The Basics Of Chinese Face Reading

The Chinese art of face reading, known as mian xiang (面相) in mandarin, is a metaphysical approach that evaluates a person’s character, traits, and destiny based on his or her facial features.

Some might think that this is taking judgmental behavior to a whole new level.

But in ancient China, when face reading was heavily practiced especially in government recruitment for imperial positions, these practices were never meant to discriminate or stereotype. They were just seen as just another standard phase of the interview process like sending a resume.

Historical records actually indicate that face reading was already practiced as early as during the reign of the Yellow Emperor (黄帝). That’s at least 2000 years BC.

Why face reading?

A question that people often ask is that why should face reading be practiced to “read” a person when the bazi is already known as the ultimate life reading method capable of looking into any and every aspect of a person’s life.

The thing is that readers and fortune tellers can often make mistakes when deciphering bazi. Face reading can then serve as a check against bazi to see whether they match up in telling an individual’s story.

In addition, in the old days, it was not uncommon for people to have birth records that were inaccurate. Some don’t even have them!

For instance, I do know people who don’t know their real birth days even though they were born in the last century.

In such cases, when birth data cannot be correctly ascertained, one cannot depend on bazi in life readings. The next best thing would be physiognomy like face reading.

In the modern world, people are also more protective with their personal details. And this can present a challenge for others to assess such individuals.

Even palmistry which is another revered Chinese metaphysical practice would be difficult to conduct on someone without revealing what you are up to.

The face is rarely hidden. And is also the body part that we are expected to look at during interactions.

Reading characteristics of the face like lines, scars and moles can help a recruiter for example to deduce the profile of candidates.

And in social meetups, it would be awkward to ask someone for his 4 pillars so that you can evaluate his character and intentions. You’d then be able to rely of face reading to assess whether this new friend can be trusted.

It must be said that what is being discussed here does not concern the reading of body language.

It’s all about the face… which expert interrogators would tell you does not lie.

What do face readers look for

There are really 3 main components of face reading.

  • 100 age positions
  • 12 palaces
  • Facial features

Each of them alone can tell something about a person. But fusing them together can show a story that links different things together in more vivid detail.

100 age positions

There are 100 points on the face that govern specific aspects of life. And their positions also tell of what age certain things can happen.

Point number 24 on the face mappoints (百岁图) for example, would correspond with what would happen at the age 24.

So if a friend walks up to you and ask for a quick reading, just look at the point where his current age is represented and you would be able to generally tell whether it’s going to be a good or bad year.

At this point, it should be noted that the 100 points of reference takes up different positions on the face for men and women.

This means that the positions on men’s faces are different from that of women. I just have to repeat this so that you don’t make this same mistake as I had when I first started face reading on my friends.

As one can expect, listing down the 100 points can be an exhaustive task, let alone explain all of them.

Take note that the specific names for specific points can seem to not make any sense, especially when translated into English.

12 palaces

The number 12 has a special in Chinese metaphysics.

It plays a prominent role in various concepts such as in purple star astrology and 12 zodiacs.

In face reading, there are 12 palaces present on a person’s face.

Each of the 12 palaces govern a particular aspect of life.

They consist of:

  1. Life palace (ming gong 命宫)
  2. Sibling palace (xiong di gong 兄弟宫)
  3. Husband and wife palace (fu qi gong 夫妻宫)
  4. Children palace (zi nu gong 子女宫)
  5. Wealth palace (cai bo gong 财帛宫)
  6. Health palace (ji er gong 疾厄宫)
  7. Travel palace (qian yi gong 迁移宫)
  8. Assistance palace (nu pu gong 奴仆宫)
  9. Career palace (guan lu gong 官禄宫)
  10. Real estate palace (tian zhai gong 田宅宫)
  11. Parents palace (fu mu gong 父母宫)
  12. Virtuous palace (fu de gong 福德宫)

With each palace, there are methods to determine whether they are of good quality or bad quality.

For example, the eyebrow area is where the siblings palace is. If the brows are observes to grow in various different directions, then it can be deduced that relationship between this person and his or her siblings are not good. This is just one little thing you can tell from eyebrows.

Facial features

The 100 points and 12 palaces relate to specific area of the face.

Facial features can also reveal something about a person.

For example, it is commonly suggested that people with big noses would enjoy great wealth luck… at least during certain periods in life. It is also commonly joked that those with curved “parrot” noses would enjoy good fortune.

This is understandable as this is where the wealth palace resides. But what people often don’t realize is that it is also a representation of a person during his 40s.

The characteristics of the nose would then indicate what type of wealth, source of wealth, or even a lack of wealth.

The nose is just one facial feature that face readers focus on when face reading.

Among the main facial features, there are:

  • Face shape
  • Nose
  • Ears
  • Eyebrows
  • Moles
  • Philtrum
  • Scars
  • Laughter lines
  • Birth marks
  • Forehead
  • Cheeks and chin
  • Mouth
  • etc

As you can see, to become an expert at face reading can take years of extensive study and practice.

The overflowing of information with face reading also means that when people go to master readers for advice, it is near impossible to tell the learner everything about his face that can be observed.

It always is about what the asker wants to know. By which the reader would dive into that life aspect and disclose what can be uncovered.

Finally, it’s worth repeating that bazi is still the measuring stick when it comes to life readings.

It’s just that when accurate birth data is not possible to obtain, then face reading is a credible backup plan to approach.

It’s a fun exercise as well. 😀

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