The Ming Dynasty made large roof tiles intended to scare away evil spirits. These tiles depicted protective animals, such as dragons. The tiles sat on a ridgeline along a roof. They faced each other and held a ceramic beam in their mouths. Imagine standing in front of a building, looking up, and seeing these magnificent dragons on the highest part of a roof.
These dragon roof tiles originally sat on a temple, and those who entered the temple believed the roof dragons controlled the rain. They believed whenever a dragon would open his mouth, rain fell. This was convenient since these dragons were believed to protect against lightning and fire; therefore if something was on fire, the dragons could make it rain and quench the fire.
Unidentified Maker, Chinese
50 1/2 inches H; 30 inches W; 10 3/4 inches D
Gift of Alconda-Owsley Foundation
2001.007.1 and 2001.007.2
64 CE Rome Burns.
132 CE Han Dynasty; Invention of first seismoscope for detecting earthquakes.
1000 - 1500 Romanesque and Gothic styles in Europe.
1271 Marco Polo travels to China.