Roof Tile with Phoenixes Holding a Garland
, 8th century
Earthenware with molded decoration
2 5/8 x 9 3/4 x 6 5/8 inches (6.7 x 24.8 x 16.8 cm)
Gift of Colonel Stephen McCormick, 1985
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- What shapes do you see?
- What natural forms can you recognize?
- Of what are these two objects made?
- How were they decorated?
- What might they have been used for?
- Do these objects look old or new?
- Which part of the tiles is broken?
Art Activity: Create Your Own Tile with Incised Designs
Clay is one of the most ancient materials for making art, and clay tiles have been found in almost all ancient civilizations. Have students make their own tiles. Each student should roll a wedge of clay into a slab about .5 inch thick and form it into a square, circle, or other geometric shape. There are many ways to decorate these tiles. Because they had to make so many, these Korean roof tiles were pressed into a mold. Your students can carve a similar
design into their tiles using simple plastic utensils. These tiles contain symbols to bring good fortune to the house. Have your students create their own symbol of good fortune on their tiles.
Group Activity: Good Luck, Bad Luck
These tiles are more than 1,300 years
old. The symbols on them are meant to
bring good luck. Many professional athletes
say they have lucky shirts, colors,
hats, baseball bats, etc. Do students still
believe in good luck and bad luck? Do
they have lucky charms? Make a list on
the blackboard of things that are said
to bring good luck and bad luck. Finally,
have students write a group story in
which at least five lucky or unlucky
things happen because of items listed
on the blackboard.
Research Idea: Rooftops around the World
Roofs are important. They are both
utilitarian and decorative. Today, many
people live in large apartment buildings
in which the roof does not show. In traditional
architecture around the world, the
roof provided both shelter and a place to
display materials, decoration, and style.
Have students research rooftops around
the world. Of what are roofs made?
Why? How does the material vary
depending on the climate? What various
shapes of roofs can students find?
Are roofs in traditional Korean homes
different from roofs in Nigeria? Make a
bulletin board display of the shapes and
materials of roofs around the world.