Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Chinese's bound feet
I remember hearing about Chinese women with bound feet when I was young. I thought it was a legend. Probably, Chinese women simply had small feet and they had tight shoes. What a surprise when I realized that it was far from being a legend... There are still some old women with bound feet in 21st century's China... There is an unbelievable photo of them in "Marco Polo: a photographer's Journey" book from Mike Yamashita (I will add the photo to this posting when I get back home where the book is). It looks pretty shocking to see these women with feet half the size of a normal foot... And the incredible story of this tradition, I read in "Mao's last dancer". Fascinating. Again. Like so many things here in China. Young girls had their feet constrained in tiny shoes, as they were forced to bend their toes under their sole. It made women more "acceptable" for marriage, a sign of class and distinction in a way. But women with bound feet were actually handicaped (we can imagine). They could not walk long enough distances to bring lunches to their husbands in the fields for instance, and stayed mainly at home. So, I will not only bring back a 70s' Mao clock from China, but some exquisite ceramics, a little red pair of Chinese bound feet!