We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.

🛈 Find out what you need to know before visiting


Taiwei, the high constable



Yao people


Alternate image of Taiwei, the high constable by Yao people
Alternate image of Taiwei, the high constable by Yao people
Alternate image of Taiwei, the high constable by Yao people
  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Yunnan Province China
    Cultural origin
    Media category
    Materials used
    pigment on paper
    119.2 x 49.4 cm
    Gift of Dr John Yu and Dr George Soutter 2006
    Not on display
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Yao people

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Amongst the pantheon of deities, Taiwei is always represented riding a white horse, holding a sword in his right hand and a seal of authority in his left hand. He is one of the three deities postulants not yet fully ordained are permitted to worship before for ceremonies (the other two are Haifan and Hangsi). During his human life Taiwei and his horsemen were troublemakers; once accepted into the Daoist pantheon he became a deity and protector of the faith. Placed at the side of an altar, Taiwei prevents spirits entering and causing strife in sacred spaces.

    Reference: Jacques Lemoine, 'Yao Ceremonial Paintings', 1982.

    Asian Art Department, AGNSW, 2007.

  • Places

    Where the work was made

    Yunnan Province

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

    • Walking with gods, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 01 Jun 2019–05 Jan 2020

  • Provenance

    John Yu, 1980s-2006, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, the nine Yao ceremonial paintings donated by Dr John Yu were purchased from different locations including Xian in Shaanxi province of China, Bangkok, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Other works by Yao people

See all 8 works