Lotus feet: why did Chinese girls torture their feet?


The ability to turn a man’s head with its beauty has been valued since ancient times and pushed girls to desperate steps. However, nowhere did fashion reach such terrible guises as in medieval China.

Local women deformed their feet by pressing their toes into the sole of their feet. Where did this tradition come from?

The tradition of bandaging your feet

The emperor was delighted with the dance, and therefore this fashion spread throughout the country.

For women themselves, tradition has become a curse. The crippled leg did not allow to move independently and brought daily pain.

According to the regulations, the ideal foot

From the point of view of Confucian philosophy, a woman’s helplessness is dictated by her essence «yin». This distinguished the Chinese women from the barbarians, provided their wives with a quiet life away from political squabbles and everyday issues, which only men had to deal with.

So religion and fashion forced all representatives of the nobility to bandage their feet without exception. It was not only a sign of beauty and chastity, but also of national self-identity. Without this condition, the noble lady had no chance to get married and covered herself and her parents with shame.

Bandaging began in early childhood, until the bones took their final shape. Formation of the «lotus»

First, the girl had her toenails removed, after which they broke her foot inward, pressing her toes to the sole. The injured limb was tied tightly with bandages, fixing its position. To restore blood circulation in the legs, the girl was forced to walk on broken legs for 5 km a day.

Six months later, the «lotuses» were tightened daily with bandages, reducing the size of the foot. It was considered good luck if the fingers, affected by necrosis, fell off. This made it possible to tighten the bandages even tighter.

At the end, they tried to bend the foot even more and bandaged it tightly to give it the final lotus appearance. This was done either by the fathers or by invited specialists. Mothers for their kindness were forbidden to be present during the bandaging.

Women were not allowed to take off their shoes in the presence of strangers. The sight of a disfigured leg ruined aesthetic pleasure. but

The poets of the Celestial Empire compared the leg with young bamboo sprouts and wrote that contemplating female footprints in the snow can bring divine pleasure. The cautious, uncertain gait of the «lotuses» excited the imagination and made a strong impression on men.

Brutality was banned only with the coming to power of the communists. The custom was recognized as barbaric and from 1921 it was punished by the party. But despite all the prohibitions, until now