Tile Carving

In Dongting Dongshan and Xishan, folk residences all had tile carvings as decoration in the Ming Dynasty. Investigations show, in Jiajing Period of the Ming Dynasty, the tile carving had reached certain level. To the west of Lumu Town in the northern suburbs of Suzhou, there were royal kilns to make square tiles. They were called “golden tiles” in the Qing Dynasty. Because the tile materials had hard and heavy texture, they were also called “hard tiles”. In the Ming and Qing Dynasty, especially after Kangxi Period, Suzhou tile carvings were made in mass and carving plants were rough. By Qianlong and Jiaqing Periods, there was further development for tile carving techniques; at that time, the tile carving not only had a great amount and a large scale, but also complicated caving skills. By the late period of Jiaqing, the tile caving was weakening. Suzhou tile carvings are mainly used to decorate internal and external parts of architectures. There are tile carvings on gateways and screen walls of halls as well as wall “porch head” and “dress shoulder” etc. Subjects mainly come from dramas, tales, flowers, birds, beasts, lucky patterns and calligraphy etc. Skills include openwork carving, relief carving and line carving etc. The works are fine and vivid with elegant and fresh styles.

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