Hello! I was wondering if I could ask you a question about something I noticed in post 136427994491 (and in tradition Chinese photography in general). I've noticed that there are sometimes a red marking on a women's forehead. Do these markings mean anything? I'm particularly curious about the one that looks like a flower and the ones that are a dot
Hi, of course I’m happy to answer your question!
The forehead markings are called “huadian/花鈿", and they are a purely ornamental type of accessory that was most popular during the Tang Dynasty. Huadian came in a variety of colors (red, green, yellow – but mostly red), shapes (flowers/petals, animals – birds/fish, etc.), and materials (paint, paper, gold, pearls, petals, fish bones, seashells, feathers, etc.). Nowadays it is usually painted on/a temporary tattoo. Fouryearsofshades has a write-up on huadian here. Below – historical huadian:
Huadian can be worn on the cheeks, as seen in the two left pictures in the 2nd row above – these are called mianye/面靥 or xiaoye/笑靥. They usually took the form of a dimple about one centimeter from each side of the lips, and came in a variety of shapes, including coins, peaches, birds, and flowers.
There is a legend about the origin of huadian, recounted by Hua Mei in the book Chinese Clothing (pdf):
“The Huadian or forehead decoration was said to have originated in the South Dynasty, when the Shouyang Princess was taking a walk in the palace in early spring and a light breeze brought a plum blossom onto her forehead. The plum blossom for some reason could not be washed off or removed in any way. Fortunately, it looked beautiful on her, and all of a sudden became all the rage among the girls of the commoners. It is therefore called the “Shouyang makeup” or the “plum blossom makeup.” This makeup was popular among the women for a long time in the Tang and Song Dynasties.”
The flower/petal shapes typically represent the plum blossom. I’m not sure if the dot represents anything significant, besides being a common shape.
Below – actresses wearing huadian and mianye in film/tv:
Hope this helps! 🙂
Edit: See here for post identifying the the actresses/films/tv series in the compilation above.