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Oni-gawara ridge-end tiles


NO.45
Oni-gawara ridge-end tiles
The ridge-end tiles, called oni-gawara, remarkably attract the attention on the background of the other lead roof tiles.
The ridge-end tiles oni-gawara (oni means a devil and kawara means a roof-tile), decorating both ends of the roof ridge of the buildings are used both for decoration and amulet. Even if there is no devil (oni) representation on them, they are still called oni-gawara, because originally they used to be made in the shape of devil faces, however many of the present oni-gawara have various designs of family crests, etc. Due to their striking location at the ends of the roof ridge, they were carefully designed by inventing various devices. Oni-gawara developed around the middle of Edo period when the tile roofs became popular for machiya townhouses in Kyoto and they represented the mark of the house and reflected the pride of the family. If we look at the roof of the machiya townhouse in Kyoto, not only the oni-gawara are interesting, but also the design of Shoki-san (the god who has a power to drive away the plague), udatsu fire prevention wall partitions, chimneys, etc. are highly impressive with its functional beauty or various elaborate design ideas.

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