Magnificence has been pursued for millennia, from historic occasions to the glam of the fashionable age. Each society has types and wonder strategies that always mirror what the typical individual ought to appear like to be able to be deemed lovely. However magnificence just isn’t all the time simple; many even declare that ache is magnificence.

Historical China had their very own definition of magnificence, and it was merciless, disfiguring, and dangerous to all those that underwent the process. Lotus ft, acquired by excessive foot-binding, was all the craze, and those that had sure ft have been stated to be of utmost magnificence. To realize such tiny ft, nevertheless, girl and kids needed to endure a crippling process that disfigured them for the remainder of their lives.

10 No One Is Sure When The Observe Really Started

Although foot-binding is well-known, historical past consultants are not sure of when the observe started. Essentially the most extensively accepted begin is the tenth century, through the 5 Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Interval. Throughout this time, many alternative emperors rose and fell, however the custom of foot-binding remained.

The origin of foot-binding additionally has many potentialities, however one legend has been handed down extra usually than others: that of the emperor and the concubine. An emperor from the interval was surrounded by many concubines, however one was of explicit curiosity, as she created a stage that regarded like a lotus, upon which she carried out. As she continued performing for the emperor, over time, she started to bind her ft in order that they grew to become small and all the time hoof-shaped.

As her tiny ft danced upon the lotus stage, the emperor grew to become consumed with love for the gorgeous concubine and deemed her his favourite. The opposite concubines, jealous of shedding favor with the emperor, additionally started to bind their ft to be able to make him love them with the eagerness with which he cherished his lotus dancer.[1]

9 Lotus Feet Have been For The Profit Of Males

Lotus ft have been of explicit curiosity to males of the time. Males discovered lotus ft to be extremely engaging on ladies and in addition believed that their tiny ft had extra pleasurable results. Foot-binding, as a result of its crippling results, prompted ladies to stroll in shorter, extra managed steps. It was believed that this problem strolling prompted the ladies to make use of extra muscle groups of their internal thighs, hips, and pelvic areas. Males believed that lotus ft, mixed with the exertion placed on these muscle groups, prompted ladies to have a tighter vagina and pelvic flooring, thus making intercourse with them extra pleasurable.[2]

Lotus ft have been additionally a extremely popular fetish of the period. Males seen them as the final word in sexual arousal. Whereas having intercourse, many males would require the lady to go away her lotus footwear on her ft, making a mystique across the tiny ft and growing the sexuality of the encounter. Some males, extremely infatuated with the deformed ft, even discovered methods to extend their arousal by performing random, sex-driven acts with them, together with smelling, caressing, licking, and placing the foot of their mouth. A few of the weirder fetishes of lotus ft lovers on the time included ingesting water that the ft had been washed in or and inserting meals objects between the toes and nibbling them out.

Although lotus ft had a sexual that means for males, additionally they have been additionally a marker for a person’s wealth and standing. Many occasions all through China’s in depth historical past, folks have been getting ready to hunger as a result of many alternative attributes. However one may all the time inform which man was rich and better-off, primarily based on what number of lotus-footed wives he had. As a result of these girl may do little however keep of their houses all day, males with many lotus-footed brides may present their wealth, primarily proclaiming, “Look how wealthy I’m! I can afford to feed all these ineffective mouths!”

Lotus ft additionally gave males near-complete management over the ladies put via this tortuous process. As a result of foot-binding saved ladies from shifting round simply, males prized ladies with tiny ft as a result of they knew they may preserve them round with none probability of them straying. As a result of they may solely stroll a couple of miles per day, they have been destined to a lifetime of servitude inside the man’s home, cleansing, cooking, and taking good care of youngsters. It additionally assured males that their tiny-footed wives weren’t adulterous; as a result of they couldn’t stroll, they have been to be his and solely his. Lotus ft have been primarily a method for a person to maintain a lady as a possession for his profit, sexually and economically.

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8 Foot-Binding Began At A Younger Age

Footage nearly all the time present grownup or aged ladies with lotus ft. Tragically, although, foot-binding was accomplished to very small ladies, with little or no enter from the younger youngsters. The process sometimes started between the ages of 4 and 9.[3] Although the kids present process the process have been very younger, foot-binding and at last reaching lotus ft have been seen as a ceremony of passage. Together with puberty, menstruation, and childbirth, foot-binding was seen as one other step in a toddler’s means of maturity. As a result of it was seen as a bonding affair, daughters, moms, and grandmothers have been all concerned, with the elders making certain the woman that this was mandatory for them to be fascinating and capable of marry an excellent man. Whereas the method was being carried out on these younger ladies, they have been taught that small ft have been an indication of marriageability and that they have to be subordinate to males and enhance the variations between female and male.

Foot-binding was additionally compelled upon younger ladies as a result of it was seen as a fertility marker. Binding at an early age was thought to trigger blood to circulation up the younger woman’s legs, getting into the thighs, hips, and vagina, making them higher at intercourse and growing their fertility. Even from an early age, younger ladies have been compelled to endure this process and taught that they have been inferior to males and may finally be seen and never heard.

7 The Process Was Torturous And Lengthy

When the time arrived for the younger ladies to start out the method of foot-binding, their complete world modified as they went from being a carefree baby to 1 that was in a continuing state of ache and agony. The method to acquire lotus ft was lengthy, almost two years, and required the kid to be put via rounds of fixed binding. To start the method, a younger woman’s ft have been positioned in a heat tub to assist completely soften the pores and skin after which scrubbed vigorously to take away all of the useless and dry pores and skin from the realm. Toenails have been clipped extremely brief to forestall any nicks or cuts when the binding began, and alum was sprinkled between the toes to forestall the constructing of perspiration and moisture.

Subsequent got here the precise means of making use of bandages for binding. Lengthy bandages have been soaked in water in order that after they dried, they might shrink, binding the ft much more tightly. Whomever was binding the younger baby’s ft then took all 4 of the woman’s small toes and bent them inward towards the only of the foot. A bandage was then tightly positioned in regards to the toes to maintain them solidly secured to the underside of the foot. The large toe was then bent up barely, and a bandage was wrapped round it, the ankle, and the instep of the foot, making a determine eight with the bandages. By doing this, the heel was introduced ahead, and over time, the arch are the foot was utterly fractured. In additional excessive instances, damaged glass was put inside the bandages to chop the foot and pores and skin, inflicting elements of the pores and skin to rot away, thus making the foot even smaller.[4]

This course of was horrible, however what’s much more disturbing is that the woman underwent this process each few days. The bandages needed to be eliminated after which new ones utilized and sure even tighter to make sure the proper bones have been shifting and breaking. Throughout the transient durations of reduction in between, the ft can be cleaned, useless or dry flesh can be eliminated, and toenails can be clipped. In some cases, in an try to forestall later issues with toenails, they have been utterly faraway from the toes of the kid.

6 Lotus Feet Have been A Hygiene Nightmare

Past the precise ache of getting ft sure, there have been different medical issues that plagued ladies with lotus ft. First, the toenails offered their very own set of issues. In some cases, the toenails would curl beneath the perimeters of the pores and skin, inflicting splits, cuts, and tears. Ingrown toenails have been rampant; they might fill with pus and trigger excessive ache. This extra of pus within the crushed foot would give solution to a horrific scent.

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In some instances, constriction of the foot grew to become so extreme that elements of the pores and skin and foot would merely die and decay away. Some ladies have been even lacking toes as a result of lack of circulation from the compression of the bandages. When the bandages have been eliminated, the woman’s toes would merely fall to the ground.[5] In some instances, this was acceptable; much less pores and skin and fewer toes equal smaller foot.

All of those points led to excessive ranges of an infection, together with gangrene. Gangrene was rampant due to the bandages, which allowed an infection to develop and fester beneath, finally placing the younger ladies in grave hazard. Possibly the worst half in regards to the hygiene of the lotus ft was that even when all the things went properly in youth, the woman was destined for a lifetime of full devotion to her ft. She must meticulously are likely to, wash, medicate, and rebind her ft for the remainder of her life. Lotus ft have been a torture that lasted a lifetime.

5 Lotus Feet Negatively Affected The Complete Physique

Along with being extremely mangled as a result of foot-binding, lotus ft prompted different areas of the physique to endure as properly. The ft themselves have been liable to an infection, paralysis, and muscular degeneration, inflicting the lady to want help whereas strolling, both with a cane or the assistance of one other individual. As a result of ladies with lotus ft couldn’t transfer their legs usually, their gait grew to become skewed, and their decrease leg muscle groups would change into weaker and weaker, resulting in atrophy of the legs. Due to the decrease leg weak point, foot-bound ladies have been almost unable to squat, which was extraordinarily vital for day-to-day actions, together with house responsibilities, child-rearing, and toileting.

Research of aged ladies with lotus ft additionally confirmed decreased ranges of bone density, particularly within the decrease hip and backbone. This led to the elevated threat of fractures when falling. Typically, foot-binding was so excessive that the ball of the foot can be so compressed that it will really start rising into the heel of the foot. In these instances, the already precarious stance can be much more affected; ladies would usually be unable to face for any period of time.

A worst-case state of affairs for any woman with sure ft was dying. Although not completely frequent, it did occur, sometimes due to septicemia as a result of an infection. Extra usually, nevertheless, relatively than the lady dying, your entire foot would die, inflicting the lady to reek of rot, generally even years after the dying of her sure foot.[6]

4 The Notorious Golden Lotus


All lotus ft have been fascinating in historic China. However there have been completely different ranges of enchantment, primarily based on the size of the foot after a profitable binding. The primary degree of profitable binding was generally known as the iron lotus. An iron lotus foot can be of a size that was longer than 10 centimeters (4 in). As a result of size was straight associated to how possible a woman was to get married, these with iron lotus ft have been extra more likely to keep unwed as a result of their ft weren’t thought of fascinating sufficient.

The subsequent degree of lotus ft was generally known as silver lotus. Feet with this title measured roughly 10 centimeters (4 in) in size and have been extra fascinating than iron however nonetheless not what males sought in a lady of the time.

Girls who have been most prized have been those that had the notorious golden lotus. Girls with this title had ft that measured a mere 7.6 centimeters (3 in) lengthy.[7] That’s roughly the scale of a pack of cigarettes. Girls with golden lotus ft have been almost assured a wedding, as ft of this dimension have been seen as the final word in sexual fantasy for males on the time. Books in historic China even gave directions to males on alternative ways to benefit from the golden lotus ft of ladies.

3 Lotus Feet Have been A Mark Of Standing

Lotus ft started their journey of enchantment within the realm of the aristocracy. Starting with the fabled emperor and his concubines, girls of excessive standing had their ft sure to indicate their place. The upper the standing, the extra possible one was to get married to a person of equally excessive status. Bind the lady’s foot to unmentionable grotesqueness, and he or she was much more fascinating.

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Although frequent among the many higher echelons of Chinese language royalty, lotus ft weren’t as frequent among the many working class and the poor. For the poor, lotus ft, although fascinating, made life even more durable. Farmers and common ladies staff discovered that with their tiny, disfigured lotus ft, they weren’t capable of efficiently handle their day-to-day work. Primarily, in an try to keep up an air of magnificence, they hindered their financial lifestyle.[8]

Many poor or working-class folks, nevertheless, understood how the mark of lotus ft rose one’s standing amongst males, and in an try to provide their daughters a greater life, poor households would usually bind their daughters’ ft to assist them woo a husband and have a life higher than what they have been born into. Many occasions, this labored, particularly for these ladies whose ft had achieved the golden lotus standing.

Irrespective of their social standing in life, ladies who weren’t subjected to the agony of foot-binding have been usually made enjoyable of, ridiculed, and ensured that their ugly, massive ft would deter males.

2 Lotus Feet Stayed In Style Till The Early 1900s

Lotus ft have been in vogue for tons of if not hundreds of years in China’s lengthy historical past. However as with all fad, this one lastly ran its course, although it took a very long time to return to an finish.

Lotus ft started to exit of vogue through the Qing dynasty, when China was starting to be colonized by Western folks. The colonists seen ladies with lotus ft as struggling and being tortured by the observe. Western ladies who had come to China took explicit curiosity and concern for the lotus ft ladies, lots of them opening shelters to assist assist these whose ft had been broken by the method. Throughout this time, Chinese language intellectuals who had studied overseas in Western nations returned to China with disgusted stances on the act of foot-binding. By the autumn of the Qing dynasty, lotus ft have been shedding their maintain.[9]

As time went on, lotus ft have been seen with increasingly disgust by the identical nation that had thought them so fascinating for therefore a few years. By 1949, foot-binding had change into a distasteful act and was synonymous with “feudal and backward China.” By the tip of the Fifties, foot-binding had been outlawed and abolished in all provinces of China.

1 Lotus Feet Ruined Lives Even After Being Outlawed

Girls with lotus ft underwent a childhood surrounded by worry and ache as their ft have been damaged, sure, and disfigured, all to achieve standing and wonder. However when the observe went out of favor, the ladies nonetheless had a tough time adjusting to life with their little lotus ft. After the abolition of foot-binding, Chairman Mao established a regiment of inspectors who have been to view ladies round areas of China and publicly disgrace any they discovered with lotus ft. Girls have been lastly freed from the bandages however not from being publicly tormented for a process that was compelled upon them as youngsters. Many occasions, when found, ladies’s foot-binding bandages have been hung of their home windows in order that anybody passing by may view them and disgrace the lady.[10]

Sadly, lotus ft ladies bore much more disgrace as unbound ft grew to become the norm. Pure ft have been thought to be lovely, and girls have been anticipated to proudly present their fairly unbound ft. These ladies may go barefoot and be seen as engaging, whereas ladies with lotus ft have been solely thought of lovely if their disfigured ft have been lined with their specifically made embroidered footwear. Although occasions have modified, and unbound ft are thought of the norm, there are nonetheless aged ladies in lots of elements of China tending their delicate lotuses.

Hello! I’m Theta! I’m a full time librarian with a penchant for writing, animals, and all issues obscure. I really like touring, my pets, Sport of Thrones, and studying.


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