Saturday, 19 March 2016

The Tile Patterns of George Town

George Town, on the Prince of Wales Island - or Pe Nang as the Malays call it (which means Land of the Betel Nut) - is possibly the best preserved of any colonial city. A defined area, extending outwards from the Chinese jetties, is a listed heritage zone and consists of superb colonial administrative buildings and extensive rows of terrace houses or what the locals call 'link' houses. Some are very old and many are very well preserved. In amongst them, in addition to these architectural riches, are many splendid Chinese clan temples some of which go back many centuries. As elsewhere, the Chinese and numerous other trading communities prospered here under the comparatively benevelent, tolerant and civilly constructive rule of the British. 

A terrace or 'link' house in the back streets of George Town. 

A striking feature of George Town architecture is the tiled floors, walls and pathways found throughout. This current post is a photographic essay illustrating samples of these distinctive tiles. In many instances, the floors have been redone in the 1920s, and it is largely from that era that these designs come, although some are considerably older. As readers can see, the designs are typically geometrical with those based upon the octagon predominating. Other patterns, less common, are floral. Please click on any image to see a large version. 


Harper McAlpine Black

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