Demon roof tiles: A study of the dazaifu type onigawara style i-A

Susumu Igata, Cynthea J. Bogel, Lindsey E. Dewitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Within the large surviving body of fired earthenware roof tiles from ancient Japan, among the most striking are the expressive tiles known as onigawara, "demon tile." High-and low-relief onigawara show a demon or ogre's face, sometimes with all or part of a simplified torso. Its exaggerated brow and eyes, face creased by a scowl, and gaping mouth with bared fangs are cleverly arranged on a distinctive tile shape that in the final product melds function with form. Demon tiles, still in use today, were typically placed on the outer ends of the main roof ridge or on the lowermost end of various descending ridge forms (see figure 7), where they would be most visible from the ground. This article considers distinctive demon tiles from Dazaifu, northwest Kyushu, where a regional government office was in place from the end of the seventh century through the Nara (710-784) and beyond the Heian (794-1185) period, when Nara and Kyoto were capitals. The term "regional" may conjure an image of something less than significant. The north of Kyushu,11.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-125
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Asian Humanities at Kyushu University
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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