Inventory no.: 1658

Chinese Roof Tiles


Pair of Stoneware Roof Tiles With Elephant Heads and Shar-Pei Dog Bodies


circa 1820

height: 28cm & 25.5cm

This striking and unusual pair of stoneware ridge roof tiles, decorated in green, cream and brown glazes, have the bodies of a Chinese shar-pei dog and the heads of an elephant. It is as if the modeller, not having actually seen an elephant in real life, imagined that one might have the body of a loose-skinned dog. The dog-elephants with their long wispy tails sit dog-like on their haunches and are perched over rounded tile bases.

In China, the roof was deemed a point of communication between heaven and earth; a bridge between the spiritual realm and earthly life. Tiles such as these depicting animals and other forms were used by Chinese builders to harness auspicious spiritual forces and to repel evil spirits.

This pair is in very fine condition. The glaze is bright and lustrous. There is only minor and barely perceptible loss to one tusk of each elephant. Otherwise each tile is free of chipping, cracking or repairs.


UK art market

Inventory no.: 1658