• This is a chronological comparative study of five visual artefacts spanning about a millennium in Chinese history and retrieved from various sources included in the mid-fifteenth century collection called in English the Taoist Canon. All five specimens are basically titled “Taiping fu” 太平符 in Chinese, literally “Great Peace Symbol”. By briefly introducing the source of each specimen, describing the specimen’s morphology and contextualising its implementation and purpose, the study highlights functional changeability and raises semiological issues that invite Sinologists to revise their understanding of the category of cultural artefact to which these specimens belong.