For 1000 years, foot binding were the erotic hallmarks of Chinese women and girls. Yet for someone to practice the tradition requires enduring the agonizing pain of disfigurement and even the threat of death should the procedure was improperly done. Read on to learn some intriguing and controversial facts about Chinese foot binding.
Foot binding was first recorded during the middle of the 10th century, where the practice was restricted to royal families and the upper most class of the society.
For the record, Precious Thing, a ballerina was the very first to show off her bounded feet. Her erotic dance routine where ribbons spins from her legs and feet led to this ancient Chinese tradition.
This custom was handed down from generation to generation where it is believed that girls having bounded feet have a bigger chance of getting a partner. While a prospective husband deemed it a feather in his cap if he got a woman with bounded feet as her wife.
Some Chinese tribes at one time or another don’t practiced foot binding among them the Hakka, Manchu and Tanka. However, since majority of Chinese fall under the Han ethnic clan, who believed that woman with bounded feet could get a decent husband the custom became widespread.
Attaining a “golden lily” feet, a bound foot must be three inches or smaller. To achieve such a feat, the foot’s arch would have to be broken and the toes (excluding the big toe) be folded under the foot.
Girls who wanted to have their feet bounded must undergo the process at a very young age probably between five to six years old. At this age the bones are more flexible. The process traditionally starts in the fall in the belief that the cold weather would bring numbness to the affected foot thus helping the girl to endure the pain during the first few months.
Traditionally, foot binding is a big family affair where women have to travel distant places just to be present when one member of the family undergoes this process. In some cases, female relatives would do the actual binding or at times skilled women would be invited to do the task.
The first part of the process requires that the foot be soak in a mixture of hot water and some hebs to soften the skin. In some provinces of China, a girl’s feet would be stuffed into a lamb‘s sliced stomach.
Bandages about 10 feet long that is soaked in water is required to bind the feet. Binding with wet bandages will produce a tighter bind. If the need arise, bandages are sewn just to keep them in place. Afterwards, the girl is to walk on her feet.
Foot finding is a very long process that may took two tears to complete. Each time, rebinding is done, the foot is washed and inspected to help prevent infection.
While it is a traditional belief that “little feet” arouses a man’s desires, men are not allowed view the naked foot. Men will have to satisfy their lust by merely enjoying the site of seeing this small foot adorned with the little silken and embroidered shoes.
During the Taiping Rebellion, the rebels tried to stop this custom but to no avail, and the practice was still continued well into the twentieth century. Today, foot binding is seldom practiced in China, however, many of China’s older women lived to tell the pains of this cruel practice.
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