Dating from the Chinese Song Dynasty (960 - 1127 A.D.), this carefully worked terracotta tile displays a bearded old man dressed in voluminous robes.
These beautiful decorated terracotta tiles were used to adorn the roofs and facades of temples, palaces, and wealthy households. They were a sign of wealth and status, and their elaborate designs often served to convey symbolic or auspicious meanings.
Steeped in Confucian values and respect for the aged, old men in ancient Chinese culture are highly symbolic. They embody wisdom, longevity, and divine favour — in essence, these venerable figures of age are the embodiment of ancient Chinese wisdom, life, power, and spiritual wealth.
This particular example of ancient Chinese art is mounted on a plinth of aged oak and textured steel standing over 40cm in height. Traces of the original enamel are present.
ANCIENT CHINESE SONG TILE OF AN OLD MAN
Acquired by Timeless on the UK antiquities market, 2022. Formerly part of a private collection of Chinese art formed in Japan in the 1990s