Fashion lips in different dynasties
Between Pre-Qin ( The 21st Century BC—221 BC) and Han (202BC－220AD) Dynasties, instead of applying lip balm to all parts of the lips, women put a big red dot on the lower lip and painted the upper lip in a pointed shape, leaving the rest of parts to be covered with powder.
In Wei, Jin, and North and South Dynasties (AD220—AD589), fan-shaped lips were advocated. Women made an obvious depression on the upper lip and lip contour in the corners of the mouth clear.
In Sui and Tang Dynasties, a florid style of lip makeup gained popularity. Women first put powder onto the lips, and then they drew any pattern they liked. During that period, cherry lips (lips with the shape and color of a cherry) were very popular. Two dots were usually painted outside the corner of the lips to strengthen the image of dimples. Another famous pattern took the shape of a little flower. To make it, women first made an obvious depression in the middle of the upper lip. Then the upper lip contour took the shape of two petals, and the lower lip another petal.
In the late Tang Dynasty, other patterns for lip makeup were also invented. According to the book Records of the Unworldly and the Strange, there were 17 patterns in the last 30 years of Tang. The color of red for lips included red, light red, red with golden powder, pink and so on.
In the Song (AD960—AD1279) and Ming (AD1368—AD1644) Dynasties, lip makeup was practiced to make women look more internalized and gentle. Cherry lips were also highly welcomed.
In the Qing Dynasty (AD1644—AD1911), women normally applied rouge to the whole or nearly whole upper lip, while they painted a cherry-like dot in the middle of the lower lip. Some women dotted in the middle of the two lips respectively.
In late Qing Dynasty, the whole society regarded Lin Daiyu as the beauty icon, who is a household character in the Chinese novel Dream of the Red Chamber, beautiful but fragile emotionally and physically. This fancy for morbid beauty lasted for a while till the period of the Republic of China.
Although both ancient and contemporary Chinese women mainly employed red for the lips, there is a black "tear makeup" which gained popularity in the Yuanhe years of the Tang Dynasty (AD806—AD820). Black balm was applied to the lips, producing a seemingly crying sad face. Failing to satisfy aesthetic sensibilities of many people, this tear makeup went out of fashion shortly after.