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

148
Recommend this Response
Foot-binding was not wide spread until the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). It was during this dynasty, in the sixteenth century, that foot-binding shoes began to more closely resemble the ribbon shoes and to incorporate a solid heel. The addition of a heel to foot-binding shoes was both a blessing and a curse for women who bound their feet. The heel provided more support for the bound foot than a flat shoe did so it became easier for women to walk. The binding eventually created a foot that can be anywhere from three to six inches long, vaguely resembling a lotus bud hence the reasoning behind a perfect three inch foot being called a golden lotus. Men found small feet to be sensual and erotic; they referred to a three inch long foot (the desired length) as a golden lotus, a four inch long foot as a silver lotus and a six inch long foot (the maximum length) as an iron lotus.

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