This original Ming Dynasty ceramic or stoneware tile with a figure of a seated Buddha measures about 6 3/4 x 9 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches.
It is in very good condition with minor losses to the glaze in a few areas along with a few small rim chips.
Stylistically, it has more in common with Song Dynasty ceramics, but most likely it dates to the Ming Dynasty.
This architectural tile appears to have been designed to be mounted in the wall of a shrine or temple and has a pattern of large shaped dovetails on the reverse for that purpose (see enlargement photo).
This museum quality piece consists of very dense stoneware covered with colored glazes in turquoise, aubergine and yellow.
This Buddha tile dates from the Ming Dynasty or earlier.
A Few Facts:
The Shanyin Hall at the White Dagoba Temple was built or restored by the Qianlong emperor in 1751, 30 years after a large earthquake damaged the same area in Beijing.
Shanyin Hall currently has 445 Buddha tiles of similar style, but of later manufacture (probably circa 1976 -when it was last restored after the Tangshan earthquake.) (See the last photograph).
It may have have had tiles similar to the one we are offering prior to it's previous restorations in 1751 or 1976.
It is quite possible that this turquoise Buddha tile may be a remnant of one of those earlier changes or restorations.
We currently have in our collection a tile similar to the current tiles that are currently mounted in Shanyin Hall in Beijing. Our tile is marked with Wanli reign Marks (1573- 1619). This is not the tile we are offering with this lot. The one we are offering actually appears to be earlier than this Wanli tile, but it is unmarked.
We can't document it yet, but it is a serious possibility that this old Buddha tile dates to before 1619.
Our research shows that the original tiles were probably held in place with lime mortar-not the best thing to use in an earthquake zone.
This tile we offer here may have been salvaged from an old temple restoration or from a temple no longer in existence. This same area has seen earthquakes in 1679, again in 1730 and again in 1976-to name a few.
All of this is a combination of verifiable facts and speculation, but speculation based on observable and documented facts.
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