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Foot binding was the custom of applying tight binding to the feet of young girls to modify the shape and size of their feet. It was practiced in China from the Song dynasty until the early 20th century, and bound feet were considered a status symbol as well as a mark of beauty. Foot binding limited the mobility of women, and resulted in lifelong disabilities for most of its subjects, although some women with bound feet working outdoors have also been reported.

Feet altered by binding were called lotus feet. The practice possibly originated among upper class court dancers during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period in 10th century China, then became popular among the elite during the Song dynastyeventually spreading to all social classes by the Qing dynasty. Foot binding was practiced in different forms, and the more severe form of binding may have been developed in the 16th century. There had been attempts to end the practice during the Qing dynasty; Drawn to you lyrics china women dating Kangxi Emperor tried to ban foot binding in but failed.

Only a few elderly Chinese women still survive today with bound feet. There are a number of stories about the origin of foot binding before its establishment during the Song dynasty. One of these involves the story of a favorite consort of the Southern Qi emperor Xiao BaojuanPan Yunu died ADwho had delicate feet and danced barefoot on a floor decorated with golden lotus flower design.

The emperor expressed admiration and said that "lotus springs from her every step! This story may have given rise to the terms "golden lotus" or "lotus feet" used to describe bound feet; there is, however, no evidence that Consort Pan ever bound her feet. The general view is that the practice is likely to have originated from the time of the 10th-century Emperor Li Yu of the Southern Tangjust before the Song dynasty. Some of the earliest possible references to foot binding appear aroundwhen a couple of poems seemed to allude to the practice.

I do not know what use this is. The earliest archaeological evidence for foot binding dates to the tombs of Huang Sheng, who died in at the age of 17, and Madame Zhou, who died in Each had her feet bound with 6-foot-long gauze strips. Zhou's skeleton was well preserved and showed that her feet fit the narrow, pointed slippers that were buried with Drawn to you lyrics china women dating. At the end of the Song dynasty, men would drink from a special shoe whose heel contained a small cup.

During the Yuan dynastysome would also drink directly from the shoe itself. This practice was called "toast to the golden lotus" and lasted until the late Qing dynasty.

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The first European to mention footbinding was the Italian missionary Odoric of Pordenone in the fourteenth century during the Yuan dynasty. By the Ming periodthe practice was no longer the preserve of the gentry, but it was considered a status symbol. The Manchus issued a number of edicts to ban the practice, first in when the Manchu leader Hong Taiji declared the founding of the new Qing dynasty, then inand another in by the Kangxi Emperor.

It also became an avenue for poorer women to marry into money in some areas; for example, in late 19th century Guangdong, it was customary to bind the feet of the eldest daughter of a lower-class family who was intended to be brought up as a lady. Her younger sisters would grow up to be bond-servants or domestic slaves and be able to work in the fields, but the eldest Drawn to you lyrics china women dating would assume to never have the need to work.

Walking on bound feet necessitated bending the knees slightly and swaying to maintain proper movement and balance, a dainty walk that was also considered erotic to some men. Some women with bound feet may not walk without the support of their shoes and were severely limited in their mobility. In the 19th and early 20th century, dancers with bound feet were popular, as were circus performers who stood on prancing or running horses.

Women with bound feet in one village in Yunnan Province even formed a regional dance troupe to perform for tourists in the late 20th century, though age has since forced the group to retire. Opposition to foot binding had been raised by some Chinese writers in the 18th century.

In the midth century, many of the rebel leaders of the Taiping Rebellion were of Hakka background whose womenfolk did not bind their feet, and foot binding was outlawed. Reform-minded Chinese intellectuals began to consider footbinding to be an aspect of their culture that needed to be eliminated.

Inthe new Republic of China government banned foot binding though not Drawn to you lyrics china women dating implemented[44] and leading intellectuals of the May Fourth Movement saw footbinding as a major symbol of China's backwardness.

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Foot binding was practiced in various forms and its prevalence varied in different regions. A less severe form in Sichuan, called "cucumber foot" huanggua jiao due to its slender shape, folded the four toes under but did not distort the heel and taper the ankle. Manchu women, as well as Mongol and Chinese women in the Eight Bannersdid not bind their feet, and the most a Manchu woman might do was to wrap the feet tightly to give them a slender appearance.

Bound feet nevertheless became a significant differentiating marker between Han women and Manchu or other banner women. The Hakka people however were unusual among Han Chinese in not practicing foot binding at all.

Foot binding was practiced by the Hui Muslims in Drawn to you lyrics china women dating Province, [64] the Dungan Muslimsdescendants of Hui from northwestern China who fled to central Asia, were also seen practicing foot binding up to The process was started before the arch of the foot had a chance to develop fully, usually between the ages of 4 and 9. Binding usually started during the winter months since the feet were more likely to be numb, and therefore the pain would not be as extreme.

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. Then, the toenails were cut back as far as possible to prevent in-growth and subsequent infections, since the toes were to be pressed tightly into the sole of the foot. To enable the size of the feet to be reduced, the toes on each foot were curled under, then pressed with great force downwards and squeezed into the sole of the foot until the toes broke.

The broken toes were held tightly against the sole of the foot while the foot was then drawn down straight with the leg and the arch of the foot was forcibly broken. The bandages were repeatedly wound in a figure-eight movement, starting at the inside of the foot at the instep, then carried over the toes, under the foot, and around the heel, the freshly broken toes being pressed tightly into the sole of the foot.

At each pass around the foot, the binding cloth was tightened, pulling the ball of the foot and the heel together, causing the broken foot to fold at the arch, and pressing the toes underneath the sole. The binding was pulled so tightly that the girl could not move her toes at all and the ends of the binding cloth were then sewn so that the girl could not loosen it. The girl's broken feet required a great deal of care and attention, and they would be unbound regularly.

Each time the feet were unbound, they were washed, the toes carefully checked for injury, and the nails carefully and meticulously trimmed. When unbound, the broken feet were also kneaded to soften them and the soles of the girl's feet were often beaten to Drawn to you lyrics china women dating the joints and broken bones more flexible.

The feet were also soaked in a concoction that caused any necrotic flesh to fall off. Immediately after this procedure, the girl's broken toes were folded back under and the feet were rebound.

The bindings were pulled even tighter each time the girl's feet were rebound.

This unbinding and rebinding ritual was repeated as often as possible for the rich at least once daily, for poor peasants two or three times a weekwith fresh bindings. It was generally an elder female member of the girl's family or a professional foot binder who carried out the initial breaking and ongoing binding of the feet.

It was considered preferable to have someone other than the mother do it, as she might have been sympathetic to her daughter's pain and less willing to keep the bindings tight.