Chinese foot binding.. What Women went through for acceptance

Its hard to believe anyone thought this was attractive but most likely our idea of beauty…that  being a women who is ultra thin and our compulsive dieting would seem ugly and odd by the standards of a hundred years ago.
In my research for geisha I found these photos and they are photos of a chinese women not Japanese but some how they came up under geisha.  I just finished reading a book about China and foot binding and in this story they bound the child’s feet at 6 years old.  They had to break the toes and to do this, each day they would  bind and rebind the child’s feet …. tightening the bandages, then require the child to walk back and forth until all the toes were neatly tucked under the foot. Some mother’s had a difficult time keeping the bandages on or tightening them enough and the child’s feet did not get bound correctly and they were basically left crippled by the ordeal. Apparently even when done correctly the person cannot walk long distances without discomfort.  This practice was outlawed by the government in 1958 but apparently in some rural areas it was not reported.  The book is called

” Snow Flower and the secret fan”     Lisa See is the writer.

Now I’m reading “geisha” by Liza Dalby I’ll let you know how it goes…..

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9 thoughts on “Chinese foot binding.. What Women went through for acceptance

  1. Wow – incredible story… had never seen pictures of this done & was always hard to imagine! Thanks for sharing your research into your new paintings – & studio photos, etc.!
    Great work!

  2. Just found your blog while looking up geisha photos.
    While in China I picked up a book on bound feet; there were many illustrations but no photos. It’s striking to see a real photo.

    Bound feet in “THEIR” Chinese culture were no more crippling than the corsets used in America and Europe for centuries. Children wore restrictive corsets, and women died each year, pierced by the corsets worn to keep them beautiful.

    • I agree, we as humans have a real problem with our need to be beautiful and how that relates to our self-worth. Women and now a days more and more men are putting them selves thru some pretty severe regiments to be attractive in the eyes of their peers. Our modern day quest for youth and beauty seems to have actually created several eating disorders and who knows how many body image problems.

  3. binding their feet certainly was a lot more crippling than corsets. Corsets could be taken off, these people had their bones broken and disfigured so they were completely deformed. Their feet could not be put back to normal again by removing the bindings. Not that corsets were any less stupid! And yes we do a lot of stupid things these days which are probably in some ways even worse, butt implants, boob implants, faces pulled and sucked all out ouf shape and lips filled with muck. everyone is mad!

  4. Gosh…but now a days is the same problem, women wearing very painful high heel shoes (and for the sake of looking good some even pretend they do not hurt). As women get older the constant use of such high heels cause damage to knees, hips and back. It seems like humans have had this problem for ages.

  5. Pingback: Broken Ed | The Indelible Muse

  6. Hello just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the pictures aren’t loading correctly. I’m not sure why but
    I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same results.

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