Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Ashmolean − Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

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Ritual wine vessel, or zhi, with taotie pattern

  • loan



  • taotie

    Stylized monster mask decoration with prominent eyes and scrolling horns. The motif has been known since the 1100s. Its significance remains mysterious.


    • currently in research collection

Objects are sometimes moved to a different location. Our object location data is usually updated on a monthly basis. Contact the Jameel Study Centre if you are planning to visit the museum to see a particular object on display, or would like to arrange an appointment to see an object in our reserve collections.


Publications online

  • The Barlow Collection by the University of Sussex

    The Barlow Collection

    The slender vessel has a pear-shaped body with a wide neck and rests on a tall flared foot. The shoulder is decorated with a band of taotie motifs, with two highly stylized masks with low relief eyes centred on shallow flanges, and other features dissolved into a triple band of curling motifs. The design is enclosed between two raised lines, and two further lines appear on the foot. The patina is green with reddish-brown patches. An inscription of three pictographs is cast on the base inside the vessel, consisting of a clan sign equivalent to the character bing, followed by the two characters fu bing [father bing].

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