Thursday, February 19, 2009

Standards of Beauty

Most people nowadays strive to achieve the model-thin figure, eating little, working out in gyms, using diet pills and even resorting to surgery. Thin is considered the standard of beauty, and models, actresses and beauty pageant contestants and winners are often shown to be tall, slender and willowy.

Historically, however, Chinese people have always viewed a bit of fat as beautiful. The older Chinese recognize that beauty comes in all forms and shapes. There was even a term for it, yanshou huanfei (燕瘦環肥), describing the beauty of two very differently-shaped women, Consort Yang Yuhuan (楊玉環), more popular known as Yáng Guìfēi (楊貴妃) and Empress Zhao Feiyan (趙飛燕), who were great beauties of their time and beloved by their emperors.

Yang Guifei was known to be overweight, yet inspite of that, she was considered one of the 4 great beauties of China.

Zhao Feiyan, on the other hand, was a slender woman. Although she was not included in the roster of the 4 great beauties, she was, however, also renowned for her great beauty.

Beauty, however, does not always spell good fortune. While they enjoyed great favors from their husbands (who happened to be emperors), palace intrigues did not make their lives easy. In the end, were they happy? Yang Guifei was blamed for An Lushan's rebellion and ultimately put to death.


Jen said...

When we were studying Chinese History, I loved the character of the first Chinese Empress Wu Tze Tien. I used to imagine I was her! LOL

theworkingmom said...

Yeah, she's probably the strongest female character in Chinese history...and male historians don't like her at all. LOL

DramaRican12550 said...

who, guifei or the slim one, i cant imagine them hating guifei