Ridge tile

Shanxi province
Ming dynasty about AD14901620

According to traditional Chinese belief, roofs are platforms of communication between the words of the living and spirit realms. Consequently they were decorated to ward off evil and to act as a magnet for blessings and good fortune.

This glazed earthenware ridge tile was made about AD14901620 during a golden age of tile production.

It shows Guan Yu, a great historical general and hero of the Three Kingdoms Period (AD 221280) and immortalised in the Ming novel San Guo Yan Yi (Romance of the Three Kingdoms).

He is described as having 'gleaming skin, glistening lips, eyes like the crimson phoenix, brows like nestling silk worms'. His horse is called Red Hare and can cover 1,000 'li' (540 km/330 miles) in a day.

This popular hero was deified and known as Guan ‘di' (emperor). He is both God of War and of Wealth.

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Height: 42.500 cm
Length: 33.000 cm
Thickness: 13.800 cm

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Purchased with public subscription from the George Eumorfopoulos Collection


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