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Shoes - Artifacts

Image Shoes
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Pair of blue and white, embroidered, silk center-platform shoes. Shoes have a cobalt blue band below upper edging. Below this is a white horizontal section. Both sections are filled with hand-embroidery in satin stitch with lotus, butterfly, and cherry blossom motifs in green, white, purple, turquoise, pink, yellow, black, and white couched in black thread. Stiff green leather ribbing reinforces toe. Cloth-covered wooden sole. Hand-made, with some machine-made parts as in green upper ribbing, blue sections. rear seams. Worn by women of the Manchu Dynasty (c. 1644-1911 AD). It is believed that this unique type of shoe "induced a short, tripping step which was the mark of a refined woman in old China". It appears to have been Mongolian in origin. The raised sole enabled the Manchu women to stand taller that Chinese women and therefore gain in dignity without conforming to the painful tradition of foot-binding. It is likely that the prototype was utilitarian, a method of keeping the feet dry in inclement weather on bad roads. Eventually became fashionable until end of the Ch'ing Period in 1911. Visible signs of wear, cloth frayed on toe-section of soles. Leather sole of stilts worn. Lining of shoe dirty and has mark of maker in red ink.
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