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Who's Smiling

An art survey not too long ago ranked the Mona Lisa as the world's most popular piece of art. She (not it) has managed to somehow creep past the barriers that divide high culture from pop culture, and her visage has made it way to our mugs, wallpaper and shower curtains. She has transcended even beyond her creator, and arose as a cultural icon not only for art, but for feminity, and the enigma associated with this mysterious half of humanity.
The reasons behind her smile will remain a mystery to us forever. The slightly upturned lips, and the tiniest of creases at the corners of her eyes – the smallest hint of a smile. In the Fukien dialect of the Chinese language, it is best described as <em>ahm chio</em>, literally translated as smiling in darkness. A secret smile if you will. It seems as if she knows something about you, and isn't likely to tell you what it is. Maybe it's the mayonaise that's on your nose from the sandwich you had for lunch. Or how big a fuss you're making over what was essentially a small facial spasm.
Many others are of the belief that she isn't smiling at all. It is highly possible too that she, like many rich brats we know, smiles the obligatory smile in all manner of reluctance.
Smile or no smile, the small gesture when juxtaposed with the stark grey mountains in the background shine forth like a candle in the darkness, and many have learnt to find joy in Da Vinci's girl.

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