By Jimisayo Opanuga
There is an old English saying, ‘Never judge a book by its cover’, which implies that we should never judge people by their appearances. Yet, we are constantly told that appearances matter, but the truth is that we still judge people based on their faces all the time. He looks like a scumbag!!! She looks like a scheming person!!! We say these things about people we meet for the very first time.
Loretta Young, an American actress, once said, “A face is like the outside of a house; most faces, like most houses, give us an idea of what we can expect to find inside.” A person’s face can tell a thousand stories. It is the first thing that people notice about them. A face is a gateway to understanding a person as a whole, and hence, its significance cannot be undermined.
Mian Xiang is an ancient art of divination that involves reading facial features and shapes to determine personality and health characteristics. It can also refer to the way people read other people’s faces to determine their emotions or what they are thinking. This form of physiognomy is based on the idea that facial characteristics reveal emotional and intellectual traits, as well as the overall character of a person. The Greeks, for example, believed that the shape of the brow, whether high or low, wrinkled or smooth, rounded or flat, indicated whether the bearer was confident, intelligent, bold, fickle, weak, honest, or spirited.
During the days of the Chinese Imperial Dynasty, face reading was one of the sciences deployed by Chinese strategists and Imperial advisors in their role of providing guidance and strategic advice to the Emperors whom they served. For example, whenever an Emperor went off to meet a rival king or perhaps had a foreign visitor or dignitary come to his court, his Imperial strategist would, using his Mian Xiang skills, be able to immediately size up this person and provide the Emperor with detailed insight and knowledge on the person, enabling the Emperor to determine what to say or not say to that person.
In the old days, you didn’t have to submit your CV to get a job as an imperial magistrate. Face reading was developed as a means to enable Imperial Mandarins to ensure that candidates for Imperial positions did not secure their positions by using faked dates of birth to exaggerate their destiny and thus give themselves abilities or talents that they did not possess.
Face reading was also employed by mothers-in-law to ensure that their sons married wives who brought luck to the family and not bad fortune. Similarly, mothers-in-law would use it to scrutinize prospective sons-in-law to ensure they were truly wealthy, not just saying they were wealthy and would be able to take good care of their daughters.
In face reading, the face is divided into left and right halves, with the right side of the face corresponding to the male, or yang aspect, and the left side corresponding to the female, or yin aspect. Men and male relatives are represented by the right side of the face, while women and female relatives are represented by the left side. In addition, men’s faces are read from the left to the right and women’s from the right to the left.
The face can also be divided into upper and lower halves, with the upper half representing spiritual leanings and the lower half representing earthly and practical concerns. Facial features reflect both personal characteristics and how a person interacts with the world.
For instance, the nose represents wealth, so the shape of the nose can indicate whether or not the bearer will be wealthy, will be able to hold onto wealth, and how the bearer will spend money. In face reading, the eyes tell about the character of the person. The shape of the eyes, whether clear or cloudy, and the shape of the brows can reveal the bearer’s personality—trustworthy, honest, powerful, or successful. People with a lot of white (or sclera) in their eyes, for example, are said to be more prone to accidents. The lips show how a person communicates and what type of personality he has, whereas the ears show personality, intelligence, and how well a person listens. In addition, the relationship between the features is important; people with wide-set eyes are considered slow, while those with close-set eyes are said to be detail-oriented.
Each feature has an ideal shape or appearance, such as the best nose, which has a rounded tip, a high arch, and a wide top, and the best mouth, which is large with upward-sloping corners. The best ears are flat, thick, and round, indicating good relationships and health, whereas the best chins protrude, indicating ambition. Face shape is also important, and each major face shape corresponds to an element.
Square faces represent the earth element, triangles represent fire, narrows represent wood, longs represent metal, and rounds represent water. These elements, in turn, correspond, again, to personality traits. People with narrow or woody faces are philosophical and enjoy learning, whereas people with wide faces (a combination of earth and water) have a quick intellect and make good money.
Chinese medical practitioners, for example, have long relied on face reading to help understand the psychological, physical, and emotional state of a patient, while Chinese parents have called in face readers to help them evaluate potential mates for their sons or daughters.
Acupuncture and face reading share some fundamental principles. Chinese medicine is a holistic approach that focuses on wellness and balance rather than disease or pathology. It considers the body to be divided into several functional systems, each of which corresponds to a physical organ, and illness is caused by these systems being out of balance or harmony.
The diagnosis of illness, then, is not associated with a specific organ or part being diseased but with a systemic disorder that must be treated as such. One acupuncture point in the foot, for example, corresponds to the liver, so stimulating that point on the foot will stimulate the liver pathway and may help with liver-related problems such as genital or digestive issues.