Title:Taoist Priest's Robe (chiang-i)Artist:Artist UnknownDate:1662-1722Creation Place:Asia, ChinaCredit Line:The John R. Van Derlip FundAccession Number:42.8.300
The most defining feature of Taoist robes is the "cosmic diagram" found on the upper back of most of them. This unique composition, usually square in format, integrates several celestial symbols. These include a central pagoda within a circle together with stars, clouds, and a sunray pattern representing paradise. Above this are sun and moon disks and three heavenly gates, and surrounding them are several plain disks representing the stars. In general, the scheme represents cosmic harmony and reflects Taoism's basis in cosmology.