Jade and crock wine containers

By | July 9, 2013

Marquis Han Zhao usually talked at his wish, and often inadvertently leaked out some confidential information rendering some key plan obsolete. Though ministers and officials concerned about this matter very much, no body dared to bluntly tell Marquis Han Zhao about his bad habit.

There was a wise man called the Tang Xi who volunteered to go to visit Marquis Han Zhao and said: “If there is a valuable jade made wine container, but it leaks, can it hold wine?” Marquis Han Zhao replied:”It can not hold wine.” Tang Xi added:” There is a crock, very cheap, but it does not leak, can it hold wine? ” Marquis Han Zhao said:”yes, it can.”

Then Tang Xi pointed out Marquis Han Zhao’s weak point of being unable to keep important plans a secret before implementation and Marquis Han Zhao accepted the suggestion and finally abandoned this bad habit.

The fable of jade and crock wine containers tells us that sometimes it may not be appropriate to point out others’ defects directly in particular when the object is much senior or in a higher social status. In traditional Chinese society, social classes are part of the moral system in China, indirect way of expression is necessary under many conversation scenarios.

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