The brick carving is a very important part in ancient Chinese architecture. It is widely used for the decorative purposes on gateways, doors, eaves, ridges, roofs, etc.
The carvings on bricks cover a wide range of subjects, including human figures, flowers, tigers, dragons, lions, elephants, etc. Among all of them, the most common seen are human figures from popular legends, dramas and folklore.
The brick carving requires exquisite materials and superb craftsmanship. It is done on a kind of special gray brick, also called fangzhuan in the Ming Dynasty and jinzhuan in the Qing dynasty. The brick is so brittle that can be easily ruined by a slip of the carving tool.
Nowadays, we can still appreciate this art form in the provinces of Jiangsu, Anhui, Shanxi, Guangdong, etc. The carvings of Anhui is among the most reprehensive ones.