Taotie(饕餮tāotiè) is a mysterious(someone or something that is mysterious is strange and is not known about or understood) monster in the ancient Chinese mythology. It is said that the monster was extremely greedy of eating and would eat anything within its sight. It even ate its own body. So, the image of the taotie is just a big head and a big mouth without body. The taotie ate too much and died as a result. The monster then became a symbol of greediness and was used to describe people too gluttonous or too greedy.

There's a ferocious animal motif often found in ritual vessels of the Shang and Zhou Dynasties. The fierce-looking beast is mysterious and terrifying. And some beasts even hold a human head in the mouth. Things adorned with such a motif have a deterrent effect, symbolizing the power of a ruler. The motif was called "taotie pattern" by later generations.

According to other legends, the taotie was the fifth of the nine sons of the dragon and it was said to be a big eater and fond of eating human beings. Actually, the taotie was an abstract expression of the dark side of ancient society. The monster was used to symbolize the barbarian slave society, which was the most important connotation of the ancient taotie culture.