In Chinese cosmology, there are five sacred creatures that symbolize the four cardinal directions; the snake and tortoise for the north, the white tiger for the west, red pheonix for the south, and for the east, this large hollow-cored dragon was most likely part of a roof structure corresponding to the east. Its chief purpose is to produce an auspicious aura which creates a positive cosmic current generating favorable Feng Shui.
Among important Chinese architectural relics discorvered in China, this magnificient large brick (or roof tile) is a splendid testament to a time when symbolism played a major role in architectural design. On each side it depicts a frolicking dragon with wide opened mouth, bulging eyes, flaring nostrils, large fangs and a flaming red tongue.
The dragon is energetic and menacing. Considering that the dragon is an emblem of the Chinese imperial rule, this large hollow brick would have been made for the roof structure of an official building. The brick comes from the Shanxi area, where large glazed-tile factories abounded during the Ming. The absence of ceramic glaze on this otherwise well sculpted piece indicates that the brick was likely produced during the Late Ming to Early Qing era.