Steeped in cul­ture, his­tor­i­cal land­marks, lit­er­a­ture and ro­mance, China is Clara Siew's main source of in­spi­ra­tion this month.

Marie Claire (Malaysia) - - News -

Golden drag­ons. Stones of jade. Tow­er­ing pago­das. Ter­ra­cotta sol­diers. Man­darin col­lars. The colour red. The Great Wall. Th­ese are the things that come to mind when I think of China. As all my grand­par­ents were born and raised in the main­land, this old coun­try is a part of my his­tory, and a part of me – some­thing that I will al­ways hold dear to my heart. A few years ago, I stayed and worked in the Shan­dong prov­ince for three months dur­ing the win­ter, and I was mes­merised by the peo­ple, the ar­chi­tec­ture, and sur­prised by how at-home I felt with it all. In my free time, I vis­ited other states like Tian­jin, Bei­jing, Dalian and Qing­dao, and found that each had a per­son­al­ity of its own – both charm­ing and unique. I’ve also al­ways been in­trigued by the beauty rit­u­als prac­ticed by maid­ens in the days of yore. Rice flour was used to cre­ate a fair com­plex­ion, and women started us­ing rouge only in the Han dy­nasty. Red rouge was ap­plied to their lips in dif­fer­ent shapes, like hearts and cir­cles.

In the Tang dy­nasty, women started car­ry­ing around lit­tle makeup boxes that con­tained a mir­ror, rouge and even a lip­stick. And upon their heads, women would bal­ance gold be­jew­elled crowns with lit­tle bells dan­gling at the edges. It’s al­ways fas­ci­nat­ing to know how our an­ces­tors per­ceived beauty in the past, and it’s def­i­nitely in­ter­est­ing

to see how it has been adapted over the years.

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