The Chinese of Looking For A Horse With The Aid Of Its Picture--An Tu Suo Ji is 按图索骥。
Bo Le whose real name was Bo Le was the most remarkable connoisseur for
horse in Chinese Spring and Autumn Period. Bo Le was his nickname which
was from the name of an immortal who was fabled to be in charge of
In order to ensure that his unique skill would not be lost, and also in
order to help more people learn how to appraise horses, Bo Le wrote a
book entitled The Art of Appraising Horses, based on his experiences and
knowledge accumulated over the years. The book was also illustrated
with the pictures of various horses.
Bo Le had a son keen on being a good horse connoisseur like his father.
Having read the book, he thought he had already mastered all skills of
his father. So he took the book with him to look for fine horses. On the
way, he found a toad and noticed its characteristics fit very well the
characteristics described in the book. He happily took the toad back
home, and said to his father, "Father, I have found a horse that can
cover a thousand Li a day, only its hoofs are not good enough."
Disappointed at his son's silliness, Bo Le did not know if he should cry
or laugh. So he said ironically. "It's a pity that this horse is too
fond of jumping to pull a cart." Then he sighed, "That is just what we
call looking for a horse with the aid of its picture."