Fodor's Expert Review Chen Clan Academy
The Chen family is one of the Pearl River Delta's oldest clans. In the late 19th century, local members who had become rich merchants decided to build a memorial temple. They invited contributions from the Chens—and kindred Chans—who had emigrated overseas. Money flowed in from 72 countries, and no expense was spared. One of the temple's highlights is a huge ridgepole frieze. It stretches 90 feet along the main roof and depicts scenes from the epic Romance of Three Kingdoms, with thousands of figures against a backdrop of ornate houses, monumental gates, and lush scenery. Elsewhere in the huge compound of pavilions and courtyards are friezes of delicately carved stone and wood, ceramic sculptures, fine iron castings, and a dazzling altar covered with gold leaf. The temple also houses a folk art museum and a shop that sells Chinese handicrafts.