Korean roof tile

Korea, 8th century AD

The concept of using tiles decorated with monster masks to ward off evil spirits originated from China.

The tiles were placed in each of the four cardinal directions (north, east, south and west) on top of the roof of a building. They were used in royal buildings, those of the aristocracy, and also on Buddhist temples.

Some tiles were produced in the shape of a lion, a Buddhist guardian symbol. Buddhism had become the prevalent religion by the seventh century in Korea. Some scholars think that these tiles portray dragons, not monster masks.

Though this example is not glazed, some of these tiles were glazed with a green lead glaze.


Korea

Korea

Korea's location between China, Russia and Japan has played a crucial role not only in establishing Korea’s diverse cultural heritage, but also in the development of East Asian culture and art.

Korea world culture


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More information

Bibliography

J. Portal, Korea - art and archaeology (London, The British Museum Press, 2000)

Dimensions

Unified Silla dynasty


Height: 28 cm
Width: 22.5 cm
Depth: 6 cm

 

Museum number

Asia OA 1992.6-15.24

RRC17562

 

Gift of Dr. A.G. Poulsen-Hansen

Location

Find in the collection online

Related products

Book

A History of the World in 100 objects

 
By Neil MacGregor

Accompanies the BBC Radio 4 series




This object features in A History of the World in 100 objects


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