Friday, July 19, 2013

China Day Twelve - More Culture in Guangzhou

On Sunday, our tour agenda included Chen Clan Academy and some shopping at Liwan Plaza. Daryl was feeling well this day, so he stayed back to rest while Grandmommy and Granddaddy accompanied the boys and I. The Chen Clan Academy was originally a temple built in the late 1800s for all of the Chen clans or families in Guangdong to come together for ancestor worship (based on the teachings of Confucious). Davis' Chinese last name was Chen - the orphanage gives common last names to children and Chen was the name given to all kids at the Guangzhou SWI found in 2010 - so we had a special interest in touring this place. Since 1959 the building has not been used as a temple, but rather has served as the Guangdong Folk Art Museum. 

All of the buildings in the complex had incredible decoration all over their roofs.

The entrance doors. Look at the person in the bottom corner for the scale of these doors. 

The mammoth carved screen just inside the large doors. 


Even the beams of the ceiling were intricately carved. 

One of the alleyways in between the buildings. 

Inside one of the buildings we were given a demonstration of painting. All of this detail work was done by this gentleman with ink and the side of his hand. This so impressed Parker and Wesley that they chose to use their spending money from the trip to purchase pictures of the Great Wall made in this way. 

We also got the opportunity to see other handiwork, 
like traditional furniture and glasswork.

This is a jade carving known as a Family Ball. It is carved from one single piece of jade and there are several free floating layers inside going all the way down to a small ball at the center. The impressive part? These are carved from the inside out! We purchased a smaller one for our home with five layers to represent each member of our new family. 

And then there was the embroidery room. Amazing displays of intricate handwork in here, framed to protect them. Some of them were available for sale, but as you can imagine were incredibly expensive. 

The main altar area for the temple was still set up as a display. 

At Liwan Plaza, we went to a wholesale pearl store. My goal for this store was to purchase 3 pearl necklaces, one for each one of the boys. That might sound a little odd but remember that Daryl bought a beautiful single strand of pearls for me as a wedding present. We wanted to keep the tradition alive for our boys and thought it would be really neat for Davis especially to have pearls from his homeland. I was able to sort through all kinds of different pearls and finally settled on 3 strands of 10 mm pearls. Then I got to select the clasps and watch the clerk restring them into from the sample wires into necklaces, her hands flying as she tied the individual knots between each pearl. 


After that it was time to head back for the rest of our regular routine - lunch, nap, playtime, dinner, baths and bed. It was nice to have some downtime together as a family.

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