Song Dynasty Tile of Woman Ascending to Heaven, China (3348BLK) $445


H: 6.5”  W: 8.125  D: 1.5” | FREE SHIPPING

This ancient Song dynasty tile is likely a memorial tile as it portrays an official, hands in a farewell gesture looking up with devotion to his wife or mother ascending toward heavens on a cloud.  A very striking and emotive scene, it would be a great wall piece with an appropriate mount.


Chinese funerary tiles, as forms of mingqi  adorned tomb as early as the Han dynasty depicting everyday scenes, entertainment, mythical beasts, folklore,  history, literature and poetry. A Han stone tomb relief rubbing in Stories from China’s Past (p. 173) labeled “Ascending to Heaven in Deer Chariot” is reflective of this Song brick-tile. During the Song dynasty smaller mold made brick-tiles were economically produced for ancestral purposes and to decorate walls of government, religious and private buildings. This tile is likely a memorial tile commemorating the passing of the official’s wife or mother as he wears officials-attire and hat denoting his status with his hands raised in reverence looking up to a robed female who looks down at him as she ascends toward heaven on a cloud. Clouds represent the heavens,  good luck and fortune and are auspicious symbols of longevity and immortality.  The word for cloud (云; 雲 yun) is a pun for “good fortune” (运; 運 fuyun), so the symbolic wish for the departed is “may you be immortal in the heavens, may all your wishes be granted and may your afterlife in the heavens be full of good fortune.” The frame on 3 sides may mean the tile was larger, damaged and cut or it never had lower border. The two characters between them are too faded to decipher. It is in good condition with expected chips, fading and tomb dirt incrustations. Probably covered with slip and painted polychrome as were most tiles, no colors remain except  the adhering brownish soil. With a mount it would make a unique piece of wall-art.


Kenneth J. DeWoskin, “Music and Entertainment Themes in Han Funerary Sculpture, Orientations, Vol. 18, No. 4, April, 1987, pp.34-40.

Wilma Fairbank, Adventures in Retrieval: Han Murals and Shang Bronze Molds, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1972

Lucy Lim, Stories from China’s Past: Han Dynasty Pictorial Tomb Reliefs and Archaeological Objects from Sichuan Province, People’s Republic of China, San Francisco, The Chinese Culture Foundation of San Francisco, April, 1987.

Additional information

Place of Origin



Ancient, Song Dynasty



Materials and Technique


Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 6.5” W: 8.125” D:1.5”

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 6.5” W: 8.125” D:1.5”


Good condition, see description

Item Number