Woman's shoes for bound feet - 980.271.4.A-B_1_SA


Woman's shoes for bound feet

Medium:Satin embroidered with silk floss and couched gold filé
Geography: China
Date: 1875-1900
Period: Guangxu (r. 1875-1908), Qing Dynasty
17.6 cm
Object number: 980.271.4.A-B
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Maxwell Halsey, in memory of her sister Grace Darling, 1895-1955
Not on view

Tiny feet - ideally 7.5 cm long - were the former beauty ideals for the Han Chinese. For hundreds of years (1000-1912), young girls at age 3 began to have their feet bound and reshaped using 10 feet of cotton cloth. Major erotic symbols and signs of elite status, shoes for bound feet were called lotus buds. They restricted woman’s stride to short mincing steps while the bright, embroidered silk drew the gaze.

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