Bound To Be Beautiful: 30 Photos of Chinese Women With Bound Feet
Foot binding was a custom practiced on young females for approximately one thousand years in China, from the tenth century until the early twentieth century.
Women with bound feet wore special, tiny shoes decorated with beautiful embroidery. Since they were unable to do labor, the tiny feet were a symbol of privilege and wealth. Girls with small, bound feet had a better chance of getting a higher bride price.
The practice originated among entertainers and members of the Chinese court during the Song Dynasty (960–1279). By the end of the Song dynasty, the practice had spread among the families of the scholarly class which governed China. Initially, foot binding was common only in the wealthiest parts of China, particularly in northern China.
However, by the late Qing Dynasty, foot binding had become popular among people of all social classes except the poorest, who needed able-bodied women to work the fields.