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Antique Chinese Roof Tile
Kirin

Circa: Late Qing Dynasty, 19th century

h.11n.(28cm.), w.4 in.(10cm.), d.9 in.(17.5cm.)
No chip or restoration excellent condition

Buddhist art has had a deep impact on Chinese architecture for centuries. The power and benevolence of Buddhist deities expressed in architectural designs were not limited to temples and imperial palaces. Roof tiles modeled in dragons and kirins are common on large houses, they are placed on ridges and roof edges as guardians and protectors of public buildings and private homes, Its chief purpose is to produce an auspicious aura, in which create a positive cosmic current that would generate favorable Feng Shui.

This lustrous rich colored roof tile is tentatively identified as a product from the Qing era (1644-1911). It reflects a lengthy Sancai technique in use since the Tang dynasty (618-907). The key ingredient in this process is a lead flux that allows the silica of the glaze recipe to melt and combine with other minerals. The clay used is a high grade white earth; artisans began by working with molds and hand sculpted finer details. Each roof tile required two firings, a first bisque firing, and a second firing after applying leaded glaze which mixed with various minerals. Chinese archaeologists have discovered many kilns established under the early Ming (1368-98). A glazed-tile manufactory near Nanjing employed over 1,700 skilled artisans. According to the Ministry Regulations published in the 14th century, the firing capacity of each of these kilns was at 280 roof tiles at one time.

Kirin Roof Tile
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Kirin Roof Tile
  
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