Traditional Korean Roof Tiles

Traditional Korean Roof Tiles


Traditional Korean Roof Tiles - History

Roof tiles, an exemplar of the beauty of lines

The role of roof tiles in its early days

Development of construction and roof tile manufacturing technology was needed in order to install the roof tiles on the roof.
This is why roof tiles were more than just construction materials. They came to represent the refinement and elegance of the building.
In the early days, roof tiles were used only in important buildings such as palaces and government buildings, religious buildings such as temples and structures relevant to ancestral rites.

Nangnang roof tiles influenced the roof tiles of Goguryeo and Baekje. They were directly responsible for the appearance of tile-roofed buildings in Korea.

-Convex roof tile
Shaped like a cylinder cut in half, placed between concave roof tiles to form the ridges
- Concave roof tiles
Rectangular-shaped roof tile laid on the roof with its inner side facing outside to form furrows
- Convex antefix
A convex roof tile attached with hangings that are used at the edge of the roof.
Been in use from the Three Kingdoms period to the Joseon Dynasty.
Decorated in various patterns such as lotus flowers.
- Concave antefix
Concave roof tile attached with oblong hanging that slightly curves upward.
Manufactured and used from the late Baekje period to the Unified Silla period.
Various patterns including rinceau pattern

Roof tiles per period &ndash Goguryeo

- Generals&rsquo Tombs
Lotus flower in raised design
- Convex antefix
Small protruding dots placed on either side of lotus flower petals.
Pattern often used since the ancient times for its beauty and as a symbol of nobility.

Characteristics of roof tiles from Goguryeo
-Roof tiles from before the transfer of the capital and after the transfer show slight differences
-Cirrous-patterned convex antefix was mainly produced in the early days but gradually, the lotus pattern became the most popular.
-Goguryeo lotus-patterned convex antefix characterized by embossed flower buds within the borders
- Later on, the lotus pattern became simple and the size of a ginkgo nut. It was often used together with patterns such as the lower medallion motif and animal face motif.

Roof tiles per period &ndash Baekje

-Hanseong period
Flowering plant-patterned convex antefix &ndash Coin-patterned convex antefix excavated from Pungnaptoseong Fortress Shinwoo tenement housing and Zone 1
Pungnaptoseong Fortress lotus-patterned antefix &ndash Excavated from Pungnaptoseong 197 Area
-Ungjin period
Lotus-patterned convex antefix &ndash Daetongsa Temple site in Gongju
Features a pattern of lotus flower with 8 petals that are slightly raised at the end and ovaries
-Sabi period
Convex antefix

- Mireuksa Temple site of Iksan
Green glazed rafter-end tile from the Sabi period excavated from Mireuksa Temple site in Iksan.
Rafter-end tile coated with green glaze excavated.
7-petaled lotus flower-patterned decoration.
Beautifully decorated with honeysuckle leaves engraved within the lotus flower pattern.
Roof tiles per period &ndash Silla
Lotus-patterned convex antefix &ndash Excavated in Wolseong
Lotus-patterned convex antefix &ndash Excavated in Anapji Pond, Wolseong
Roof tiles per period &ndash Unified Silla
A leading example of a roof tile from the Unified Silla period.
Compound petal-patterned convex antefix, arabesque patterned convex antefix, arabesque patterned concave antefix.
Various patterns such as floral medallion, flowering plants, arabesque, auspicious bird, mystical creatures, lions and devils made an appearance in the Unified Silla period in addition to the lotus flower pattern.
Became more decorative and lavish compared to the floral medallion pattern from the Goguryeo period.
Arabesque pattern came to be used widely and not only on convex antefixes, but also on concave antefixes and various artifacts.
Bird-patterned convex antefix (Excavated from Yeongmyosa Temple site).
Pair of birds-patterned convex antefix (Excavated from Gameunsa Temple site).
Ancient people believed that birds were messengers that connected heaven and earth.

Characteristics of roof tiles from Silla
- Produced tiles later than Goguryeo and Baekje around the late 5thcenturyorearly6thcentury
- Was influenced by Baekje and Goguryeo at first, but gradually began producing roof tiles with unique patterns and shapes
- Advances are made in roof tiles. Patterns become more glamorous in the Unified Silla period and new patterns such as the floral medallion and arabesque appear.
- Lotus flower patterns with compound petals became popular.
- Use of diverse patterns became popular with each temple and temple building featuring different roof tile patterns.

Roof tiles per period &ndash Goryeo Dynasty

Leading example of roof tiles from Goryeo
Devil eye-patterned convex antefix (Excavated from Haeeumjeon, Paju).
Sanskrit-patterned convex and concave antefixes (Mireuksa Temple site, Chungju).
Celadon convex antefix with embossed peony pattern (Excavation site unknown).

Roof tiles per period &ndash Joseon Dynasty

Devil eye and fine writing-patterned concave antefix (Excavation site unknown).
Concave antefix for the ridge with human face pattern (Excavation site unknown).
Dragon-patterned concave antefix (Excavation site unknown).
Dragon-patterned convex antefix with blue glaze (Gyotaejeon Hall, Gyeongbokgung Palace).

Script advisor: Lee Byeong-ho
Scenario composition: Ahn Hyeon-jin, Kim Min-sang
Voice actor: Oh Soo-gyeong
MC: Ju Hye-bin, Hwang Ba-ul
Illustration: Lee Kwang-i
Research material support: National Museum of Korea, Gyeongju National Museum, Cultural Heritage Administration, Hanseong Baekje Museum, E-Museum
Director: Kim Hyeong-woo, Lee Hyeok-roh, Lee Yeon-sik
Planning and Production: Arirang TV Media

* The contents of this article are personal opinions of the author and may differ from the official views of the National History Compilation Committee.


Other States

Considering the establishment of plants outside of Ohio, the Mitchell Clay Co. 8 during the year 1866 undertook the manufacture of roofing tile at St. Louis. They were, however, in advance of the times and after a period of about five years they discontinued the manufacture of this line of goods.

Other attempts were made at several points throughout the country, none of which met with success until the starting of the Celadon Terra Cotta Co., of Alfred, New York, built in 1888 by Mr. Geo. Babcock. This plant was one of the pioneers, and has been in continuous operation from the time of its building. At present it is one of the plants owned by the Ludowici Celadon Co., of Chicago, Ill. 9 During 1890 a plant for the manufacture of roofing tile was built at Ottawa, Ill., and known as the Chicago Terra Cotta Roofing and Siding Tile Co. It was operated by various owners for about twelve years and then was dismantled.

About 1893 the Ludowici Roofing Tile Company was formed in this country and built a plant at Chicago Heights, Illinois. This plant has grown steadily from the start until today it ranks among the largest.

The next plants of importance were the Standard Roofing Tile Company, St. Louis, built in 1895, and the Ohio Valley Clay Shingle Company, now the Huntington Roofing Tile Company of Huntington, West Virginia, built in 1899. During the following year, 1900, the Ludowici Roofing Tile Company built a plant at Liberty City (now Ludowici) Georgia.

It was not until three years later that other plants were built. During the year of 1903 there were three plants built, The United States Roofing Tile Company, Parkersburgh, West Virginia, The Mound City Roofing Tile Company, St. Louis, Missouri, and the Western Roofing Tile Company, Coffeyville, Kansas. The next year or during 1904, The Murray Roofing Tile Company was built at Cloverport, Kentucky following this company was the building of the Detroit Roofing Tile Company in 1906.

The latest company to enter the roofing tile field is the New York Roofing Tile Company at Saugerties, New York.

Other companies that are manufacturing or have manufactured roofing tiles, either alone or in connection with other clay products, are: The Alfred Clay Company, Alfred, New York Burns and Russell, Baltimore, Maryland Golden Press Brick Company, Golden, Colorado, Los Angeles Pressed Brick Company, Los Angeles, California Gladding, McBean & Co., Lincoln, California The Steiger Terra Cotta & Pottery Co., South San Francisco, California N. Clark & Sons Co., Alameda, California The Carnegie Brick & Pottery Co., Tesla, California The Clay Shingle Company, Montezuma, Indiana Spillman Brick Company, Spillman, West Virginia, and probably a number of others.


Traditional Korean House (Hanok)

Hanok is the term for the traditional Korean house that used to distinguish it from Western-style houses. Korean architecture into account the location of the house from the surrounding environment, especially considering the circumstances of geography and season. The interior structure is also designed based on the location of the house. The principle called Baesanimsu (hangul: 배산임수 ) literally set the ideal home to be built back to the mountains, and rivers are in front of the house. Hanok built facing east or south to get enough sunlight.

Korean traditional houses built from natural materials like wood, soil, stone, straw, tiles, and paper. Poles and frames made of wood hanok. Wall charger frame house was built from bricks made from a mixture of soil and grass. Korean traditional paper (hanji) installed in the framework of the windows, door frames, and siding. Floors are made of hardened soil or rock.

Periphery roof curved up called cheoma. Cheoma length determines the amount of sunlight that comes into the hanok. Based on the striking difference in the roof, the general hanok divided into two types: giwajip (thatched roof house) who inhabited the upper class (yangban) and chogajip (thatched house) which is inhabited among farmers. Giwajip constructed using tiles (giwa) so that housing costs become expensive and not affordable by the common people. In contrast, ordinary people lived in thatched houses are easily obtainable ingredients. Hanok roof tiles are still used as a residence, while hanok thatched buildings has become scarce.

Hanok ondol equipped with floor to warm the house during the winter. Koreans sat, ate, and slept on the floor constantly warmed by ondol. Wide veranda connecting room with one other room called daecheong ( 대청 ). Daechong an open room with wooden floors, built to guard the house remains cool in summer. Hanok forms also vary by region in Korea. In the cold northern part of Korea, the building resembles a square composed hanok closed (or hangul alphabet: ㅁ ) as a windbreak to keep the house warm. In Korea the central part, the rooms are prepared to form the letter L (or the alphabet hangul: ㄱ ). In southern Korea, hanok built to resemble the letter I to elongate easily in and out of the wind.

Building (room) where the living men and women are separated in accordance with the thoughts of Confucius. Hanok consists of buildings (rooms) called haengrangchae, sarangchae, anchae, and Sadang. Haengrangchae is building for servants’ quarters, near the entrance. Sarangchae is building for men or heads of families, including for food and sleep, and was at the front. Anchae is the main building as well as sleeping space for the following women with young children, and is located on the inside that far from the entrance. Room for ancestral altars called Sadang. page in the midst of building a house called Madang, and storage buildings called gwangchae. In addition, hanok also often have a chimney, and the gate (munganchae).


HISTORY: Korean & Japanese Architecture 1.0

however, in time, these wooden pagodas became uniquely stone. And while the design of a Korean pagoda has varied through the years, the structural components of the pagoda have remained the same with the base, the body, and the finial.
the Twelve Spirit Generals, the Eight Dharma Protectors, or the Four Heavenly Kings.

These Eight Dharma Protectors were once seen as being evil, but they were later converted by the Historical Buddha, Seokgamoni-bul.

In accordance with Silla’s rigid caste system, the homes of its citizens were also subject to various restrictions, in terms of size and ornamentation, according to their statuses. Specific standards dictated details such as the size of rooms, form of staircases, type of roof tiles and roof decorations, form of wooden brackets, ceiling appearance, right to use decorative dancheong painting (red and green colors on the pillars and rafters of a building), height of walls, type of front gate and size of stable. Goryeo, too, placed similar restrictions upon the building of houses those who violated them could be punished. Nonetheless, those in power did take advantage of their authority to build unnecessarily luxurious buildings. The houses of ordinary citizens are presumed to have not been especially splendid. While wooden beds were used in the houses of those of high status, commoners generally used ondol, which made sleeping on the floor the preferable option. In the late Goryeo period, individuals were encouraged, at the suggestion of Confucian scholars, to install family shrines in their own houses for the performing of ancestral rites.

A distinctive feature of the Hanok (traditional Korean house) is an underfloor heating system called ondol. Literally meaning “warm stones” and developed during the prehistoric period, ondol refers to the system of channels running beneath the stone floor of a room through which heat is delivered from the fireplace in the kitchen.


Ondol and maru: A unique architectural relationship

Both a huge, 99-room tile-roofed house and a small, three-room thatch or oak bark-roofed mud hut are counted as hanok (traditional Korean house). This is because while there may be differences in material, size or structure, all homes that are equipped with ondol (an underfloor heating system) and maru (a wide wooden floor area) are considered hanok. Ondol is an underfloor heating system that originated in homes in northern regions with a continental climate, while the maru is a structure for cooling that originated in homes in southern regions with an oceanic climate.

<An ondol room and a maru floor, two unique features of the hanok, coexisting together.>

During the hot summer, Koreans mostly stay on the maru, while they spend time in rooms warmed by ondol in the winter. The wood that forms the maru and the fire that makes ondol possible are incompatible. Because wood is vulnerable to fire, no architect in the world places these two elements together. However, due to the Korean peninsula's circulating pattern of cold and dry air in winter and hot and humid air in summer, the Korean people were forced to develop a method in which both heating and cooling could coexist. Therefore, hanok have been built since antiquity with both maru and ondol—adaptable to both heat and cold. This coexistence makes hanok an extremely science-based architecture unprecedented anywhere in the world.


Why We Use Clay Roof Tiles in Favour of Other Materials

We are frequently asked why we concentrate on clay roof tiles and not a wide range of other roofing materials. Quite simply, clay roof tiles are by far a superior product for successful and durable roofing projects than any other material. Many times we have heard of projects being undertaken with concrete tiles as a means of saving some money. This practice is false economy in our opinion as concrete tiles will not last anywhere near as long as clay roof tiles. Concrete tiles do have some positive points in common with clay roof tiles, but why compromise on the quality and durability that our genuine clay roof tiles bring to your building project?.


What are Hanoks made from?

Hanoks are made using natural materials, such as wood and earth. No artificial material is used in their construction, so these homes are 100% natural, biodegradable and recyclable. Even though some hanoks are more than 500 years old, they are designed with special consideration given to energy conservation. The overhang of the roof is specially designed to prevent the sunlight in the summer from entering the interior of the hanok, thus keeping it cool in the blistering heat. During the bitter winter months, because of the angle of the overhang and the lower sun, the sunlight can penetrate a part of the interior to provide heat to its occupants and, by doing so, decrease the amount of fuel needed to heat the hanok. The walls inside the building can be raised, to change the size and shape of the interior, making rooms smaller or larger: a truly multi-purpose space. As the heavy roof rests on the wooden frame structure of the building, no support is needed by the outer walls, so during the summer months, if the occupants wish to do so, they can elevate the outer walls to lower the temperature of the interior.

Even without raising the walls, some hanoks have windows and doors that are purposely placed to act as frames to the beauty outside. Some of the residents of hanoks were so much in awe of what they saw around them that they wrote and posted poetry on the pillars of their hanok while they viewed the natural splendor around them. Hanoks create open space by connecting the human living unit and its surroundings, joining man with nature, and giving birth to life.


Traditional Cotswold Roofs

The Cotswolds are renowned for their beautiful stone buildings and the stone roofs complement that beauty with their mellow weathered appearance, sizes diminishing towards the ridge and irregular edges.

Thatched roofs

With the exception of expensive prestigious buildings which were roofed with stone slates most domestic buildings on the Cotswolds and in Chipping Campden originally had straw thatched roofs. This was especially so in the north of the Cotswolds where corn and wheat was more common than the south. Before the modern strains of wheat were developed good quality long straw was common, cheap and locally available. Thatched roofs require a steep pitch roof of an angle of at least 45 to 50 degrees to make sure there is adequate rainwater run-off. The large overhang at eaves ensures water is thrown clear of the supporting walls and window and door openings.

Progressively from the 17th C buildings were being roofed with stone slates. This is perhaps due to the fire risk with thatched roofs or as a result of the “The Great Rebuilding” that swept the country between 1570 and 1640 or the transition from medieval to modern buildings over an extended period. This boom was fuelled by the diversion of money and resources from ecclesiastical to secular building following the Dissolution and the Restoration.

‘Cotswold slate’ is not a true slate in the geological sense. True slate is a metamorphic rock which was originally a shale and then transformed by heat or pressure or both into a rock. The Oolitic limestone from which the Cotswold slate is formed is a sedimentary rock. The correct term for the Cotswold slate is ‘tile-stone.’

Where do the tiles-stones come from?

The geology of the Cotswolds is dominated by two limestone formations – the Great and the Inferior Oolite. The Great Oolite overlies the Inferior with a layer of Fullers Earth sandwiched between the two. The limestone from which tile-stones are made is a sandy, fissile or laminated rock and is found at the base of the Great Oolite. In the North Cotswolds most of the Great Oolite has been eroded exposing the Inferior Oolite ‘freestone’ from which many of the fine Cotswold buildings in the area have been built.

However there are some areas where the base of the Great Oolite remains and here the laminated tile-stones may be found quite near the surface. Stone was quarried extensively around Naunton and Whittington but the tiles-stone for buildings in Chipping Campden were most likely sourced from shallow workings between Snowshill and Hinchwick.

How are the tile-stones made?

In some instances suitable limestone for roofing would lie close to or at the surface and would be gathered for use for roof coverings. These were called ‘presents’ because it seems as if they were a gift collected by Cotswold inhabitants. The quarried tile-stone was called ‘pendle’ and had to be split, generally by frost action. The stone would be laid in the open during the winter and the moisture in the saturated stone would freeze, expand and split the stone along the laminations producing stone of suitable thickness for roofs. Alternatively the stone could be split along the laminations or bedding planes with a suitable hammer and chisel. The ‘presents’ tend to to produce thicker tile-stones than the mined ‘pendles’.

The stones were normally cut to size at at the quarry using a ‘slate cutter’ and sorted into groups depending on their size. A wooden ‘slate rule’ about 2ft long with a nail or screw at the head corresponding to the nail hole in the slate would be used for this purpose. The tile-stones were put into groups, named according to their locality, for example: ‘short pricks’ ‘long bachelors’ ‘long fourteens’ etc.

The holes for hanging the tile-stone were made with a pointed hammer called a ‘slating pick’ like a modern ice axe. The micaceous nature of the rock helped with making a neat hole because the tiny layers are split off first before the hole is pierced.

Why are the large stones laid at the eaves and diminishing in size towards the ridge?

A roof built with Cotswold stone or tile-stone is by its nature ‘leaky’ because the stones are not a tight fit one with another, so there are gaps, with more gaps around the smaller tile-stones than the larger. During rainfall the volume of water increases as it flows down the roof and larger stones with fewer joints cope better with water run off which is concentrated at the base of the roof. Also before gutters became common the larger stones would overhang at the eaves and throw rainwater clear of the building beneath.

There are those who say the stones diminish or graduated in size towards the top because the roofers did not want to have to carry heavy stones further up the roof slope than they had to. Each tile-stone is heavy, typically up to 46lb (20 kg) each. This is a considerable load for a timber roof to support. If the lighter stones are placed at the ridge this coincides with the centre of the span therefore imposing less load at this critical location.

Why are Cotswold roofs such a steep pitch?

As with a thatched roof, the steep pitch on a tile-stone roof (typically around 50 to 55 degrees), ensures there is adequate rain-water run off. Also the steep pitch reduces the risk of snow blowing back through the joints around the tile-stones. The roof pitch may have been set when the roof was formerly thatched and then later tiled.

Roof timbers showing oak fixing pegs

How are the tile-stones fixed to the roof?

Tiles used to roof Roman villas have been found with the iron nails still in place. During the Middle Ages and later the tile was fixed to the timber tiling batten with an oak peg which hung over the batten. In the early 20th C galvanised nails were used. Today copper nails are used which are cheaper than oak pegs and equally effective.

How long do the tile-stones last?

Oolitic limestone is water soluble and in time will erode, especially as rain water is slightly acidic. Some say a tile-stone will last about 180 to 200 years, but 100 years is more likely. Recently Cotswold tile-stones were replaced on a Chipping Campden house built in 1909. The tile-stones being replaced were installed when the house was built,with an original thickness of approximately 20 to 30mm. At the time of replacement they had reduced to 7mm to 10mm. The weathering of the tile-stones was more severe on the west and south aspects, exposed to the prevailing winds. Therefore with a Cotswold stone roof, the tile-stones often need replacing every 100 years or so.

Moss was sometimes tucked into the joints in the tile-stones to increase weather tightness and insulation, but moss is acidic and caused premature deterioration of the tilestone.

Why do Cotswold roofs sometimes sag?

‘Green’ unseasoned timber is much easier to work than dried seasoned timber so it was often ‘green’ when used in the construction. As the timber dried the timber shrank and cracked loaded with tile-stones it would often deform because the timber was still ‘soft’. These deformations remained and were permanent.

What is a ‘swept valley’?

The flowing geometry of the thatched roof enabled it to twist up and down and around any dormer windows or corners in the roof. When tile-stones replaced thatch, these rounded forms were no longer possible. The ideal form is a simple pitch with no interruptions or corners, hips or turns. However the skilled roofers of their day developed techniques where the roof could turn through some angles. ‘Swept valleys’ is one such technique. The tile-stones were reduced in width and turned the corner in a seamless curve. The more commonly used lead valley gutter was avoided because lead was not readily available in the Cotswolds and was therefore expensive.

Welsh slate roof on the left, traditional Cotswold stone on the right

Are Cotswold stone roofs still used today?

There are a few quarries producing the traditional tile-stones but they are expensive compared with more modern materials. Tile-stones may be recycled from derelict buildings.

Following the construction of the Stroudwater and Thames-Severn canal, Welsh slate became an economic alternative to Cotswold stone. The slate could be split into slabs of uniform thickness and size and was much thinner than the laboriously made and costly Cotswold stone. Slate was much lighter too so the roof timbers could be substantially smaller. The roof pitch could be less too with a further cost saving. An imitation tile-stone manufactured from concrete and reinforced with fibreglass is frequently used on new buildings. It gives the appearance of the traditional Cotswold tilestone and is probably more durable.

These notes are compiled in good faith using information and opinion from a variety of sources. The author cannot guarantee the accuracy of such information or opinion or its context, and thus accepts no responsibility for any misdescriptions, errors or omissions. The notes are for general information only, and must not be relied upon for any commercial, technical or professional purpose. In such circumstances the reader is advised to satisfy him or herself of the position, if necessary, by seeking the advice of a suitably qualified professional or specialist.

Any views expressed by the author are his own, and do not necessarily reflect those of CCHS.


By Jane Portal, Matsutaro Shoriki Chair, Art of Asia, Oceania and Africa, Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Houses covered in roof tiles in the city of Kyongju in the eighth and ninth centuries would have been of higher status than those with thatched roofs.

Since the Silla dynasty (under the royal Kim family) had managed to unify the majority of the Korean peninsula with the help of Tang China, there was also no doubt a degree of emulation of China going on: Kyongju grew in size and splendour after it became the capital of the Unified Silla state rather than just the smaller Silla kingdom. Kyongju’s street grid layout was based on that of the Tang capital Chang-an, the biggest and most cosmopolitan city in the world in the eighth century, at the eastern end of the Silk Road. And there was a huge surge of interest in building projects in Kyongju at this time, with the construction of aristocratic mansions, garden villas and Buddhist temples, all adorned with tiled roofs.

All the aristocrats from the defeated areas of Korea were brought to Kyongju and no doubt wanted to create houses and estates in which they could preserve the lifestyle to which they were accustomed.

But why a monster mask? It is probably the case that this monster mask roof tile was also copying similar tiles from China, as these are known to exist.

The monster mask derived from the ancient Chinese taotie mask which appeared on ritual bronzes. But by the time it appeared on roof tiles it had transformed itself into a protective guardian, placed at the ends of the long ridge of the roof in order to scare off evil spirits. Placed at the highest and most prominent place on the roof, it could be seen for miles around and would stand out as a conspicuous sign of the wealth and high class of the owner of the building, as well as protecting the owners from harm.

So this moulded earthenware roof tile was functional as well as decorative, and a status symbol as well as good-looking: testimony to a highly developed level of Silla craftsmanship and a thriving economy in a capital city at the height of its prosperity.


Watch the video: Korean traditional roof tile to be named treasure for the first time: Official