Beauty Matters



Chinese Beauty through the Changes of Time: The Chinese word 'beautiful' originally meant 'pleasant to sight' and is one of the earliest characters inscribed on oracle bones from 16-11 BC. However, standards of beauty have changed significantly throughout Chinese history. From slender to plump and frail to graceful, shifting ideals of feminine aestheticism in Imperial China can be traced through paintings, sculptures and contemporary accounts of women famous for their beauty.

Beauty Under Islam: When the Miss World Beauty Pageant was held in Nigeria in 2002 it led to rioting and over 200 deaths. Beauty and the role of women within Islam are controversial. Can Islamic ideas about beauty be reconciled with modern Western values or is the gulf just too great?

Zen and the Beauty of Japanese Gardening: Still practised today by Buddhist monks in Japan, beauty in Zen gardening is achieved through an aesthetic of simplicity and utility.

Nappy Hair: A Marker of Identity and Difference: Hair shapes both individual and cultural identities but if you are an Afro-American it also takes on a meaning within the historical context of slavery and the subsequent racism of American society.

Browse the Collection for reprinted articles about beauty and cultures.