Chinese culture has been renowned for celebrating beauty and wisdom over the centuries. However, contrary to what many people feel, the concept of beauty of Chinese women is much deeper than their physical appearance and looks. So while a female having a rosy chubby oval face, eyebrows shaped like a new-moon, fine and supple limbs and fingers and excellent skin might be considered attractive, she might not necessarily be thought beautiful. In order for a Chinese female to be considered truly beautiful, she must possess the qualities of being well-mannered, having a pleasing temperament, taste and style of chatting.
For ages now, the beauty of Chinese women has been judged on the basis of the etiquettes possessed by them. In the ancient Chinese society only those women were considered good and worthy of marriage, who were known to have perfect morality, proper conversation skills, and were efficient and careful in carrying out household chores. Additionally, they needed to be obedient to their father’s before marriage, to their husbands after marriage and to their sons once they were widowed. Given the strict distinction between the men and women in ancient Chinese society, women were allowed the freedom to pursue a few skills which were considered an enhancement of their virtuous personality.
The first of these skills was the art of playing Qin, which was a kind of seven-stringed plucked musical instrument. It was imperative for every scholar to learn playing the Qin and women efficient in this skill were considered really bright. Another skill that ancient Chinese women excelled in was playing encirclement chess, which was more a way of relaxing for them than a way of exhibiting their wit and intelligence. Calligraphy, poetry and painting were some skills that women from higher classes of society pursued with fervor as they not only enabled women to improve themselves but also express their feelings and seek a little enjoyment. Then there was needlework which was considered to symbolize the diligence and intelligence in women.
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