Exquisite beard? Yes! Abdominal muscles? No!

( ) Updated: 2015-01-12 11:10:47


Exquisite beard? Yes! Abdominal muscles? No!

Confucius [Photo/Xinhua]

Gu Kaizhi and Wu Daozi pictured Confucius as old and majestic

An individual person is one of the main themes for traditional paintings from the Han dynasty (202-220BC) to the Tang period (618—907AD). The image of men was very diversified over the years.

The earliest painting of Chinese men was found in the Ma Wangdui tombs of the Han dynasty (202-220BC) in Changsha, Hunan province. The picture captures a nobleman wearing Han-styled long clothes with big sleeves. The man is riding a running horse calmly and gracefully, with a strong sense of masculinity. In another picture, found in stone rubbings in Nanyang from around the same period, two men are shown kissing each other.

In Confucius theory, modesty is a good virtue, highly valued by its followers. Therefore the ancient painters at the time tended to create images of men with plain appearances yet with high moral standards. Well-known ancient painters Gu Kaizhi in the Jin Dynasty (265—420 AD) and Wu Daozi in the Tang period (618—907AD) both featured Confucius as an old and majestic man, with a square, big face, a wide month, heavy eyebrows and a long beard.

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