Early European delftware (tin glazed) Blue & White tile with hand painted bird. The cobalt blue decorated earthenware tile has simple corner motifs of alternating dashes and dots around a central dot. The flying bird is painted quickly and effortlessly and is fluid rather than rigid. I acquired this tile over 25 years ago along with three others sporting the same bird design and this particular one is in the best condition of the set (see last photo which shows another example side-by-side). The dealer said that the four tiles were salvaged from the demolition of a church in Portugal that originally dated from the 1500s. I have searched many tile publications and books and have never found any other examples exactly like them. If any viewer knows of other thick tiles with these same simple corner motifs and with well documented provenience, kindly drop me an email – thanks. This listing is for just one Bird Tile and it is the one shown by itself in the first five photos (and shown in the middle of the three tiles displayed in the last four photographs). None of the other tiles are for sale at this time (there are two Dutch Urn tiles from the early 1600s displayed in Photos 6 and 7, and two other Portuguese tiles displayed in the last photo).
The clay used to make this bird tile is light brown in color and seems to contain some fine silt but no sand (the only sand grains are from the lime mortar still attached to the back of the tile). The tile is moderately well fired and the glaze is comparatively thick. The front of the tile exhibits some indentations and imperfections from manufacture and a few small pin holes but no evidence of corner pegging as typically found on Dutch tiles. There were at least three different brushes used by the decorator to apply the cobalt blue pigment: a 1/4 wide brush (called a shader), a 1/8 inch wide brush, and a finer pencil (a tracer brush). The edges of the tile are beveled (angled inward) and have been chipped along the edge on the back side only (to remove the original mortar?). None of these back edge chips reach the front glazed face of tile(see all photos). Finally, the unglazed body of the tile is fairly porous. A very nice and early tin glaze tile (delftware tile) in very good condition with no major loss of corner edges or front tin glaze. Collectors also call these tin glazed wares' majolica' in deference to their early importation from Spain to Italy by way of the Island of Majorca. Portuguese sailors and sea captains were among the first to open a water route to China using small ships (Carracks or Kraaks, hence the term Carrack porcelain) by sailing around the horn of Africa. They traded with the Late Ming dynasty porcelain merchants and the blue and white decoration on this tile conveys Late Ming Dynasty influences. Similar pre 1620 delftware and maiolica tiles often sell for $200 to $400 each at major antique shows and someday further research may pin point the original source of this particular tile. Until then, it is a fine antique tile that will also capture attention in most any setting whether placed in a small stand, along plate ledge or framed on a wall. And as always, this Blue & White Tin Glazed Bird tile also comes with my Docs Antiques `no fault' satisfaction guarantee or you may return it using my return policy for a refund (see return policy for full details farther below, certain shipping costs are nonrefundable).
Notes on Photos: The sixth photo shows that this bird tile is larger than early 1600s Dutch delft tiles (sixth photo has a polychrome Dutch tile with a late Ming (Wan-li) vase on the left side of the bird tile and a blue & white Dutch tile also with a Chinese vase depicted on the right side of the bird tile; these two other tiles are not for sale at this time). The seventh photo shows the back side of these same three times shown in the sixth photo. The eight photo shows that all three tiles have about the same thickness (and which is a lot thicker than 18th century tiles). The last photo shows three tiles with the same corner motifs and the tile for sale here is the bird tile in the center.
SIZE: This tile is square and measures about 5 11/16 inches by 5 11/16 inches. It is thick measures 5/8 inches thick. A large tile that is perfect size for displaying on a shelf, wall or along mantle and is guaranteed to capture attention in most any setting.
CONDITION: This tile has no cracks, hairlines, star cracks, stains, major scratches, repairs or restorations. There are five very shallow glaze chips along the edge of the tile but none of these penetrate the full edge. The back of the tile is fairly clean with a coating of sand and lime mortar adhering over most of the back side and a total of about a dozen or so`scallop-like chips' along the four edges added when the tile was first set in a wall since sandy mortar clings to each fluted chip. This style of chipping along the back side of each edge also appears on the three other examples I have of this style tile. The back edge chipping does not appear on 17th century Dutch or English tiles that I have acquired to date. Apparently the masons setting these bird tiles wanted to increase the amount of mortar in the seam between tiles (or the tiles have been reused and were salvaged once before the last time they were set in mortar and then salvaged again. The glaze is shiny and bright and has no crazing. A nice example of a hard to find tile style with simple blue and white decoration conveying Late Ming Dynasty influences.
SHIPPING: All mainland US buyers pay just $11.40 for well packed, insured USPS Priority (this is an estimated savings of about $1 to $2 since insurance & tracking are also INCLUDED in the above quoted amount for all mainland US addresses). A slower shipping option is also offered (see Shipping menu). Docs Antiques never charges more than it actually costs to ship the item to you and we will refund any excess should you live near us. All international buyers will pay only the exact shipping costs for all verifiable locations outside the continental US mainland. Please note that import duties, taxes and other charges are not included in the item price or shipping costs and these additional charges are the Buyer's responsibility. We do offer a petition for VAT relief on the behalf of the buyer which may help reduce certain import taxes should your country allow such petitions for items over 100 years old. Please check with your country's customs office to determine what these additional costs will be prior to purchasing this item -- thanks.
RETURN POLICY: Satisfaction and peace of mind are guaranteed for all Docs Antiques listings -- please refer directly to our Service Pledge and our Return Policy for full details. And this means that if you are unhappy with your purchase, you may return this tin glazed tile undamaged by sending it back post marked within seven days of receipt for a refund (see terms of sale for full details). Items damaged during shipping are covered by insurance and while this rarely happens because we double box, we will gladly help you file your claim should it ever be necessary (to date, we have had only two claims for damage from shipping in over 7 years). Of course, never send an item back that was damaged by shipping since that will void the original insurance. Instead, contact us for help and we will gladly assist.
PAYMENT OPTIONS: Ask about our Lay-away program if you want to spread out your payments. We accept checks on US Banks (no temporary checks, all checks must have 9 digit routing code; item ships after check fully clears), USPS money orders, PayPal or contact us with your verified address for more options. If you wish to use a credit card by way of PayPal, that option becomes available after you submit a Ruby Lane purchase order (see Terms of Sale for additional information). Once submitted, a PayPal icon will appear at the bottom of this listing and then you may proceed from there if you wish to pay via PayPal. Thanks for looking and do come back and visit again when you have the time.
Item ID: RL380.a1028
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