Tomb tile - ROM2005_3973_18


Tomb tile

Medium:Slab-built earthenware
Geography: Reportedly from Henan province, China
Date: 1st century BC
Period: Western Han Dynasty
75 x 23 x 20.5 cm
Object number: 922.20.625
Credit Line: The George Crofts Collection
Not on view
DescriptionThis is one of two hollow tiles from the uppermost, horizontal part of the ceiling of a tomb, which was a vault in the shape of an inverted V. (For the other tile, please see 922.20.626.) Into the mitred rabbets at each end of the tile, large hollow tiles were fitted at a forty-five-degree angle; these rested on the vertical side walls of the tomb, which were also made of hollow tiles. The coloured relief decoration of this tile shows the Queen Mother of the West with her hourglass-shaped hair ornament, sitting on a column-shaped Mount Kunlun. The two tiles must have formed part of a larger composition that showed mythical animals, deities, and immortals. This tile shows what is probably the earliest example of the Queen Mother of the West sitting on a column-shaped Mount Kunlun. In the Eastern Han dynasty this type of image became part of her standard iconography. (Iconography: the typical imagery by which something is represented.)
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