Henan Museum
Roof Tile End with 12 Chinese Characters
Edit: acf
Time: 2022-08-31 17:19:05
Period: Qin dynasty(221-207 BC)
Provenance: Acquisition
Measurements: Dia.17 cm

Period: Qin dynasty(221-207 BC)
Measurements: Dia.17 cm

As one of the components of the roof eaves in ancient architectures of China, wadang, the roof tile end, originated in the Western Zhou dynasty, and thrived in the Han dynasty, it was primarily used for protecting the eaves from erosion and weathering. Most of the wadangs, being circular or semicircular, have motifs or words, thereby they are classified into three types based on the designs: with patterns,  figures, and with texts.

The present example, bearing 12 words, was made by mean of moulding with grey terracotta. The observe side of the tile was embossed with 12 words in small seal script which were divided into three lines by raised bosses, each line has four words. Outside the words are cloud patterns, and encircled by a ring in relief and a narrow border.    

In an even, regular, and smooth form, the inscription of the 12 words means that the Heaven could assign gods to the mortal world, guarding the governance forever, and make the whole country peaceful and prosperous, which function as a purpose of eulogizing the achievements of uniting the whole county by the Qin court, and at the same time, reflecting the governing thoughts of the Qin regime.