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Foot Binding The history, process and reasoning behind foot binding.

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Presentation on theme: "Foot Binding The history, process and reasoning behind foot binding."— Presentation transcript:

1 Foot Binding The history, process and reasoning behind foot binding

2 History   “Foot binding began in the late Tang Dynasty (618 – 906) and it gradually spread through the upper class during the Song Dynasty (960 – 1297). During the Ming period (1368 – 1644) the custom of foot binding spread through the overwhelming majority of the Chinese population until it was finally outlawed in the 1911 Revolution of Sun Yat-Sen. In fact, the only peoples to avoid this custom were the Manchu conqueror, The Hakka Chinese migrant groups in south china and the mean people, the lowest class of people in China who were below the social norms. The practice of foot binding lasted for approximately one thousand years. During this time, approximately on billion women had their feet bound.”   “Foot binding began in the late Tang Dynasty (618 – 906) and it gradually spread through the upper class during the Song Dynasty (960 – 1297). During the Ming period (1368 – 1644) the custom of foot binding spread through the overwhelming majority of the Chinese population until it was finally outlawed in the 1911 Revolution of Sun Yat-Sen. In fact, the only peoples to avoid this custom were the Manchu conqueror, The Hakka Chinese migrant groups in south china and the mean people, the lowest class of people in China who were below the social norms. The practice of foot binding lasted for approximately one thousand years. During this time, approximately on billion women had their feet bound.”

3 History continued   “One notable personality who aided in the spread of footbinding was the famed writer and scholar Zhu Xi (1130 – 1200 A.D.), whose commentaries on the Confucian classics would form the canon of Neo- Confucianism that would dominate Chinese intellectual and philosophical life for six subsequent centuries. An ardent advocate of footbinding, he introduced the practice into southern Fuijan in order to spread Chinese culture and teach proper relations between men and women, greatly influencing other writers who mention the practice as if it were normal.”   Women were not the only ones to bind their feet... “Some men, such as actors or male prostitutes, also bound their feet.”  Foot binding was still done in smaller Chinese villages until approximately 1957 which is when another revolution broke out.   “One notable personality who aided in the spread of footbinding was the famed writer and scholar Zhu Xi (1130 – 1200 A.D.), whose commentaries on the Confucian classics would form the canon of Neo- Confucianism that would dominate Chinese intellectual and philosophical life for six subsequent centuries. An ardent advocate of footbinding, he introduced the practice into southern Fuijan in order to spread Chinese culture and teach proper relations between men and women, greatly influencing other writers who mention the practice as if it were normal.”   Women were not the only ones to bind their feet... “Some men, such as actors or male prostitutes, also bound their feet.”  Foot binding was still done in smaller Chinese villages until approximately 1957 which is when another revolution broke out.

4 History - the legends behind foot binding   A concubine of a Chinese price named Yao Niang walked so gracefully that it seemed as if she “skimmed over the top of golden lilies.”   This same concubine was ordered to bind her feet so that her feet would look like new moons.   “Women bound their feet out of sympathy for an Empress with club feet.”   A concubine of a Chinese price named Yao Niang walked so gracefully that it seemed as if she “skimmed over the top of golden lilies.”   This same concubine was ordered to bind her feet so that her feet would look like new moons.   “Women bound their feet out of sympathy for an Empress with club feet.”

5 Process   Started on girls between the ages 5 and 7, but was occasionally started as early as 3 or 4 and as late as 9   Women, mainly the mother or the mother figure did the actual binding   A special day was chosen for the first day of the binding (sometimes the girl’s birthday but more than likely set “late in the fall or winter, so the foot would be numb and the pain would not be as severe”)   The feet were first “soaked in warm water or animal blood and herbs   The feet then were sometimes covered in alum (to help cover the stench of the rotting flesh – and also to help keep the feet dry)   The toenails were cut very short so they did not cut into the foot as it was being reshaped.   Started on girls between the ages 5 and 7, but was occasionally started as early as 3 or 4 and as late as 9   Women, mainly the mother or the mother figure did the actual binding   A special day was chosen for the first day of the binding (sometimes the girl’s birthday but more than likely set “late in the fall or winter, so the foot would be numb and the pain would not be as severe”)   The feet were first “soaked in warm water or animal blood and herbs   The feet then were sometimes covered in alum (to help cover the stench of the rotting flesh – and also to help keep the feet dry)   The toenails were cut very short so they did not cut into the foot as it was being reshaped.

6 Process continued   Sometimes a short foot massage was provided before the mother took each toe (with the exception of the two big toes) and forced them to touch the underside of the foot. Most of the time the mother would simply break the toes before bending them under but “Sometimes a rock or large block of stone would be used to break the bones that inhibited progress. Other times the child would simply be forced to walk back and forth on her bound and bent feet, so that her own weight would help crush the foot into the desired shape. The pain was excruciating and endless. At times it was so intense that the child would black out. Often the mother (to whom it fell to enact the time-honored tradition), would gag the child to muffle her screams.”   Sometimes a short foot massage was provided before the mother took each toe (with the exception of the two big toes) and forced them to touch the underside of the foot. Most of the time the mother would simply break the toes before bending them under but “Sometimes a rock or large block of stone would be used to break the bones that inhibited progress. Other times the child would simply be forced to walk back and forth on her bound and bent feet, so that her own weight would help crush the foot into the desired shape. The pain was excruciating and endless. At times it was so intense that the child would black out. Often the mother (to whom it fell to enact the time-honored tradition), would gag the child to muffle her screams.”

7 Process continued   A ten-foot long and two-inch wide bandage was wrapped around the foot. The bandage was usually made of silk or cotton, and was soaked in the same solution that the foot was first massaged in.   Every two days the bandages were removed, the foot was cleaned – the puss, blood and chunks of flesh were wiped away, then the foot was re-bound. (Only with the removal of the flesh can the feet become slender)   A ten-foot long and two-inch wide bandage was wrapped around the foot. The bandage was usually made of silk or cotton, and was soaked in the same solution that the foot was first massaged in.   Every two days the bandages were removed, the foot was cleaned – the puss, blood and chunks of flesh were wiped away, then the foot was re-bound. (Only with the removal of the flesh can the feet become slender)

8 Process continued  Every two weeks new shoes were worn, and after two or three years the desired size was accomplished... a whole three inches.   In essence the toes would be curled and crushed under the ball of the foot and the arch of the foot would be broken in half and the heel would be jutting forward so that only one to two fingers could be inserted between the heel and the ball of the foot.

9 Reasoning behind foot binding   women were forced to depend on men for everything   women could not leave the home, therefore they were more of objects of possession and not wives to love as another human being, it became a symbol of chastity

10 Reasoning continued   the vagina became tight along with the thighs and buttocks, men said it was like making love to a virgin every time   the foot also was used as a pseudo- vagina, the space in between the heel and the ball of the foot was used during intercourse   pornographic paintings were made picturing men fondling women’s bound feet.

11 Reasoning continued   “A girl’s beauty and desirability were counted more by the size of her feet than by the beauty of her face. Matchmakers were not asked, ‘Is she beautiful?’ but ‘How small are her feet?’ A plain face is given by heaven but poorly bound feet are a sign of laziness.

12 Pictures Just as a warning, some of this is graphic and is not pleasant to look at. You have been warned. Just as a warning, some of this is graphic and is not pleasant to look at. You have been warned.

13 Pictures

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15 Last Picture I promise

16 Thanks for watching... I hope no one got sick


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