On the half-timbered houses of Alsace (a region of France that has a German culture) the roofs were traditionaly covered with a type of tile that is called in Alsatian local language "Bieberschwanz", which means "Beaver Tail" (because it looks like a beaver tail...). The one that is presented here is incised with the date "1688".
On an average traditional roof you will find about 12 000 tiles. A few of them could be decorated with simple symbolic patterns made by the craftsman at the end of the day on the last tile. Now the majority of these special tiles have been destroyed or are in museums because most of the roofs have now been renovated with modern industrial tiles. One of the tiles of the traditional Bieberschwanz roof had also often a date : in Alsace any type of construction or even coating works used to be commemorated with a date. Of course, nobody can see the date of the tile once it has been fixed on the roof...except god (there was no drone at that time !). This tradition of tiles decoration was a way to give the house a spiritual protection against lightening.
The tile is made of orange baked clay and comes from the area of Wissembourg. It was on the roof for more than 300 hundred years until a recent renovation. You will noticed some curved incisions made with the fingers of the craftsman. The idea was to concentrate the water runoff to the center of the tile in order to prevent infiltration at the tiles junction.
As it was exposed to rain for more than 300 years the tile is used by time but there is no crack to be mentioned. The grey colour you will notice on the pictures are traces of traditional whitewash mortar. I did not want to wash them as it is a part of the story.
Weight : 2 kg / 4.4 Lbs
Length : 41 cm / 16.1 in
Width : 18 cm / 7.1 in
Thickness : 1,5 cm / 0.6 in
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