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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Tile

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(לְבֵנָה, lebenâ h, so called from the whitish clay), a brick (Ezekiel 4:1), as elsewhere rendered. (See BRICK); (See TILING). The above passage illustrates the use of baked clay for the delineation of figures and written characters among the ancient nations, especially the Egyptians, Assyrians, and Babylonians. Not only were ordinary building bricks stamped with the name of the founder of the edifice, as well as with other devices, but clay (or stone) "cylinders," as they are now called, covered with the most minute writing; were deposited in the corners of Assyrian and Babylonian buildings, giving the history of the kings who erected the palaces. (See NINEVEH).

But the most striking illustration of the prophet's delineators is afforded by the recent discovery of whole libraries of Assyrian literature in the form of small inscribed tablets of clay, which contain writing and pictorial representations of the most interesting character. When the clay was in a soft, moist state, in its mould or frame, the characters were put upon it, perhaps in some instances by a stamp, but usually by means of a sharp-edged bronze style about a foot long, each character being traced separately by hand, as we use a pen. After the completion of the writing or pictures, the clay was baked, and such was the perfection of the manufacture that many of these articles have been preserved from decay for three thousand years. They vary in color, owing, as some suppose, to the varying length of time they were in the kiln, while others think that some coloring matter must have been mixed with the clay. They are bright brown, pale yellow pink, red, and a very dark tint nearly black. Usually the cylinders found are of a pale yellow, and the tablets a light red or pink. Some of them are unglazed, and others are coated with a hard white enamel. It is from these long-lost records that such details are in process of decipherment as are given in Smith's Chaldean Account of Genesis, and other works of recent Assyriology.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Tile'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/t/tile.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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