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Footbinding


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#1 Guest_Descendent_deMightyDragon_*

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Posted 14 December 2004 - 05:00 AM

Footbinding has no official records in Chinese history, but it was thought to be flourish in the Sung Dynasty and reach its peak during the Ming Dynasty.Having to browse through many sources made by "Westerers", I realised that almost every of them termed bound foot as subject of eroticism.
Well, to me this is horrifying enough.
I personally felt that bound foot is not a "symbol of eroticism".Moreover it was a symbol of defiance and authentic Chinese culture.
During the Ching Dynasty (last imperial dynasty of China), ethnic Han Chinese people were coerced to adapt the Manchus culture, such as wearing of pigtails for men and Manchu code of dressing. As Manchu women generally don't bind their feet, Han Chinese women persistently practised footbinding, even after the Empress Dowager Cixi issued an imperial decree that outlawed footbinding.
In addition,footbinding is a must in Confucian China, because bound foot is a great symbol of feminity as a woman must be womanly.

#2 Yun

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Posted 14 December 2004 - 10:21 AM

There's a theory (not made by "Westerners", but by Chinese scholars teaching in the US) that the bound foot as a "symbol of feminity" only became important in Song China because so many of the male elite had become less masculine! With the decline of the military aristocracy of the Tang and the rise of a new scholar-gentry elite, there was a greater need to emphasise the "damsel-in-distress" image of the willowy woman tottering and swaying around on tiny feet. After all, no one complained during the Tang that the plump, passionate, horse-riding women of the time weren't feminine enough!

Moreover, there is indeed evidence from popular novels of the Ming dynasty that men did find the small feet of women to be a big turn-on, and women themselves came to consider it the most attractive part of their body. Nor is this simply because the smell and the distorted shape were hidden by pretty little shoes - women did not always keep their shoes on in bed, and men are known to have enjoyed sucking on the bare feet of their lady loves. Of course, the feet were probably washed before that!
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#3 TMPikachu

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Posted 14 December 2004 - 02:41 PM

as my dad said... it's also a scheme to keep people in place. A man with an immobile wife has a much harder time running away.
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#4 Sephodwyrm

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Posted 14 December 2004 - 04:18 PM

It is said that bound feet forces a lady to walk in such a way to exercise her muscles in her thigh....this makes her ride harder on you or something...(XP)
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#5 Kulong

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Posted 14 December 2004 - 04:22 PM

"I heard this, I heard that..."

There is no single reason why foot-binding was practiced in China. It's not a standardized practice or anything. More likely everyone did it for their own reason or reasons.

Unless some sort of official document was found stating the "official reasons" of why foot-binding was practiced all that's coming out of everyone's mouths are nothing but mere spectulation.

-_-
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#6 Koolasuchus

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Posted 14 December 2004 - 07:45 PM

"I heard this, I heard that..."

There is no single reason why foot-binding was practiced in China.  It's not a standardized practice or anything.  More likely everyone did it for their own reason or reasons.

Unless some sort of official document was found stating the "official reasons" of why foot-binding was practiced all that's coming out of everyone's mouths are nothing but mere spectulation.

-_-

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Foot binding started as early as the North and South dynasties era, with the emperor of Southern Qi's favourite concubine praised for having small feet. It was said that many other court ladies start to bind their own feet to earn the attention of the emperor, who was overthrown within a few years. :lol:

#7 Kulong

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Posted 14 December 2004 - 09:23 PM

Foot binding started as early as the North and South dynasties era, with the emperor of Southern Qi's favourite concubine praised for having small feet.  It was said that many other court ladies start to bind their own feet to earn the attention of the emperor, who was overthrown within a few years.  :lol:

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That little story proves nothing. <_< Unless you're suggesting that Chinese women bind their feet to get the attention of the emperor. :rolleyes:
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#8 Koolasuchus

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Posted 14 December 2004 - 10:53 PM

That little story proves nothing.  <_<  Unless you're suggesting that Chinese women bind their feet to get the attention of the emperor.  :rolleyes:

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That's how my history said the practice came into being... uper class women trying to make themselves more attractive during a decadent dynasty.

#9 TMPikachu

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Posted 17 December 2004 - 06:55 PM

That little story proves nothing.  <_<  Unless you're suggesting that Chinese women bind their feet to get the attention of the emperor.  :rolleyes:

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Or it could be their husbands wanting to imitate a standard of beauty favored by the Emperor, set by the Emperor, or just jumping on the band wagon. Like that Spanish king with a lisp, wierd trends start in wierd ways.
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#10 Kulong

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Posted 17 December 2004 - 06:59 PM

Or it could be their husbands wanting to imitate a standard of beauty favored by the Emperor, set by the Emperor, or just jumping on the band wagon. Like that Spanish king with a lisp, wierd trends start in wierd ways.

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Yeah, it :ak_scare1: COULD :ak_scare2: ... :rolleyes:

Point is, this is all spectulation with no direct hardcore evidence.
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#11 Koolasuchus

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Posted 18 December 2004 - 12:53 AM

Yeah, it :ak_scare1: COULD :ak_scare2: ...  :rolleyes:

Point is, this is all spectulation with no direct hardcore evidence.

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It is the earliest mention of foot binding I could find though....

#12 TMPikachu

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Posted 19 December 2004 - 11:22 AM

Kulong, what do you think lead to foot binding? It's purpose? Or would you rather wait for more evidence to show up?

I think it's a reasonable guess that footbinding was a beauty thing.
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#13 Daniel

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Posted 20 December 2004 - 01:39 PM

Cecil Adams' Straight Dope has a useful article on footbinding.

It appears that the custom of footbinding started among dancers at the imperial court at some time in the tenth century, and only then spread to the rest of the imperial court, and from there to the rest of Chinese society.

This is different, of course, from the mere prizing of small feet, which is much, much older and existed in both the East and the West.
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#14 Koolasuchus

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Posted 20 December 2004 - 01:43 PM

Cecil Adams' Straight Dope has a useful article on footbinding.

It appears that the custom of footbinding started among dancers at the imperial court at some time in the tenth century, and only then spread to the rest of the imperial court, and from there to the rest of Chinese society.

This is different, of course, from the mere prizing of small feet, which is much, much older and existed in both the East and the West.

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The concubine mentioned in my posts above was a common dancer until she caught the eyes of the emperor, that was in the early 6th century.

#15 Bomi

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Posted 19 May 2005 - 06:21 AM

Foot binding came into fashion during the Song Dynasty in around 970A.D. It ended when around the time the Qing came into play - the Manchus apposed foot binding practices and started charging citizens tax for binding their daughters' feet in a bid to discourage the painful practise in around mid 1600s.

My guess it that seeing as how the Manchus appose this practise, surely there must be other groups who would appose it too. How widespread was this practise, did the Southerners do it too? Especially the Hokkiens who were isolated and hard to get to, did they practise it?

I was told once that the Hokkien ladies were hardworking and they talk back to their husband, unlike the more submissive ladies of the North. I would be interested to get more feedback on this, because if it is true, then it would probably be unlikely that they would have their feet bounded right???

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