Close-Up with Lily Slippers: A Relic of Chinese Foot Binding
These are Chinese Lily slippers. At the tender age of three, girls would
have their feet purposely broken and tightly bound. Shaped so that their toes
touched their heels, walking was difficult. Prolonged standing was impossible. Unable to work these women had to be “kept” by wealthy men. By the Manchu Dynasty, the
practice became more widespread, and feet were broken into a lotus shape. Though it was first fought in 1874, pressure from the Christian Women’s Temperance
movement led to the practice being outlawed as a result of the Boxer
Rebellion. Believe it or not, it wasn’t until Mao’s communist government took over in 1949 that foot binding was totally eradicated.