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 gu, with taotie mask pattern

  • loan

Glossary (2)

gu, taotie

  • gu

    Chinese ritual wine vessel with flaring mouth and foot.

  • 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 tall slender vessel has a short central section with a tall, widely flaring neck and a high trumpet-shaped foot. The piece is decorated around the centre with a taotie design divided by four raised notched flanges with prominent eyes and stylized raised eyebrows, ears, horns and fangs, all on a dense scrollwork ground. The foot shows a similar design with a band of dragon motifs above; and the neck has a band of snake motifs and similar masks decorating four elongated blades. Between body and foot is a plain band with double raised lines and two cross-shaped piercings from casting. The surface has a patchy green patina with areas of brown.

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