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). They had watched their mothers binding their own and copied.". Girls were required to bind their feet between the … Foot binding is an old Chinese custom of wrapping girls' feet with cloth in order to stop them from growing with age. After first assuming it was rare, he saw more and more study participants with bound feet and realized there was something else at work. 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. Foot binding started in China somewhere in the 12 th century, during the Song Dynasty. 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. 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. 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. Some (like Che Ruoshui) wondered why anyone would want to "torture" their daughter "with so much pain," while others said it was a vanity that made a woman incapable of working to her full potential. He wanted to find out why Chinese women had fewer hip fractures than their similarly aged American counterparts, and the second study participant was the first woman he had ever met with bound feet. Perhaps. Whenever it started, it was a barbaric practice. Mothers bound young girls’ feet so they would stay still and work with their hands, creating yarn and spinning thread, among other things, which families could use or sell. They were the most beautiful in their village because of their small feet. the practice of foot binding began to shift from a symbol of beauty to one of torture, oppression and control. Origins of Foot Binding Various myths and folktales relate to the origin of foot-binding in China. Some girls dealt with punishment in addition to the bindings. This proverb became a way of life (via the Hong Kong Medical Journal): "If you love your daughter, bind her feet; if you love your son, let him study.". So, why do it? Still, The Guardian says that for many who did finally unbind their feet, they found the damage was permanent. 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 practice officially was sanctioned in 1902. Foot binding was outlawed in 1911 because it was causing many deaths. 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. 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. As if that all isn't bad enough, it also wasn't uncommon for girls to lose a few toes in the process, which The Guardian calls "auto amputation.". Her famous golden lotus went on to give its name to the most desirable of feet: the very tiniest of them all. 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. She continued: "I regret binding my feet. The Shang Empress Taki had a clubfoot (deformed foot that is twisted so the sole can't be It was practiced by a large section of the population and crossed all socio-economic lines. 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. 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… 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." Respecting them meant not harming this gift that they gave us, and that meant not breaking, binding, and reshaping feet. When the young girls had foot binding, they would experience a painful feeling during the process. Some Chinese legends say people started binding women's feet as early as the Shang dynasty (1700–1027 BCE). She wasn't alone: The practice lasted for a long time after it was officially outlawed. 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). Why Did Foot Binding Exist? After learning about the gruesome process of Chinese foot binding, learn about why the Chinese used to eat human corpses dipped in honey . Foot binding lasted over 1,000 years in China and crippled an estimated one to two billion women. Her mother refused to bind her feet, so when she was 15 years old, she did it herself. The tiny shoes worn by some women with bound feet are called lotus shoes. The type of foot-binding practiced in rural communities was a form of discipline, the book argues. 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. Foot binding – a widespread custom in China that lasted for more than a 1,000 years – involved incredibly tight cloth bindings being applied to the feet of young girls to stifle growth. 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. 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. Women were encouraged to unbind their feet and burn the bindings, and some — like Pi Guiqiong — were able to. Foot binding was also a strong multi-generational tie for women, with the procedure performed by the women in a family. The exact origin of the practice is unknown. Considered an attractive quality, the effects of the process were painful and permanent. 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. "The way these women avoided injury," he wrote, "was by not doing anything.". Then, at night, we would bind them again.". 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. 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. Decorative shoes and leggings were worn over the bandages and could differ with the time of day and occasion. During the process, young girls either couldn't support the pain or they usually were infected. When The Wall Street Journal spoke with Wu Liuying about foot binding in 2009, the then 90-year-old explained: "When the Nationalists came here we would undo our feet in the daytime. It was such a nasty thing to do. The tradition, known as foot binding, eventually came to symbolize China's backwardness, a relic from the country's distant past. Foot binding originated in the tenth or eleventh century by dancers and courtesans. 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 … Few toe bones have actually survived. She said (via The Telegraph): "They were proud of what they achieved. 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." Skeletal remains of women with bound feet have shown that at their most extreme, the process "dramatically altered" the bones of the foot. Others would have their foot bent and compressed lengthwise as well, and that served to make the foot even less stable. Explain your answer. Foot binding, or 'lotus feet', stands as a symbol of a bygone China. 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 was a practice first carried out on young girls in Tang Dynasty China to restrict their normal growth and make their feet as small as possible. The one of the most common health problem relating to foot binding was infection. 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. When and where did foot binding start and end? Legend has said origins of foot binding go back to the Shang Dynasty (1700-1027 B.C). And that may have been the goal, as a girl who had her feet bound was more likely to stay at home and engage in the sort of work that would have made a major economic contribution to the family, like making crafts, processing tea, and spinning cotton. In another version, it was the emperor who ordered her — his favorite concubine — to bind her feet and dance. That's a lot of wiggle room and just goes to show how fuzzy history can get sometimes. It all started when palace dancers performed with bound feet and the practice spread slowly through China! 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. Fordham University says that while historical evidence is lacking, there's textual evidence that small feet were prized as a standard of beauty as far back as the Han Dynasty — between 202 and 220. 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? Card 1: Foot Binding By: Roana Yousefzai Other Forms of Body Mutilation that are Popular to Make Woman Look Beautiful Bibliography Other forms of body mutilation that are popular to make woman look beautiful are the following: tattoos piercings surgical changes of the body It was originally confined to the imperial court, but later spread to cities and villages. Binding the feet continued for the rest of the girl’s life. 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. Bounded Feet were now considered a symbol of high-class and beauty as well as elegance. 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. 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. According to The Atlantic, there's long been a massive gap in our knowledge of foot binding, and that's the long-term consequences. The fact that 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. Even as the practice started spreading through the countryside, teachers of Ruism spoke out against it. 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. Which of the written sources (Sources 1–5) is most relevant in judging how common foot binding was? In addition to the breaking of the bones and the reshaping that was done with the bindings, those bindings had another purpose: They were wrapped so tightly that they restricted the amount a foot would grow. Foot binding would normally occur in a ritualistic ceremony accompanied by other traditions intending to ward off bad luck. However not everyone supported the practice or bound their feet such as the poor, ethnic Hakka people, and women who fished. Then, the arch of her foot was bent as far as possible and also bound tightly with long strips of cloth. Small feet became a mark of beauty and elegance in the upper classes, and lower classes began to mimic that. When he investigated further, he found that women with bound feet were much more likely to have fallen than those without, but at the same time, Chinese women overall had a lower rate for fractures for one simple reason: They rarely left the house. "Some women bound their own feet as their mothers and grandmothers would refuse, and they wanted to fit in with those in their village. Not everyone was a fan of that train of thought, though. And why did they do it? 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. I can't dance, I can't move properly. It makes sense, then, that the process was also about economics — and not just beauty. But what does that mean as a woman ages? In one version, the practice goes back to the earliest documented dynasty, the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600 BCE–1046 BCE). This legend states that the emperor Li Yu had a concubine named Yao Niang. It's sort of understandable as a status symbol, for women who have the luxury of having others do all their work for them. I regret a lot. 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. Researchers have found (via The Atlantic) another motivation: economic gain. It turns out that it's a little more complicated than that. But at the time, if you didn't bind your feet, no one would marry you.". NPR dates the origins of foot binding to 961, while other stories put it somewhere around 1700 BC. 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). Foot binding, says Fordham University, was not a standardized practice. By the time of the Tang Dynasty, the upper classes were lauding the beauty of court dancers, who were known for their little feet and the tiny shoes they could wear. 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 first calls for reform came a few centuries later in the mid-1600s, and continued periodically until 1912, when it was banned outright. On the other hand, another story dates foot binding during during the Shang Dynasty (1700-1027 BC). After all that, they were forced to walk. 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. 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. 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. And poor communities, they say, "could not afford the luxury of helpless women." There are various theories as to why foot binding was continually practiced in China for 1000 years. 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. The major reason is that many men found bound feet to be highly erotic. Q: When did the practice of foot-binding start? This legend states that the emperor Li Yu had a concubine named Yao Niang. 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." 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. However, writing says that foot binding began at … When she was caught, her grandmother cut some of the skin off her toes. ", She also found that it wasn't always forced on young girls — in fact, the opposite was true. And this is where it gets a little strange. It allowed her to dance on her toes inside of a golden lotus, and the Emperor fell in love with her. 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. 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. 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. I mean, come on! And it makes less sense if you're, say, working in the fields or chasing animals around all day. There was no one way to do it, or a single, idealized way to re-form the shape of the foot. It is said that the practice of foot binding originated among court dancers in the early Song Dynasty (960-1279). They say that some estimates suggest about ten percent of the girls who went through the process didn't survive. Decades later, all her toes remained folded under her feet, but she hasn't reduced the length of her foot — the ultimate goal. 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. Feet altered by foot binding were known as lotus feet, and the shoes made for these feet were known as lotus shoes. It was also a form of deformation. 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. Legend says that foot binding began in Shang times. "When the inspectors came, we fooled them into thinking I had big feet." “It was a strong tradition passed from … Other stories say foot binding began during Tang times. "When people came to inspect our feet, my mother bandaged my feet, then put big shoes on them," Zhou Guizhen recalled. Putting an end to the practice of foot binding proved difficult. 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. 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). Presented by: Alexa R. Tatiana G. Maria C. and Karla E. Create your own unique website with customizable templates. 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. This usually caused the bones to break, thus causing extreme pain. How Did Girls End Up With Bound Feet? 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. Binding your feet was very dangerous. 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 key to a successful foot binding was to start the process early, before the bones in the foot had a chance to fully develop. That makes him a pretty big deal, so when he started writing that foot binding would prevent women from going on and partaking in all kinds of "unchaste" and "immoral" behavior, people listened. Under Communism, women with bound feet — who usually couldn't go outdoor work or walk as fast as others — were shamed. Why did foot binding start? The unfortunate Chinese tradition of foot binding was one that, however severe and painful, was present for much of the country's history. This is the horrifying tradition of foot binding that lasted in China for over 1,000 years and Chinese women swore by it. The practice of Chinese foot binding began during the rule of Li Yu when the emperor became attracted to a concubine who had bound her feet tightly for a dance routine. Zhu Xi was (via the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) one of the most important philosophers of the Southern Song, and in terms of influence, he was second only to Confucius himself. 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