Toll Free - U.S.& Canada:  1-800-791-9386   Hong Kong:  800-930-623   Australia:  1-800-779-835
Free online Chinese learning support
  • Follow us on Facebook!
  • Watch Our YouTube Videos!
  • Follow us on Twitter!
  • Follow us on WeChat!
    Follow Us in WeChat by Scanning!
    Follow Us in "WeChat"
    by Scanning
  • Follow us on LinkedIn
  • Follow us on Google+!
  • Explore Our Instagram Videos & Photos!
United Kingdom:  0-800-086-8969   Germany:  0-800-180-0341   Singapore:  800-130-1652
France:  0-805-080-689   Spain:  900-838-906    

The Four Beauties of Ancient China (Intermediate)

Jun. 10, 2011

中国古代四大美女 (Zhōngguó gǔdài sì dà měinǚ) The Four Beauties of Ancient China

 

Key Learning Points (Preview):

美女 (měinǚ): n. beauty

 

含蓄 (hánxù): adj. reserved/implicit

 

温柔 (wēnróu): adj. gentle/tender

 

Throughout China's five thousand year history, numerous heroic figures have emerged and captured the people's fancy. But what most impresses and remains in the people's minds are the ancient "美女 (měinǚ) beauties." Particularly well remembered are 西施 (Xī Shī), 王昭君 (Wáng Zhāojūn ), 貂蝉 (Diāo Chán), and 杨贵妃 (Yáng Guìfēi), the four most famous China's ancient beauties who were each superior in their beauty and lived legendary lives.

Unlike western beauties who are characterized by prototypical western facial features, i.e. sexy figures, passion and openness, Chinese beauties are characterized more for their "含蓄 (hánxù)reserve" and "温柔 (wēnróu) gentle nature." When combined with their stunning appearance, the four ancient beauties can really take one's breath away.

The description of the four ancient beauties can be best summarized by the following saying: "沉鱼落雁,闭月羞花 (Chén yú luò yàn, bì yuè xiū huā)." Although the beauty of the language cannot be captured perfectly in English, the essential meaning is as follows: The beauty of "西施" would even startle the fish when she washed her clothes near the river; wild geese fell out of the sky after having a glance at "王昭君;" "貂蝉" outshined the moon and made it hide itself behind the clouds; and "杨贵妃" put the flowers to shame and made them wither.

西施 (Xī Shī)

 

王昭君 (Wáng Zhāojūn

 

 貂蝉 (Diāo Chán)

 

杨贵妃 (Yáng Guìfēi

 

Key Learning Points:

美女 (měinǚ): n. beauty

 

Example:

Tā shì gè tiānshēng de měinǚ.
她   是 个     天生      的   美女.

 

She is a natural beauty.

含蓄 (hánxù): adj. reserved/implicit

 

Examples:

Tā shuōhuà shífēn hánxù.
他    说话       十分    含蓄。

 

He speaks in quite an implicit way.

Zhè ge huídá hěn hánxù.
这   个  回答    很    含蓄。

 

This answer is quite implicit.

温柔 (wēnróu): adj. gentle/tender

 

Example:

Tā duì tā nán péngyou hěn wēnróu.
她 对 他 男      朋友     很     温柔。

 

She is very tender to her boyfriend. 
 

Got questions? Take a free 1-to-1 lesson with one of our professional teachers by signing up below:
Name:  E-mail: 
Country:  Tel: 
By clicking Submit, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.
Submit

Comments

My online Mandarin tutor told me that 西施 (Xī Shī) is generally recognized as the most beautiful of all.

I wonder who ranks first among the four beauties.

From my online Mandarin lessons, I’ve learned that you can say 美女(měinǚ) to address a lady in China.

谢谢很有趣的

Write a comment

Your Name: 
Your Email:  Your email address will not be published.
Comments: 
Verification Code:  Verification Code Unclear? Try another one
By clicking Submit, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.
Email This Article
Recipients' email addresses:
(separate recipients with comma)
Your name:
Your e-mail address (optional):
Your message (optional):
Verification Code:
By clicking Send, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.


Sign up for a free trial now!
Get more information about our Chinese lessons through live chat
Get a FREE live 1-to-1 lesson and FREE e-books. Complete the form below:
Name:
E-mail:
Country:
Tel:
 

By clicking Submit, you agree to our

Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

FREE Mandarin E-book