DESCRIPTION: A beautifully mounted Chinese roof tile of a Ming warrior seated upon a horse. The bearded soldier, his right hand on his hip, sits erect upon his amber horse which stands on the curved tile base. This earthenware tile has been decorated in a sancai glaze of predominately green and amber colors. A beautifully carved custom rosewood base has been made for this large tile, the base itself probably being over 100 years old. CONDITION: Quite good condition with the usual wear one would expect from Ming Dynasty piece including small chips. The stand has been drilled with a hole on one side, presumable for using as a lamp. Ming Dynasty, 1368 – 1644. DIMENSIONS: 16 ½” tall with stand (42 cm) x 11” wide (28 cm).
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND: During the Ming and Qing Dynasties, glazed sculptural tiles became a popular decorative devise used extensively on temples, altars, imperial palaces and gardens, and are considered one of the hallmarks of classical Chinese architecture. Eaves and entryways were decorated with vibrant sculptural tiles that served both decorative and religious purposes. On temples and palaces, representations of mounted warriors and snarling dragons were meant to ward off evildoers of both the physical and spiritual kind.
The term “Sancai” literally translates: “three colors”, and is usually applied to Tang dynasty earthenwares, which are coated with slip and then decorated with lead-fluxed glazes. The three most common colors, from which the name derives, are cream, amber and green. The sancai palette was revived in later periods, and was used on ceramics in the Ming and Qing dynasties.