by Jean Henry Mead
Physiognomy or face reading was developed by the Chinese before the birth of Christ and has been practiced for more than 2,000 years as a branch of medicine to diagnose illnesses as well as determine a person's character. The reasoning behind the practice is that a person’s personality or inner vitality are closely related to his spirit and physical well being, according to author Timothy T. Mar, who wrote the book, Face Reading.
Face reading practicioners take many facial features into consideration before they determine a patient’s ailments, character, criminality or other behavior. The shapes of faces tell them one thing in conjunction with the size and shape of the eyes and other features. The more evenly proportioned, the better a person’s character. When a physiognomist determines that a face is strong, he means that the person has strength and inner vitality. But a crooked nose, uneven eyebrows or protruding ears can detract from the overall positive reading.
Persons with oblong faces are called aristocratic because most rulers and those in power usually have this shape of face. During the Roman era, some leaders and Kings hid their faces from the enemy so that their intentions could not be read.
The triangular shaped face with broad forehead and tapered chin generally denotes someone sensitive and a loner while the semi-triangular face with squared off chin is said to be more intelligent, sensitive, artistic and mellow.
The square face belongs to a rugged, masculine person with a temper. They’re usually slow thinkers and stubborn. Those with round faces and small noses are easy going and peaceful by nature.
Pracitioners first read the eyes which are the best indictators of a person’s health and character. Eyes that “glitter” indicate vitality and well being as well as a powerful personality. The ideal eyebrows are long, broad and elegant, according to Mar. Elegant brows indicate a person’s harmony with society and relationship with relatives while a drooping brow signifies a shy or cowardly nature. When the middle of eyelids droop slightly over the eye it’s considered a sign of maturity, especially if the person is between 30 and 40.
The nose occupies the epicenter of the face and the Chinese call an ideal nose the “lion nose” because it represents a strong and passionate nature. Such a person is usually successful and serves in high office. Physiognomists believe there is a relationship between the nose and lower brain development. Someone with a long nose usually has a conservative personality while a short-nosed person is apt to be more open-minded, optimistic and dislikes detail.
Another indicator of character is the mouth. Those with bow-shaped lips are said to be incapable of holding positions of importance while people with broad mouths and distinctly red lips are said to be capable of authority.
Also taken into consideration are the size and shapes of ears, broad or low foreheads, groves between noses and mouths, wrinkles, moles, scars and other facial defects. The physiognomist totals up many facial features (or detracts from the positive ones) before making a final determination.
I wonder if the fictional detective Charley Chan practiced the art of face reading while tracking down criminals?