Huh, if I might… I have seen in many images women having a marking/tattoo-like on their foreheads? Does it mean something or…?
Hi! The markings on the forehead are beauty ornaments called Huadian/花钿. They’re purely ornamental accessories that became fashionable among women during the Tang dynasty. I wrote about Huadian in my posts here, here, here, and here. Also fyi, I have a masterpost that compiles all my previous replies, so please check it out if you haven’t already ^^ (Image via)
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.
Chinese diaspora asking here: I saw the questions about making hanfu. Would it be weird for a girl to wear men’s hanfu? I kind of want to own either a zhiju(?) or yuanlingpao since seeing the drawings of female characters wearing yuanlingpao.
Hi, thanks for the question!
It’s definitely not weird for a girl to wear men’s Hanfu! Plus, as I mentioned in my post on unisex Hanfu, both Zhiju and Yuanlingpao are considered unisex garments, as they’ve historically been worn by both men and women. Some examples:
Zhiju from 挽纱坊:
Yuanlingpao from 重回汉唐:
Especially in this day and age, you should feel free to wear whatever kind of Hanfu you like ^^ Hope this helps!
Are there any styles of hanfu that are unisex?
Hi, thanks for the question! I think the more pertinent question is, which styles of Hanfu aren’t unisex? One of the great things about Hanfu is that many of its styles are not limited to a specific gender, to the point that couples can go out wearing exactly identical clothes if they wish. Examples below – 1) Ruqun/Yishang, 2) Zhiju:
Common Hanfu styles considered to be unisex include the following (note: see posts here and here for Hanfu definitions): Ruqun (known as Yishang for men), Beizi, Banbi, Bijia, Pifeng, Zhiju, Quju, Yuanlingpao (technically men’s Hanfu, but became popular with women during the Tang dynasty), Shuhe, and Doupeng. These are just some of the most basic styles; there are many more. Examples below – 1) Banbi, 2) Beizi, 3) Yuanlingpao, 4) Shuhe:
Meanwhile, Hanfu styles considered exclusive to women include: Chest-high Ruqun, Daxiushan, Aoqun, Chang Ao, and U-Collar; while styles considered exclusive to men include: Dachang, Daopao, Zhiduo, Lanshan, Tieli, and Yisan/Yesa (again, these lists are by no means exhaustive).
Nowadays, of course, people are free to wear any style of Hanfu they want, regardless of its assigned gender code. As in Western fashion, women are freer to experiment with men’s Hanfu than the other way around. Example below – Couple wearing Song dynasty-style Lanshan, which is a formal style of Hanfu worn by male scholars and students since the Tang dynasty:
Hope this helps!
Tuánshà (circle fans) -themed brochets by Qian Zhongshi, founder of Shiji Classic Jewelry 狮记古典珠宝