A statue of Laozi with its back to Jinji Lake in Suzhou, Jiangsu province. (Internet Photo)
With bulging eyes and a tongue lolling out of his mouth, it might be difficult to recognize the normally wizened face of Laozi, a famous philosopher of ancient China, in the statue sitting beside Jinji Lake in Suzhou, reports our Chinese-language sister newspaper China Times.
Netizens on Sina Weibo, China's twitter-like service, apparently do not know what to make of the expression either. Some have even asked for its removal because of its similarity to a hung man's final countenance.
The statue was a gift from Huayi Brothers Media to Suzhou Culture and Art Center in September. The director of the center was surprised that the work, titled Laozi of the Soft and Hard Principles, became widely discussed. Its creator is Tian Shixin, a sculptor and researcher at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts.
Tian said he did not make Laozi ugly and hopes that those who dismissed the statue read more on Laozi's principle. Another controversial work of Tian's, on display in Beijing, allegedly had drawn debate earlier.
Tian Shixin 田世信
gangrou zhi dao laozi xiang 剛柔之道老子像