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The Four Beauties

By luciole
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The legendary four beauties of ancient China. They have a very rich history and legend behind them, which I try to honor while giving them my own take.

From left:
From left:
Xi Shi | The king of Yue searched his lands for a beauty, and Xi Shi, the extraordinarily beautiful daughter of a humble tea trader was favored. The king trained her in espionage and court etiquette and sent her, richly dressed, to the prince of the Kingdom of Wu as a tribute gift. The prince was so charmed by her bewitching that he neglected his kingdom. Easily, the King of Yue invaded during the political chaos and overtook the kingdom of Wu. The prince committed suicide and Xi Shi lived happily ever after with her lover, the minister Fan Li.
She's said to be so beautiful that when she was washing silk by the river, the fish was so entranced by her beauty that they forgot to swim and drowned.

Wang Zhaojun | Emperor Yuan used painted portraits to choose his concubines, so naturally, the ladies bribed the court painter to make each of their portraits more flattering. Wang Zhaojun was confident in her beauty and refused to bribe him, and in anger, the artist painted her terribly. One day, the emperor wanted to send one of his court ladies to the Huns as a political bride, and based on her misleading portrait, Wang Zhaojun was chosen. When she sadly turned to go, Emperor Yuan saw her face and realized that she's actually the most beautiful in his court. But it's too late.. as the luckless beauty walked out of the palace into the winter day, a flock of birds flying overhead was so struck by her selflessness and gorgeousness that they forgot to fly and fell to their deaths. Emperor Yuan put the dishonest court painter to death, but Wang Zhaojun never returned to her homeland.

Diaochan | Diaochan, a gentle, loyal maid, helped orchestrate a war between two warlords and ended the rule of a tyrant using her charm. Unfortunately, she was eventually put to death by the tyrant's cronies. The legend goes that one autumn night as she was worshiping the moon, the moon was so awed by her beauty that it hid behind some clouds out of shame.

Yang Guifei | Yang Guifei was a high ranking, privileged beauty, and the Emperor Xuanzong was so in love with her that he neglected his state affairs and indulged in their pleasures, feasting and drinking all day long. The legend goes that she's so beautiful, the spring flowers would refuse to bloom out of embarrassment. Yang Guifei also loves to take baths, and the Emperor built lavish, splendid lakes and baths for her. One day, a rebellion was staged and the Emperor fled the palace with Yang Guifei, but his soldiers refused to go on and demanded the death of the beauty, whom they believe had ruined the country. Towards the end, Yang Guifei killed herself to save the king.
Image size
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© 2008 - 2020 luciole
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FireHead12Zachy's avatar

Love the different tones expressed in each of the four. Also, I like you included the backstory :) Though the picture itself certainly has many layers and stories to tell...

Greydaygirl's avatar
Hey! I really like your take on the Four Great Beauties. In particular I like your Yang Guifei. Would it be alright if I featured your art on a chapter of my story ‘The Wandering God’ on wattpad? I would include and link back to this page and give you full credit.
DimasLarez's avatar
DimasLarezHobbyist Traditional Artist
Beautiful work... i love the theme...
Jessicatwantstodie's avatar
JessicatwantstodieHobbyist Traditional Artist
J2Ra's avatar
Simply beautiful!
SweetDoodles's avatar
SweetDoodlesHobbyist Digital Artist
THE LIPS Heart Eyes Emoji 
CypherCanvas's avatar
CypherCanvasHobbyist Digital Artist
Wow, very beautiful! <3
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mgt-paulo's avatar
mgt-paulo Digital Artist
CheeseChick030's avatar
CheeseChick030Hobbyist General Artist
got damn
Heartshackles's avatar
HeartshacklesHobbyist General Artist
Ooh, the stories are very interesting. Thank you for sharing them with us through this art! Each of them are beautiful, and I think particularly Xi Shi turned out great - her pose fits her story, I believe.
Amethyst-Phoenixx's avatar
Amethyst-PhoenixxHobbyist General Artist
Stunning!! Heart Love Heart Love Heart Love 
Grassy-Null's avatar
Grassy-NullProfessional Artist
Are these from League of Legends?
OlgaPorfimovych's avatar
OlgaPorfimovychProfessional Digital Artist
Futs-Lung-09's avatar
This is amazingly beautiful! My grandfather goes to China for work a few times a year, and he got me a doll of Xi Shi!
katagro's avatar
katagro Artist
These peonies *U*
atram95's avatar
atram95Hobbyist Artist
I'm Speechless!!
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NonirosuuHobbyist General Artist
this is one of the prettiest images i've seen:)
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naseelahStudent Writer
Love it , the stories are also quite interesting. ❤✨
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marloesnesHobbyist Digital Artist
How do you get the skin so smooth? 
Butch007's avatar
I know you're probably not on here much since most people that have been members for more than 5 or 6 years aren't, but I was wondering if you paint in Index color mode when using Photoshop to achieve such smooth gradation?
scorpiov's avatar
Beautiful. And the accompanied stories give the work more depth :)
greatyu's avatar
greatyuHobbyist Digital Artist
IT was fascinating to read the stories and to gaze at their faces at the same time! ^^
Thanks for the tale! :D 
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