That's a lot of wiggle room and just goes to show how fuzzy history can get sometimes. 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 … 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. In one version, the practice goes back to the earliest documented dynasty, the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600 BCE–1046 BCE). 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. According to the Huffington Post, the practice was widespread by the 12th century. In another version, it was the emperor who ordered her — his favorite concubine — to bind her feet and dance. 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. Decorative shoes and leggings were worn over the bandages and could differ with the time of day and occasion. 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). It was such a nasty thing to do. 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. 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. 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. 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). When the young girls had foot binding, they would experience a painful feeling during the process. 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. 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. Painful Memories for China's Footbinding Survivors Millions of Chinese women bound their feet, a status symbol that allowed them to marry into … Then, at night, we would bind them again.". Some girls dealt with punishment in addition to the bindings. 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. During 10th or 11th century, the practice of foot binding was started by the upper-class court dancers. But what does that mean as a woman ages? And this is where it gets a little strange. Why Did Foot Binding Exist? 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 was first reported during the Five Dynasties and Ten States period in the tenth and eleventh century. "The way these women avoided injury," he wrote, "was by not doing anything.". They were the most beautiful in their village because of their small feet. Whenever it started, it was a barbaric practice. It was also a form of deformation. They also taught that it was a matter of respect: Everything we are, we got from our parents. The one of the most common health problem relating to foot binding was infection. 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. The type of foot-binding practiced in rural communities was a form of discipline, the book argues. Then, the arch of her foot was bent as far as possible and also bound tightly with long strips of cloth. There are various theories as to why foot binding was continually practiced in China for 1000 years. Then, all the girl's toes would be broken, folded under her foot, and bound so they lay flat against her sole. 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. Origins of Foot Binding Various myths and folktales relate to the origin of foot-binding in China. After all that, they were forced to walk. So, why do it? It allowed her to dance on her toes inside of a golden lotus, and the Emperor fell in love with her. Skeletal remains of women with bound feet have shown that at their most extreme, the process "dramatically altered" the bones of the foot. 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 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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). 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. 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? And why did they do it? Little by little,it would start breaking bones from all the body. Ancient History says that bandages also needed to be removed to treat regularly-occurring skin ulcers. The first calls for reform came a few centuries later in the mid-1600s, and continued periodically until 1912, when it was banned outright. That story suggests that it was a Shang empress who had a clubfoot and ordered everyone to bind their feet in solidarity that … 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. 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. 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. I can't dance, I can't move properly. Consequences, he found, were lifelong. The major reason is that many men found bound feet to be highly erotic. Why did foot binding start? There are legend and historical reasons as to why foot binding started. Foot binding, or 'lotus feet', stands as a symbol of a bygone China. 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. 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. 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. 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. What did the process of foot binding entail? It was originally confined to the imperial court, but later spread to cities and villages. Some Chinese legends say people started binding women's feet as early as the Shang dynasty (1700–1027 BCE). She said (via The Telegraph): "They were proud of what they achieved. She wasn't alone: The practice lasted for a long time after it was officially outlawed. Even as the practice started spreading through the countryside, teachers of Ruism spoke out against it. Bounded Feet were now considered a symbol of high-class and beauty as well as elegance. Q: When did the practice of foot-binding start? The exact origin of the practice is unknown. Putting an end to the practice of foot binding proved difficult. 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. 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. Foot binding, says Fordham University, was not a standardized practice. However, writing says that foot binding began at … 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. This legend states that the emperor Li Yu had a concubine named Yao Niang. Foot binding lasted over 1,000 years in China and crippled an estimated one to two billion women. 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. 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. 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. Under Communism, women with bound feet — who usually couldn't go outdoor work or walk as fast as others — were shamed. 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. The idea was to speed up the process of breaking the arch of the foot so it could be bent even farther. 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." 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 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. Most will show the size of their feet and explain that they used to be smaller. However not everyone supported the practice or bound their feet such as the poor, ethnic Hakka people, and women who fished. Legend says that foot binding began in Shang times. 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." Most agree that it began because of male erotic fascination with the shape and point of court dancers’ feet while dancing. 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. 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. The tradition, known as foot binding, eventually came to symbolize China's backwardness, a relic from the country's distant past. 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 … the practice of foot binding began to shift from a symbol of beauty to one of torture, oppression and control. How Did Girls End Up With Bound Feet? 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 practice officially was sanctioned in 1902. Which of the written sources (Sources 1–5) is most relevant in judging how common foot binding was? According to The Atlantic, there's long been a massive gap in our knowledge of foot binding, and that's the long-term consequences. 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. ", She also found that it wasn't always forced on young girls — in fact, the opposite was true. The Shang Empress Taki had a clubfoot (deformed foot that is twisted so the sole can't be There was no one way to do it, or a single, idealized way to re-form the shape of the foot. 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. 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 legend states that the emperor Li Yu had a concubine named Yao Niang. The unfortunate Chinese tradition of foot binding was one that, however severe and painful, was present for much of the country's history. "When the inspectors came, we fooled them into thinking I had big feet." 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. NPR dates the origins of foot binding to 961, while other stories put it somewhere around 1700 BC. Do you find in the evidence […] Feet altered by foot binding were known as lotus feet, and the shoes made for these feet were known as lotus shoes. Foot binding is an old Chinese custom of wrapping girls' feet with cloth in order to stop them from growing with age. 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. This usually caused the bones to break, thus causing extreme pain. When and where did foot binding start and end? She continued: "I regret binding my feet. 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. By the 1600s, there was a difference in the preferred style in the north and the south of China. Supposedly, the corrupt last emperor of the Shang, King Zhou, had a favorite concubine named Daji who was born with clubfoot. But at the time, if you didn't bind your feet, no one would marry you.". 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. 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. "When people came to inspect our feet, my mother bandaged my feet, then put big shoes on them," Zhou Guizhen recalled. The motivations behind foot binding haven't always been 100 percent clear, says The Wall Street Journal. 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. And that means it's a tradition that's been changing women's lives for at least a thousand years. 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 start of the practice can be traced back to 700 AD, and was not legally banned until 1911. It turns out that it's a little more complicated than that. Foot binding originated in the tenth or eleventh century by dancers and courtesans. 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. 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. Binding your feet was very dangerous. On the other hand, another story dates foot binding during during the Shang Dynasty (1700-1027 BC). 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.". “It was a strong tradition passed from … The tiny shoes worn by some women with bound feet are called lotus shoes. Other stories say foot binding began during Tang times. They say that some estimates suggest about ten percent of the girls who went through the process didn't survive. Others would have their foot bent and compressed lengthwise as well, and that served to make the foot even less stable. During the process, young girls either couldn't support the pain or they usually were infected. This is the horrifying tradition of foot binding that lasted in China for over 1,000 years and Chinese women swore by it. "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 was practiced by a large section of the population and crossed all socio-economic lines. By 1928, though, 18 percent of women reported having bound feet, and it remained a common practice in Yunnan. It's sort of understandable as a status symbol, for women who have the luxury of having others do all their work for them. 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. Respecting them meant not harming this gift that they gave us, and that meant not breaking, binding, and reshaping feet. Foot binding was also a strong multi-generational tie for women, with the procedure performed by the women in a family. Her mother refused to bind her feet, so when she was 15 years old, she did it herself. It makes sense, then, that the process was also about economics — and not just beauty. It is said that the practice of foot binding originated among court dancers in the early Song Dynasty (960-1279). Women were encouraged to unbind their feet and burn the bindings, and some — like Pi Guiqiong — were able to. And poor communities, they say, "could not afford the luxury of helpless women." 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. 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). According to the Smithsonian, it started mildly enough: with a soak in hot water, a pedicure, and a massage. After first assuming it was rare, he saw more and more study participants with bound feet and realized there was something else at work. Not everyone was a fan of that train of thought, though. This was a practice where a young girl’s feet were tightly wrapped. 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. 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. 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.". In account of the first legend, it was spread through the royal court and throughout China from the north to the south. Small feet became a mark of beauty and elegance in the upper classes, and lower classes began to mimic that. Binding the feet continued for the rest of the girl’s life. 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. It all started when palace dancers performed with bound feet and the practice spread slowly through China! Foot-binding, which started out as a fashionable impulse, became an expression of Han identity after the Mongols invaded China in 1279. I regret a lot. But John Vollmer, an expert on Asian fashion and museum curator, says "Almost every class of woman had some kind of foot-binding." Perhaps. Foot binding originally began in the 10th century. Few toe bones have actually survived. And it makes less sense if you're, say, working in the fields or chasing animals around all day. 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. 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. Her famous golden lotus went on to give its name to the most desirable of feet: the very tiniest of them all. Still, The Guardian says that for many who did finally unbind their feet, they found the damage was permanent. 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. Girls were required to bind their feet between the … 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. A: The origin of female foot-binding had nothing to do with Ruism . They had watched their mothers binding their own and copied.". 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. Explain your answer. I mean, come on! Foot binding was outlawed in 1911 because it was causing many deaths. Researchers have found (via The Atlantic) another motivation: economic gain. 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. Decades later, all her toes remained folded under her feet, but she hasn't reduced the length of her foot — the ultimate goal. Legend has said origins of foot binding go back to the Shang Dynasty (1700-1027 B.C). After learning about the gruesome process of Chinese foot binding, learn about why the Chinese used to eat human corpses dipped in honey . Presented by: Alexa R. Tatiana G. Maria C. and Karla E. Create your own unique website with customizable templates. 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. 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. Considered an attractive quality, the effects of the process were painful and permanent. Foot binding would normally occur in a ritualistic ceremony accompanied by other traditions intending to ward off bad luck. The fact that it … … 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. 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." 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. Guo Ting Yu — who was 83 in 2010 — was one of those women (via The Guardian). 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? Foot binding started in China somewhere in the 12 th century, during the Song Dynasty. In 1991, University of California professor Steve Cummings headed to Beijing. 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