Foot Binding

12 August 2019
Bound feet shoe, embroidered fabric w/ wooden, concave heel and leather sole, pointed toe. Courtesy of Cora May Chin, Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) Collection
弓鞋,绣花鞋面,木制鞋底,高跟皮垫,尖头。Cora May Chin捐赠,美国华人博物馆(MOCA)馆藏

Foot binding was practiced in ancient China, gaining popularity among the elite in the 11th century. Having bound feet communicated both beauty and wealth as it indicated that the woman did not need to work. In some cases, foot binding became a means for poorer women to marry into higher classes. While the practice continued into the 20 th century, it was outlawed by the Nationalist government in 1912 as social movements called for modernizing Chinese society and with it, liberating women from social constraints. However, the ban was not strictly enforced. Zhiqiang Shoe Factory in Harbin, China, the last company to produce foot binding shoes, closed in 1999. The shoe pictured here belonged to donor Cora May Chin’s grandmother, Chu Fok, who rebelliously unbound her own feet.

缠足是中国古代的一种习俗,在11世纪开始流行于上层社会。缠足传达着美丽和富足,因为它表明女性不需要工作。在某些情况下,缠足成为贫穷妇女嫁入上流社会的一种手段。虽然这种做法一直延续到20世纪,但1912年,随着社会运动呼吁中国社会现代化,国民政府将其取缔,将女性从社会束缚中解放出来。然而,这项禁令并没有得到严格执行。“志强鞋厂”(Zhiqiang Shoe Factory)位于中国哈尔滨,是最后一家生产缠足鞋的公司,于1999年关闭。这张照片上的鞋子是捐赠者Cora May Chin的祖母Chu Fok的,她反抗地解放了自己的脚。

Countdown to the TCS NYC Marathon on November 3, 2019: 216 Days.

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