Chinese Victorians

I was at the Costume Museum of Canada last night and this is the coolest thing I found for the evening.photo 5

It is, of course a Chinese shoe for a woman who had foot binding and is dated as 1900. It is both beautiful (in terms of the embroidery) and ugly when  you think of the years of pain that must have caused!photo 2

There is only the one shoe.  I haven’t found the other and don’t know if there actually is another.  Both sides of the shoe are embroidered.photo 4

I have no idea how a woman would have walked in these.  The heel of the shoe is near my thumb in the above photo.  That means the ball and toe end of the shoe is EXTREMELY narrow with the actual foot twisted in on itself inside the shoe!  It is also very short.  This one is 6 inches long but I’ve heard the desired length was 3 inches.  And some folks think corsets were bad!

But before we go thinking we are ever so much better at treating women and their bodies humanely, I have 3 words for you…stilettos and under-wire bras.  We’ve progressed, but we still seem to think that a woman has to suffer to achieve good looks.

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