The Taotie Image in Chinese Art, Culture, and Cosmology

The taotie, also known as the “beast mask”, is the most distinctive feature of Shang dynasty art. It is a fascinating motif in Chinese art and, for centuries, has inspired curiosity as to its meaning. In this book, cultural scholar, Dave Alber, explores the many meanings of the taotie image.

  • What was the meaning of the taotie among traditional Chinese art historians?
  • What is the taotie’s influence in Chinese art history?
  • What is the most probable cultural origin of the taotie?
  • What function did the taotie image serve in Shang dynasty cosmology and psychology?
  • What is the Pan-Asian diffusion of the original motif?
  • How does this art motif enrich our experience of Chinese architecture, history, and contemporary music?

See parts of the Taotie lecture here: 

Dave Alber, MA originally presented the content of this book as a lecture at Henan Polytechnic University (HPU) in Mainland China. The Taotie Image in Chinese Art, Culture, and Cosmology is written in dual-language English and Chinese. Thus, it is a great tool for learning either English or Traditional Chinese. With almost one hundred photographs from Dave Alber’s travels in China and Asia, it is also an ideal book for studying Chinese and Pan-Asian art.

Learning English and speaking English are now easier with and English for Chinese Speakers. English Teacher, David Alber, MA, presents an easy roadmap for your English learning.

This book is written by Dave Alber, English teacher, English pronunciation trainer, Principle at, and creator of The Sound of English: English Pronunciation Practice; “50 Idioms That You Absolutely Must Know”; English Idioms: An Idiomatic Journey to the West; The Taotie Image in Chinese Art, Culture, and Cosmology; and English For Chinese Speakers: Secret Message From Planet Meiguo.

Copyright Dave Alber, 2017.