November 19, 2014 – Michelle H. Wang

Lecturer, Department of History of Art
Bryn Mawr College

“On the Decorative Edge: Function and Form in Western Han Eave Tiles (206 BCE-9 CE)”

During the Western Han dynasty (206 BCE-9 CE), the skyline of its capital at Chang’an was composed of lines of eave tiles—circular ceramic fixtures that hang off the edges of roofs. This talk examines eave tiles with writing as their main decorative feature to argue that the ways in which these characters were designed, manufactured, and replicated reveals how Han designers blurred the grammars of ornament and writing in order to produce a unified decorative skin for Western Han imperial architecture.