One Thousand Years Of Chinese Footbinding: Its Origins, Popularity And Demise


One Thousand Years of Chinese Footbinding: Its Origins, Popularity and
In addressing the subject of footbinding, one primary difficulty
becomes apparent - that much remains within the realm of the unknowable.
Any factual knowledge about the practice may only be drawn from 19th- and
20th-century writings, drawings or photographs. In addition, many of these
documents represent a distinctly Western point of view, as they are
primarily composed of missionary accounts and the literature of the various
anti -footbinding societies.[1] The historical origins of footbinding are
frustratingly vague, although brief textual references suggest that small
feet for women were preferred as early as the ...

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a
three- to five-year old girl's feet with binding so as to bend the toes
under, break the bones and force the back of the foot together. Its purpose
was to produce a tiny foot, the "golden lotus", which was three inches long
and thought to be both lovely and alluring.[4] It is believed that the
origin of the term "golden lotus" emerged in the Southern Tang dynasty
around 920 A.D., where the emperor Li Yu ordered his favorite concubine,
Fragrant Girl, to bind her feet with silk bands and dance on a golden lotus
platform encrusted with pearls and gems. Thereafter, women inside and
outside the court began taking up strips of cloth and binding their feet,
thinking them beautiful and distinguished, dainty and elegant. It gradually
became the prevailing style and "golden lotus" became a synonym for bound
feet.[5]
One notable personality who aided in the spread of footbinding was
the famed writer and scholar Zhu Xi (1130-1200 A.D.), whose commentaries on
the Confucian ...

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these exceptions, however,
footbinding was more commonly practiced than not.
Imperial acceptance aside, the question that remains is why did
Chinese women bind their feet for approximately one thousand years, until
forcibly prohibited by the government? It is important to consider the
practice without criticism in order to understand the symbolic and personal
meanings of footbinding, which embraced a number of purposes. Its origins
may be perceived as a means of enforcing the imperial male's exclusive
sexual access to his female consorts, ensuring their chastity and fidelity,
but its impact extended far beyond these boundaries.[10] Since the family
was the most important ...

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One Thousand Years Of Chinese Footbinding: Its Origins, Popularity And Demise. (2005, October 8). Retrieved October 22, 2018, from http://www.essayworld.com/essays/One-Thousand-Years-Chinese-Footbinding-Its/34515
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"One Thousand Years Of Chinese Footbinding: Its Origins, Popularity And Demise." Essayworld.com. October 8, 2005. Accessed October 22, 2018. http://www.essayworld.com/essays/One-Thousand-Years-Chinese-Footbinding-Its/34515.
"One Thousand Years Of Chinese Footbinding: Its Origins, Popularity And Demise." Essayworld.com. October 8, 2005. Accessed October 22, 2018. http://www.essayworld.com/essays/One-Thousand-Years-Chinese-Footbinding-Its/34515.
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Added: 10/8/2005 03:16:38 AM
Category: Health & Medicine
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 3441
Pages: 13

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