posted at 22:50
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Is Mona Lisa inscrutably Chinese? Italians theory raises eyebrows
Angelo Paratico, a Hong Kong-based historian and novelist from Italy, told the South China Morning Post: "On the back of Mona Lisa, there is a Chinese landscape and even her face looks Chinese." Chinese web users expressed astonishment and disbelief Wednesday, posting dozens of parodies of the painting, with faces from Chinese comedians to British actor Rowan Atkinson grafted over her delicate features. Paratico, who is finishing a book entitled Leonardo da Vinci: a Chinese scholar lost in Renaissance Italy, cited Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud's 1910 assumption that the painting was inspired by the artist's mother. The evidence for a Chinese connection appears to be slight, with Paratico saying he was sure "Up to a point" that da Vinci's mother was from the Orient. "To make her an oriental Chinese, we need to use a deductive method," he added. Many posters on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo were incredulous. Another user replaced her features with unlikely faces ranging from Chinese male comedian Zhao Benshan to British actor Rowan Atkinson, to a grimacing robot holding a Mona Lisa mask. "I now understand why her smile looks so mysterious and concealed - it's typically Chinese," said another poster.

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