Song Dynasty

(960-1279CE) The Song Dynasty was a time of China’s expansion, increased wealth and influence when engineering, science, mathematics, technology, philosophy and the arts thrived along with many innovations: astronomical clocks, currency as banknotes, gunpowder, new weapons like fire arrows and bombs, and identification of true north on a compass. China’s economy grew to triple that of Europe with a population of nearly 100 million. Economic advances resulted from increased rice cultivation, expansion of silk and international trade along the Silk Roads and via shipping. Cities increased and became more international with less government meddling in trade and economic affairs. Prosperity increased, society became more vibrant, literature, art and education improved with the invention of movable-type and increased woodblock printing, and civil service examinations expansion enhanced officials’ power causing a shift from a military/upper-class aristocracy to a scholar/administrative elite.

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  • Antique Song Tile of a Foreigner, China


    This fascinating thick Song pottery brick is a low-fired pottery depiction of a seated dwarf foreigner with a rotund belly, a large head and nose, an open mouth and abnormal features. The Chinese believed dwarfs could ward off evil spirits and sickness, attract peace and blessings (fu) and were wise. Images of dwarfs became so popular, some were mass-produced. With an appropriate mount, this image would make a remarkable wall decoration.


  • Antique Song Tile of a Mythical Animal, China


    This striking Chinese pottery brick tile depicts a pixiu, a mythical creature known as the “fortune beast” who is s a powerful feng shui symbol of wealth thought to  brings money and good fortune and protect people from losing wealth. This fantastical creature with green colored wings and tail has the head of a dragon and the body of a lion. Set within a decorative curving border with an Indian inspired ogee arch at its apex it quickly moves across the framed space with an intensely protective and angry expression to protect its master and his wealth and possessions. There is a rare handprint of the artisan who created it on the rear.

  • Antique Song Tile of Musician with Lute, China


    This thick heavy Song brick tile portrays a seated female musician holding a lute on her lap in a hall with attendants on each side and third person in the distance. The scene is framed in a decorative wide border with a pointed ogee arch, a style borrowed from Indian art. As most ancient buildings containing these pieces used traditional un-reinforced fired mud/brick construction, they were subject to disasters like earthquakes, floods, fires, and war so that few survived intact and often require repair and restoration.

  • Antique Song Tile of Woman Ascending to Heaven, China


    This ancient Song dynasty tile is likely a memorial tile as it portrays a man dressed as an official raising his hands in farewell looking up with devotion to female, possibly his wife or mother, who is ascending toward heavens on a cloud.  Framed on only 3 sides, the missing lower frame may mean the tile was larger, damaged and cut or it never had lower border.The two Chinese characters between them are too faded to be translated.  A very striking and emotive scene, it would be a great wall piece with an appropriate mount.

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