Chinese Shoes for
Binding young women's
feet was a tradition that was highly developed in imperial China.
Foot binding is a painful process that began when a woman was about
five years old. A bandage two inches wide and ten foot long was wrapped
around the foot in a figure of eight pattern so that the arch is compressed
and the four smaller toes were bent under. The foot was then forced
into a shoe several sizes too small. Over a two year period tighter
and tighter bandages and smaller and smaller shoes were used until
the desired effect was achieved. The bones broke, pus filled sores
developed, the flesh putrefied and sometimes a toe dropped off. The
ideal called the golden lotus was a foot measuring no more than 3
A woman with bound feet could not walk unaided. She was confined to
her quarters where her faithfulness was assured.
Chinese men found these deformed, foul smelling feet erotic. As standard
foreplay, a chinese husband would gently remove his wives shoes and
un swathe her feet. The bandages sometimes held wives secure in acts
of bondage and the broken arch of the foot was seen and even substituted
at times for the vagina.
In this society foot binding was a means of demonstrating the status
of the woman in the eyes of a man, by methods of extreme physical