Beautiful make-up has been an indispensable hot topic in women’s life since ancient times. Chinese ancient women’s make-up of each evolution in the long history will leave endless reverie and wisdom for future generations. Chinese dramas such as “The Longest Day In Chang’an” and “Serenade of Peaceful Joy” in the last two years have caused audiences to explore ancient women’s makeup.
The stunning red pattern – Huadian, on the forehead of the woman we see most often, also contains countless charming and touching stories.
The Origin of Huadian
The red pattern on a woman’s forehead in ancient times is called “Huadian (花钿)”, a special accessory for women’s facial makeup.
There is a beautiful legend about the rise of Huadian. According to the legend, Princess Shouyang, daughter of Liu Yu, Emperor Songwu of the Southern Dynasty, was resting outside of the Hall of the Hanzhang one day. The plum tree in front of the palace was a breeze, drifted down a plum blossom, impartial just stick to the princess’s forehead, can not be uncovered.
Three days later, the plum blossom was washed away, but the princess still has the mark of the petals on her forehead, the palace women saw the plum blossom seal set off the princess charming, then follow the example of cutting off the plum blossom, and paste on the forehead.
But plum blossoms are not available all year round, so clever women came up with the idea of cutting gold foil into petal shapes and pasting them on their foreheads or cheeks. Later on, this kind of dressing spread to the people, and they all scrambled to follow suit, so a new kind of make-up was born, which was called “plum blossom make-up”.
With the popularity of the plum blossom makeup, makeup embellishment pattern is also gradually derived from the plum blossom to butterfly, phoenix, and other variety of patterns; makeup parts from the forehead, eyebrows, extending to the face, temples.
Later this kind of women’s makeup in the flower decoration will have a unified name, was called “Huadian”.
The Classic Style of Huadian
In ancient times, the Huadian was the finishing touch to a woman’s makeup. It can not only highlight the graceful, elegant, and beautiful temperament of a woman’s life but also create an enchanting picture, especially when they’re dancing. With the dancing posture of the women, Huadian drifts down from the women’s head and face one by one, just like the falling flowers with the wind and the fine snow in the sky. The woman’s immortal temperament is also called out, and even many talented poets have written poems for Huadian.
In Huadian’s designs, the ancient women were equally bold in their wisdom and artistic concepts. In different makeup styles, they used materials such as a gold leaf, paper, fish scales, feathers, and jewels, some women even use dragonfly wings to make Huadian.
In Huadian, the yellow-colored category is called “Huahuang,” and it was inspired by the Buddha statues that women who loved beauty and innovation cut out various patterns from gold-colored paper and pasted them on their foreheads, or painted them with yellow powder.
In the Mulan Ci, when Hua Mulan returned from the army, she was changed of her male attire and resumed her female body, there is a poetry description of “face the window tidied the temples, face the mirror paste Huahuang”, the “Huahuang” was the popular dress at that time.
“Cuidian” is also a kind of artistic value in women’s Huadian makeup. It was most popular in the later Shu period and was made of emerald bird feathers, the overall Huadian was greenish blue, very fresh, and chic.
But Cuidian was later mostly affixed to the smile vortex at the corners of the mouth to mimic the dimples of a woman’s smile, also known as “Mianye (面靥)“.
Extended reading: history of the Tang dynasty makeup
Gold Huadian (金钿)
The one which can compete with Cuidian, is gold Huadian made of gold foil, women in the Tang Dynasty not only affixed gold Huadian on the face, sometimes also affixed to the Chanbin (蝉鬓) and Wubin (乌鬓).
But the more dazzling purpose is the gold Mianye, with the change of facial expression of the woman shines, just like a pair of stars set in the corner of the mouth.
Another more unusual type of Huadian is the pearl Huadian in the Song Dynasty. The Song people advocated the beauty of light and elegance, so the rich style of Huadian gradually fell out of favor, and was replaced by Huadian embellished with pearls. The pearl Huadian is not as colorful as other Huadian, but it is more three-dimensional.
The Artistic Value of Huadian
Huadian makeup, from the rise of the Northern and Southern dynasties, prevalent in the Tang Dynasty, until the Yuan Dynasty gradually faded out of women’s dressing table.
Over the centuries, it was not only a beloved object of women, but also accompanied and witnessed their emotion and life like a woman’s intimate friend.
Nowadays, Huadian will not appear on women’s face as makeup. However, the traditional Huadian pattern still appears in different forms in contemporary wedding accessories design and even in large shows.
Its inheritance and derivation not only embodies the aesthetic interests and values of Chinese women in different times and different classes, but also highlights the wisdom and achievements of Chinese women in art design, allowing contemporary people to draw more creative elements from the traditional art forms.