Lao Tzu Jade Figure

Lao Tzu, also called Laozi, was the founder of the philosophical Daoism.
The legend says that Lao Tzu was travelling with his donkey, going from town to town when he was approached by an emperor’s messenger. The emperor wanted him to join his court, since it was commonly known that Lao Tzu was a very wise man.
Lao Tzu was very courteous in turning down the messenger – thanking both him and the emperor – and saying that it was impossible.
While the messenger left, Lao Tzu washed his ears, along with the ears of the donkey, and he was approached by a man who asked, “What are you doing, sir?”
“I am washing my ears, since even a messenger whose reasons are political is dangerous,” replied Lao Tzu.
The man, still puzzled, asked again “But why wash the donkey’s ears?”
Lao Tzu replied “Donkey’s are political animals. Ever since the messenger arrived, he’s become very egoistic. I personally don’t understand the language of the court, but he does, because there are similar donkeys there. The language they speak is one in the same.”
The man laughed, and it is said that later on when the emperor was told this story, he also laughed.
This Jadeite representation of Lao Tzu was broken and repaired in a very unfortunate previous restoration. We needed to remove all the old adhesive excess from this jade figure, release the head from the body and clean the contact surfaces. This cleaning exposed the typical granular fracture of jade stone. It also revealed that the original posture of the head was quite different since the surfaces fitted almost to perfection when the head was frontally placed. Small bits of jade where missing and we needed to do some filling to the joint.
As Confucius noted, Jade´s “polish and brilliancy represent the whole of its purity”; Jade has a very vitreous surface luster. In this Jade figure, the difficult part of the treatment was obtaining the same degree of polishing on the surface of the fillings than that of the carved stone. Fortunately, we got it done!

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