DESCRIPTION: During the Ming and Qing Dynasties, glazed sculptural tiles became a popular decorative devise used extensively in temples, altars, imperial palaces and gardens, and are considered one of the hallmarks of classical Chinese architecture. On temples and palaces, representations of mounted warriors and snarling dragons were meant to ward off evildoers of both the physical and spiritual kind.
More rarely seen are wall tiles earlier than Ming, so we are pleased to offer this one from the Yuan Dynasty (1279 to 1368). The Yuan Dynasty was established by Kublai Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan, and leader of the Mongolian Borjigin clan. After his conquest, Kublai Khan assumed the role of Emperor of China, with his empire extending over present-day Mongolia, China and Korea. This unglazed pottery wall tile is a ideal representation of this period with its distinctively Mongol warrior riding a galloping pony.
The bearded warrior wears fierce face paint and is dressed in elaborate, layered battle armor, which still retains its bright colors. His two hands are positioned to hold a sword or spear. With a friendly and somewhat whimsical expression, his pony has smiling lips and a decorative harness. Mounted on an almost invisible custom stand, this wall tile is a striking example of China's past and diverse history. CONDITION: As is common with ancient pottery there is some damage and old repairs; the horse's mane and warrior's beard are chipped, and there is evidence of past repairs. On the back are seen remnants of small vines or roots in several places. DIMENSIONS: 12" wide (30.5 cm) x 12 1/2" high (31.8 cm); 14" high including stand (35.6 cm).