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I remember hearing about Chinese women with bound feet when I was young. I thought it was a legend.
I thought that Chinese women simply had small feet and tight shoes. What a surprise when I realized that it was far from being a legend…
There are still some old women with bound feet in 21st century’s China… There is an unbelievable photo of them in “Marco Polo: a Photographer’s Journey” book by Mike Yamashita. It looks pretty shocking to see these women with feet half the size of a normal foot…
I read the incredible story of this tradition in the book “Mao’s Last Dancer“. Fascinating. Like so many things here in China.
Young girls had their feet constrained in tiny shoes, so they were forced to bend their toes under the bottom of their feet. It made women more “acceptable” for marriage, a sign of class and distinction in a way. But women with bound feet were actually handicapped by it (we can imagine).
They could not walk far enough and bring lunches to their husbands in the fields for instance and stayed mainly at home.
So, I will not only bring back a 70s’ Mao clock from China but some exquisite ceramics, this little red pair of Chinese bound feet!