Ming Dynasty Roof Tile

Value (2013) | $5,000 Auction$8,000 Auction
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GUEST:
Because it's a tile and because it's a god, I thought it was probably something that would go over a doorway in China, and because he's so ugly, maybe to keep away evil spirits.

APPRAISER:
Absolutely. Well, you were very close. This is a Chinese glazed pottery roof tile, actually.

GUEST:
Roof tile, mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
And let's look at how it's made here. This wonderful curved base allows it to sit right on the roof. We can all picture the fabulous Chinese architecture with pagoda roofs that end in that lovely curve. These tiles sit at the end of the curve along the edges of the roof line.

GUEST:
Isn't that interesting?

APPRAISER:
And are decorated in fancier houses, temples and so forth with wonderful figures like this one. This particular one was made probably in the Ming dynasty around 1600 to 1700, so it's really quite old.

GUEST:
Oh, I'm surprised.

APPRAISER:
When you first brought it to the table, I thought, "This can't really be a Ming one" because it's in such lovely condition. It doesn't look like it's been battered by the elements. But the colors of the glazes are just right, the molding of the face and the details of the fingers and so forth.

GUEST:
Oh, I am very surprised. I thought it was even flawed because the green and this color's... they're so close, I thought it might have been a mistake.

APPRAISER:
No, I don't think so. I think they actually intended to make the shawl around his shoulders a lovely turquoise blue, which you see a lot of in the Ming tile work. Often there's a lot more yellow in these figures. This one is particularly dark with the green and the brown.

GUEST:
Yeah, yeah.

APPRAISER:
You found it where? You were looking for...?

GUEST:
I was at an antique market at Aberfoyle, Ontario, in 1966.

APPRAISER:
Were you looking for Asian art?

GUEST:
No, it just happened to catch my eye.

APPRAISER:
And do you remember what you paid for it?

GUEST:
Under $100, probably around $65 or $75.

APPRAISER:
Okay, that's fabulous. Well, these don't bring immense fortunes at all because there were, of course, even in the Ming dynasty, many, many of them. There are many roofs in China and many roof tiles. But a lovely one like this would probably bring at auction today around $1,000.

GUEST:
Oh, isn't that great?

APPRAISER:
So I think you made a very good buy and I think you have a great thing.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Christie's
New York, NY
Value Update (2013)
$5,000 Auction$8,000 Auction
Appraised value (1999)
$1,000 Auction
Event
Toronto, ON (August 07, 1999)
Period
Ming Dynasty
Form
Tile
Material
Pottery

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