This tile end dates to the Warring States period and was found in the area of the Qin State, in what is now central China. This tile was labeled as including a python, but it looks like a faun to me. It may have been mislabeled. The next tile had the same description, but it clearly includes a snake.
You may have noticed that the last three tiles from the State of Qin during the Warring States the images have been of animals. These are earlier designs within the State of Qin. Later designs include more abstract patterns of clouds and geometric patterns.
Around 350 BC the philosopher statesman Shang Yang (商鞅) introduced government and bureaucratic reforms that allowed the State to operate more efficiently and to become more and more powerful in comparison to its neighbors. The stability and wealth his methods brought to the State of Qin, not only led to the eventual formation of the first real dynasty in China when the Qin conquered its neighbors, but also to an increased sophistication and detail in artistic expression. Both personal homes and government buildings were adorned with more elaborate decorations, including roof tiles. The animal designs and patterns of later periods would eventually spread throughout geographical China when the efficiencies introduced by Shang Yang would be used to govern all of China during the Qin Dynasty (221 BC to 207 BC). The influence of the developments made during the State of Qin would continue during the much longer-lived Han Dynasty (206 BC to 220 AD).
Contributions from Liu Yurong
Last update: September 2013
© Marilyn Shea, 2013