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HOME : Chinese Art : Ming Dynasty : Ming Glazed Terracotta Roof Tile
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Ming Glazed Terracotta Roof Tile - PH.0276
Origin: China
Circa: 1368 AD to 1644 AD
Dimensions: 8.5" (21.6cm) high x 4.5" (11.4cm) wide x 12" (30.5cm) depth
Collection: Chinese Art
Style: Ming
Medium: Glazed Terracotta

Location: United States
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Glazed sculptural tiles are today considered one of the hallmarks of classical Chinese architecture. However, despite their popularity in modern times, they were relatively scarce until after the end of the Tang Dynasty. Even then, during the Song and Yuan Dynasties, they were still infrequently used. It was not until the rise of the Ming Dynasty that glazed sculptural tiles became a popular decorative device extensively employed in temples, altars, imperials palaces, and gardens. Beijing became the center of glazed architectural tile production during the Ming period, and colorfully decorated pagodas began to sprout up around this region. Eaves and entryways were decorated with vibrant sculptures that served both decorative and sometimes religious purposes. On temples and palaces, representations of mounted warriors and snarling dragons were meant to ward off evildoers, of both the physical and spiritual kind.

This fantastic piece would have been part of the decorative scheme of a Ming Dynasty temple. Brilliantly colored in emerald green and ochre hues, the tile depicts a dragon-like animal in flight. A menacing figure like this would surely have been most effective at guarding the sacred space from evil spirits. When we imagine the entire edifice covered with such tiles, from the walls to the roof, the glory of Ming Dynasty China becomes apparent. - (PH.0276)


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