UntitledArtist(s)KoreanArtist NationalityKorean (culture or style)Object Creation Date676-935Medium & Supportearthenware with molded decorationDimensions
2 1/2 x 11 7/16 x 3/4 in. (6.2 x 29 x 1.8 cm)Credit LineOn loan from the YooGeum Museum, Seoul, KoreaLabel copy
Two types of tiles were used in the construction of traditional ceramic roof structures in Korea. One type, called ammaksae, was flat with a slight curve in the cross-section (or side view). It was placed concave side up, directly on top of the roof supports. The other type, called sumaksae, was semicylindrical and placed convex side up to cover the joined edges of the flat ammaksae tiles. When completely in place on a roof, ammaksae tiles alternated with rows of sumaksae. Rain rolled off the curved spine of the sumaksae rows and ran down the gutters formed by the ammaksae tiles. The terminal ends of both the ammaksae and sumaksae rows were capped by roof-end tiles, which were usually decorated and visible on the edge of the eaves. Crescent-shaped roof-end tiles capped the ammaksae row, while round roof-end tiles capped the tiles on a sumaksae row.
The Buddhist lotus, readily adapted into a medallion shape, became the favored motif for decorating roof-end tiles on sumaksae tiles after Korea’s adoption of Buddhism in the fourth century. At first the lotus medallion was simple: the seedpod contained few seeds, the petals were few, and their forms were wide and fleshy. Toward the end of the Three Kingdoms Period, the lotus design became more complex and linear and the petals more narrow and flat. In the Unified Silla Period that followed, other floral medallions were introduced. The lotus often appeared in combination with a bosanghwa (precious visage) motif, a stylized floral pattern that symbolized the sanctity of Buddhism. Thousands of these Unified Silla circular roof-end tiles have been unearthed at the Pond of Geese and Ducks, a manmade water feature that was part of a large-scale pleasure resort in Gyeongju, the Silla capital.
During the Joseon Period, ostentatiously decorative roof-end tiles diminished, and those bearing character inscriptions increased. Many of these inscriptions were in Chinese and Sanskrit, newly incorporating the more distinctive, recognizable characters, such as those meaning “longevity” or “good fortune.”
(Korean Gallery Rotation, Fall 2010)
Gallery Rotation Fall 2010
Roof-end tile with inscription design
Korea, Joseon Period
Earthenware with molded decoration
Loan from YooGeum Museum, LTL2009.7.11
During the Joseon Period, ostentatiously decorative roof-end tiles diminished, and those bearing character inscriptions increased. Many of these inscriptions were in Chinese and Sanskrit, newly incorporating the more distinctive, recognizable characters, such as those meaning “longevity” or “good fortune.”Subject matter
Roof-end tiles like this one cap rows of alternating concave and convex tiles called ammaksae and sumaksae. Roof-end tiles are usually decorated and visible on the edge of the eaves. Crescent-shaped roof-end tiles like this one cap the ammaksae row, while round roof-end tiles one cap the tiles on a sumaksae row.Physical Description
This curved tile has small circles lining the edge of the two long, curved edges, and two shorter straight edges without special border decoration. The face of the tile is decorated with vegetal arabesque motif.
This gray-white, low-fired earthenware concave eave-end roof tile features a scroll design. Although each motif on the front decorative surface of the tile is different, the scroll design demonstrates some degree of left-right symmetry. Traces of a parallel pattern made by a paddle four centimeters wide are visible on the flat surface of the tile. Traces of trimming and smoothing with water are also visible on the sides and joints.
[Korean Collection, University of Michigan Museum of Art (2017) p. 40]
Primary Object Classification Ceramic Primary Object TypetileCollection AreaAsianRights
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Unified Silla Kingdom