Anatolia, Phrygia, Gordion
H. 5 7/8 in. (15 cm)
Lent by the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (Gift of the Turkish Government, 1954) (L.1994.96.5)
The Greeks invented baked clay tiles at the end of the eighth century B.C., when they were used to waterproof the roofs of temples. The technology of tile manufacture reached West Anatolia around 600 B.C., and the Phrygians developed tile making into an expressive art. Terracotta tiles like this one from Gordion were molded in relief and brilliantly painted, and served to display aristocratic prosperity and power. Many of the tile designs from Gordion closely parallel the decorated borders of metal, paint, or textile applied to Greek statues and furniture, but unlike in Greece, the tiles were used in secular contexts such as palaces and elite residences.