Mian Xiang is the art reading the lines of the face. It is an ancient science, commonly used in Chinese society as a way to grasp the character of a person, to choose a wife or to perceive someone’s true intentions. In the western world, this practice has a bad reputation and is still viewed as a pseudoscience, just like phrenology or morphopsychology.

However, whether we like it or not, human interactions always begin with visual contact, and what follows is an instinctive reading of the face, the body, and the attitude. This first impression is part of the instinctive weapons of human nature.

Among the 5 Daoists art of the Da Xuan School, Mian Xiang belongs to the Art of Observation of shapes, in the same manner as understanding the environment through observation in Feng Shui. It broadens the uneducated feeling of the first impression, which is often tainted by our own filters. It is based on the understanding of the face lines as an expression of spiritual and energetic tendencies.

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There are two main ways of reading the face :

    • The static analysis, as a way to see the person’s destiny – the structural lines of the face can express traumas, potential resources, challenges and conflicts of a lifepath.
    • The movement analysis, which is the study of the emotions expressed on the face – it is a reading of the conscious and unconscious interactions with other people, and a way of detecting the real intents and lies, through the reading of micro-expressions.

Mian Xiang, when practiced with discernment and intelligence, does not look for categorizing people but allows one to understand their qualities, tendencies and resources, and to connect with this part of unconscious linked to one’s incarnation.

A page from Mr Augier's book on Mian Xiang for Self Defense

We can find traces of these kind of practice with Hippocrates, who found a way to recognize enemies and was teaching it to soldiers.

In China, the mythic origin of this practice is said to  come from Huang Di around 2700 BC. It is a kind of ‘Ba Zi of the face’.  During these times, Ba Zi was commonly applied to help select the best candidates for certain positions, however during the frequent wars, archives were often burnt. Some people used this as an opportunity to slightly change their birthdate in order to please the officials in charge of recruiting high profiles. If it was possible to discreetly alter the birthdate, it was much more difficult to change one’s face! This is why, for high profiles job at the court, they have developed Mian Xiang.

Mian Xiang was also used by the emperor’s advisors during official, social or non-social meetings with hostile nations to try to collect intel on their strengths and weaknesses. During peace times, it was used to select the ideal spouse, reading the tendencies and evolutions on the face.

The advantage of Mian Xiang over Ba Zi is that you can see not only the tendencies (as in Ba Zi), but you can also see the face changing with qualities and defects over time.

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