Comment #4 below makes a better caption than anything I could say about the above photo. Please drop down and read what ralphrepo has to say. Thanks.


Here.... have a look under the wrappings :


The gruesome details of how the feet were actually crushed are found in the caption of this photo :






The above image is from a group of original 1895-1935 glass lantern slides depicting scenes and people in pre-WW2 China. 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....

  • only1tanuki 6y

    Now THAT is a hard life. Working with bound feet? Madness. Absolute Madness.
  • jackie ramo 6y

    Oh My Gawd!!! Can you imagine standing even for a few minutes and don't they just look so happy about it!!
  • Okinawa Soba (Rob) 6y

    Do you realize that there are many elderly Chinese women now living in China (and all over the world) who are still living with the effects of this ? So, in a way, the "ghosts of Foot Binding past" remain a part of the very real world for many of these women in the 21st Century.
  • ralph repo 6y

    I'm glad that you posted this, as there aren't many pictures of Chinese peasant women with bound feet, as only affluent or at least better than middle class families practiced this with any regularity. Hard working families could ill afford to permanently handicap a potential worker.

    However, in the early 1900's, many poor families with a girl knew that they would eventually have to sell the girl into indentured servitude, so they reasoned then why not bind the girl's feet instead and hope to get a better selling price (a marriage dowry) in the future. Thus, poor families began binding girls feet too, on the outside chance that they would one day get more value for her; that is, a marriage dowry rather than just a regular servant's price. It was purely an economic calculation.

    A good fictional but well sourced appreciation of the social pressures placed on the peasant class can be easily found in Pearl Buck's insightful story, The Good Earth.

    As their era draws to a close, I recall a story that the last Lotus shoe manufacturer in China has decided to stop making these Lotus shoes as a part of the regular line of products. Apparently, as their customer base has dwindled, it no longer was feasible to retain that line.
  • Okinawa Soba (Rob) 6y

    ralphrepo -- Your comments on this subject are so interesting. In lieu of anything I could write, I think your comments make the best caption. I will use the caption to direct the visitor to your comment above. Thanks, Ralph.

    PS. When I was first editing the old China slides to decide which ones would be nice to post, I rejected this one because it was "too out of focus" for my taste (especially their fuzzy faces, even more apparent at the ALL SIZES button), plus, I had plenty of other "stone grinder" pics to replace it.

    However, on the second pass, I noticed not only the "Lily Feet" (as most of the Western photo captions called them), but also --- on the feet of the elderly woman on the right in the photo --- the unusual capture of the winter booties that went over the small shoes !

    The fact that these two foot-bound peasant women were showing both the small pointed shoes (left) and the special booties (right) was immediate reason to ignore the rough focus of the scene, and post it. I ended up doing the same for several other images where the importance of "content" overrode any technical photographic considerations.
  • ralph repo 6y

    How or why the peasant women, across two generations here (if one assumes that they were related) would have bound feet is anyone's guess. Maybe they were affluent at the time of the bindings but suffered some unknowable (to the modern viewer) economic upset, or change in fortune? Their clothes, despite their rough and pedestrian origins, seem to be winterized; one then assumes that they were northerners. On that assumption, foot bindings overall were more common in northern China as opposed to the south. The more one looks, the more one realizes that there are questions that would probably remain unanswered.

    I too, agree that many times, one small nugget of historical or visual significance can render an otherwise photographic disaster worthy of review. Thank you again for salvaging this gem.
  • Nana Seven 007 6y

  • MIREILLE美麗 6y

    That must have been really tough.
  • Okinawa Soba (Rob) 5y

    No matter how much of the world waves their flags of God and Faith, humanity as a whole still has one foot very much in hell.
  • Marjorie Savill Linthwaite 3y

    Foot binding is still practised in the twenty-first century regrettably.
  • Okinawa Soba (Rob) 3y

    Marjorie Savill Linthwaite Do you mean the foot-crushing, bone-breaking Chinese child-torture version of foot binding ? Where are they still doing this ?
  • Marjorie Savill Linthwaite 2y

    In Australia and in all probability elsewhere usually in Chinese-based societies - these victims are sold as Brothel material highly prized and very much sort after by customers decidedly somewhat sick. I am just scratching the surface of society with a rusty pin and that is why I am studying creative writing at UTS because I intend to reveal the seamy side of life like my grandfather William Somerset Maugham. I am one-seventeenth Chinese so I have an insight into many issues that most choose to dismiss. I must apologize for the late reply - as I was otherwise engaged in my studies.
  • MaxMediaAsia 2y

    Shoes for bound feet have been made and sold as novelty items. You can find them off Hollywood Road or on Cat Street in Hong Kong. They are made for the tourist market and you will often see them used for interior decorations. Here's a snapshot of novelty
    bound feet shoes on Cat STreet.
    Old shoes for bound feet by MaxMediaAsia
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