Hollow Tile: Lintel from Tomb-Chamber Doorway

Hollow Tile: Lintel from Tomb-Chamber Doorway

2nd Century

China, Han dynasty

(202 BC-AD 220)

Earthenware, die-stamped relief

Overall: 137.2 cm (54 in.)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph King 1915.69

Location

Description

Striding tigers (top), racing horsemen (right column), and reverent officials (left column) are stamped into the surface of this underground portal to a tomb. The doorway preserves in stone the post-and-lintel structure, a basic element of Chinese wooden architecture.

By the first century AD, a revolution in Chinese tomb construction and furnishing had taken place. Tombs lined with decorated bricks and tiles replace the earlier tombs constructed with only rammed earth-walls. Ceramic surrogates or models of stoves, houses, servants, and pets filled these more durable chambers, symbolically extending the creature comforts of this world into the world after death.

See also
Collection: 
China - Han Dynasty
Department: 
Chinese Art
Type of artwork: 
Ceramic

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