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Perhaps no other shoe in history has provided so much cultural fascination and ethical revulsion than the traditional Chinese practice of foot binding. Undertaken by (or enacted upon) young girls between the ages of 5 and 7, the binding process entails the breaking of the bones in the foot, and subsequent warping and (sometime) mutilation of the foot in order for it to remain a tiny size, ideally no longer than three inches in length (known as a “golden lily” by practitioners).

“Lotus Slippers” and Chinese Foot Binding

Perhaps no other shoe in history has provided so much cultural fascination and ethical revulsion than the traditional Chinese practice of foot binding. Undertaken by (or enacted upon) young girls between the ages of 5 and 7, the binding process entails the breaking of the bones in the foot, and subsequent warping and (sometime) mutilation of the foot in order for it to remain a tiny size, ideally no longer than three inches in length (known as a “golden lily” by practitioners).

Chinese Foot Binding    Chinese foot binding is a now ancient tradition of wrapping the feet of young girls.  This tradition died out, thankfully, about 100 years ago.  The idea was, the smaller the feet, the more beautiful and feminine the girl.

Chinese foot binding is a now ancient tradition of wrapping the feet of young girls. This tradition died out, thankfully, about 100 years ago. The idea was, the smaller the feet, the more beautiful & feminine the girl.

Young ladies of noble birth with bound feet sitting in chairs. Women of noble birth all had their feet bound, while only the eldest female child from a poor family had her feet bound. (Sarah Partridge Digital Archive) - See more at: http://www.visiontimes.com/2013/07/23/rare-photographs-of-chinese-foot-binding-from-the-1800s.html

Rare Photographs of Chinese Foot Binding from the 1800s

Young ladies of noble birth with bound feet sitting in chairs. Women of noble birth all had their feet bound, while only the eldest female child from a poor family had her feet bound.

chinese foot binding.  Often a sign of wealth as women with bound feet could not stand long to do household tasks.  Shoes for bound feet were usually exquisitely embroidered as needlework was one thing these women could do while sitting.

Often a sign of wealth as women with bound feet could not stand long to do household tasks. Shoes for bound feet were usually exquisitely embroidered as needlework was one thing these women could do while sitting.

Thanks to foot binding, an ancient practice dating back to the 13th century, Chinese women were thought to be more attractive and eligible to marry because of their dainty feet

Chinese woman, 84, recalls agony of having her feet bound as a child

Thanks to foot binding, an ancient practice dating back to the century, Chinese women were thought to be more attractive and eligible to marry because of their dainty feet

"Bound feet were once considered intensely erotic in Chinese culture, and a woman with perfect lotus feet was likely to make a more prestigious marriage." Foot binding - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Underwood & Underwood, A high caste lady’s dainty “lily feet”, China,

Beautiful shoes but hideous tradition of binding and deforming girls' feet. Previous pinner said: Shanxi style antique Chinese lotus shoes, 19th century. LADIES' BOUND FEET SHOES.

DAM’s “Threads of Heaven”: No history degree required

Beautiful shoes but hideous tradition of binding and deforming girls' feet. Previous pinner said: Shanxi style antique Chinese lotus shoes, century.

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