A beautiful woman did her hair so skillful that this phrase was created. If you want to describe a skillful handiwork, you can use the following phrase.
Today we introduce a new phrase: qiao duo tian gong, which literally means “skill that surpasses the works of nature.” And there's a wonderful story behind it.
In the later years of the Eastern Han Dynasty, over one thousand eight hundred years ago, there lived a county magistrate named Zhen Yi. His youngest daughter was very beautiful. One day, a fortune teller came to Zhen Yi's house. When he saw the beautiful girl, he was amazed by her beauty. He told her parents that the girl had a very promising future and a noble fate. Hearing this, they were especially careful in choosing her a husband. Eventually, Miss Zhen was married to a very powerful person, Yuan Shao's second son. But chaos occurred during that period of Chinese history. Only a few years later, Yuan Shao died of illness and his second son was killed in battle, leaving the young widow and her mother-in-law lonely in the large house of the dead Yuan Shao.
When the enemy army took over Yuan Shao's house, the two women were taken to its leader, General Cao Pi. As soon as Cao Pi's eyes fell on the younger woman, he was enchanted by her breath-taking beauty. He asked her to comb her hair and handed her a towel himself. Before he left, he ordered his soldiers to guard Yuan's house and not to allow anybody to interrupt the family. Seeing this, Ms Zhen's mother-in-law was very happy, and she told her daughter-in-law that their lives were safe. Things turned out as she expected. Cao Pi soon married Ms Zhen, and she became his favorite wife.
Time moved on into the Three Kingdoms Period, and General Cao Pi became the king of the state of Wei. Ms Zhen was crowned queen. At that time she was already 40 years old. To make sure of her status in the eyes of the king, she spent a long time dressing and making up everyday. The story goes that in the courtyard of her palace there was a beautiful green snake, whose mouth often held a lustrous red pearl. Whenever Ms Zhen was dressing, it curled into various shapes. Over time, the queen noticed that the snake never curled into the same shape twice: every day it was different. So she started copying the shape of the snake when she did her hair. By and by, she became so skillful at this that people in the palace called the shapes of her hair “goblin snake coils.” The king was very fond of her hairstyles, and for a long time she remained his favorite. But as time went by, the king was tired of her, and spent every night with young concubines. The aging queen could not hide her disappointment, which so irritated the king that he ordered her to commit suicide. She obeyed her husband's command, and died a sad and lonely death. What a tragic ending! Fortunately, Ms Zhen's superb way of doing her hair left us a wonderful phrase: qiao duo tian gong, skill surpassing the works of nature. The idiom is often used to describe superb craftsmanship.