Great Monad

Great Monad

Garnet. Credit: Mineral Information Institute.

The Great Monad, also known as T'ai-Chi, is an important and ubiquitous symbol in traditional Chinese philosophy and cosmology. It represents the underlying harmony of the universe when its opposites or dualities – male and female (yang and yin), hard and soft, Sun and Moon, and so forth – are in balance. It occurs everywhere in Chinese art: in books, on walls, porcelain, and tablets, and stitched into brocade.