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The Barbaric Chinese Fashion Fad: The Lotus Feet

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When it comes to traditions we, Indians, are the weirdest; but wait, have you heard about Chinese lotus feet tradition? If not, prepare to disgust or shock yourself because this tradition isn't pretty. Lotus feet or feet-binding is a Chinese tradition to prevent the growth of young Chinese girls' (around 5 to 6 years old) feet by binding them with a piece of cloth. Beauty comes with pain, and Chinese have taken it quite seriously.

Deformation of foot because of binding

A deformed foot because of forceful binding

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The standards of beauty were different and painful in 10th century China. A Chinese bride must have a 3-inch foot, called the golden lotus; or a 4-inch foot, called the silver lotus in order to look attractive to her groom. Anything beyond 5-inches was considered ugly and was given a term iron lotuses. The marriage prospects were hugely dependent on a girl's foot length and that's why desperate attempt were taken to prevent a Chinese girl's feet growth.

It was said that a woman with bond feet would be submissive to her husband, and hence would make a good wife. Well, what can we say? Sexism at its heights. Such barbaric traditions lead to morbid bone structure deformations in Chinese girls.

Broken toes because of feet binding

A 3-inch long foot, a desirable feature for a 10-century Chinese bride

Image courtesy: ivman

The feet were bound in the following way:First off, feet were washed with hot water and toe nails were clipped short. Then the feet was massaged with the oil and the toes were broken into a triangular shape. Then, the feet were bound by a silk strip that were removed every two days to avoid infections. Any extra flesh was cut and girls were encouraged to walk distances in order to strain their arch. After two years the bandages were removed, leaving the feet in utter morbid deformity and broken bone structure.

shoes designed for Chinese girls

Not a doll's shoe. Customized shoes for Lotus Feet.

Image courtesy: duitang

This ghastly tradition is believed to get inspired from a 10-century Chinese dancer Yao Niang, who bound her feet into a new moon's shape. She danced on her toes inside a golden lotus which beguiled the emperor Li Yu. Apart from deforming the foot, it adversely affected the gait; producing a sort of sensual movements. Eventually, the art was picked up by many other court ladies and was then spread across the country, making it a practice of elite class.

An old lady subjected to brutal tradition of feet binding

An old Chinese woman subjected to the barbaric practice of feet-binding

Image courtesy:

Finally, the lotus feet was outlawed in the 18th century when some women refused to bind their feet. Later, various anti-foot binding societies were born in order to eradicate this barbaric practice completely.

Customized designed shoe

A customized shoe made exclusively for lotus feet.

Image courtesy:

Well, fashion has its own absurd and sometimes barbaric roots, don't you agree?

Check out more fashion facts here: Did You Know the History Of False Eyelashes? No? Click To Know., Quick Fact: How The Bikini Got Its Name

Read more about: fashion trends, fashion facts
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