Meaning of the Idiom
an tu suo ji
Looking for a Steed with the Aid Of Its Picture
During the Spring and Autumn Period (chūn qiū ,770-476 BC), there was a man in the State of Qin whose name was Sun Yang (sūn yáng ). Sun Yang was very expert in looking at horses and judging their worth. People called him Bo Le (Bo Le was fabled to be in charge of heavenly steeds as a celestial), and he was often asked to appraise and select horses.
Bo Le wrote a book entitled The Art of Looking at Horses and Judging Their Worth, 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 who thought it was very easy to appraise horses according to the book. So he took it with him to look for fine horses. He found the characteristics of a toad fit very well the characteristics described in the book. So he happily took the toad back home, Bo Le did not know whether he should laugh or cry. “That is just what we call looking for a steed with the aid of its picture.”
Later, people have used the set phrase “look for a steed with the aid of its picture” to refer to handling affairs mechanically in the outmoded ways without being flexible. Sometimes it is also used to refer to trying to locate something by following up a clue.
àn tú suǒ jì，按图索骥是由寓言故事演化而来，指按照图像寻找好马，比喻按线索寻找，也比喻办事机械、死板。
Reading The Paragraphs!
Meaning of Words
|to judge horses|
|address somebody respectfully; honorific title|
|form; shape; pattern|
|natural endowments; intelligence|
|not much difference between|
|be able neither to cry nor to laugh; be at a loss whether to cry or to laugh;|
|拘泥教条（jū nì jiào tiáo）||形容做事时只按照固有的框架，不知道变通。|