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THE FAT LADY IN CHINESE ART
Tang Fat Lady
Tang Fat Lady
Tang Fat Lady
Tang Fat Lady

This fondness for the full figured woman most likely came about due to the stylistic tendencies in Buddhist sculpture toward fuller bodies. Toward the end of the 7th century, Buddhist sculpture had trended toward fleshiness because of the influence of Indian art. The figures always had a characteristic “S” stance.

Therefore, it is suspected that women who resembled this model came into vogue. The up do hairstyles on Fat ladies varied. Some wore their hair in double knots while others wore a high side skewed chignon. Without exception all wore tiny slippers occasionally with long “genie” toes.  You will almost always see a long shawl draped over the shoulders to hang forward over the sleeve. Fat Ladies on horseback or in Sancai-ware are relatively rare as are any figures holding animals or with children. Sizes vary but the most common pose is standing with the hands together inside the sleeves. These figurines could be found dressed in the empire-waited fashions popular in their time. Painted in any color varieties including floral prints; elaborated with white skin, jet black hair, pink cheeks even beauty marks.

The legend behind the fat lady is thought to begin with Emperor Xuanzong. At the time the Emperor was elderly when he fell in love with his daughter in law –Yang Guifei –  who was a full figured woman. There is however some proof that Fat Ladies were already in fashion in court at an earlier date. So the story of Yang as the rise to the Fat Lady icon appears to be mistaken.

 

 

 

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