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.


Collection Connections 

  • 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 27, 2012

Posted by VIC224Y - Intro to Material Culture Uoft

179
Recommend this Response
It was important that the bottom of wealthy women’s shoes were as beautiful and eye catching as the rest of the shoe, since only a wealthy woman could afford to be either stationary or carried about, and therefore would need attractive bottoms to her shoes. Lotuses were a very popular symbol to put on lotus shoes. On the ribbon shoes, for example, there are lotuses on almost every ribbon. There are: white open lotuses on the pink ribbon; the blue ribbon has white and blue lotus buds on green vines; the thick, green ribbon has blue lotus buds and a green open lotus; and there is a blue lotus that is mostly closed; and a white open lotus on the sole of each shoe. In Buddhism, lotuses are associated with purity, spiritual awakening, and faithfulness with different colours representing different qualities. Blue lotuses represent victory of the spirit over wisdom, intelligence, and knowledge; it is usually pictured as partially open without the center being visible (like the ones on the ribbon and the on the soles). White lotuses symbolize mental purity and the purification of one’s nature; it typically has eight petals and is also known as the lotus of Buddhism. Another popular symbol on all Chinese attire, not just lotus shoes, is the endless knot (seen on the ribbon shoes on the thick green ribbon with the two types of lotuses); it is also connected with Buddhism and represents the interconnectedness of the spiritual and secular, the past and present, as well as harmony in the universe.

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