Zaftig vs. Bony
Going to shrink your silhouette but hate the diet plan? Don't be jealous. Plump figure was lauded to the skies in the Tang dynasty. Heavily infused with "Xian Bei" blood, the royal families imposed on the common people their criterion of beauty.
The female body ideal today however is the other way. Extremely slim Supermodels like Kate Moss lead the trend and other stars follow suit. They give up whatever for the curvaceously thin figure. It is embraced as sexual and fantastic.
But more often than not girls end up in frustration because it's absolutely impossible for everyone to meet that standard and it's tortuous! Excessive exercises, teeny-weeny diet, and even plastic surgery have snatched away fitness and happiness. It's inhumane and hypocritical.
The Chinese culture has always been an agricultural civilization. And the memory of famine last century is still haunting today. How could we possibly appreciate "bony beauty" or brook a woman pitifully thin like a sprout? Why not radiant and chubby?
Pomegranate Skirt vs. Jeans
Striped skirt had long been the rage before gaudy ones of various materials had their day. The most dazzling of all, according to the record, belonged to Princess An Le who "ordered the hunt for all rare birds in the woods" and had the feather interweaved. The skirt, seen from different angle or put in or out of shade, would take different color.
That, from the point of view of environmental protection, would be intolerable. No complete ban on extravagance, though the Tang rulers did take into consideration the lack of resources. For example, the breadth of cloth and pleats for skirt were all restricted.
It's impossible not to mention Yang Yuhan when we talk about Tang Beauty. With such beauty bestowed by fate, how could she remain unknown!
As the story goes, Yang Yuhuan planted a pomegranate tree by the Hua Qing Hot Spring. It was her favorite blossom and color. The Emperor's favor was all centered on this charming concubine. Wallowing in the pleasure of the flesh however, he neglected his court. The ministers thus got furious, pointing their fingers at Yang.
When the Emperor asked her to dance at a toot one day, she told on them. Infatuated with the concubine, the Emperor ordered the minister to kneel down in front of Yang's pomegranate skirt. What a scene! The saying of "kneeling down in front of pomegranate skirt" has been used to show the admiration for a woman.
She melted him down and made his knees buckle.
Girls love jeans today. It's casual and comfortable. But ever thought about kneeling down in front of a girl's jeans? Hard to imagine!
More than Skin deep
Every bit of stress and strain is reflected on the skin. Mere cosmetics and ornaments could not present a beauty inside out. Are you on a quest for balance in life between body and soul?
The Tang Dynasty was open and women confident. Rather than chastening themselves to please others, they would put on loose and translucent apparel and sit there looking up as if among fragrant flowers and singing birds. It's a matter of attitude and the state of mind we want.