Taotie mask - warning!

Please use caution regarding this illustration, which is widely available but misleading:

This mask appears on bronze vessels in the Chinese bronzes gallery on the third floor. You may have seen the above illustration and key on the internet, but... Note: Scholars do not identify this as the face of a dragon. Please read Michael Knight's note on this subject (below).

Michael Knight on the taotie: There is a great deal of disagreement about what the taotie represents and, since it does not appear in the literature of the Shang dynasty, no one really knows.  The first appearance of the term taotie with a definition is in the Zhou dynasty.   It is defined as a glutton mask and has nothing to do with a dragon.  In general, the taotie is not thought to be connected to the Chinese dragon so this is something children will have to unlearn if they continue studying Chinese art and culture.