Title:Tomb TileArtist:Artist UnknownDate:Han dynastyCreation Place:Asia, ChinaCredit Line:Gift of funds from C. Curtis DunnavanAccession Number:99.50.1
During the Han dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 200), upper class tombs were often built of large hollow bricks decorated with impressed geometric and figural ornament. This pair of wall tiles and door jamb came from the main burial chamber of a tomb in Honan province. The two larger tiles have borders and a central panel decorated with impressed rectangles of geometric and peacock designs. The remaining motifs include fierce figures which probably represent exorcists (fang hsiang shih) meant to ward off evil, images of a two story estate and equestrian hunting scenes.
The narrow door jamb displays geometric borders similar to the wall tiles, along with impressed images of Confucian sages on one side and mountainous landscape scenes populated with wild animals on the front. These simple impressed designs provide rare pictorial images of Han dynasty costumes, architecture, and aristocratic pastimes. Industrial ceramics such as these also demonstrate the early development of production-line technology in China and the application of mass-manufactured components in traditional architecture.