Vietnam 200 years ago: beauty impressions

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There was little prepossessing in the general appearance and character of the Cochinchinese. The women had but slender pretensions to beauty; yet the want of personal charms was in some degree compensated by a lively and cheerful temper, totally unlike the dull, the morose, and secluded Chinese.

An expressive countenance, being as much the result of education and sentiment as a delicate set of features and a fine complexion are of health, ease exemption from drudgery and exposure to the vicissitudes of the weather, could hardly be expected in Cochinchina.

In point of fact, both sexes are coarse featured, and their colour nearly as deep as that of the Malay; and like these people, the universal custom of chewing areca and betel, by reddening the 1ips and blackening the teeth, gives them an appearance still more unseemly than nature intended.

Text: Sir John Barrow
Photo: illustration from the book, internet

Fragment from the book:
Barrow, John, Sir (1764-1848)
A voyage to Cochinchina in the years 1792 and 1793 : containing a general view of the valuable productions and the political importance of this flourishing kingdom; and also of such European settlements as were visited on the voyage : with sketches of the manners, character, and condition of their several inhabitants.
Publication date: 1806

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