By Tom Bannister
Over the past few days a new statue of the ancient sage Lao-Tzu (Laozi 老子) has been generating much discussion. The statue is in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, by the side of the Jinji Lake. The lake is surrounded by other statues and sculptures and recently some of the other ones – blue naked(ish) women sitting on benches – generated enough controversy that they were removed for being ‘indecent’. The Lao-Tzu statue portrays the founder of Daoism wrapped in a cloak and grimacing, with his eyes popping out and his tongue extended. This unusual choice for an expression is supposed to represent the occasion when Confucius met with Lao-Tse to discuss Daoism. During the meeting Lao stuck out his tongue between his teeth and said: “Hard teeth fall, soft tongue stays” to explain the ‘soft’ overcoming ‘hard’ core principle of Daoism.
However, some who have seen the statue have taken offence to it, saying that it was disrespectful. Many have said that the strange expression just made it look like the founder of one of the world’s oldest belief systems was vomiting or ‘had hanged himself’.
Below a news report on the statue: