The yin-yang (Taijitu) symbol 太極圖 as well as the Bagua 八卦 ("Eight Trigrams") are the most common Taoist symbols. While almost all Taoist organizations make use of these, they can also be called Confucian, Neo-Confucian or pan-Chinese symbols. Another image that might be called a symbol of Taoism is the Chinese character for the word "Tao."
Yin-Yang or Taijitu
Eight Trigrams or Bagua
Chinese character "Tao"
The yin and yang border should make a backwards "S" shape, with yang (white or red) on top. One is likely to see this symbol as decorations on Taoist organization flags and logos, temple floors, or stitched into clerical robes.
Taoist temples fly square or triangular flags. These are not merely decorative but function as talismans, and typically feature mystical writing or diagrams. Often a tree branch is used as the flagpole.
Another Taoist symbol of sorts is a zigzag with seven stars, representing the Big Dipper (or the "Bushel", the Chinese equivalent). Taoists see the North Pole (and the South) as divine.
Taoist temples in southern China and Taiwan may often be identified by their roofs, which feature Chinese dragons and phoenixes made from multi-colored ceramic tiles. They also stand for the harmony of yin and yang (with the phoenix being yin). A related symbol is the flaming pearl which may be seen on such roofs between two dragons, as well as on the hairpin of a Celestial Master.
- Based on Wikipedia (2006). Text licensed under GFDL.