In the 13th century foot-binding was a common tradition among Chinese women. Young girls aged from 4 to 7, while bones were still flexible, began their two year foot-binding process that bent, twisted and compressed the feet.
The desired size was 3 inches or less, the toes, excusing the big toe, were bent beneath the front pad of the foot. Meanwhile, the front of the foot was pulled back to touch the heel, folding the whole foot in half. In the course of the process, there needed continual changing of binding cloths and cleaning of the foot, in case the flesh started to decay.
When foot-binding became at its most popular, women and their families and husbands took great pride in their small feet and achieving the perfect ‘Lotus Shape’. Walking was difficult and caused bending of the knees slightly and swaying to walk properly. This swaying walk became known as the Lotus Gait and men considered it as sexually arousing. Weight put on the folded toes would be excruciatingly painful. However, the heel, which lined up with the axis of the leg bone, could hold the body’s weight quite comfortably. Thus, the Chinese designed shoes which lifted the toes off the ground and kept all the body’s weight on the heel. Walking was still possible but awkward.
The shoes were made from highly expensive silk and velvet, consisting of elaborate designs with flower and Taoist symbols of happiness and prosperity. What a joke.
Below shows just how this process of foot-binding can have a great effect on your life. Never to walk properly again.