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Shoe - Artifacts

Image Shoe
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One light blue silk shoe for bound feet. The shoe has a heel of about 3/4" high. The upper section has a blue band 2.25" wide decorated with a Chinese symbol and foliate forms in gold couched in red thread, and gold couched in white thread. Some of this thread on the Chinese character has unravelled. Blue silk is soiled and faded. The lower section of shoe has discolored ivory silk with floral decoration in the form of a branch. Heel has a heart-shaped fabric sole. Hand-made. Fabric torn at toe, on both sides, discolored and faded. Mate of shoe not in collection. Such tiny shoes were worn by many women of the Han Chinese majority, (Western Han: 206 BC - 8 AD, Eastern Han: 24 AD - 220 AD) who had their feet deformed in childhood. Inside the shoes the feet were kept tightly bound, using a layer of bandages, followed by a layer of broad ribbons. This painful custom was practiced until as late as the 1930s.
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