Bound foot shoes

To wear these tiny shoes, a woman changed the shape of her feet by the process of foot binding, a centuries-old practice among women in China. The desired result of foot binding was “delicate” feet, which connoted beauty, modesty and status, and were referred to as “golden lotus” feet, or jin lian.


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  • Bound Foot Shoe

    Bound Foot Shoe

    Asia: East Asia, China

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  • Bound Foot Shoe

    Bound Foot Shoe

    Asia: East Asia, China

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  • Bound Foot Shoe

    Bound Foot Shoe

    Asia: East Asia, China, Northeast China, Shandong, Wangxian

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Why do the soles of these shoes look clean and unworn?

responded: Jul 20, 2012

Posted by Charlotte H

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The tradition of foot binding was initially practiced amoung the elite and wealthy parts of China, thi sgave wealthy girls the freedom from manual labour. Having lotus feet implied that the future husbands of these young women could afford a wife who did not work. Since they have mobility limitations, it made them dependent upon thier familes and their husbands, therefore becoming a symbol of of ownership since they could not be independent. It was also a symbol that they were there to serve and love thier husbands as well as direct the house staff. Lotus feet was a prerequisite to for finding a suitable husband, for example, upon meeting a prospective husand the young woemn would display her collection of shoes that she had elaboratyl decorated herself with animal and flower mofits. Hence why the shoes are so colourful and beautiful. Lotus feet was the ultimate symbol of beauty and the dainty walk it created was incredibly sexually enticing for men. It was so desirbale that by the 19th century nearly all of upper class China had bound feet. The shoes have been worn, yet the are clean because there was very little walking involded in thier daily lives. However, some women did work, attaxched is a photo of two lotus work shoes. *Fun Fact* The manchu woemn were forbidden to have thier feet bound so they inhvented a shoe on a pedatsal that would emulate the dainty walk.(See photos attached). (Photos: www.anetone.net)

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