Round eaves-end tile in style of Todaiji

Historical period(s)
Meiji era, late 19th century
Unglazed earthenware
H (overall): 32.9 cm (12 15/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Architectural Element, Ceramic


Japan, Meiji era (1868 - 1912)

To 1904
Bunkio Matsuki (1867-1940), Boston, to 1904 [1]

From 1904 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Bunkio Matsuki in 1904 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] Undated folder sheet note. See Original Pottery List, L. 1313, p. 289, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s)

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
Bunkio Matsuki (C.L. Freer source) 1867-1940


Bearing the six Chinese characters for the name "Todaiji Daibutsuden" in six circles surrounding a central Sanskrit letter, this eaves-end tile imitates the type of roof tile made for the roof of the hall housing the main image at Todaiji in Nara in the eighth century. The tiles were replicated on several occasions when the temple underwent major reconstruction, and they were probably produced regularly to make minor repairs to the roof. Such tiles are reported to have been faked and marketed as antiques during the Meiji era.

Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum