The shoes are actually called FLOWER BOWL SHOES.
WARNING : CONTAINS SEXUALLY EXPLICIT COMMENTS REFERENCING MALE AND FEMALE ANATOMY USING BOTH SLANG AND TECHNICAL TERMS.
The purpose of the shoes was to allow the Manchu girls to mimic the swaying, crippled gait of their unfortunate sisters of the HAN CHINESE tribes. Those were the women who had their feet permanently crushed, broken, and folded in half by a barbaric process that was misleadingly called FOOT BINDING.
Why would the Manchu women want to mimic the gait of crippled Han women ?
The simple answer is that Chinese men thought that women crippled by foot binding had TIGHT VAGINAS. They thought this because they believed a little girl who who had her feet crushed and crippled would grow up using her THIGH MUSCLES in an extreme manner to compensate for her torture-induced disability while trying to maintain her balance while walking in extreme pain.
Seeing a woman who walked like she was crippled by foot binding was an instant "turn on". The"swaying gate" caused by the shoes of the Manchu women caused the men who saw them to have instant fantasies of hot, satisfying SEX.
The Manchu woman were no dummies when it came to understanding a nation of men who primarily thought with their peckers rather than their brains, and this SHOE FASHION that promoted their TIGHT VAGINA SEX APPEAL was, unfortunately, a part of what they thought they "needed" to catch a man.
More detail and commentary on the TIGHT VAGINA thing here : www.flickr.com/photos/24443965@N08/3461349265/in/set-7215...
♥ Here's a MANCHU GIRL today ~ ! www.flickr.com/photos/yiovyaakov/6836287891/
She has a book in her right hand. Wonder what it was ?
1001 WAYS TO CATCH A MAN IN OLD CHINA
$29.95 at Book Stores everywhere.
That title would probably have applied to 90% of the world's countries and cultures up until 100 years ago !
AS ALREADY POINTED OUT, THIS GIRL DOES NOT HAVE BOUND FEET. SHE'S ONE OF THE LUCKY ONES.
In the first comment below, Naomi was the first to comment that the woman in the photo is Manchu "Chinese", rather than a Han Chinese. Westerners tend to lump all Chinese together, but they were NOT one homogenous culture or language. Rather, they were many tribes and cultures within broad boarders. As Naomi says, the Manchu women, although falling under the umbrella of what we now call "Chinese", did not engage in the barbarian practice of foot binding.
Of course, using the term "barbarian" to describe the Han Chinese would probably have made them very indignant --- especially since thought they had a monopoly on that word to describe everybody else who was of a foreign breed or culture. [NOTE: Such would be similar to the Japanese tourists I meet in the USA who get very indignant when I call them GAIJIN (foreigners, or outsiders), which word they feel should never be applied to Japanese, even when they themselves become foreigners and outsiders in another country.] Therefore, I will repeat it for the benefit of those Chinese who tortured and crippled little girls, even though they are all dead now : THE HAN CHINESE WHO PRACTICED FOOT BINDING WERE ALL BARBARIANS IN THEIR OWN LAND.
Inspite of that, cultural brainwashing (being what it is) caused many of the Manchu women to come up with the above shoe for sex-appeal and reasons of jealousy :
THE SHOES OF THE MANCHURIAN WOMEN
".......There was a great pride in the tiny feet [of women with bound feet] once the foot had developed into the lotus shape and this pride was shown in the slippers girls and women made to cover their deformed feet. Walking on these feet necessitated bending the knees slightly and swaying to maintain the proper movement. This swaying walk became known as the Lotus Gait and was considered most exciting to men. Manchu women who were forbidden to bind their feet, envious of the effect of the lotus gait, invented their own type of shoe that caused them also to walk with a swaying gait. They wore 'flower bowl' shoes, shoes on a high platform generally made of wood and also there was a shoe on a small central pedestal that could be maneuvered by young girls. These shoes enabled the wearer to walk with a form of the lotus gait. Bound feet became an important differentiating marker between Manchu and Han......"
By the way, the term "Lotus Gait" is just another fancy euphemism for "Difficult, Hobbled, Painful Walking on Feet that have been Maimed, Crushed, and Permanently Deformed". We humans are really good at making up euphemisms.
IF YOU CAN'T CRIPPLE 'EM, JUST KILL 'EM !!!
Oooops. Did I just mention the honorable practice of FEMALE INFANTICIDE ?
Yes, yes...I know. All of you "time-place" lovers (and forgivers) of all things "cultural" and "anthropological" think that infanticide and foot binding of young girls and women are things that "must be understood in the context of the times in which they occurred".
Uh-huh. If you are a women who actually believes such a thing, please do me a favor and go get your clitoris ripped out with a rusty lid from an old tuna fish can, so that I can understand your GENITAL MUTILATION in the context of the time and place in which it occurred. And after that, when your mate dies, please honor the old cultural ways of India, and throw yourself on the funeral pyre that you may be burned alive for the sake of "cultural context". Thank you!
Oh, and if you are a man who thinks female infanticide is a great thing, please go throw yourself off a very high cliff (or down a very deep well). Thank you !
".......In China, a poor and overcrowded country, females are expendable. Evidence of female infanticide in China dates back to 800 B.C.E. Females are viewed as less desirable in Chinese culture due to the expense involved in the dowry system and the fact that only a son can perpetuate the family line. Additionally, when a girl marries she leaves her family and is unavailable to care for her aging parents.
With the implementation of the "one child per couple" policy in 1978, Chinese parents are unwilling to invest their one opportunity for parenthood on a daughter. The policy provided for enforced abortions, sterilizations, and legal/economic sanctions against families who choose not to comply.
Although illegal, sex-selective abortion is a common practice. Estimates based upon unequal sex ratios suggest that over 30 million females are missing in China.
In India, the practice of female infanticide is even more pervasive. As in China, the birth of a daughter is seen as a liability. Only sons are allowed to perform the funeral rites at the pyre of his father.
The murder of female newborns is so common that it has a special name, kuzhippa, or "baby intended for the burial pit" (Milner 1998, p. 176). Selective abortion is also a common practice. In 1998 Milner reported that in one Bombay clinic, of 8,000 abortions, 7,999 were performed on female fetuses. In 1991 Nicholas Kristof estimated that nearly 30 million females were missing in India....."
That reminds me. I have a bunch of OLD INDIA photos to post here one of these days.
Well, I think I got enough out of THAT photo. Time to move on !!!
The above photo is from a group of original 1895-1935 glass lantern slides depicting scenes and people in pre-WW2 China. The coloring is not mine. They were tinted by hand using fine brushes at the time the slides were made. With only a few exceptions, the size of the slides is 3 1/4 inches x 4 inches, with the centered image being smaller depending on the size of the border matte. I have cropped away the matte for most of these flickr posts. Enjoy..