Manchu Vs Han Facial Features

When it comes to discussing the Manchu people and Han Chinese, one aspect that often arises is how their respective facial features differ. While both ethnic groups originate from China, they have historical differences, cultural practices, and physical characteristics that distinguish them from one another. In this article, we will dive into the topic of the Manchu vs Han facial features, their origins, and the cultural practices that might have influenced them.

Origins and Physical Characteristics

The origins of the Han Chinese date back to the Xia dynasty (2070 BCE–1600 BCE), when the Han people were initially known as the Hua Xia. Over time, they became known as the Han Chinese, and today, they make up the largest ethnic group in China, comprising approximately 92% of the country’s total population. Han Chinese lives mostly in mainland China and Taiwan. Physical characteristics of Han Chinese people are Straight, black hair, and symmetrical facial features.

In contrast, the Manchu people originate from the Manchuria region, located in modern-day northeastern China. The Manchus were a tribal people before they conquered China in the early 17th century and established the Qing dynasty. The Qing dynasty lasted until the early 20th century before the Republic of China replaced it. Physical characteristics of Manchu people include a larger head and longer face, as well as eyes that slant higher at the outer corners, and sparsely growing facial hair. Their hair color ranges from brown to reddish-brown, with purer Manchu people having more red-toned hair.

Cultural Practices That Influenced Facial Features

The physical differences between the Manchu and Han Chinese people also have cultural roots. For instance, after the Manchu’s conquered China, they imposed their traditional hairstyles and dress codes on the Han Chinese people. The Manchu hairstyle, also known as the “queue,” was required by law for all men to wear in China during the Qing dynasty. It was a plaited hairstyle, featuring a long ponytail wrapped in a silk ribbon or used to form a bun. The queue was an outward symbol of the Manchu’s conquest of the Han Chinese, as it was viewed as oppressive and a sign of subservience. However, after the Ming dynasty, the queue has also been adopted by Han Chinese people, which the Qing dynasty made it compulsory for everyone regardless of their origin.

Another cultural practice that may have influenced the facial features of Manchu and Han Chinese people is the use of makeup. Han Chinese women have known for over 2000 years to apply makeup to enhance their beauty. Traditional Han Chinese makeup included crushed pearls and other minerals ingested in removing acne, enhancing skin tone, and lightening complexion. The Manchu women, on the other hand, cultivated different beauty standards, and their makeup practices differed. Manchu women porcelain skin, blushed their cheeks, and painted their lips in vibrant red only.

The Different Types of Facial Features

The Han Chinese facial features tend to be more symmetrical than the Manchu features. Their faces tend to be more rounded, with small, almond-shaped eyes, straight noses, and thin lips. Their jaws are typically small and sharp chin. While Han people have larger looking eyes, they tend to be flatter than the Manchu eyes.

In contrast, the Manchu people’s facial features are more prominent, with slanted eyes that often give the impression of a slightly reserved or introspective nature. They tend to have a slightly longer face shape and small nose in proportion with the rest of their face. The eyes of Manchu people tend to be wider apart and the cheekbones pronounced.


From our discussion, you can see that the similarities and differences between the Manchu and Han Chinese facial features have several cultural implications. While the two groups share many features, such as straight hair and high cheekbones, they do differ in terms of roundness or angularity of the face and features like nose size and eye shape.

We can conclude that the cultural practices adopted by both ethnicities have played a significant role in shaping their unique facial features of the Manchu and Han Chinese people. Today, these differences in facial features are not as distinct as they once were due to the intermixing of the two ethnic groups over the years. However, cultural practices still play a significant role in shaping facial features, as they are often the result of differences in the way that cultures value certain aesthetic standards.