What makes beautiful face to look beautiful?
During humanity’s long history many people, including scientists and artists, tried to find an answer to this question. One of the features that most agreed upon was the importance of facial symmetry. As for other descriptors of beautiful face, they vary a lot depending on the culture and race. Thus, any objective attempt to define the archetype of beauty should take in account both the historical period and racial differences.
Korean plastic surgeon Seung Chul Rhee took notion of these limitations and – instead of trying to find the absolute standard of beauty – decided to create 4 types of female attractive faces: African, Caucasian, Chinese and Japanese (few years ago he already did it with Korean type). Rhee took the photographs of famous women broadly recognized for being beautiful and on their basis built the composite faces using the image morphing methodology.
Twenty models were chosen to “contribute” for the Chinese type of beautiful face. In the paper published in medical journal “Aesthetic Plastic Surgery” Rhee summarizes:
The Chinese attractive face has a relatively narrow cheek, slim and thin face, and lantern jaw.
Rhee’s article contains one interesting conclusion (which to some might sound quite banal). It postulates that what we perceive as attractive is not the average of all human faces, but the average of beautiful faces. Thus, there is a distinction between two terms: average face vs. average attractive face. I guess that the next logical step is to claim that most people in order to be attractive need some kind of facial correction by the means of plastic surgery.
Before presenting to you the final result, I want to show the pictures of 12 (out of 20) Chinese women who served as models for the composite Chinese face created by Dr. Rhee. Some of them already “participated” in the quiz “Chinese or Not Chinese?”
And here is the result. For comparison I put also the image of Caucasian composite face, which its creator himself described as having “somewhat masculine appearance”.
I personally cannot get rid of impression that the unified image inherited most of its features from Zhang Ziyi. Not sure, however, that the famous actress would be ready to change her current looks with this computerized version.
Actually, many people find the images of composite faces “boring”. I have my own hypothesis why. In the beginning of this post I mentioned that one of the widely accepted criterions of beauty is symmetry. But 95% of symmetry in my opinion is better than 100%! Just think – what can be more symmetrical than circle? But for how long can we fix our attention on the absolutely perfect curve?
Not symmetric, Crystal Tao