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

146
Recommend this Response
The casing on this pair of shoes is mostly red silk with couched metal thread and a silk covered heel, possibly made out of wood, that extends to the instep. Both the heel and the sole of the shoe are covered in silk that has been embroidered with more lotuses, and the heel appears to have been embroidered by hand. The cuff is made out of a cotton base with silk ribbons (mostly embroidered), in varying colours and widths, sewn in tiers. The tiers from top to bottom include: a black ribbon; a pink ribbon with small lotuses; a teal block—too large to be considered a ribbon—with lace on the bottom that is beginning to unravel on one of the shoes; a royal blue ribbon with lotuses and animals; and a green ribbon with lotuses and knots. The cuff makes this shoe slightly more unusual because it allows the wearers foot to be completely enclosed instead of requiring extra wrapping to conceal the bound foot.

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