Off Record // Taijitu Shuo

Off Record // Taijitu Shuo

Off Record is an investigative series highlighting the motifs behind our designs.


Part of our c002 // Duality collection features our Taijitu Waffle long sleeve. Through every collection, intentional exploration and connecting of dots continues to sit at the forefront of our expressions, regardless of medium.

It's important to note that the dots being connected and the motifs we blend together are both in service of elevating what has existed before our time and through the mixing of past/present will result in the direction of the future.

For c002 // Duality, reading the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu led into a deeper exploration of Chinese philosophy and medicinal practices - a desire to understand my ancestrial lineage as a Chinese American born in San Francisco. 

During the Song dynasty (960–1279), Zhou Dunyi (1017–1073) published a diagram of the Supreme Ultimate (taijitu) within his philosophical account of it (taijitu shuo). The Taijitu presents the principle of yin yang - one of the most recognizable symbols from Chinese history, especially in western culture.



The taijitu consists of five parts. Strictly speaking, the "yin and yang symbol", itself popularly called taijitu, represents the second of these five parts of the diagram.

  • At the top, an empty circle depicts the absolute (wuji). According to Zhou, wuji is also a synonym for taiji.[9]
  • A second circle represents the Taiji as harboring Dualism, yin and yang, represented by filling the circle in a black-and-white pattern. In some diagrams, there is a smaller empty circle at the center of this, representing Emptiness as the foundation of duality.
  • Below this second circle is a five-part diagram representing the Five Agents (Wuxing), representing a further stage in the differentiation of Unity into Multiplicity. The Five Agents are connected by lines indicating their proper sequence, Wood () → Fire () → Earth () → Metal () → Water ().
  • The circle below the Five Agents represents the conjunction of Heaven and Earth, which in turn gives rise to the "ten thousand things". This stage is also represented by the bagua.
  • The final circle represents the state of multiplicity, glossed "The ten thousand things are born by transformation" (萬物化生; simplified 化生万物)

By presenting the Taijitu diagram in 3M reflective printing on a waffle knit shirt, there's a sense of newness from the multi-intersectional approach when it comes to form/function/identity. In a sense, this is our form of jazz.