A Massive Glazed Tileworks Dragon-Form Roof Tile
A Massive Glazed Tileworks Dragon-Form Roof Tile

MING DYNASTY

Details
A Massive Glazed Tileworks Dragon-Form Roof Tile
Ming Dynasty
Comprised of four sections well modeled in high, crisp relief as two ferocious dragons writhing amidst clouds, the larger green-glazed dragon descending with jaws wide open as the smaller amber-glazed dragon with supple, slithering body ascends as it reaches for the flaming pearl tightly grasped in the other's extended rear claw, with the small figure of a bearded immortal standing amidst the clouds just below the amber dragon's head, the reverse modeled with the body of the green dragon only, all in green, amber, cream and black
58¾in. (149.2cm.) high approx.

Lot Essay

Dragon-form roof ornaments of this type, known as chiwen (owl's lips), were placed either side of a roof ridge so that their open jaws appear to be biting the end of the ridge. According to legend, the abode of these half-fish, half-dragon-like monsters was the Eastern Sea. As rain was supposed to occur when water spouted from their jaws, there were used as a charm against fire.
For an ornament of this type, the large dragon overlaid with the body of a smaller dragon, but glazed in a palette of purplish-blue, turquoise and yellow see d'Argencé, ed., Chinese, Korean and Japanese Sculpture in the Avery Brundage Collection, Japan, 1974, no. 172. See, also, the example sold in our Los Angeles rooms, 7 May 1999, lot 112.
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