A 19th Century Book of Ink Drawings: Ornate Roof Tile Designs
late nineteenth century
as shown, closed: 12 1/4" x 9" x 1/2", 31 cm x 23 cm x 1.25 cm
This good sized, hand bound book of hand drawn ink designs comes from the workshop of a roof tile maker in Ise, Japan. The drawings in the book are all done freehand, many of which show several tones of grey and black.
Pictured in the book are many auspicious images: a celestial dragon; dragon-carp; shi-shi lion dogs, with and without peonies; celestial Chinese beings; the lucky Japanese gods Ebisu and Daikoku; heavenly Chinese musicians; a tortoise; a carp ascending a waterfall; a peony; a chrysanthemum; splashing waves.
As well, there are twenty double-page spreads of line drawings showing ornate, pressed roof tile designs to be used at the crest of a roof and two, two-page spreads showing four crest tile designs on one spread.
This book would have been used as a sample book by the tile atelier to show clients what kind of fanciful roof tiles can be ordered for their home.
The book is dated 1887, but you will notice a much later stamp placed in the book which offers a telephone number, so obviously this stamp was included well into the twentieth century.
The sample book is well thumbed-through, is dog eared and is shows some stains, but it is a remarkable record of a Japanese craft tradition.