Chen Art Gallery – Torrance, California - Atlas Obscura

Chen Art Gallery

Torrance, California

This Chinese art gallery is hidden inside the Sunrider Corporation headquarters.  

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The outside of the Sunrider Corporation building, headquarters for the herbal products supply company, seems to be a place only accessible by employees. Yet the general public can see a specific section by appointment only, a magnificent Chinese art gallery.

Dr. Tei-Fu Chen, a Taiwanese herbalist, pharmacist, and company founder had a deep appreciation for Chinese art and began to amass a collection. In 2001, Chen opened the Chen Art Gallery to display his vast array of artifacts acquired over two decades. The collection spans some 5,000 years of Chinese history, from early Neolithic Era pottery to 20th century creations.

While the public can visit the gallery, photos are not allowed. Visitors are also escorted by a complimentary tour guide throughout their visit. Chen’s collection is divided into sub-categories and includes the simple furnishings of the Ming dynasty, to the lavish decorative stylings of the Qing dynasty.

Jade, of course, has its moment to shine in the gallery. One prized piece is a pair of white nephrite jade vases, complete with dragon motifs and clossonné stands from the Qing Dynasty’s Qianlong Period.

Also, on display, there are sections dedicated to bronze vessels cast over 3,000 years ago, Buddhist sculptures that showcase the blend of Indian and Chinese artistic styles, and custom ceramics consisting of imperial porcelain and painted pottery. 

Chen’s collection also extends to Chinese paintings and calligraphy, along with works by artists of non-Chinese descent.

Outside the building, there is a small garden across from the Sunrider Corporation building that is publicly accessible.

To visit, you must schedule an appointment. 

Know Before You Go

The Chen Art Gallery is open Tuesday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (except for major holidays). It's free to the public, but visitors have to schedule an appointment in advance by calling (310) 781-3808. Tours last about 90 minutes. 

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