Tilework Panels with Dragon

Object nr. 210 China, Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) Length: 175 cm | Height: 37 cm

Private Collection, The Netherlands
TL Tested by Oxford Authentication, ltd.
Condition Report available

Price on request

This object can be viewed in our gallery.

Additional Information

Tilework Panels with Dragon

A Chinese tile-work panel, consisting of three parts, depicting a dragon in high relief amongst foliage and flowers. Set on a green ground, the yellow and green dragon writhes amongst thickly potted green foliage and yellow blossoming peony flowers. These types of glazed pottery panels would have been part of the decorative architectural scheme of a building, possibly a temple.

The Ming period was one of great economic prosperity and expansion in China, which caused a building boom and a large demand for architectural ceramics. These were manufactured by potters who moved from site to site, establishing kilns where their work was needed. Functional tilework ceramics such as architectural tiles and figural sculptures with bright glazes, could then be produced locally for the construction of major buildings or temples.

In the Ming Dynasty roofs of notable buildings were covered colourful glazed tiles, some with three-dimensional ornaments such as figures of gods or animals. Friezes that ran along the top ridges were also decorated with auspicious decorative motifs. Rooftops were considered platforms of communication between the mortal and spirit world. Therefore the decorative schemes were chosen with specifically with the intention of protecting the dwellers against evil, as well as to attract blessings and good fortune.

Architectural ceramics,  such as these panel, were produced in moulds and then individually finished by hand, with varying amounts of detail according to the importance and function of the building. The most elaborate and detailed pieces were intended for notable palaces, temples, public buildings and other grand residences. Generally the pieces are thickly potted from clay and fired at low temperatures. The lead-fluxed glazes used are predominantly from the sancai (three colour) palette of green, yellow and brown, though some examples of tile work are found with a purplish blue glaze.

Floris van der Ven