Once the process was done, the ideal was the golden lotus: a foot just three inches long that showed in a very physical way that a girl had desirable characteristics, like "obedience and restraint." NPR dates the origins of foot binding to 961, while other stories put it somewhere around 1700 BC. Decades later, all her toes remained folded under her feet, but she hasn't reduced the length of her foot — the ultimate goal. Foot binding originated in the tenth or eleventh century by dancers and courtesans. The entire process could take from two years or well into a girl's teenage years, says Ancient History, and while there were professional foot binders who would do the process for some, for others, it was just done by a mother, grandmother, or other older family member. And this is where it gets a little strange. It makes sense, then, that the process was also about economics — and not just beauty. When the Communist government took over in 1949, they added a stigma to foot binding and pressured families to stop the practice and even reverse it. If you want to know more the history of foot binding, you can check the below post: Facts about Chinese Foot Binding 1: the origin of foot binding. Researchers say (via LiveScience) that at first, many women were trying to create a narrower foot by wrapping it, and these early attempts didn't do too much to distort or damage the actual bone structure of the foot. Supposedly a concubine named Daji who was said to have had clubfoot, asked an emperor to make foot binding mandatory for all females so that her feet would be the only custom of beauty. This usually caused the bones to break, thus causing extreme pain. Even into the 1960s and 1970s, The Telegraph says government officials would inspect women's feet — if they were found to be wearing bindings, they'd take them off and hang them in the windows as a mark of shame. Explain your answer. I can't dance, I can't move properly. When she was caught, her grandmother cut some of the skin off her toes. The pain of the foot binding process is unfathomable, and if it was going to be done, it would be started when a girl was just five or six years old. According to a well-accepted view among historians, foot-binding began in the period of Wu Dai (907-979 C.E), which was more than one … That story suggests that it was a Shang empress who had a clubfoot and ordered everyone to bind their feet in solidarity that started the practice, but that's not the only tale. Skeletal remains of women with bound feet have shown that at their most extreme, the process "dramatically altered" the bones of the foot. It is said that the practice of foot binding originated among court dancers in the early Song Dynasty (960-1279). Putting an end to the practice of foot binding proved difficult. Other stories say foot binding began during Tang times. One legend suggests foot binding began during the reign of Li Yu (961-975) who ruled one region of china, according to historical records from Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD). The practice officially was sanctioned in 1902. It was practiced by a large section of the population and crossed all socio-economic lines. The one of the most common health problem relating to foot binding was infection. Binding Feet to Gain the Emperor's Favor in the 10th Century The first recorded foot binding started from the Five Dynasties and Ten States in the 10th century and it became prevalent in the Song Dynasty (960–1279). Guo Ting Yu — who was 83 in 2010 — was one of those women (via The Guardian). As if that all isn't bad enough, it also wasn't uncommon for girls to lose a few toes in the process, which The Guardian calls "auto amputation.". For this assignment, we will complete the “Thinking Like an Historian” section “When and Why Did Foot Binding Begin?” Read the excerpts about foot-binding and answer the following questions. The exact origin of the practice is unknown. The practice of female foot-binding in China originated in the mid-900s, after Emperor Li Yu was tantalized by a dancer who “bound her feet into the shape of a new moon.” Within a couple hundred years, it had become customary for girls to begin having their feet … The Shang Empress Taki had a clubfoot (deformed foot that is twisted so the sole can't be Binding your feet was very dangerous. Painful Memories for China's Footbinding Survivors Millions of Chinese women bound their feet, a status symbol that allowed them to marry into … When the young girls had foot binding, they would experience a painful feeling during the process. Whatever the reason, Chinese foot binding probably persisted for more than 1,000 years, a reminder of how much society can sometimes expect women to suffer for beauty. NPR spoke to some women who — with the help of their mothers — went out of their way to trick government inspectors into thinking that they were complying with the law. Once the foot binding process was started, The Atlantic says that women would keep the bindings on their feet for the rest of their lives — and if it seems like the trauma of having toes broken and bent over and over again then walking on them is a recipe for all kinds of problems, it absolutely was. The practice of foot binding does not have an actual date of when it started; however there are many legends as to when the practice began and why. Foot binding originally began in the 10th century. Fordham University says that while historical evidence is lacking, there's textual evidence that small feet were prized as a standard of beauty as far back as the Han Dynasty — between 202 and 220. Foot binding was also a strong multi-generational tie for women, with the procedure performed by the women in a family. He found other problems, too: Women with bound feet tended to have a lower bone density in their spines and hips, more trouble getting up and down from a seated position, and severe difficulties when it came to managing things like a cane at the same time as, say, a shopping bag. They're so named, says The Wall Street Journal, because in the most extreme form of foot binding, the final shape of the foot was said to resemble a lotus bulb. Bindings were regularly tightened, and the foot would eventually heal into a form that — ideally — crushed the toes and the heel together and formed a deep cleft along the sole. That makes him a pretty big deal, so when he started writing that foot binding would prevent women from going on and partaking in all kinds of "unchaste" and "immoral" behavior, people listened. "The way these women avoided injury," he wrote, "was by not doing anything.". But at the time, if you didn't bind your feet, no one would marry you.". Ancient History says that bandages also needed to be removed to treat regularly-occurring skin ulcers. Foot binding was first reported during the Five Dynasties and Ten States period in the tenth and eleventh century. Young girls, between the age of 5-7, had their toes tucked under their feet, and then had their feet wrapped in long pieces of cloth to hold their toes in place. It turns out that it's a little more complicated than that. The major reason is that many men found bound feet to be highly erotic. Fordham University questioned why women in poor or rural communities were willing to go through the pain of foot binding and risk disability and death. But when British photographer Jo Farrell started interviewing some of the last women to have it done, she found that wasn't always the case. How Did Girls End Up With Bound Feet? The idea was that girls born in a lower class would have the opportunity to marry up if they had tiny feet, and some weren't afraid to say just why little feet were so desirable. In another version, it was the emperor who ordered her — his favorite concubine — to bind her feet and dance. The world began to regard foot binding as something that was an integral part of the old China and became a custom that was deemed as barbaric. Mothers bound young girls’ feet so they would stay still and work with their hands, creating yarn and spinning thread, among other things, which families could use or sell. Presented by: Alexa R. Tatiana G. Maria C. and Karla E. Create your own unique website with customizable templates. While it was being done, the bandages would come off every two days so the foot could be cleaned, and any buildup of pus or blood could be removed (via the Smithsonian). 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. Consequences, he found, were lifelong. But John Vollmer, an expert on Asian fashion and museum curator, says "Almost every class of woman had some kind of foot-binding." Foot binding essentially forces a person to walk not on their whole foot but on only the heel bone and the big toe, which changes gait and posture. It all started when palace dancers performed with bound feet and the practice spread slowly through China! The Smithsonian says that a silver lotus — a foot that was just four inches long — was still respected, but anything longer than five inches was deemed an iron lotus, and then? Foot-binding, which started out as a fashionable impulse, became an expression of Han identity after the Mongols invaded China in 1279. Infection — and sometimes, the onset of gangrene — wasn't uncommon, and that's not entirely surprising, considering that sometimes, skin deemed "excess" was cut off, and further rot was actually encouraged. I mean, come on! The unfortunate Chinese tradition of foot binding was one that, however severe and painful, was present for much of the country's history. Foot binding, says Fordham University, was not a standardized practice. She said (via The Telegraph): "They were proud of what they achieved. It was originally confined to the imperial court, but later spread to cities and villages. Girls were required to bind their feet between the … According to The Atlantic, there's long been a massive gap in our knowledge of foot binding, and that's the long-term consequences. There are a few different versions of just how foot binding started, and NPR says one of the oldest dates back to the Shang dynasty. Whenever it started, it was a barbaric practice. One legend suggests foot binding began during the reign of Li Yu (961-975) who ruled one region of china, according to historical records from Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD). In account of the first legend, it was spread through the royal court and throughout China from the north to the south. In 1991, University of California professor Steve Cummings headed to Beijing. She continued: "I regret binding my feet. the practice of foot binding began to shift from a symbol of beauty to one of torture, oppression and control. There was no one way to do it, or a single, idealized way to re-form the shape of the foot. It was also a form of deformation. I regret a lot. Q: When did the practice of foot-binding start? By the 1600s, there was a difference in the preferred style in the north and the south of China. Binding the feet continued for the rest of the girl’s life. And that means it's a tradition that's been changing women's lives for at least a thousand years. According to the Huffington Post, the practice was widespread by the 12th century. Girls typically had their feet bound before they were nine years old, but it was seen as better to start when they were younger, often as young as four. They were the most beautiful in their village because of their small feet. While it's long been accepted that an attempt at becoming more attractive to the opposite sex and enhancing a girl's likelihood to marry well is part of it, that's the thing — it's just part of the story. Small feet became a mark of beauty and elegance in the upper classes, and lower classes began to mimic that. All the bending and breaking of the foot interfered with a girl's circulation, and skin ulcers, Healthline says, are open sores that develop because of poor circulation. 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