Lao Tzu: The Way of Hard and Soft

Tian Shixin2003

Song Art Museum

Song Art Museum
Beijing, China

As Tian explains, the creation of this work is originally inspired by the famous Chinese allusion The Way of Hard and Soft.
Confucius once went to Luoyang, the capital of the Zhou Dynasty, and asked for wisdom from Lao Tzu.
Lao Tzu opened his mouth, then let Confucius look and asked, “Are my teeth still there?”
Confucius answered truthfully, “ No.”
“Is my tongue still there?” Lao Tzu asked again.
Confucius replied, “ Yes.”
Lao Tzu told Confucius meaningfully, “The hard one dies, while the soft one keeps alive. The tooth is hard, so it is lost; the tongue is soft, so it still exists.”
Tian believes that the allusion of The Way of Hard and Soft fully presents the ancient Chinese’s wisdom and their attitude of viewing things in a dialectical manner.


  • Title: Lao Tzu: The Way of Hard and Soft
  • Creator: Tian Shixin
  • Date Created: 2003
  • Physical Dimensions: 225 × 70 × 58 cm
  • Medium: Bronze

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