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Title: 'Beautiful boys made up as beautiful girls': Anti-masculine taste in Qing China
Contributor(s): Wu, C (author)
Publication Date: 2003
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Abstract: In contrast with Han (206 BCE-CE 220) or Tang (618-907) dynasty works of art, in the late imperial period (approximately 1550-1911) Chinese artistic taste experienced a gradual shift away from the celebration of masculine images. A comparison of the depiction of males in late imperial Chinese book illustrations, particularly those found in novels and short story collections, with figures depicted in paintings or frescoes from the Han or Tang dynasties reveals a stark contrast in representations of the male form. The standard, most prevalent, male images in the late imperial period are young, weak, slim and beardless; we no longer find the images of men in the prime of their lives, with round torsos and impressive beards, which are evident in portraits from earlier periods (van Gulik, 1961, 295-8). This chapter will argue that in late imperial China a feminised male appearance was generally accepted as the ideal of male beauty. The 'anti-masculine' had become the supreme male form.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: Asian Masculinities: The Meaning and Practice of Manhood in China and Japan, p. 19-40
Publisher: Routledge
Place of Publication: London
ISBN: 0415298385
Field of Research (FOR): 200205 Culture, Gender, Sexuality
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
Other Links:,M1
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Appears in Collections:Book Chapter

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