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Roof tile

Roof tile

  • Place of origin:

    China (made)

  • Date:

    1500-1644 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Stoneware, with lead glazes

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 137, The Curtain Foundation Gallery, case 8, shelf 1

In Asia, the roof, by virtue of its position on a building, is deemed a point of communication between heaven and earth. It is a bridge to the world of spirits and a platform for them to descend to earth. Chinese builders sought to harness auspicious spiritual forces and repel evil spirits with applied ornamentation freighted with symbolic meaning. On roofs the most common decoration was tiling. The Ming dynasty was a flourishing period for tile production. The horse was frequently one of a sequence of creatures shown on ridge tiles. It is one of the beasts of the Chinese zodiac.

Physical description

Roof tile in the form of a seated horse, overall glaze of ochre, with black mane and some green streak detail.

Place of Origin

China (made)


1500-1644 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Stoneware, with lead glazes


Height: 30 cm, Length: 19 cm, Width: 9.4 cm

Object history note

In 1912 C.H. Wylde, the first Keeper of Ceramics and first member of V&A staff to visit East Asia, acquired architectural fittings and fragments from China.

Descriptive line

Roof tile of glazed stoneware in the shape of a seated horse, Chinese, Ming dynasty

Production Note

from label


Ceramics; Architectural fittings


East Asia Collection

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