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Taotie Trophies
About the Taotie

The legendary Taotie
From Supreme Achievement of Ancient Bronze Art to Totem of Modern Creativity

What is Taotie?

The Taotie is a sacred animal in ancient Chinese mythology. It is said that this divine creature was extremely greedy and had the supernatural power to eat anything within its sight. The Taotie has large, protuberant eyes and a big mouth without lower jaw. Symbol of mystery, majesty and fierceness, the Taotie is the most typical motif on ritual bronze vessels from the Shang and Western Zhou Dynasty (1600-1046 BC) of China, and it is deemed to be the supreme achievement of Chinese ancient bronze art.

Where is Taotie from?
The ancient Chinese people had a fertile imagination. They created Taotie by combining the features of different creatures both in the world and in their fantasy to give birth to Taotie. With its strange, fearful countenance, the image of Taotie was endowed with supernatural powers. Taotie was then considered as a divinity that could establish a mysterious communication between people and Heaven. So it became a symbol of protection, a kind of amulet.

Peaks and Valleys of Taotie
Back to the Shang and Zhou Dynasties, bronze implements were daily used by noble people and served as ritual vessels. At that time, the bronze tripod enjoyed the status of national totem, and the Taotie motif represented the highest level of design in Chinese ancient bronze art. Its supremacy was such that even the dragon fell behind. However, the motif of Taotie disappeared mysteriously from all those bronze vessels after the Western Zhou Dynasty. Since then, it is hardly possible to find Taotie in the evolution of Chinese national culture and art.

Taotie Mask
The motif of Taotie is likely to originate from a kind of mask which was used as a protection from evil spirits. The typical motif on bronze vessels looks ferocious and mysterious, usually a head with two big eyes; it is much similar to a real mask. The best preserved Taotie mask is 21 centimeters high, and is enshrined in the Seattle Art Museum (USA) .

Creativity Totem
The Taotie testifies to the great creativity of our ancestors. It constitutes the core of the splendid bronze art period with more than 2000 years history. With its exceptional originality, the design of Taotie perfectly demonstrates the essence of modern advertising creativity:
-"New combination of old elements": The image of Taotie is an excellent combination of the features of real and imaginary animals, and this combination gives birth to creativity.
-Grab people: The Taotie design is mysterious and fearful. Faced with its majestic and spirit-speaking big eyes, nobody can escape.
-Originality, humor and dramatics: The taotie on bronzes has a head but no body. It has a big mouth, usually without lower jaw. In the legend, the Taotie is so gluttonous that it can not stop devouring its own body.
-Impact: According to the legend, the Taotie is an extremely ferocious and rapacious animal. When it eats people, it harms them before swallowing them.