Chinese Face Reading or Mian Xiang

In Chinese, Mian is face while Xiang is appearance. Together it is known as Chinese Face Reading.

Mian Xiang has a history that goes back to the time of Huang Di or the Yellow Emperor (2700 – 2150 BC). It was used together with other techniques such as pulse analysis etc as a diagnostic tool in Chinese medicine.

Beside medicine, it was also developed as a tool to interpret a person’s character and traits, his destiny, fortune and luck throughout his life.

The shape, structure and features on the face can reveal a lot of information about that person and this documented in many ancient texts on Mian Xiang. For example someone with a high, broad and unblemished forehead is likely to go far in his career. At a more advance level it includes moles, speech, gestures, facial expressions etc.

Other cultures such as the ancient Greek and Indians have also developed face reading. It is however mostly limited to reading character and traits.

Chinese face reading used in ancient times for selecting suitable candidates for Imperial positions. It was not uncommon in those days for people to not have accurate birth records. Trying to determine the candidate’s ability and destiny using astrology is not possible without accurate birth records. Also while birth data can be faked to exaggerate the candidate’s ability and destiny, the face cannot!

Nowadays some large Chinese owned corporation still make use of face reading when selecting top executives. For example someone with a good nose and cheeks will have the good luck between the ages of 41 to 50. And the selected candidate’s good luck will translate to gains for the corporation.

In the old days of arranged marriages the task of selecting a suitable wife for the son falls in the hands of the parents. Mother-in-laws are known to use face reading to select suitable wife/wives who can bring good fortune to their sons. Daughters with “Prosper Husband Benefit Children” facial features are highly sought after!

It is very common for potential Chinese business partners to ask each others for their date and time of birth to assess compatibility and business luck. However if you are not familiar with person or he comes from a different culture it can be awkward to do so. Mian Xiang can be a very effective non-intrusive analysis tool.

Acquiring the ability to read someone’s face is an invaluable skill. We are often required to size up a person and form a conclusion after a single meeting. Having the skill allows you to gain quickly an insight about the person and make informed decisions.

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What about Face Shapes?

This article is extracted from a free Face Reading e-book that I wrote a while ago.

Take a good look at the faces of the people around you. Do you see that they come in different shapes?

Some are rounded like a ball. Others may be square or oval and yet some may look like an inverted triangle, broader at the forehead and pointed at the chin.

Not every face will fit into the categories that I have described above. Some may look like a mixture of round and square and so on.

Chinese face reading text has a 5 faces and a more complex 10 faces classification. In this e-booklet I will introduce you to the 5 faces classification.

There is a pervasive principle in Chinese metaphysics called the Five Elements. I will not explain the principles behind the Five Elements but it is suffice to know that the elements are Metal, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth.

Each of these elements has a set of characteristics. For example Metal is oval and stands for righteousness and decision making, while Wood is rectangular and is associated with kindness, growth and learning and so on.

Wood Face

The first shape that I am going to introduce to you is the Wood Face. This face has a strong and broad forehead that tapers all the way to the chin like and inverted triangle. Please refer to the diagram on the right.

A tall and broad forehead indicates intelligence while a tapered and small chin indicates lower physical motive. People with such face shape tend to be deep thinkers, philosophical, have strong good analytical skills and a strong desire to acquire knowledge. Generally they do not like menial outdoor jobs.

People with Wood faces are highly suited for ‘thinking’ jobs like scientist, researcher, corporate strategist, advisers etc.

One weakness of wood face people is that they do not often spend enough time thinking about money and have the tendency to face financial problems in old age. Take a look at yourself in the mirror. If you have a wood face, you might want to put some money in property or other investments!

Water Face

The next shape that I would like to introduce to you is the Water face. The water face is rounded, wider in the middle and rounded at both the top and bottom. Please refer to the diagram on the right.

Water is associated with intelligence, diplomacy, adaptability and relationship. They also have strong business acumen and can take advantage of opportunities that come along.

Water face people are most suited to jobs that require interaction such as public relations officers, sales professionals etc. Or they can be good businessmen.

One weakness of water face people is the tendency to take too long to make decisions and others may view them to be slow. Another weakness of water face people is food and we know what too much good food can do to us!

Metal face

Next is the Metal Face which is sort of oval as shown in the diagram below.

Metal face people tend to have a whiter complexion. They have a sense of righteousness and justice and are very good in decision making. They are also elegant and courteous and they make natural managers or diplomats.

People with metal faces are suited for positions that involve justice and decision making such as judges, management professionals, diplomats etc.

Earth Face

The Square or Earth shape face represents someone who is stable, reliable and trustworthy. They are down to earth and are unlikely to take unnecessary risk, instead preferring to tread the beaten and proven path. They are also doers with strong will power.

Earth face people are suitable for jobs that require trust such as finance and insurance. They are also likely to end us as industrialist.

One weakness of Earth face people is the tendency to be too conservative and others may view them as not forward minded enough or worst label them a ‘Square’!

Fire Face

Finally we have the Triangle or Fire face. As the shape implies the face is pointed at the top but with a dominant flared out chin.

Fire face people are usually extroverted and have an aggressive style. They tend to be gregarious with a fun personality and are people oriented.

They are suitable for jobs that require an audience where they can utilize their best qualities. They made good speakers, network marketers, presenters etc.

Fire represents beauty and elegance and fire face people are also suited for show business.

One weakness of fire face people is their temper. They need to keep them in check.

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Meaning of Dreams in Chinese Medicine

Do dreams have meanings? Does it foretell a future event? Is there a meaning in dreams, especially recurring bad ones? What about sweet dreams or fearful dreams?


I get asked this quite a bit but I am unable to help as this is not my area of expertise. In fact dreams interpretation is a separate discipline by itself.

Recently I read a book on Chinese Medicine and there is a part on how dreams can assist in medical diagnosis. It is from the Yellow Emperor’s Medicine Classic – Miraculous Pivot. I find it extremely interesting and I would like to share some of their findings with you.

According to the classic, fearful dream is a result of deficiency of qi in the heart and gallbladder. It can also be due to a prolonged illness or excessive anxiety.

Angry dream is due to stagnation of qi in the liver and gallbladder or hardening of the liver. It can also be due to the presence of gallstones. On the other hand, happy dream is due to the smooth flow of qi and indicate quick recover even if you should fall ill.

Sad dream is due to deficiency of qi in the heart and lung, deficiency of yin in the liver as with chronic liver disease and tuberculosis. Melancholic dream is due to imbalance in the liver and spleen.

What about dreams where you are continuous striving for something? This is due to reverse flow of qi in the liver and gallbladder and rising of yang in the liver for example with hypertension and poor food digestion.

Floating and falling in dreams are amongst the most common type of dreams. Floating dream is due to excess in the upper part of the body but deficiency in the lower parts like deficiency of the kidneys, excess phlegm or coronary heart disease. Falling dream is due to deficiency in the upper and excess in the lower part. This is often seen in water retention in the kidneys and deficiency of yang in the heart.

What is the meaning of the dream of looking for food and water? Looking for food dream imply a weak spleen and deficiency of yin in the stomach. Looking for water dream imply excessive yang and depletion of bodily fluids for example due to high fever or dehydration.

What about looking for toilet dream? According to the classic, this dream is often caused by painful urination, inflammation of the intestines, poor digestion or diarrhoea.

Finally what is the cause of the most serious form of dreams, sleep walking? It is usually due to stagnation of qi in the liver or distractions!

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Dreams Dictionary 2

Here is Part 2 of the Chinese Dreams Dictionary.

Dreams Interpretation
Talking to god Sign of prosperity and fame
Corpse rising from the coffin Sign of wealth
Seeing your ancestors Major good sign
Vomiting Recover from illness
Conversing with a  goddess Birth of a son
Fighting with ghost Longevity
Your own wedding Separation or divorce
Separating from your siblings Rumors and gossip
Learning to read Sign of wealth and fame
You or someone else dies Sign of god luck
Female genitals Rumors and gossip
Your wife is pregnant She is having an affair
Washing hands, feet or hair You will recover from a disease
Eating cooked meat Good sign
Eating raw meet Bad sign
Broken mirror Separation from a love one
Having sex with a women Mishap
Yourself naked Major good luck
Women hitting each other You will fall sick
Sibling hitting each other Major good sign
Playing flute and drums Happy event
Killing a pig Major good sign
Killing a lamb Major bad sign
Insulted by someone Sign of wealth
Peacock Major good sign
Riding fast on a horse Good sign
Riding slow on a lame horse Bad sign
Snake turning into a dragon Help from powerful people
Centipede biting someone Longevity
Bear Birth of a son
Cat catching a rat Extra income
Women drawing a knife Birth of a son
Knife falling on the ground Money loss
Your clothes suddenly ripped off Your spouse is planning to cheat on you!
Bright mirror Good sign
Dark mirror Bad sign
Fireworks Your problem resolved
Weaving Longevity
Axe or scissor Sign of wealth
Fast boat or car Wealth and fame
Broken boat or car Bad luck
Wearing a new robe Second wife
Hot iron Luck events
Summer or spring Good sign
Autumn or winter Bad sign
Ringing bell Someone will visit
Someone returning money Recover from illness
Bronze coins Rumors and gossip
Parrot calling your name Rumors and gossip
Having sex with nuns (oops) Lose money

More Dream Dictionary.


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Dreams Dictionary 1

Here is part 1 of dreams interpretation more extensive list of dreams interpretation from the Chinese Almanac.

Dreams Interpretation
Reddish white clouds Good sign
Bluish dark clouds Bad sign
Red rainbow Good sign
Black rainbow Bad sign
Rain on a gloomy day Bad sign
Snow falls on you Sign of good luck
Clouds disperse and sun shine End of back luck
Praying to the sun and moon Strong sign of prosperity
Sunrise Women will give birth
Multi colored clouds Major sign of prosperity
Meeting god Sign of good luck
Worshipping the Sun and Moon Major sign of prosperity
Walking in the rain Enjoy life
Sunlight/moonlight shine on your chest Successful children
Sunlight or moonlight shines on you Career promotion
Sunlight falls on your house Take up a high position
Shooting stars Illness of lawsuit
Hit by lightning Wealth and fame
Clothes blown away by strong wind Disease or illness
Phoenixes Distant relative will visit
Eclipse of the sun or moon Give birth to a successful son
Rain stops and sun shines Troubles will go away
Flying high in the sky Wealth and fame
Door of heaven opens Meet benefactor
Entering a temple Birth of a son
Entering a house Have wealth and properties
A tree suddenly falling down Sign of bad luck
Walking with your spouse in a market You will acquire properties
Holding grains in your hand Have wealth and status
Standing in water Sign of bad luck
Your house on fire Sign of prosperity
Your living room tumbling down Sign of bad luck
Standing underneath a tree Help from powerful people
The ground opens up Sign of disease
Broken bridge Face lawsuits
Standing inside a paddy field Major good sign
Door wide open Major good sign
Door broken Bad sign
Door open by itself Adultery
House renovation Major good sign
Beam breaks suddenly Major bad sign
House cleaning Relatives will visit
A dead tree blooms again Have many sons and daughters
Drilling a well You have much wealth
Harvesting in the field Family is safe
High tide Sign of prosperity
Carry stones into the house Sign of wealth
Finding money on the road Major good sign
Fire break out in the kitchen Urgent matters
Walking with your spouse Your wife will be pregnant

Here is part 2.


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Dreams Intrepretation – Chinese Style

There is a section of the Tong Shu or Chinese Almanac on interpreting dreams. It is called “Zhou Gong’s Book of Auspicious and Inauspicious Dreams”.


Zhou Gong is believed to be the same Duke of Zhou who is reputed to have assisted significantly in the development of the Yi Jing, (Book of Changes), an ancient divination text.

We are not sure if he was personally responsible for the dreams interpretation. It is quite common to associate a piece of work with an authoritative figure to lend credibility. And Zhou Gong is certainly an authority on divination!

There are seven categories in Zhou Gong’s Book of Auspicious and Inauspicious Dreams. Within each section the dream interpretation is expressed in poem-like text!

The first category has to do with the planets and weather. For example if you dream of the sun or moon rising, your family will be prosperous, educated and will have good jobs. On the other hand it the sun or moon is setting, then you may be cheated by your friends or subordinates.

The second category deals with the home and surroundings. For example if you dream of bamboo trees growing healthily in your front yard, there will be good news. Or if you dream of walking about with your wife, it means that you will be buying a property.

The third category deals with gods and spirits. For example if you dream of visiting a temple, seeing the status of Buddha it means very good fortune. Have you dreamt of seeing a dead person rising out of a coffin? Do not worry. It is a good sign. It means that you will be earning a lot of money!

The fourth category deals with person or body. If you dream of going out with another woman, it means that you will lose money. It seems logical but here comes the interest part. If you dream that your wife is pregnant, it means that she will or is having an affair. And if you dream of yourself and your wife honouring each other, it means that you will be divorce!

The fifth category deals with music and disharmony. For example, if you dream of someone blowing a flute or hitting a drum it means that a party is imminent. Killing dreams are interpreted in a very interesting manner. If you dream of someone killing a chicken, goose or duck, it is a sign of good fortune. Killing a pig is even better fortune but killing a goat is a sign of evil and danger.

The sixth category deals with living creatures. If you dream of a snake becoming a dragon, it means you will get help from someone. If the snake bites you, you will receive a lot of money. Generally speaking if you dream of a dragon, phoenix or peacock it implies good fortune.

The last category deals with clothing and jewels and other miscellaneous items. If you dream of a golden hairpin, it means that you will have a noble son. However if you dream of expensive hairpins knocking together, it means that you wife will leave you. If you dream of your cloths dirty and covered with mud, it means your wife’s pregnancy will be problematic. Finally it is a sign of good fortune if your dream of picking money!

Visit my dreams dictionary for a more detail list of dreams.

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Chinese Astrology

There are many systems of Chinese Astrology that is used to tell a person’s character and traits as well as luck throughout his or her lifetime.

The most commonly known one is the 12 Animals Zodiac where you may be a pig, dog, rooster etc depending on your year of birth.

Under this system, your character is somewhat similar to the animal sign. For example, if you are born in the year of the rat, then you may be smart and cunning. If you are born in the year of the Ox then you may be hard working and stubborn like the ox and so on. In addition your fortune will fluctuate for better or for worst depending on the animal sign of the current year. For example the ox forms a combination with the snake and rooster as well as the rat. Hence Snake, Rooster and Rat are supposedly good for you.

If you carry out a study you will realize that this system is not always accurate. The primary reason is that this system is highly simplified as it only takes the animal (or earthly branch) sign into consideration.

More advanced systems of Chinese Astrology such as Ba Zi (Eight Characters or Four Pillars of Destiny) and Zi Wei Dou Shu (Purple Star Astrology or Emperor Astrology) takes into consideration the month, day and time of birth as well and yield a much more accurate and individualized reading!

There are other comparable systems of Chinese Astrology but they are not as well known as Ba Zi of Zi Wei.

In addition to the 12 Animals Zodiac, there are two other simplified systems of Chinese Astrology that is found in the Tong Shu or Chinese Almanac. They are the Emperor’s Poem of the Four Season and Weight of Bones.

The Emperor’s Poem takes the season and hour of birth to give a reading in the form of a Poem. The Weight of Bones system assigns a weight to each of the year, month, day and hour of birth. The individual weights are added together and a reading is given for the combined weight. Heavier is better!

There are two popular Chinese Calendar system, one based on the moon called the Lunar Calendar and the other based on the sun, knows as the solar or Hsia Calendar. The systems mentioned above uses one of the above calendar system and you must be careful not be mix them up. For example Ba Zi and Emperor’s Poem uses the Chinese Solar Calendar while Zi Wei and Weight of Bones uses the Chinese Lunar Calendar.

What about the 12 Animals Zodiac? There is some disagreement but most practitioners use the Chinese Solar Calendar.

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Relationship Advise – Chinese Style

It is possible to assess the quality of a person’s lifetime spousal relationship by studying the birth chart.

In Zi Wei Dou Shu (a system of Chinese Astrology) for example we would do this by taking a peek at the Spouse palace, the forces within, those acting on it as well as the stars contained within.

But what can you do it the chart shows your spouse relationship luck to be less than favourable? Do not worry, help is on the way. Here is some relationship advice from the ancient Chinese.

Relationship Advice
Relationship Advice

Marry or establish a relationship at the right time. For example if the chart indicate a probable divorce if you marry before the age of 28, then you should marry later to avoid this destiny from manifesting.

Make sure there is a significant age difference. To the ancient Chinese, a poor pre-destined spouse relationship can be improved if we do not follow the norm. It is normal for the man to be a few years older than the wife.

Therefore to alter the spouse luck, a man should marry an older woman (at least a day older preferably much more) or a much younger wife (greater than 7 years preferably more).

Yet another relationship advise is to ensure a significant difference in status. This is another variation of not following the norm. Ensure that there is a significant difference in status. For example if the man is highly educated, the wife should have a lowly education or if the wife is wealthy, the man should be poor!

Or be the second One.  Unfavourable relationship luck implies that you will not be successful as the first wife or the legally recognized one. The ancient Chinese believe that you can have more success if you take up the role of the 2nd wife, mistress or one that is not legally recognized.

But what can a man with poor spouse luck do? He can marry a widow or a divorcee! He can marry someone from a different culture. This is yet another variation of not following the norm. For example if you are Chinese, you can marry an Indian, Malay or a Caucasian person.

There you have it. You see, all is not lost even if your spouse luck is poor!

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Chinese Hour

“I was born on Hai hour. Does that mean I am harmful to others”, a friend asked.

My first thought was why would someone born on ‘Hai’ hour, be harmful to others. Then it dawn upon me that the word ‘Hai’ sounds a lot, in Chinese, like harm. He was visibly relieved after I assured him that his birth time has no direct harmful effect on his friends and family!

But what is ‘Hai’ hour? The ancient Chinese measure time in two hour blocks. ‘Hai’ is the name given to the two hour block between 9 PM and 11 PM.

There are twelve (12) two hour blocks in a day. The first two hour block is between 11 PM and 1 AM. This Chinese hour is called ‘Zi’ hour. This is followed by ‘Chou’ hour which is the time between 1 AM and 3 AM and goes on and finally ending at ‘Hai’ hour. Each of these Chinese hours is assigned an animal sign from the 12 animal zodiacs. For example ‘Zi’ is assigned the Rat. If you are born at say 12.05 AM, then your birth time is ‘Zi’ or the Rat hour.

Please refer below to the 12 Chinese hour and associated animal sign below.

TimeChinese TimeAnimal Sign
11 pm to 1 amZiRat
1 am to 3 amChouOx
3 am to 5 amYinTiger
5 am to 7 amMaoRabbit
7 am to 9 amChenDragon
9 am to 11 amSiSnake
11 am to 1 pmWuHorse
1 pm to 3 pmWeiGoat
3 pm to 5 pmShenMonkey
5 pm to 7 pmYouRooster
7 pm to 9 pmXuDog
9 pm to 11 pmHaiPig

The birth hour is very important in Chinese astrology such as Ba Zi and Zi Wei Dou Shu as they are required to complete the birth chart or the ‘picture’.

What if you are born in between two Chinese hour e.g. at 3 PM? Should you use the Wei hour (1 PM to 3 PM) or Shen hour (3 PM to 5 PM)? Recording of birth time is usually done by the attending doctor and is a best an approximate. Usually he writes down the time after the delivery which can be many minutes after the time that the baby takes the first breathe (more if there are complications).

For the purpose of astrology, it is crucial to figure out the right time. It is also necessary to adjust for any daylight savings adjustments that may have occurred at the time of birth. Otherwise the entire reading is wrong.

This is why determining the correct birth time is the first step to a successful Chinese astrology reading. We do this by asking the person some pertinent questions to see which chart ‘fits’.

So now you know when someone says she was born on the horse hour, it means ‘Wu’ time between 11 AM and 1 PM!

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Chinese Astrology Compatibility

The Chinese believed that those who are born four years apart are more compatible than those who are born six year apart. Do you know why?

The believe that our character traits are influenced by our year of birth. For example those who are born in the year of the rat are supposed to be intelligence but suspicious while those who are born in the year of the horse are generous and wants freedom. Also based on our year of birth we are imbued with certain characteristics that make us more of less compatible with those born under certain animal sign.

Chinese Astrology Compatibility Set


The Chinese people believe that the Monkey, Rat and Dragon form a Chinese Astrology compatibility set. They have characteristics traits that make them more compatible with each other. The other compatibility sets are the Snake, Rooster and Ox, the Pig, Rabbit and Goat and the Tiger, Horse and Dog. If you look at the year of birth you see that they are four years apart. For example those born in 1964 are Rats, 1968 are Dragons and 1972 are Monkeys!

The Rat on the other hand is supposedly less compatible with the Horse. They form an incompatible set. The other incompatible sets are between Ox and Goat, Tiger and Monkey, Rabbit and Rooster, Dragon and Dog and between the Snake and Pig. If you examine the year of birth you will notice that they are six year apart!

The compatibility tools that you find on the Internet are generally based on the above mentioned principles of combinations and clashes. Some others incorporate even more combinations and clashes rules that I have not mentioned into their algorithm but I hope you are getting the idea.

What if you and your spouse form an incompatible set? Do not lose much sleep over it. Did you notice that I used the word ‘supposedly’ many times? In practice our character is also heavily influenced by the month, day and hour of birth which are not taken into consideration in the Chinese animal horoscope described above. While most Rats are intelligent but highly strung, Therefore it is entirely possible for a Rat person to display some characteristics of other animals!

In my practice, I have seen many supposedly incompatible sets of husbands and wives. They are still together after many years of marriage and some of them quite happily!

I suppose love plays a part too.

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