monjigawara 文字瓦
KEY WORD : architecture / roofing tiles
Tile with a motif composed of kanji 漢字 characters that usually form the name of a temple. The use of character motifs began in the Kamakura period. An early example excavated from the grounds of the temple, Kenninji 建仁寺 in Kyoto, dates from the early 12c. It is on the circular pendant *gatou 瓦当 of a semi-circular, convex eave-end tile *nokimarugawara 軒丸瓦 (also called mei nokimarugawara 銘軒丸瓦), unique in having a tortuous confusion of curvilinear forms, bankyomon 蟠踞文 in a band between a large bead pattern *shumon 珠文 and a large circle enclosing three smaller circles, each containing one kanji character. The pendant of a broad, concave eave-end tile *nokihiragawara 軒平瓦 is also occasionally decorated with kanji characters.

*gatou mon'you 瓦当文様

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