Category: mianye

changan-moon: Traditional Chinese hanfu and ma…


Traditional Chinese hanfu and makeup of Tang dynasty by 杭州纳兰

Hello! I was wondering if I could ask you a qu…

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.



Traditional Chinese hanfu, makeup, and hairstyle in the style of the Tang dynasty.

Traditional Chinese hanfu, makeup, and hairsty…

Traditional Chinese hanfu, makeup, and hairstyle in the style of the Tang dynasty.

changan-moon: Some ancient paintings for the r…


Some ancient paintings for the reference of historical chinese make up & dress.

fuckyeahchinesefashion: Facial makeup was an e…


Facial makeup was an elaborate process for Tang Dynasty women. It began with a foundation of face powder, followed by rouge and a dusting of light yellow powder. Bluish black eyebrows were then painstakingly painted in, lipstick applied, and dimples either added or accentuated. Last was an ornamental design either pasted or painted on the forehead. 

Although facial makeup had not been invented in the Tang Dynasty, it advanced during this progressive era. 

Eyebrows have always taken precedence within Chinese facial aesthetics, each style with its own name. Tang Dynasty eyebrows painted in bluish black were called daimei, long, fine eyebrows were emei, and guangmei eyebrows were short and thick. Eyebrow modes seen in the imperial palace included the yuanyang, xiaoshan, sanfeng, chuizhu, yueleng, fenshao, hanyan, fuyun, daoyun, and wuyue. Popular folk eyebrow styles included the liuye, queyue, kuo and bazi. 

The ornamental designs Tang beauties pasted on their foreheads were often of bird feathers or black paper, and possibly of shell, goldleaf, fishbone or mica. Or they would simply paint on a motif. 

The scope for innovation in these fashionable make up trends had been exhausted by the late Tang Dynasty, when women stopped using face powder and colored their lips black, in the “Sad” or “Tear” gothic mode that gave a more dramatic emphasis to feminine beauty.