Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Language of Beauty Marks

Beauty marks have always fascinated me. Especially the idea that something beautiful could evolve out of something so ugly and disfiguring as small pox scars. My spirit resonates with taking things that are ugly, worthless and rejected and creating something beautiful. Reinvention. That would be my superpower if I had one. I feel my calling in life is to leave this world a little more beautiful than I found it.

The language of beauty marks developed during the seventeenth century among aristocratic women. Small patches of black velvet or taffeta were cut into shapes such as hearts, moons, stars and pasted onto the face or décolleté to draw attention to the whiteness of their skin and highlight certain features while covering scars. Each mark was carefully placed to send a specific message to a woman’s admirers:

Corner of eye-“I’m interested in you”
Above the lip-flirty “I want to kiss you”
Near right cheek-“I’m married”
Left cheek-“I’m engaged”
High on forehead-”I’m superior”
Photos: Norma Sheerer in Marie Antoinette, Warner Brother's Phantom of the Opera, book Plumes and Dentelles by Ellen Von Unwerth

No comments:

Post a Comment