinese Architecture- Guangzhou (Canton)

Chen Family Academy




Guangzhou, China




Qing Dynasty


Base and outside walls are made of brick, the balustrades made of stone, and the eaves and banisters encircling the structure are made of wood.


Temple combination ancestral shrine and Confucian school
The Chen Family Shrine is a combination ancestral shrine and Confucian school that was built in the latter half of the 19th century (between 1890 and 1894) by the inhabitants of 72 villages in Guangdong province where the Chen lineage is the predominant family. The family used the school to educate clan members in the Confucian classics in hopes that they would pass the civil service exams and then be able to reward the villages who had sponsored their education. The complex consists of two main courtyards. The front one was used for study of the Confucian classics while the back one housed a temple to the ancestors of the Chen clan. The whole complex is decorated with ornate scrollwork on the roof tiles, walls, stairs, and on the woodwork of the window frames and doors. The scenes depict stories from Chinese literature and folklore and include real and mythical animals. The whole complex now houses a museum of Chinese handicrafts, and is remarkably well-preserved. The cultural revolution did little damage to it.

It is interesting to compare this site to similar ones in Korea also archived on this website.


All images copyright 2001 Professor Kerk L. Phillips of Brigham Young University, Utah, USA.
Visit his webpage at


With special thanks to