Rare Photographs of Chinese Foot Binding from the 1800s

Young woman from the 1800s, probably of noble birth, lying in a lounge, as standing with bound feet was very painful. (Library of Congress)
Young woman from the 1800s, probably of noble birth, lying in a lounge, as standing with bound feet was very painful. (Library of Congress)
chinese foot binding

The small bound feet of a woman from 1868 compared to a normal foot. (John Thomson)

chinese foot binding

Poor woman from Taiwan (Formosa) without bound feet, which allowed her to work in the fields. (John Thomson)

chinese foot binding

“Lily footed” woman was a term for a woman who had her feet bound from childhood. The smaller the feet, the more desirable the woman. (Library of Congress)

chinese foot binding

Young woman with bound feet leaning against a table for support. The bones in a young girl’s feet were actually broken and tightly bound to keep the foot small. (Sarah Partridge Digital Archive)

chinese foot binding

Young ladies of noble birth with bound feet sitting in chairs. Women of noble birth all had their feet bound, while only the eldest female child from a poor family had her feet bound. (Sarah Partridge Digital Archive)

chinese foot binding

Chinese woman carrying a baby on her back, possibly from Guangdong (Canton). She may be from an ethnic group that did not bind women’s feet.

chinese foot binding

Girls from the non-foot binding Manchu people, whose emperor forbade foot binding when he came to power in 1864. (Library of Congress)

chinese foot binding

An aristocratic young woman with bound feet having her hair groomed. Such ladies went to great lengths to preserve their hair designs to keep them perfect. (John Thomson)

For further information see: http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/news-rare-photographs-19th-century-chinese-women?image=17

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