Excerpts from The Face Reader by Patrician McCarthy, published by Dutton, 2007

The Mien Shiang Five Element Philosophy

The Face Reader teaches how to relate people’s personality traits to the Five Element philosophy of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The photos and information below have been excerpted from the book’s eight-page full-color insert.


These are passionate people and natural leaders. You recognize them by their intense gaze, strong brow bones, prominent eyebrows and rectangular face.


These charming and spontaneous people come from the heart. You recognize them by their oval shaped face, sparkling eyes and brilliant smile.


Earth people are grounded, supportive people known for their nurturing ways. You recognize them by their full mouths, and full fleshy chins, cheeks and earlobes.


Cool, clear and elegant describes these organized and often philanthropic people. You recognize them by their long slender noses, high eyebrows and prominent cheekbones.


Water people are wise and determined seekers of truth. You recognize them by their open, often dreamy eyes; their full lower cheeks; rounded upper forehead; and determined jaws.

WoodFire with Earth

The Fire with Earth person brings fun to everything with a rock-solid stability. Her Fire is in her sparking eyes and her Earth in her strong chin.

WoodMetal with Wood

The Metal with Wood person tackles a problem with practicality and fights to enforce his opinion. His Metal is in his long, narrow nose and his Wood is in his heavy eyebrows.