Making Tiles

Photo: Elizabeth Mann

Making Tiles

This fascinating set of paintings chronicles the production of tiles—from quarrying clay to shipping the inventoried tiles—which were likely intended for major construction in the capital. The naturalistic figures and the thorough depictions of the process indicate that the album, which was painted on finer silk than typical Ming works, was commissioned as a record or documentation. Spuriously attributed to Gong Kai (1222–1304), the album includes fraudulent colophons by well-known Ming scholars and the Qianlong emperor (reigned 1736-95), which were fabricated to establish provenance and to add value to the piece. Despite the subsequent deception, this album remains an important testimony to the creation of tiles in Ming China.

Ink and color on silk
Overall: 15 5/8 x 24 1/2 in. (39.7 x 62.5cm)
Image: 12 3/4 x 21 in. (32.4 x 53.3 cm)
Eugene Fuller Memorial Collection
Photo: Elizabeth Mann
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Asian Art Museum, "Chinese Art: A Seattle Perspective", December 22, 2007 - July 26, 2009 (12/22/2007 - 7/26/2009)
Published ReferencesToda, Teisuke and Hiromitsu Ogawa. Comprehensive Illustrated Catalogue of Chinese Paintings: Second Series. Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press, 1998. See p. I-362, I-266-7.

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

Learn more about Equity at SAM

Supported by Microsoft logo