Ugliness / Chou
The original Chinese character chou (醜) literally means “ghastly-looking like a drunkard.” It can then be extended to refer to people and things which are ugly, bad or despicable. This term contains two meanings. First, as a concept in Chinese thought and culture, it stands in contrast to “beauty,” indicating ugly appearance, as well as the state of being messy, unpolished, unharmonious or unreasonable. “Ugliness” is sometimes used to describe a type of appearance which violates mainstream aesthetic standards and thus is not accepted by the general public. Understanding and accepting the notion of “ugliness” is a breakthrough and extension of the definition of “beauty.” Second, the term also refers to clowns who perform funny-looking and amusing characters in a traditional Chinese opera, with a small patch of white chalk painted around the nose.
Jie, a tyrannical ruler in ancient China, sometimes also did good things, whereas during the reign of benevolent Yao, certain matters were woefully neglected. The ugly Momu had her attractive aspects, and the beautiful Xishi had her unattractive aspects. Likewise, laws adopted by past countries now perished may have some merits while laws adopted by countries which are still thriving may have demerits. (Huainanzi)
Being clumsy and simple is better than being clever and dainty. Being unattractive and crude is better than being vulgar and charming. Being unrefined is better than being frivolous. Being natural and spontaneous is better than being rigidly prearranged. Only by doing so, can a calligraphic style, which seems to face an impending doom, survive and sustain. (Fu Shan: A Postscript to the Poem “A Work of Calligraphy Written to Advise My Children and Grandchildren”)