Once the foot binding process was started, The Atlantic says that women would keep the bindings on their feet for the rest of their lives — and if it seems like the trauma of having toes broken and bent over and over again then walking on them is a recipe for all kinds of problems, it absolutely was. Well, a good marriage was pretty much out of the question, and girls who protested — or tried to unbind their feet — would be reminded of that. Even into the 1960s and 1970s, The Telegraph says government officials would inspect women's feet — if they were found to be wearing bindings, they'd take them off and hang them in the windows as a mark of shame. That story suggests that it was a Shang empress who had a clubfoot and ordered everyone to bind their feet in solidarity that … What did the process of foot binding entail? Some Chinese legends say people started binding women's feet as early as the Shang dynasty (1700–1027 BCE). Painful Memories for China's Footbinding Survivors Millions of Chinese women bound their feet, a status symbol that allowed them to marry into … During the process, young girls either couldn't support the pain or they usually were infected. Body modification has an incredibly long history — as soon as we were aware of the way we look, we were trying to change that for one reason or another. Which of the written sources (Sources 1–5) is most relevant in judging how common foot binding was? Bounded Feet were now considered a symbol of high-class and beauty as well as elegance. The practice officially was sanctioned in 1902. In another version, it was the emperor who ordered her — his favorite concubine — to bind her feet and dance. Few toe bones have actually survived. One of the most drastic forms is foot binding, a Chinese practice that Ancient History says started during China's Tang Dynasty (which began in 618). When the Communist government took over in 1949, they added a stigma to foot binding and pressured families to stop the practice and even reverse it. It's still disputed as to just why it became so widespread, and one part is that it was believed to increase a woman's marriage prospects and the likelihood of a sort of Cinderella story. The numbers are almost unthinkable: In the 19th century, nearly 100 percent of upper-class women had bound their feet, and half of women overall had gone through the agonizing, crippling procedure. "When people came to inspect our feet, my mother bandaged my feet, then put big shoes on them," Zhou Guizhen recalled. Legend has said origins of foot binding go back to the Shang Dynasty (1700-1027 B.C). Researchers have found (via The Atlantic) another motivation: economic gain. The key to a successful foot binding was to start the process early, before the bones in the foot had a chance to fully develop. For this assignment, we will complete the “Thinking Like an Historian” section “When and Why Did Foot Binding Begin?” Read the excerpts about foot-binding and answer the following questions. Little by little,it would start breaking bones from all the body. Binding the feet continued for the rest of the girl’s life. Her famous golden lotus went on to give its name to the most desirable of feet: the very tiniest of them all. Whatever the reason, Chinese foot binding probably persisted for more than 1,000 years, a reminder of how much society can sometimes expect women to suffer for beauty. The world began to regard foot binding as something that was an integral part of the old China and became a custom that was deemed as barbaric. It was such a nasty thing to do. "When the inspectors came, we fooled them into thinking I had big feet." I regret a lot. It turns out that it's a little more complicated than that. And it makes less sense if you're, say, working in the fields or chasing animals around all day. It was originally confined to the imperial court, but later spread to cities and villages. Her mother refused to bind her feet, so when she was 15 years old, she did it herself. She wasn't alone: The practice lasted for a long time after it was officially outlawed. Why did foot binding start? This legend states that the emperor Li Yu had a concubine named Yao Niang. We do know that it wasn't until 1874 that a British priest started the first anti-foot binding society, and while it wasn't outlawed for almost another 35 years, the practice continued long beyond that. Foot binding started in China somewhere in the 12 th century, during the Song Dynasty. By the 1600s, there was a difference in the preferred style in the north and the south of China. During 10th or 11th century, the practice of foot binding was started by the upper-class court dancers. The idea was that girls born in a lower class would have the opportunity to marry up if they had tiny feet, and some weren't afraid to say just why little feet were so desirable. Most will show the size of their feet and explain that they used to be smaller. The pain of the foot binding process is unfathomable, and if it was going to be done, it would be started when a girl was just five or six years old. Decorative shoes and leggings were worn over the bandages and could differ with the time of day and occasion. There are legend and historical reasons as to why foot binding started. And why did they do it? Consequences, he found, were lifelong. Supposedly a concubine named Daji who was said to have had clubfoot, asked an emperor to make foot binding mandatory for all females so that her feet would be the only custom of beauty. Binding your feet was very dangerous. It was practiced by a large section of the population and crossed all socio-economic lines. Su Xi Rong was 75 years old in 2008 and told photographer Jo Farrell (via The Guardian) that she had tried to unbind her feet. The tiny shoes worn by some women with bound feet are called lotus shoes. Researchers say (via LiveScience) that at first, many women were trying to create a narrower foot by wrapping it, and these early attempts didn't do too much to distort or damage the actual bone structure of the foot. “It was a strong tradition passed from … Then, at night, we would bind them again.". And this is where it gets a little strange. When the Qing Dynasty came to an end in 1912 and the Nationalists established their republic, The Wall Street Journal says they also outlawed the practice. Girls typically had their feet bound before they were nine years old, but it was seen as better to start when they were younger, often as young as four. … The Smithsonian says that a silver lotus — a foot that was just four inches long — was still respected, but anything longer than five inches was deemed an iron lotus, and then? Then, all the girl's toes would be broken, folded under her foot, and bound so they lay flat against her sole. Ancient History says that bandages also needed to be removed to treat regularly-occurring skin ulcers. There was no one way to do it, or a single, idealized way to re-form the shape of the foot. Foot binding was outlawed in 1911 because it was causing many deaths. Estimates suggest that as many as two billion women have had it done ... so what is it, how did it start, and why on earth would they go through something so painful and permanently life-changing? Origins of Foot Binding Various myths and folktales relate to the origin of foot-binding in China. It is said that the practice of foot binding originated among court dancers in the early Song Dynasty (960-1279). It allowed her to dance on her toes inside of a golden lotus, and the Emperor fell in love with her. While photographer and historian Jo Farrell found (via The Guardian) that some of the women who had the procedure done got around perfectly fine, others suffered "debilitating, lifelong physical effects." The major reason is that many men found bound feet to be highly erotic. All the bending and breaking of the foot interfered with a girl's circulation, and skin ulcers, Healthline says, are open sores that develop because of poor circulation. Feet altered by foot binding were known as lotus feet, and the shoes made for these feet were known as lotus shoes. According to the Huffington Post, the practice was widespread by the 12th century. In 1991, University of California professor Steve Cummings headed to Beijing. The tradition, known as foot binding, eventually came to symbolize China's backwardness, a relic from the country's distant past. She got married when she was just 15 years old, and while her husband originally told her that he liked her beautiful, tiny feet, he later encouraged her to unbind them. Not everyone was a fan of that train of thought, though. Then, the arch of her foot was bent as far as possible and also bound tightly with long strips of cloth. Widely used as a method to distinguish girls of the upper class from everyone else, and later as a way for the lower classes to improve their social prospects, the practice of foot-binding would c… Some girls dealt with punishment in addition to the bindings. While it was being done, the bandages would come off every two days so the foot could be cleaned, and any buildup of pus or blood could be removed (via the Smithsonian). But at the time, if you didn't bind your feet, no one would marry you.". Other stories say foot binding began during Tang times. After learning about the gruesome process of Chinese foot binding, learn about why the Chinese used to eat human corpses dipped in honey . If you want to know more the history of foot binding, you can check the below post: Facts about Chinese Foot Binding 1: the origin of foot binding. First, each foot would be soaked in a warm mixture of herbs and animal blood; this was intended to soften the foot and aid the binding. The motivations behind foot binding haven't always been 100 percent clear, says The Wall Street Journal. Explain your answer. It all started when palace dancers performed with bound feet and the practice spread slowly through China! But what does that mean as a woman ages? Presented by: Alexa R. Tatiana G. Maria C. and Karla E. Create your own unique website with customizable templates. That story suggests that it was a Shang empress who had a clubfoot and ordered everyone to bind their feet in solidarity that started the practice, but that's not the only tale. Still, The Guardian says that for many who did finally unbind their feet, they found the damage was permanent. Others would have their foot bent and compressed lengthwise as well, and that served to make the foot even less stable. Binding Feet to Gain the Emperor's Favor in the 10th Century The first recorded foot binding started from the Five Dynasties and Ten States in the 10th century and it became prevalent in the Song Dynasty (960–1279). A: The origin of female foot-binding had nothing to do with Ruism . Infection — and sometimes, the onset of gangrene — wasn't uncommon, and that's not entirely surprising, considering that sometimes, skin deemed "excess" was cut off, and further rot was actually encouraged. She said (via The Telegraph): "They were proud of what they achieved. There are a few different versions of just how foot binding started, and NPR says one of the oldest dates back to the Shang dynasty. They're so named, says The Wall Street Journal, because in the most extreme form of foot binding, the final shape of the foot was said to resemble a lotus bulb. NPR spoke to some women who — with the help of their mothers — went out of their way to trick government inspectors into thinking that they were complying with the law. According to a well-accepted view among historians, foot-binding began in the period of Wu Dai (907-979 C.E), which was more than one … However, writing says that foot binding began at … When the young girls had foot binding, they would experience a painful feeling during the process. Do you find in the evidence […] When she was caught, her grandmother cut some of the skin off her toes. No one knows for certain how or why foot binding came about. After all that, they were forced to walk. They had watched their mothers binding their own and copied.". Foot binding essentially forces a person to walk not on their whole foot but on only the heel bone and the big toe, which changes gait and posture. How Did Girls End Up With Bound Feet? There are various theories as to why foot binding was continually practiced in China for 1000 years. There are a few different versions of just how foot binding started, and NPR says one of the oldest dates back to the Shang dynasty. She continued: "I regret binding my feet. While it's long been accepted that an attempt at becoming more attractive to the opposite sex and enhancing a girl's likelihood to marry well is part of it, that's the thing — it's just part of the story. Foot-binding, which started out as a fashionable impulse, became an expression of Han identity after the Mongols invaded China in 1279. Supposedly, the corrupt last emperor of the Shang, King Zhou, had a favorite concubine named Daji who was born with clubfoot. I can't dance, I can't move properly. The Wall Street Journal says that with the "cucumber" foot, the four toes were folded under and broken, while the big toes were left straight — which was popular in the south. Fordham University questioned why women in poor or rural communities were willing to go through the pain of foot binding and risk disability and death. The unfortunate Chinese tradition of foot binding was one that, however severe and painful, was present for much of the country's history. The process of foot binding was one that took years and involved a significant amount of excruciating pain that resulted in a permanent deformity of the feet in order for them to appear smaller. The earliest relevant written records date to the 13th century and refer to the fame of the dancing girls with tiny feet and beautiful bow shoes at the court of the Southern Tang Dynasty (937-975) in southern-central China. However not everyone supported the practice or bound their feet such as the poor, ethnic Hakka people, and women who fished. According to the Smithsonian, it started mildly enough: with a soak in hot water, a pedicure, and a massage. The entire process could take from two years or well into a girl's teenage years, says Ancient History, and while there were professional foot binders who would do the process for some, for others, it was just done by a mother, grandmother, or other older family member. Under Communism, women with bound feet — who usually couldn't go outdoor work or walk as fast as others — were shamed. Women were encouraged to unbind their feet and burn the bindings, and some — like Pi Guiqiong — were able to. But John Vollmer, an expert on Asian fashion and museum curator, says "Almost every class of woman had some kind of foot-binding." Skeletal remains of women with bound feet have shown that at their most extreme, the process "dramatically altered" the bones of the foot. In account of the first legend, it was spread through the royal court and throughout China from the north to the south. Foot binding is an old Chinese custom of wrapping girls' feet with cloth in order to stop them from growing with age. That's a lot of wiggle room and just goes to show how fuzzy history can get sometimes. One legend suggests foot binding began during the reign of Li Yu (961-975) who ruled one region of china, according to historical records from Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD). According to the Smithsonian, Yao Niang was a dancer in a tenth-century court who wrapped her feet and shaped them into the form of "a new moon." I mean, come on! This legend states that the emperor Li Yu had a concubine named Yao Niang. They say that some estimates suggest about ten percent of the girls who went through the process didn't survive. "The way these women avoided injury," he wrote, "was by not doing anything.". Whenever it started, it was a barbaric practice. The idea was to speed up the process of breaking the arch of the foot so it could be bent even farther. Most agree that it began because of male erotic fascination with the shape and point of court dancers’ feet while dancing. But when British photographer Jo Farrell started interviewing some of the last women to have it done, she found that wasn't always the case. Young girls, between the age of 5-7, had their toes tucked under their feet, and then had their feet wrapped in long pieces of cloth to hold their toes in place. The practice of female foot-binding in China originated in the mid-900s, after Emperor Li Yu was tantalized by a dancer who “bound her feet into the shape of a new moon.” Within a couple hundred years, it had become customary for girls to begin having their feet … By 1928, though, 18 percent of women reported having bound feet, and it remained a common practice in Yunnan. Once the process was done, the ideal was the golden lotus: a foot just three inches long that showed in a very physical way that a girl had desirable characteristics, like "obedience and restraint." Why Did Foot Binding Exist? Q: When did the practice of foot-binding start? Foot binding was the Chinese custom of breaking and tightly binding the feet of young girls in order to change the shape and size of their feet; during the time it was practiced, bound feet were considered a status symbol and a mark of beauty. Foot binding, or 'lotus feet', stands as a symbol of a bygone China. Decades later, all her toes remained folded under her feet, but she hasn't reduced the length of her foot — the ultimate goal. After first assuming it was rare, he saw more and more study participants with bound feet and realized there was something else at work. Girls were required to bind their feet between the … "Some women bound their own feet as their mothers and grandmothers would refuse, and they wanted to fit in with those in their village. It also meant that many upper-class women were so crippled by it that they were assigned a companion when the process was started who would help her care for her feet and carry her when she was unable to walk. Foot binding lasted over 1,000 years in China and crippled an estimated one to two billion women. This is the horrifying tradition of foot binding that lasted in China for over 1,000 years and Chinese women swore by it. When and where did foot binding start and end? He found other problems, too: Women with bound feet tended to have a lower bone density in their spines and hips, more trouble getting up and down from a seated position, and severe difficulties when it came to managing things like a cane at the same time as, say, a shopping bag. The Shang Empress Taki had a clubfoot (deformed foot that is twisted so the sole can't be Foot binding, says Fordham University, was not a standardized practice. The practice of foot binding does not have an actual date of when it started; however there are many legends as to when the practice began and why. Bindings were regularly tightened, and the foot would eventually heal into a form that — ideally — crushed the toes and the heel together and formed a deep cleft along the sole. The fact that it … Even as the practice started spreading through the countryside, teachers of Ruism spoke out against it. Last living women in China with bound feet – Feet binding started in the Song dynasty and fell out of fashion in the early 20th century when it was banned by the government. It's easy to see the women who went through foot binding in an excruciating process as victims of social and cultural norms, as beholden to beauty. In one version, the practice goes back to the earliest documented dynasty, the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600 BCE–1046 BCE). She would bind her feet to symbolize the shape of a new moon and performed a "lotus dance" which brought her to become the emperors favorite. Considered an attractive quality, the effects of the process were painful and permanent. One legend suggests foot binding began during the reign of Li Yu (961-975) who ruled one region of china, according to historical records from Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD). The start of the practice can be traced back to 700 AD, and was not legally banned until 1911. 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