The Chinese Facebook and Physiognomy

Most of us are probably familiar with Facebook and its uses as a tool for communication and social networking in our lives. But what about The Facebook that helps us understand people? Physiognomy is the practice of understanding a person’s characteristics from features on their faces. That was the project undertaken by a Chinese publisher in his latest book.


The project by Kila Cheung was meant to present Chinese Physiognomy in a more modern light. The book consists of 57 Faces with an explanation of the facial features next to them. The images aren’t just of Chinese people either. Seen below there are many variations of people used in the book to illustrate the art of physiognomy.


The text is both in English and in Chinese so that those of us who are not capable of reading the Chinese characters can keep up with it. What’s really interesting is that it features a few images which are just plain strange. For example, it shows Astroboy with his eyes blurred out.


This is obviously a humourous choice, but I felt as though I needed to point this out because it’s just so strange. The book also contains an image of a brass bust of Mao Zedong (Pictured Below).thefacebook4

Why did it need to be a bust, instead of the actual face? Either way, the image tracings that outline the facial features reminds  me of feng shui drawings for houses, but since physiognomy is reminiscent of that, it’s not so surprising.

I find the most interesting thing to be that the book is called The Facebook, which suggests that it is meant to be a pun on the social networking site. In a sense though, it is the same. You see people’s faces (supposedly via their profile pictures) and learn about them in some way through their profile.

Of course, on the website called Facebook , you get information more or less based on what people tell you, whereas The Facebook gives you things about their personal characteristics and personalities. But who’s to say they can’t be the same thing on different media formats?

For other cool designs about Facebook, check out the Retro Facebook Ad, the Facebook Chocolate or the Facebook Mug.