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. That's a lot of wiggle room and just goes to show how fuzzy history can get sometimes. According to the Smithsonian, it started mildly enough: with a soak in hot water, a pedicure, and a massage. When the young girls had foot binding, they would experience a painful feeling during the process. The fact that it … 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. 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. How Did Girls End Up With Bound Feet? the practice of foot binding began to shift from a symbol of beauty to one of torture, oppression and control. Foot binding, or 'lotus feet', stands as a symbol of a bygone China. 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. Researchers have found (via The Atlantic) another motivation: economic gain. 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 tiny shoes worn by some women with bound feet are called lotus shoes. I regret a lot. Foot binding was first reported during the Five Dynasties and Ten States period in the tenth and eleventh century. 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. "When people came to inspect our feet, my mother bandaged my feet, then put big shoes on them," Zhou Guizhen recalled. But at the time, if you didn't bind your feet, no one would marry you.". 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. Q: When did the practice of foot-binding start? Her famous golden lotus went on to give its name to the most desirable of feet: the very tiniest of them all. It was practiced by a large section of the population and crossed all socio-economic lines. 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. In another version, it was the emperor who ordered her — his favorite concubine — to bind her feet and dance. She said (via The Telegraph): "They were proud of what they achieved. 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.". 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." And poor communities, they say, "could not afford the luxury of helpless women." 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. Other stories say foot binding began during Tang times. 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. It makes sense, then, that the process was also about economics — and not just beauty. 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. There are legend and historical reasons as to why foot binding started. 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? Little by little,it would start breaking bones from all the body. Bounded Feet were now considered a symbol of high-class and beauty as well as elegance. Feet altered by foot binding were known as lotus feet, and the shoes made for these feet were known as lotus shoes. Presented by: Alexa R. Tatiana G. Maria C. and Karla E. Create your own unique website with customizable templates. They also taught that it was a matter of respect: Everything we are, we got from our parents. In 1991, University of California professor Steve Cummings headed to Beijing. But John Vollmer, an expert on Asian fashion and museum curator, says "Almost every class of woman had some kind of foot-binding." 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. The major reason is that many men found bound feet to be highly erotic. "The way these women avoided injury," he wrote, "was by not doing anything.". 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. Few toe bones have actually survived. Why Did Foot Binding Exist? This was a practice where a young girl’s feet were tightly wrapped. 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. They had watched their mothers binding their own and copied.". In account of the first legend, it was spread through the royal court and throughout China from the north to the south. The first calls for reform came a few centuries later in the mid-1600s, and continued periodically until 1912, when it was banned outright. 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. So, why do it? A: The origin of female foot-binding had nothing to do with Ruism . 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. Explain your answer. Girls were required to bind their feet between the … Even as the practice started spreading through the countryside, teachers of Ruism spoke out against it. 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 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. 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. Most will show the size of their feet and explain that they used to be smaller. Foot-binding, which started out as a fashionable impulse, became an expression of Han identity after the Mongols invaded China in 1279. 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. Perhaps. 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. 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). 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. 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. Putting an end to the practice of foot binding proved difficult. I mean, come on! 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. Binding the feet continued for the rest of the girl’s life. This legend states that the emperor Li Yu had a concubine named Yao Niang. 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 idea was to speed up the process of breaking the arch of the foot so it could be bent even farther. 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. After first assuming it was rare, he saw more and more study participants with bound feet and realized there was something else at work. 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? 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. It was a big decision — the elders in the village told her that the ban was just a temporary thing and that she'd regret it, but she unbound them anyway, and eventually, the swelling and pain went away. In one version, the practice goes back to the earliest documented dynasty, the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600 BCE–1046 BCE). 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. ", She also found that it wasn't always forced on young girls — in fact, the opposite was true. 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). Foot binding started in China somewhere in the 12 th century, during the Song Dynasty. During the process, young girls either couldn't support the pain or they usually were infected. 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. 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. Then, the arch of her foot was bent as far as possible and also bound tightly with long strips of cloth. But what does that mean as a woman ages? Respecting them meant not harming this gift that they gave us, and that meant not breaking, binding, and reshaping feet. There was no one way to do it, or a single, idealized way to re-form the shape of the foot. NPR dates the origins of foot binding to 961, while other stories put it somewhere around 1700 BC. 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 tradition, known as foot binding, eventually came to symbolize China's backwardness, a relic from the country's distant past. Women were encouraged to unbind their feet and burn the bindings, and some — like Pi Guiqiong — were able to. And that means it's a tradition that's been changing women's lives for at least a thousand years. And this is where it gets a little strange. Binding your feet was very dangerous. Painful Memories for China's Footbinding Survivors Millions of Chinese women bound their feet, a status symbol that allowed them to marry into … 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 … Then, at night, we would bind them again.". Foot binding was also a strong multi-generational tie for women, with the procedure performed by the women in a family. Foot binding is an old Chinese custom of wrapping girls' feet with cloth in order to stop them from growing with age. 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. According to The Atlantic, there's long been a massive gap in our knowledge of foot binding, and that's the long-term consequences. There are various theories as to why foot binding was continually practiced in China for 1000 years. It allowed her to dance on her toes inside of a golden lotus, and the Emperor fell in love with her. 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). The unfortunate Chinese tradition of foot binding was one that, however severe and painful, was present for much of the country's history. They were the most beautiful in their village because of their small feet. It's sort of understandable as a status symbol, for women who have the luxury of having others do all their work for them. 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. 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. 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. This legend states that the emperor Li Yu had a concubine named Yao Niang. 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 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… This is the horrifying tradition of foot binding that lasted in China for over 1,000 years and Chinese women swore by it. Foot binding originally began in the 10th century. The practice officially was sanctioned in 1902. It was also a form of deformation. I can't dance, I can't move properly. Do you find in the evidence […] Guo Ting Yu — who was 83 in 2010 — was one of those women (via The Guardian). Still, The Guardian says that for many who did finally unbind their feet, they found the damage was permanent. 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. Some girls dealt with punishment in addition to the bindings. "When the inspectors came, we fooled them into thinking I had big feet." Foot binding, says Fordham University, was not a standardized practice. 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. 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. Foot binding would normally occur in a ritualistic ceremony accompanied by other traditions intending to ward off bad luck. When and where did foot binding start and end? She wasn't alone: The practice lasted for a long time after it was officially outlawed. 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. 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. 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. Legend has said origins of foot binding go back to the Shang Dynasty (1700-1027 B.C). 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. 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 … Considered an attractive quality, the effects of the process were painful and permanent. Most agree that it began because of male erotic fascination with the shape and point of court dancers’ feet while dancing. “It was a strong tradition passed from … 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. 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." Small feet became a mark of beauty and elegance in the upper classes, and lower classes began to mimic that. Her mother refused to bind her feet, so when she was 15 years old, she did it herself. 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. Which of the written sources (Sources 1–5) is most relevant in judging how common foot binding was? "Some women bound their own feet as their mothers and grandmothers would refuse, and they wanted to fit in with those in their village. After learning about the gruesome process of Chinese foot binding, learn about why the Chinese used to eat human corpses dipped in honey . The exact origin of the practice is unknown. The one of the most common health problem relating to foot binding was infection. Supposedly, the corrupt last emperor of the Shang, King Zhou, had a favorite concubine named Daji who was born with clubfoot. She continued: "I regret binding my feet. Ancient History says that bandages also needed to be removed to treat regularly-occurring skin ulcers. It was such a nasty thing to do. Foot binding originated in the tenth or eleventh century by dancers and courtesans. 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. … Consequences, he found, were lifelong. 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. By the 1600s, there was a difference in the preferred style in the north and the south of China. They say that some estimates suggest about ten percent of the girls who went through the process didn't survive. However not everyone supported the practice or bound their feet such as the poor, ethnic Hakka people, and women who fished. 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. That story suggests that it was a Shang empress who had a clubfoot and ordered everyone to bind their feet in solidarity that … The Shang Empress Taki had a clubfoot (deformed foot that is twisted so the sole can't be Skeletal remains of women with bound feet have shown that at their most extreme, the process "dramatically altered" the bones of the foot. 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. 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." Under Communism, women with bound feet — who usually couldn't go outdoor work or walk as fast as others — were shamed. Foot binding lasted over 1,000 years in China and crippled an estimated one to two billion women. The start of the practice can be traced back to 700 AD, and was not legally banned until 1911. What did the process of foot binding entail? Why did 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. It is said that the practice of foot binding originated among court dancers in the early Song Dynasty (960-1279). 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