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.
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.